Author Archives: apciv

Cui Bono (HUM415)

Upon looking into the matter more closely I discovered that the reference to cui bono came not in Hall’s “After Neoliberalism” but in Zizek’s “In the Wake of the Paris Attacks, etc.”

“The greatest victims of the Paris terror attacks,” he writes, “will be refugees themselves, and the true winners, behind the platitudes in the style of je suis Paris, will be simply the partisans of total war on both sides. This is how we should really condemn the Paris killings: not just to engage in anti-terrorist solidarity but to insist on the simple cui bono (for whose benefit?) question.”

In any case, the value of this question as a method of analysis seems pretty obvious. The corollary to it– which is intended to refine our thought– is the time-honored observation that correlation does not necessarily equate to causation. We used the school uniforms and test scores example to illustrate this principle.

“Since the headmaster mandated school uniforms students’ test scores have risen 20%.”




“Students are also being given test answers in advance.”


We watched Mark Boulos’s All That is Solid Melts Into Air and you did your first in-class writing assignment, ICW1. I’ll have the results back to you next week.

Finally, I’ll be revising the schedule of readings and the grading rubric this week.

Full Immersion Gothic (HUM220/ HUM303)

The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts is hosting  a film series titled Gothic Cinema: Darkness and Desire. The films to be screened range from arthouse to grindhouse and the directors include Mario Bava, James Whale, David Lynch, Don Siegel, Georges Franju, Terence Fisher and Ingmar Berman.

Tickets are $8 for students. See


Realism and Subject-Formation (HUM303)


Nealon and Giroux’s “Subjectivity” will help you to understand Belsey’s “Constructing the Subject, Deconstructing the Text.” Both of these essays believe that art and culture are indispensable to subject-formation. Who we are and how we relate are, in part, a function of signification. The language of literature and film is the language of ideology. Ideology, Althusser and others argue, constitutes the foundation of the “self.”

Eagleton’s “What is a Novel?” also focuses on realism. By learning about the realist novel, what Belsey calls “the classic realist text,” we’ll gain a better understanding of the gothic. One issue here is a traditional opposition between the novel and the romance. Another is the political aspects of literature. Note Eagleton’s arguments about the rise of the novel and its political function. Long before the common folk (you and I) were permitted to assert our presence in political matters– before, at any rate, universal sufferage– the novel attended closely to the thoughts and desires of ordinary people. This legacy is part of the novel’s profound radicalism.

For Thursday, read as much as you can of the assignments. We’re going to link it all up.