Spring in Columbus, OH?

Just came across this course listing of Holland’s and thought I’d share:

CS 8888 Seminar in Critical Theory: Multitude, Anarchism, Occupy
Instructor: Eugene Holland and Brian Rotman
M  9:10am-12:25pm
Class# 13334

This seminar will explore the intersections and overlap among these three terms, particularly in light of recent theoretical and political developments around the globe.

Although its derivation goes back to Spinoza, the term “multitude” has in recent Franco-Italian political theory distinguished itself from allied terms such as the masses, the people, the crowd, and so forth.  Selected readings from and about the work of Paulo Virno, Toni Negri, Deleuze & Guattari, and Hardt & Negri will enable us to take the measure of the term in its current historical context as well as contrast it (briefly) with earlier treatments of “the crowd” by Gustave LeBon and Elias Canetti.  The core question will be what are the components—affective, proprioceptive, cognitive, material, and (if any) representational—that  make a group of individuals a multitude?

We will focus on the opposition between the multitude and the people; and given that a group of individuals has been at least since Hobbes understood to become a “people” by the existence and actions of a State, we will examine the relations among anarchism, theories of the multitude, and the Occupy movement.  David Graeber’s work—his Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology, and selections from Toward an Anthropological Theory of Value and/or Revolutions in Reverse, and his important occasional pieces on Occupy—will provide a counterweight to mainstream knowledge and experience of the State as a mode of social organization, but will also be compared with the contemporary egalitarian political program of Jacques Rancière (selections from Dissensus), which represents yet another alternative model of a ‘mass’ of individuals becoming an effective group.

Essays by political theorists Benjamin Arditi and Slavoj Žižek will refocus questions of group-constitution on the Occupy movement itself as an alternative to State organization—but here we will count on the seminar group as a whole to propose and select the best additional perspectives on Occupy to complete the materials for the course.


11 thoughts on “Spring in Columbus, OH?

  1. I like the idea. All the proposed readings seem right along the lines of the things we have been reading. Virno seems the most likely candidate for us to coalesce around, but Negri would make sense too…and maybe if Columbus is going to read Commonwealth that would make sense too.

    Would the “virtual community” be video, or written? It seems a diligent regime of shared writing might make the most sense. It might be hard to set up, meet new people, and then effectively discuss in some sort of Skype set up…Maybe not…

      • i think mark’s ‘diligent regime of writing’ would be the way to go, both for the sake of posterity and because the osu seminar meets at 6:10, monday mornings, seattle time…

        but even if this doesn’t pan out, another writing regime would still be tops on my list, and i think others would be interested too.

  2. Ok, finally talked to Gene and Brian. Two things:

    1. The class meets at 4:30pm, not 9:30. Apparently there was a mistake on the initial advert.
    2. Gene would like someone to contact him (holland [dot] 1 [at] osu [dot] edu), as he is interested in setting something up.

    Right now the readings for the course are fairly structured for the first 7 weeks or so, but after that we haven’t really set out a plan yet. Let me know if you have trouble getting hold of Gene.

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