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The Politics of Culture and the Culture of Politics: Interdisciplinary Perspectives

Semester and Year FA 2014
Course Number IDSEM-UG800
Section 001
Instructor Sinan Antoon, Ritty Lukose, George Shulman
Days Mon
Time 2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
Units 4.0
Level U
Foundation Requirement SOC


Sophomores only. Course start date is Monday, Sept. 8th; no classes week of Sept. 1st. This course is taught by Sinan Antoon, Ritty Lukose, and George Shulman. In order to register, students must enroll in one of the recitations, IDSEM-UG 800 002004, which then automatically enrolls them in the lecture, IDSEM-UG 800 001.


One of the hallmarks of our contemporary commonsense is that everything we do in our everyday life is political—the food we eat, the music we listen to, the clothes we wear, the poetry we read. Yet, we also continue to view certain people (i.e. elected officials, street protestors) and certain practices (ie voting and throwing rocks at police) as properly the domain of politics. Further still, dominant western conceptions of politics assert that only certain kinds of cultures can produce democracy, for example one that is “modern”, “westernized” and “secular”. Each of these assertions assume a relationship between something called “culture” and something called “politics”—fundamental concepts within a range of disciplines and theories that seek to understand how societies reproduce and are transformed. This interdisciplinary seminar will examine the following questions: What is culture and how has it been defined in different texts and disciplines? What is politics and how has it been defined in a range of texts and disciplines? How and why have scholars and activists sought to put the cultural and the political in some dynamic relationship to each other? The seminar will not only include a range of texts across disciplines but will enact an interdisciplinary perspective by having three instructors from a range of disciplines (anthropology, political theory, and literary studies).

Course Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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