ARC 342R / ARC 388R
Instructor: Bryan Norwood
The aim of this seminar is to think carefully about how our bodies engage with the built environment. Through theoretical and historical texts, we will consider the lived-experience of subjects and the ways that subjects are governed and guided by their built worlds. We will read both from the orientations of phenomenology and of biopolitics, of accounts of embodiment and of accounts of the control of bodies. Beginning from the simple premise that bodies and embodiments are not the same, a particular aim will be to attend to the ways differences in race, gender, class, and ability affect our engagements with the built environment.
This seminar will be structured around a series of multi-week engagements with singular texts, into which other shorter texts will be interspersed. That is, we are going to read three books carefully: Sara Ahmed’s Queer Phenomenology: Orientations, Objects, Others, Simone Browne’s Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness, and Alexander Weheliye’s Habeas Viscus: Racializing Assemblages, Biopolitics, and Black Feminist Theories of the Human. We will contextualize and expand on these three books through select additional texts from philosophy—primarily Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Michel Foucault—and more recent history and theory writing—including Christina Sharpe, Aimi Hamraie, George Yancy, and Adrienne Brown. The focus of this seminar will be on reading, collective annotation of texts, and in-class discussion. Assignments will be structured around writing that progresses to a final paper.