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Close Readings in Critical Cultural Theory: Theodor Adorno

Semester and Year FA 2010
Course Number IDSEM-UG1605
Section 001
Instructor Sara Murphy
Days Mon,Wed
Time 3:30 PM - 4:45 PM
Units 2.0
Level U
Foundation Requirement HUM


Course meets for the last seven weeks only, October 27–December 15.


Theodor Adorno (1903-69) was a philosopher, cultural theorist, music theorist and a central force in the Frankfurt School. His work, departing from the philosophical tradition of German idealism, draws from Marxism, psychoanalysis, and sociological thought. His sometimes controversial writings on literature, popular culture in the middle of the twentieth century, the category of experience in modernity, and the aftermath of the Holocaust repeatedly call us back to the question of the relation of politics, culture and the ethical. Adorno’s work is dense and often difficult to read; we will consult some of the leading secondary sources on his writing, but we will apply most of our energy to examining closely some key shorter texts concerned with literature, art, and politics closely. Among our reading: Notes to Literature, Prisms , sections of The Dialectic of Enlightenment coauthored with Max Horkheimer, and, perhaps, parts of his posthumous Aesthetic Theory .

Course Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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