FA18HUM415

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HUM 415-01 Contemporary Culture
FALL 2018
M/W 11-12.15 in HUM 115
Sean Connelly
Contact: apciv@sfsu.edu
Office location/ hours: in Hum 416 on M 10-11 and T 11-12

The Project

Humanities 415 studies various forms of contemporary culture including the novel, film, poetry, visual culture, and music as a means of assessing our present conditions. To that end we will use concepts drawn from political economy and formal analysis to interpret literary and cinematic fiction.

Our circumstances are the product of capitalism, a mode of production—i.e., a way of organizing social life– that has effectively colonized every space on the planet including the human psyche in a quest for ever-increasing profits.

Since its first appearance roughly 200 years ago, many people have argued that this system is unsustainable because it depends upon the exploitation, objectification, and alienation of humans, animals, and a finite natural world.

Among the criticisms of global capitalism and its cultures is the tendency to

promote different forms of violence (imperialist, criminal, and structural)

enrich the few at the expense of the many

generate spectacles wherein the social is experienced as a virtual realm of appearances

obliterate consciousness of the past and visions of the future, which seem to dissolve into the fog of a “Permanent Now”

promote “the market”as the measure of all things

The purpose of this course is to think about capitalism critically, to defamiliarize what we take for granted. By troubling some of the common sense assumptions (ideologyhegemony) about this system we may gain the power to imagine what comes after it.

Learning Outcomes

Students who do the work will complete the course with a solid foundation in the formal analysis of literature and film, a general knowledge of US history, and a toolkit of theoretical concepts with which to explore the relationship between culture and ideology.

Kim Kardashian Celebrates Her 29th Birthday At TAO With  T-Mobile's Motoro

Basic Etiquette

ARRIVE ON TIME,  work completed, with a hard copy of the assigned text. All homework assignments should be typed and include name/date/course.

Electronic devices

On its own, a cell phone is not an adequate tool with which to pursue a college education. The course blog, for example, is best viewed on a computer. Unless I specifically request it, no electronic devices should be used during class.

Intellectual Honesty

CHEATING of any kind is pernicious because it  DESTROYS TRUST between teacher and student. If you can’t trust your teacher, then you deserve a new one. If you can’t trust your students, etc.

As a general rule any ideas/words that are not your own should be cited. Yet intellectual honesty encompasses more than actively avoiding plagiarism. For example, reading a wikipedia entry rather than an assigned novel or allowing others to do your work for you are examples of cheating.

See http://www.sfsu.edu/~vpsa/judicial/titlev.html

Accessibility

If there’s anything I should know about you as a student, please talk to me RIGHT AWAY and I’ll do my best to help. The DPRC is located in the Student Service Building and can be reached by telephone (voice/TTY 415-338-2472) or by email dprc@sfsu.edu).

Other resources

The SAFE Place – (415) 338-2208; http://www.sfsu.edu/~safe_plc/

Counseling and Psychological Services Center – (415) 338-2208; http://psyservs.sfsu.edu/

Additional information on rights and available resources: http://titleix.sfsu.edu

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The Work: Grading Rubric

Final Project 20% (syllabus for an alternate version of HUM415) 12/13

Class Work 25% (participation, attendance, in-class work)

Midterm 15% (Short responses to key terms) 10/15

Film Analysis Presentation 20% 12/3, 12/5, 12/10, 12/12

Final Exam 20% (Short responses to key terms) 12/17

Students are expected to complete the assigned readings, think about what they read, and actively participate in class discussion. Late work will not be accepted.

Required Texts

Buy HARD COPIES with the ISBNs listed below.

JG Ballard, High-Rise (9780871404022)

Nalo Hopkinson, Brown Girl in the RIng (9780446674331)

Jean-Patrick Manchette, Fatale (9781590173817)

Victor Pelevin, Homo Zapiens (9780142001813)

Ed Sikov, Film Studies (9780231142939)

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eReader

“Capitalism”; “Class”; “Commodity”; “Commodity Fetishism”; “Determinism”; “Dialectics” from Cultural Theory (Edgar and Sedgwick, eds.): CulturalTheoryKeyConcepts

James Fulcher, Capitalism (excerpt): Cap

Hall, et al.  After Neoliberalism: After Neoliberalism

Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism (excerpt): HarveyNeoLib

Hawkes, “Faust Among the Witches”: FaustWitches

Manchette, “Five Remarks on How I Earn My Living: https://www.marxists.org/archive/manchette/1976/earn-living.htm

Marx, “The Power of Money”: https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/manuscripts/power.htm

Marx and Engels, Communist Manifesto: ManifestoSec1

Spence, Knocking the Hustle (excerpt): Knocking

We Are Plan C, “We Are All Very Anxious”

SocCapOtherWoman

Filmography

American Gangster; Children of Men; Dark City; The End of Poverty?; eXistenZ; Glengarry, Glen Ross; High-Rise; How to Get Ahead in Advertising; In the Dust of the Stars; Killing Them Softly; Lifeforce; Life Without Principle; Logan’s Run; Margin Call; Metro Manila; Naked; Pi; Ravenous; Robocop; Sleep Dealer; Snow Piercer; Takeout; They Live; Viva Riva!

Schedule

WEEK ONE
8/27
Introduction
Clip: Wonder Girls, “Love Me Like Money”

8/29
Due: Knocking the Hustle; upload a recognizable image of  yourself to ilearn
Song: Oscar Brown, Jr., “Work Song”; Merle Haggard, “Working Man Blues”
Clip: American Gangster

WEEK TWO
9/3
LABOR DAY

9/5
Due: Communist Manifesto
Clip: All That is Solid Melts Into Air

WEEK THREE
9/10
Due: Neoliberalism (Hall, Massey, Rustin)
Clip:

9/12
Due: High-Rise

Clip: Margin Call

WEEK FOUR
9/17
LAST DAY OF DROP/ADD
Due: High-Rise

Clip: Allegory of the Cave

9/19
Due: High-Rise

WEEK FIVE
9/24
Due: High-Rise

9/26
Due: High-Rise

Clip: High-Rise

WEEK SIX
10/1

Meet at LIB 244 

Due: Fatale

10/3

Meet at LIB 244
Due: Fatale

Clips: En Vogue, “My Lovin'”; Confessions of a Shopaholic (trailer)

WEEK SEVEN
10/8
Due: Fatale. “Five Remarks on How I Make My Living”

Clips: Can Dialectics Break Bricks?; Jesus and Mary Chain, “Just Like Honey”

10/10
Due: Fatale/ Review

WEEK EIGHT
10/15
MIDTERM

10/18

WEEK NINE
10/22
CR/NC DEADLINE
Due: Brown Girl in the Ring
Clip: Grace Jones, “Corporate Cannibal”; Pumzi

10/24
Due: Brown Girl in the Ring

WEEK TEN
10/29
Due: Brown Girl in the Ring

10/31
Due: Brown Girl in the Ring

WEEK ELEVEN
11/5
Due: Brown Girl in the Ring/ Homo Zapiens

11/7
Due: Homo Zapiens
Song:

WEEK TWELVE
11/12
Due: Homo Zapiens

11/14
Due: Homo Zapiens
ASSIGNMENT FOR 11/26: Film Studies (ALL OF IT)

WEEK THIRTEEN
FALL BREAK

WEEK FOURTEEN
11/26
Due: Homo Zapiens

11/28
Due: Homo Zapiens/Film Studies

WEEK FIFTEEN
12/3
Due: Film Studies
Film Presentations (Groups 1-3)

12/5
Due: Film Studies
Film Presentations (Groups 4-6)

WEEK SIXTEEN
12/10
Due: Film Studies
Film Presentations (Groups 7-9)

12/12
Film Presentations (Groups 10-12)

REVIEW

WEEK SEVENTEEN
12/17
FINAL EXAM
FINAL PROJECT

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