Anthropology | Modernities
E600 | 24105 | Greene

“Modernities: Theoretical Perspectives New and Old”

This course is a voyage in classical and contemporary social,
historical and cultural theory organized around the concept(s) of
modernity/modernities.  We will explore not only the (ostensibly)
classical European formulation of the modernity concept but also
trends of thought – new and old - that place the concept into question
as a category of analysis that assumes a European historical/cultural
subject.  This includes theoretical positions that rework “modernity”
only to reproduce it in another version; positions that present
alternative readings of modernity’s standard historical narrative from
more subaltern stances; positions that seek to pluralize a resolutely
singularized analytical term; and positions that seek to reject
modernity altogether.  In particular, in terms of classical
philosophical formulations we will contrast the Enlightenment ideals
of the modern with the anti-Enlightenment ideals of romantic and
pluralized cultural histories.  We will then also turn to various
forms of theorization that question and reconstruct
“modernity/modernities” on various grounds:  (1) cultural
particularism and historical-geographic position (2) processes of de-
and re- enchantment (3) it is predicated on various racialized and
post-colonized global realities and (4) the possibility of its having
never existed to begin with.

The seminar will be organized around close readings and discussions of
several theoretical accounts that range from Enlightenment philosophy
and political-economy to subaltern history and cultural
studies/anthropology.  Some of the authors we will read include:
Herder, Marx, Weber, Du Bois, Fanon, Chakrabarty, García-Canclini,
Hardt and Negri, and Latour.