HIST 5210A: Power
Fall 2020

Instructor: Prof. Jennifer Evans

Power is operationalized through regulation, standardization and governance. It is codified in law, justified through force, taught in schools, reinforced in the media, and written onto the body. For Max Weber, it is wielded against individuals as domination and rulership, whereas for Michel Foucault it is constituted through knowledge and what societies understand as truth. The fascination of political theorists, sociologists, philosophers and historians, it is reproduced in our own writing in our choice of words, the histories we unearth, and in whose stories we seek to tell.

Our seminar will begin with a look at several foundational texts on power before taking up questions of institutionalization, remembrance, ways of knowing, categorization, and ethical witnessing through a wide selection of readings, many but not all historical, from different national and temporal contexts.

Authors will include: Max Weber, Michel Foucault, Antonio Gramsci, Sarah Ahmed, Anjali Arondekar, Laura Doan, Dagmar Herzog, Keisha Blain, Tiffany Florvil, Leeanne Betasamosake Simpson, Howard Chiang, José van Dyck, Susan Stryker, Michel-Rolp Trouillot, Michael Rothberg

Assignments: There will be a mix of short writing assignments and a longer end of term exercise that may take multiple forms. Discussion will serve for a full 50% of the final grade.