HIST 5210A: Power
Winter 2022

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, Norbert Elias, Sarah Ahmed, Priya Satia, Bernard Harcourt, Marianne Valverde, José van Dijk, Michel-Rolphe Trouillot, Laurie Marhoefer, Monica Black, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson.

Assignments: There will be a mix of short writing assignments, a Wikipedia assignment, and a longer end of term essay. Discussion will serve for a full 50% of the final grade.