Monthly Archives: February 2013

Saskia Sassen on Surveillance (HUM415/ HUM 425)

Here’s a short opinion piece by Saskia Sassen, a sociologist teaching at Columbia University and author of several books (The Global City, Globalization and Its Discontents, etc.) that raises the issue of the relationship between drone warfare, the decline of the “liberal state,” and state surveillance. HUM425 students might find it of interest for its claims about visuality and power, while HUM415 students might be intrigued by her assessment of the contemporary political scene.

Common Sense 2 (HUM303/HUM415/HUM425/HUM470)

“It is precisely its ‘spontaneous’ quality, its transparency, its ‘naturalness,’ its refusal to be made to examine the premises on which it is founded, its resistance to change and to correction, its effect of instant recognition, and the closed circle in which it moves which makes common sense, at one and the same time, ‘spontaneous,’ ideological and unconscious. You cannot learn, through common sense, how things are: you can only discover where they fit into the existing scheme of things. In this way, its very taken-for-grantedness is what establishes it as a medium in which its own premises and presuppositions are being rendered invisible by its apparent transparency.”

— Stuart Hall, “Culture, the Media, and the ‘Ideological Effect'” (pdf)

Film Noir Assignment (HUM425)

By 2/26 I want everyone to have watched one “classic era” (1940-1959) film noir. Some possibilities are listed on the course information page. You could also consult Eddie Muller’s “Top 25 Noir Films.” Some of these titles are available streaming on Netflix (see below– you can also consult Netflix’s “Film Noir” category) , though other resources include the SFSU library and your local branch of the San Francisco Public Library.

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