Communication and Culture | Identity and Difference
C610 | 28174 | Goodman, J
CMCL-C 610: Identity and Difference
Class Number: 28174
Tu, 1:00 PM-3:30 PM, C2 272
Meets with CULS-C 701
Open to Graduates Only!
Instructor: Jane Goodman
Office: C2 227
“Societies are most vulnerable at their edges.”
--Anne McClintock, Imperial Leather
Course Description: Modernity has been erected on a foundation of
difference. Indeed, modernity’s reigning political philosophy of
liberalism – although underwritten by notions of liberty, equality,
and fraternity – was predicated on racial, ethnic, and gender
distinctions elaborated within European colonial empires.
Nationalist and postcolonial formations have been equally beset by
the problematic of belonging and exclusion. Even in an increasingly
global world order, the proliferation of identity-based movements
centered around ethnolinguistic or religious concerns shows no signs
This course is concerned with the poetics and politics of othering.
We will focus on the social, epistemological, and imaginative work
entailed in the construction and maintenance of difference. 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
Course Format and Expectations: Readings will be drawn primarily
from the discipline of anthropology, supplemented by selections in
history, subaltern studies, political science, communication
studies, and cultural studies Assignments will likely include a
critical analysis of a novel or film in relation to course themes,
and an extended, 25-page research paper that investigates one of the
seminar topics (or a related topic of the student’s choice).
Students will serve as presenters or discussants several times
during the term.