"Herodotus, Storytelling, and the Politics of History" investigates the interrelationships between storytelling, history, and politics by examining the so-called “father of history,” Herodotus, and his magnum opus known as the Histories. We take a three-pronged approach in the course: first, trying to make sense of the Histories as a text with special attention to its language, narrative construction, and form of argument; second, placing this text in its context, namely, as a successor to Homer, a contemporary of early Greek science, and a forerunner of Greek tragedy and Thucydides; and, third, examining the influence and importance of Herodotus for how the discipline of history has developed and been justified in the recent Western academic tradition. The course will culminate in an archival project that takes up one potential meaning of history and deploys this meaning through independent research and the crafting of a historical narrative for the Deep Springs community (as well as the broader public).
"Domination, Oppression, and the Arts of Resistance" addresses questions of power and politics in the context of domination, oppression, and the arts of resistance. Taking our bearings from Iris Marion Young's classic "Five Faces of Oppression," we organize our inquiry around her conceptual framework: violence, powerlessness, marginalization, cultural imperialism, and exploitation. Within these frames we seek to identify structures of power while also illuminating practices of resistance, paying special attention to power as a dynamic and historical phenomenon. The course also interweaves creative writing by Toni Morrison, J.M. Coetzee, George Saunders, Adrienne Rich, and Audre Lorde to create a dialectic with the classic theoretical accounts of power in Machiavelli, Marx, Arendt, Foucault, and others. These writers also help to highlight how gender, race, sexuality, and age figure the experiences of domination, oppression, and resistance.
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