Course Listings for the Academic Year 2018-2019

Please note: students are responsible for ensuring that your selected courses meet the program requirements stated in the Calendar. If, however, you feel that you need additional information or guidance please contact us.

Fall Courses

CLMD 6101T: Perspectives on Interdisciplinarity in Cultural Theory
Instructor: Pascal Gin

This course will address the theory and practice of interdisciplinary studies of culture. Attention will be paid to those themes and issues in cultural theory of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries that inform contemporary interdisciplinary work in literature, film, music, art and new media. This course is continued in the second semester.

CLMD 6102F/ENGL 5004F: Issues in Transnationalism- Diaspora Theory
Instructor: Sarah Casteel

Diaspora is an ancient term that has gained new currency in our contemporary moment. Why has diaspora become ubiquitous across the disciplines, emerging as a central category of analysis for scholars in both the humanities and the social sciences? How does diaspora theory intersect with the study of transnationalism, globalization, and postcolonialism? What is the relationship between “classic” diasporas such as the Jewish and Armenian diasporas and other traumatic histories of dislocation that are increasingly being interpreted through the lens of diaspora theory? What do we stand to gain from the broader application of the term? What risks does the proliferation of the term entail?

This course traces the emergence of diaspora theory from the early 1990s through to the present. Beginning with seminal articulations by James Clifford, Paul Gilroy and others, the course then surveys a series of new directions in diaspora thought. Taking Jewish and Black historical experiences of displacement as our starting points, we will consider a variety of approaches (comparative diasporas, postcolonial diasporas, queer diasporas) as well as modalities (time and memory, space and place, indigeneity and diaspora). Drawn from a range of disciplines, our readings will illustrate how and why diaspora has become a significant focus within area studies, postcolonial studies, cultural studies and ethnic studies. Alongside the theoretical readings, we will also consider memoirs, poetry, film, and visual art that perform their own theoretical work. Examining tensions between positivistic and cultural approaches as well as between high theory and creative genres, our particular focus will be on the expressive forms and aesthetic modes that have been inspired by the lived experience of diaspora

In the course’s final weeks, students will have the opportunity to explore the implications of diaspora theory for the particular genres, media, and ethnic histories that drive their own research interests.

CLMD 6103F/ARTH 5112F/CDNS 5003A: Issues of Cultural Mediation and Representation- Defining Beauty: Towards Indigenous Aesthetics
Instructor: Carmen Robertson

Pathways toward articulating Indigenous aesthetics emerge from deep considers of cultural epistemologies and ontologies. In this seminar, through a series of readings, observations, and oral narratives, notions of Indigenous aesthetics in relation to tangible contemporary and traditional art expressions will be explored. Connections to land and to story are key components of this seminar.

CLMD 6104F/ARTH 5218F/ANTH 5807A: Issues in Cultural Politics- Museums and Difficult Histories
Instructor: Ruth Phillips

This course will explore the growing prominence in world museology of museums that represent histories of oppression and genocide. We will trace the development of commemorative strategies following the Holocaust and the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and examine the mixture of memorialization, revisionist history, therapeutic intents and future-oriented social activism that inform such museums. We consider recent representations of colonial oppression and Indigenous residential schools in Canada in relation to these histories and the insights provided by the theorizations in anthropology, trauma studies, art history, and other disciplines.

CLMD 6105F/CDNS 5301A: Issues in the Technologies of Culture- Technology and Empire
Instructor: Peter Hodgins

Questions of technology and empire were central to the first three decades of the Canadian Studies research agenda (1965-95). The bulk of that research circled around the centrality of communications and transportations technologies in (a) the history of the spread of settler colonialism from the St. Lawrence basin to the western and northern fringes of what came to be known as “Canada” and in (b) the process by which those same technologies have ironically also led to the purported “Americanization” of Canada. Over the last two decades, however, the rise of identity politics/the politics of recognition have shifted scholarly focus to questions of representation such that even the newer work on settler colonialism tends to ignore the technological factors in the expansion of empire. At the same time as this shift towards representation occurred in cultural and postcolonial studies, new, far more sophisticated models of technology and power inspired by the work of thinkers like Michel Foucault, Donna Haraway and Bruno Latour have emerged.  At the same time, a new generation of artists, coders and scholars have been exploring the ways in which technology can potentially undo empire.  In this course, we will read the “classic” Canadian theories of technology and empire and critically assess their ongoing relevance in light of these new theories and new technological and artistic practices.

CLMD 6106F/CDNS 5003C/ARCH 5100F: Issues in History and Culture- Heritage and Memory in Canada and Central Europe
Instructor: Jerzy Elzanowski

The goal of this course abroad is to juxtapose experiences of urban space devoted to recording and performing public memory in order to gain insight into cultural heritage theory and practice.  The course will take students to six cities in Central Europe and Canada:  Berlin and Weimar (Germany), Warsaw (Poland), Montréal, Ottawa, and Toronto (Canada).  It will take place in two blocks: September 17-27 (Canada) and October 19-28 (Europe), with one or two preparatory and concluding sessions.  Students with conflicting course obligations may be accommodated.  Significant travel funding is available to Carleton students.

The course is structured as a cooperation between Carleton University and the Technical University in Berlin, and will facilitate meaningful scholarly exchange for graduate students studying at both institutions.  Students will benefit from the mentorship of numerous academics, heritage/museum professionals, and artists from all three countries. Thematically, the course will consider intersections between memory politics and the production and use of cultural heritage. Topics discussed in a comparative manner will include:

  • complicity and perpetratorhood at historic sites
  • politics/architectures of commemoration and redress
  • individual and collective cultural appropriation
  • land/real estate ownership and restitution in a neoliberal context
  • diasporic architectures, monuments, and neighbourhoods
  • guilt and heroism as imagined by national museums
  • urban ruins and cultural landscapes of death

The course will engage literatures in heritage conservation, memory studies (including Holocaust studies and death studies), Indigenous studies, settler-colonial studies, cultural landscapes, architectural theory, as well as diaspora art and community histories.

The course is open to graduate and upper year undergraduate students from all faculties, but will require a simple application.  Please submit a 300 word statement of interest (images welcome), a short bio, and a complete CV. For more information, and to apply, please email the instructor: jerzy.elzanowski@carleton.ca

CLMD 6900T: Research and Professional Development- “Interdisciplinary Research Methods”
Instructor: Sarah Casteel

The primary goal of this year-long, workshop-based course for second-year doctoral students is to help students prepare for the second comprehensive examination and dissertation research. The class will offer students a supportive space in which to workshop their second comprehensive examination lists and their preliminary dissertation proposals. Students will work together to develop and exchange ideas about their teaching fields and dissertations with their peers and to benefit from constructive criticism. Be prepared to engage with other students’ scholarship fully and constructively as we discuss, develop and refine plans for future research.

The second major goal of the course is to foster practical skills and knowledge necessary for academic success at the doctoral level and beyond. The course will help students master various aspects of the academic profession including: writing OGS and SSHRC plans of study, becoming acquainted with library resources, academic publishing, conference paper presentations, research ethics and other professional concerns. Further topics will be introduced in response to student need. This course is continued in the second semester.


Winter Courses

CLMD 6101T: Perspectives on Interdisciplinarity in Cultural Theory
Instructor: Birgit Hopfener

This course is a continuation of CLMD 6101 in the first semester.

It addresses key theories and practices who have challenged or questioned the canon or Euro-American cultural theory. Attention will be paid to those themes and issues in cultural theory of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries that inform contemporary interdisciplinary work in visual art and other artistic genres. The material we address is organized thematically. Among others attention will be paid to discourses and practices of publics and publicness, critical contemporaneity, critical historiography, post-colonial theory, transnational/transcultural subjectivity, media critique, gender and queerness, “traveling concepts” and contextual comparison, the relationship between aesthetics and politics.

CLMD 6102W/ENGL 5610: Issues in Transnationalism- Culture in Crisis: War, Migration, Climate
Instructor: Franny Nudelman

In this course, we will consider writers, photographers, and filmmakers who have responded to the urgent and interrelated contemporary crises of war, poverty, forced migration, and climate change. What role does literary and visual culture play in making disruptive change real, and helping us to comprehend conditions that are still in the process of unfolding? How do artists address the political and ethical dimensions of new social realities? The figures that we will study innovate, developing immersive creative practices in an effort to capture the extreme experiences of their subjects. At the same time, they often question and subvert the very rhetoric of emergency that characterizes our mediascape as well as a great deal of scholarship on socially-engaged contemporary culture.

CLMD 6103W/ARTH 5115W: Issues of Cultural Mediation and Representation- Cartographies, mappings and diagrams of/in contemporary arts in the global context
Instructor: Birgit Hopfener

The course considers how contemporary visual art as well as other art genres such as film, literature, music and theatre work have been adopting cartographic, diagrammatic and mapping practices and strategies to reflect on issues of global situatedness.

Based on close readings of art works and related (art-) historical and culture theoretical publications we will examine how artists have been working on, with and through new spatial and temporal structures, relationships and contexts of an interconnected yet contested global world. We will discuss various artistic articulations that discuss today’s heterogeneous global (art) world, its multiple and intertwined histories and structures and the concomitant questioning of a Eurocentric binary order of center and periphery.

CLMD 6104W/CDNS 5003B: Issues in Cultural Politics- On Display: Exhibitions and Indigenous Art
Instructor: Carmen Robertson

This seminar investigates issues related to display of contemporary Indigenous arts since the 1980s in North America and beyond. The course takes as a starting point exhibitions such as Primitivism in Twentieth Century Art (1984) to analyze exhibition histories that have prompted new models and voices in Indigenous curation.

CLMD 6106W/CDNS 5401A: Issues in History and Culture- The ‘Heritage’ of Heritage Concepts
Instructor: Jerzy Elzanowski

While heritage conservation is a highly specialized field, formalized around local, national, and transnational legal and social frameworks (enacted by governments, professional advisory groups, interest groups, and non-profits), there is little agreement across disciplines as to the meanings and implications of the two constitutive terms.  ‘Heritage’ and ‘conservation’ prove ambiguous when considered from the vantage point of different disciplines, languages, and knowledge systems.  This seminar focuses on the polysemic interpretations and uses of key concepts related to heritage—the heritage of heritage terminology—looking closely at how different concepts have been embedded in the field, and how they have changed meaning over time in response to political, ideological, and disciplinary expectations.  Through a collaborative study of the past and present lives of terms such as memory, value, authenticity, and significance, the seminar aims to (re)position normative notions in heritage conservation, concurrently developing the tools to research and practice ethically, innovatively, and experimentally.

CLMD 6900: Research and Professional Development- Interdisciplinary Research Methods”
Instructor: Sarah Casteel

This course is a continuation of CLMD 6101 in the first semester.

The primary goal of this year-long, workshop-based course for second-year doctoral students is to help students prepare for the second comprehensive examination and dissertation research. The class will offer students a supportive space in which to workshop their second comprehensive examination lists and their preliminary dissertation proposals. Students will work together to develop and exchange ideas about their teaching fields and dissertations with their peers and to benefit from constructive criticism. Be prepared to engage with other students’ scholarship fully and constructively as we discuss, develop and refine plans for future research.

The second major goal of the course is to foster practical skills and knowledge necessary for academic success at the doctoral level and beyond. The course will help students master various aspects of the academic profession including: writing OGS and SSHRC plans of study, becoming acquainted with library resources, academic publishing, conference paper presentations, research ethics and other professional concerns. Further topics will be introduced in response to student need.

CLMD 6903W/ENGL 5002W: The Instant of My Death
Instructor: Stuart J. Murray

How might we read the (non)representational practices that surround death today? Aesthetic or anaesthetic, ours is a time when death is quietly cultivated and calculated by neoliberal biopolitics – deaths dismissed (or justified) as collateral damage, opportunity costs, negative externalities. This differential power is summed up by Foucault as the power to “make live and let die.” Crucially, those we “let die” stand in relation to the lives that we “make live”; dying is the bloody secret of life, even as “letting die” is disavowed, refused, silenced. Whether it is “slow death” (Berlant) wrought by austerity, fast death in the digital mediascape, or more coordinated ways of “letting die,” including war and ethnic/racialized violence, these deaths nevertheless speak to belie our “culture of life.”

This is not a course on memory studies or memorialization or trauma and witnessing. And this is for two reasons. First, and practically, our texts are more diverse and less disciplinary. We will read from high theory and literature to YouTube and SoundCloud – an eclectic selection from philosophy, political theory, black studies, and cultural studies, among others, alongside select works of literature, a graphic narrative (a “comic” with no comedy), music, social media metastases, and not least, the in-joke that is on us. Second, and more ideologically, this course will argue that the study of (non)representational practices in the relationship between death and speech/writing will permit an oblique but trenchant critique of identity politics, liberalism (including its “human rights” guises), and the hypostatizations of possessive individualism, ego, self, interiority. To what extent are these forms of subjectivity false idols and tools of subordination, all the while packaged as freedom and rational choice? Moreover, to what extent do they foster profound complicity with the differential violence that “makes live and lets die”?

A more speculative question emerges: what is the possibility for community that is not tied to identity categories and to its rituals of representation, be they memory, memorialization, witnessing, or confession? Is there community post-identity? Or, said another way, is there a form of speech/writing that is not tethered to – sanctioned, policed, and in some cases prohibited by – our great idol, our political theology: identity?

Course Readings include:

Maurice Blanchot and Jacques Derrida, The Instant of My Death / Demeure (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000).

Nick Drnaso, Sabrina (Drawn & Quarterly, 2018).

Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49 (New York: Penguin, 2012).  [Also available as e-pub/Kindle]

Other readings TBD.