|Semester and Year||FA 2010|
|Time||9:30 AM - 10:45 AM|
What defines "the self"? Is it possible to "know thyself"? Or is the self something opaque, unknowable, secret, or in the parlance of psychoanalysis, the effect of unconscious drives? Is selfhood an internal experience or does that very experience come from outside, from others? Is the self primarily autonomous, or the effect of social and political forces? How do worldly definitions of gender and/or race come into play when we define ourselves or others? What, then, are the possibilities and limitations of "self-fashioning" - in what senses are we free to (re)invent ourselves? These questions are important not only in terms of self-understanding but also because the answers have political implications. In this course, we will thus consider how different authors imagine both the self and its relation to the political. We will begin by reading classic definitions of the self: Plato, Seneca, Montaigne. We then will turn to modern theorists of the self, including Rousseau, Nietzsche, Freud, Foucault, as well as Judith Butler and Toni Morrison.
First-Year Program: Interdisciplinary Seminars (FIRST-UG)