Communication and Culture | Senior Seminar in Communication and Culture (Topic: Identity and Difference)
C401 | 14608 | Jane Goodman

TuTh, 1:00 PM-2:15 PM, Location: TBA

Students who have taken CMCL-C 417: Power and Violence
should not sign up for this class; the content will be very similar
to that of C 417

Instructor: Jane Goodman			
Office: Mottier Hall 205			
Phone: 855-3232
Modernity has been erected on a foundation of difference. Indeed,
modernity’s reigning political philosophy of liberalism – although
established around notions of liberty, equality, and fraternity –
was built on racial, ethnic, and gender distinctions elaborated
within colonial empires. Nationalist and postcolonial formations
have been equally beset by issues of belonging and exclusion. Even
in an increasingly global world order, the proliferation of identity-
based movements centered on ethnolinguistic or religious concerns
shows no signs of abating.

This course is concerned with how differences are constructed in
relation to broader configurations of power and ideology. Our focus
will be on the social, epistemological, and imaginative work
entailed in the construction and maintenance of difference. We ask:
How, despite democratizing rhetorics of freedom and equality, does
liberalism in fact rely on a series of differences that have been
formulated in racial, ethnic, religious, and gendered terms?

Cross-cultural and comparative in scope, the course will center
around a series of situated cases ranging from colonial empires in
the period of “high colonialism” (late 19th-20th centuries) to what
are increasingly known as “alternative modernities” – that is,
locations where key terms of modernity (e.g., democracy, human
rights, equality) are being reconfigured in relation to local
concepts and practices.

Areas of inquiry will likely include (among others):

•Worlds’ fairs, live human displays, or the colonial census as sites
for the practice of othering

•National laws that seek to contain difference by forbidding  the
public display of particular symbols of identity (e.g., French laws
prohibiting Muslim women from wearing headscarves to school)

•Racial profiling and the U.S. Patriot Act


The course will be run in a guided seminar format. Students should
expect to serve as presenters several times during the semester.
Likely assignments include an original research paper as well as
timely written responses to seminar topics.

Note: If you have taken CMCL-C 417: Power and Violence and would
like to register for this course, please contact the instructor