Cut of the Real:
Non-Philosophy & the Question of Subjectivity

Instructor: Katerina Kolozova Date & Time: Fridays: April 24 - May 15th

Following François Laruelle’s nonstandard philosophy and the work of Judith Butler, Drucilla Cornell, Luce Irigaray, and Rosi Braidotti, this seminar reclaims the relevance of categories traditionally rendered “unthinkable” by postmodern feminist philosophies, such as “the real,” “the one,” “the limit,” and “finality,” thus critically repositioning poststructuralist feminist philosophy and gender/queer studies. Poststructuralist (feminist) theory sees the subject as a purely linguistic category, as always already multiple, as always already nonfixed and fluctuating, as limitless discursivity, and as constitutively detached from the instance of the real. This conceptualization is based on the exclusion of and dichotomous opposition to notions of the real, the one (unity and continuity), and the stable. The non-philosophical reading of postructuralist philosophy encountered in this seminar engenders new forms of universalisms for global debate and action, expressed in a language liberated from philosophy’s auto-referentiality and sufficiency. The non-philosophical reading of the contemporary poststructualist philosophies of subjectivity aims to liberate theory from ideological paralysis, recasting the real as an immediately experienced human condition determined by gender, race, and social and economic circumstance. The seminar draws upon Kolozova’s The Cut of the Real: Subjectivity in Poststructuralist Philosophy (Columbia University Press, 2013), and will be of interest to students enrolled in Social & Political Thought, Curatorial Practice and Critical Philosophy Certificate Programs.

The seminar will be composed of four 2.5 hour sessions, each split between a 10 minute introduction to the session, a 20 minute lecture, 30 minutes of student-facilitated group discussion, a brief break and 1.25 hours of instructor-facilitated Oxford/Williams-style tutorial presentations on the readings and topics of the day. All students will write four mini-essays of 600-1000 words each addressing a current event or recent cultural object in light of the readings, due at the end of each week. These will be posted to the Google Classroom page for everyone to read and comment upon as they wish, providing some preliminary threads for the group discussions and tutorials. The top pieces will be given extensive feedback for revision into a full paper and promoted by the professor for publication in leading academic and/or para-academic venues.

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