Reading Frederic Jameson: History, Postmodernism, and Utopia
505 Carroll St
Brooklyn NY , 11215
Why read Fredric Jameson? From “always historicize!,” the opening provocation of The Political Unconscious, to the claim, central to Postmodernism or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism, that the postmodern is characterized by a loss of the sense of history in the fragmentation of culture, Jameson’s work confronts the immense and delicate problem of how art erupts into history and history into art. Jameson’s tapestry of referents, couched in flamboyantly stylish prose, is ambitious: Marxism and the Frankfurt School, theory, painting, photography, architecture, cinema, avant-garde experiment, philosophy, utopian theory, and literature from Balzac to William Gibson and Ursula Le Guin. His impact on contemporary theories of literature, aesthetics, and culture is wide-ranging; confronting Jameson, whether by agreement, extension, or vociferous challenge, remains an evergreen temptation. What can a study of the works of Frederic Jameson teach us about the way we read, see, and think now?
In this class, a selective survey of Jameson’s career to date, we’ll read excerpts of his major works in order to understand why his framing of terms from “politics” to “culture” to “postmodernism” to “utopia” has proven such a lasting enticement to debate. How is the realm of culture historical and how does history and culture shape one another? What is the relationship between ideology and art? What does it mean to have a sense of the past or the future? What does it mean to read or interpret a novel or a film, a building or a sculpture? What does art do to us or for us? What is criticism for? These are some of the questions we’ll pursue throughout the course. Supplemental materials are likely to include Jameson’s interlocutors and objects of study: Adorno, Benjamin, Marx, and Williams, as well as a collection of filmic, literary, artistic, and architectural examples.
Course ScheduleTuesday, 6:30-9:30pm
October 15 — August 06, 2019
- New York/General
- New Jersey
- Brooklyn Institute for Social Research
68 Jay Street, #308
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Visit by appointment only