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180129 SE History and Aging, Loss and Reclamation (2020S)

Améry, Beauvoir, Cioran, Alexievich

5.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 18 - Philosophie
Prüfungsimmanente Lehrveranstaltung

An/Abmeldung

Hinweis: Ihr Anmeldezeitpunkt innerhalb der Frist hat keine Auswirkungen auf die Platzvergabe (kein "first come, first served").

Details

max. 45 Teilnehmer*innen
Sprache: Englisch

Lehrende

Termine (iCal) - nächster Termin ist mit N markiert

Freitag 13.03. 15:00 - 16:30 Hörsaal 3B NIG 3.Stock
Freitag 20.03. 15:00 - 16:30 Hörsaal 3B NIG 3.Stock
Freitag 27.03. 15:00 - 16:30 Hörsaal 3B NIG 3.Stock
Freitag 03.04. 15:00 - 16:30 Hörsaal 3B NIG 3.Stock
Freitag 24.04. 15:00 - 16:30 Hörsaal 3B NIG 3.Stock
Freitag 08.05. 15:00 - 16:30 Hörsaal 3B NIG 3.Stock
Freitag 15.05. 15:00 - 16:30 Hörsaal 3B NIG 3.Stock
Freitag 22.05. 15:00 - 16:30 Hörsaal 3B NIG 3.Stock
Freitag 29.05. 15:00 - 16:30 Hörsaal 3B NIG 3.Stock
Freitag 05.06. 15:00 - 16:30 Hörsaal 3B NIG 3.Stock
Freitag 12.06. 15:00 - 16:30 Hörsaal 3B NIG 3.Stock
Freitag 19.06. 15:00 - 16:30 Hörsaal 3B NIG 3.Stock
Freitag 26.06. 15:00 - 16:30 Hörsaal 3B NIG 3.Stock

Information

Ziele, Inhalte und Methode der Lehrveranstaltung

Criticisms of the old are today a commonplace. In times of austerity and social conflict, the elderly are regularly seen as a drain on public resources, prone to traditional prejudices and an obstacle to much-needed political change. In this, popular opinion seems to converge with larger societal tendencies that regard the old as a constituency whose demographic and electoral majorities mean that they must be tolerated – but are ultimately undeserving of any further consideration.

In contemporary philosophy, the situation is little better, its indifference to aging and the elderly supported by canonical principles and prejudices. From the perspective of the philosophy of history, for instance, the elderly’s fixation on the past appears the very sign of what historical progress should overcome. And to a philosophy often indifferent to the sight of even the most flagrant bodily breakdown, the elderly’s experience of pain and suffering will naturally come to appear anathema. Because the knowledge of the old appears to invalidate that promise of progress history has never kept but upon which philosophy relies, the insights of the old are excluded wherever they do not support such illusions.

The present seminar seeks to address contemporary philosophy’s longstanding silence on and hostility to this subject by exploring the work of 20th and 21st century writers for whom the process of aging is seen as essential to not only demonstrating the failure of prevailing forms of historical and philosophical inquiry, but also to developing forms of knowledge that know from within the falsity of those rigid oppositions — between progress and regression, optimism and pessimism, concepts and the concrete, resentment and reclamation, use and obsolescence, memory and forgetting— so characteristic of their time and our own. At a moment when faith in progress is daily undermined by news of the many degradations suffered by human and natural life, the prejudices characteristic of these now-dubious ideas of philosophy and history must be similarly contested.

By challenging inherited ideas about the above-mentioned oppositions, this seminar seeks to better understand the stakes involved in this perennial prejudice towards aging and the elderly. As a result, an oftentimes unremembered history of aging and loss will be here reconstructed through a number of writers typically excluded from the philosophical canon. What would it mean to today reclaim, we ask, those older social and political demands in the face of the present’s tendency towards historical forgetting? And how might insight into aging affect contemporary forms of social and intellectual production otherwise in thrall to ideas of progress and optimism no longer warranted by reality?

To pursue these questions, the seminar begins by returning to Friedrich Nietzsche’s critique of ressentiment and discussion of the relationship between history and life because it is there that this conflict’s social and philosophical stakes are first set. We will then turn to the Austrian-born writer Jean Améry’s essays, “Torture” and “Resentments,” before moving on to his 1968 book "On Aging: Revolt and Resignation." After Améry, we will explore the Romanian-born writer E.M. Cioran’s critique of both philosophy and progress, as well as his lifelong investigations into the body, insomnia and pain, before turning to Simone de Beauvoir’s late memoirs and her pathbreaking book-length study, 1970's "The Coming of Age." The seminar will next move to the Belarussian writer Svetlana Alexievich’s "Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets" (2013), an oral history of those once called "homo sovieticus," whose world, once lost, immediately came to seem obsolete, historical anachronisms. The seminar will close with a discussion of history and memory, aging and progress, writing and truth that will be informed by both previous readings, as well as the work of the historian Reinhart Kosellec

Art der Leistungskontrolle und erlaubte Hilfsmittel

Mindestanforderungen und Beurteilungsmaßstab

Regular attendance and participation are required. In order to receive a grade for the course, students will need to deliver a 5-10 minute-long presentation and submit a 10-15 page-long seminar paper.

Since this seminar will straddle the line traditionally separating multiple disciplines (philosophy, literature, history, etc.), students with an interest in the multidisciplinary study of contemporary topics are particularly encouraged to participate. Class meetings and student work are meant to aid students in the development of their own singular relationship to the topics and concerns under discussion.

Prüfungsstoff

Literatur

Please note that seminar meetings will typically require the reading of no more than 30-40 pages each week.

Required Reading (excerpts of which are to be made available through Moodle):

Svetlana Alexievich, Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets, trans. Bela Shayevich (New York: Random House, 2016). Belarussian original: Час сэканд-хэнд (Канец чырвонага чалавека), 2013.

Jean Améry, “Torture,” in At the Mind’s Limits: Contemplations by a Survivor on Auschwitz and Its Realities, trans. Sidney Rosenfeld and Stella P. Rosenfeld (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1980), 21-40. German original: “Die Tortur,” in Jenseits von Schuld und Sühne. Bewältigungsversuche eines Überwältigten, 1966.

Jean Améry, “Resentments,” in At the Mind’s Limits: Contemplations by a Survivor on Auschwitz and Its Realities, trans. Sidney Rosenfeld and Stella P. Rosenfeld (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1980), 62-81. German original: “Ressentiments,” in Jenseits von Schuld und Sühne. Bewältigungsversuche eines Überwältigten, 1966.

Jean Améry, On Aging: Revolt and Resignation, trans. John D. Barlow (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994). German original: Über das Altern. Revolte und Resignation, 1968.

Simone de Beauvoir, The Force of Circumstance. French original: La Force des choses, 1963.

Simone de Beauvoir, A Very Easy Death. French original: Une mort très douce, 1964.

Simone de Beauvoir, All Said and Done. French original: Tout compte fait, 1972.

Simone de Beauvoir, Adieux: A Farewell to Sartre. French original: La Cérémonie des adieux, 1981.

Simone de Beauvoir, The Coming of Age, trans. Patrick O’Brian (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1972). French original: La Vieillesse, 1970.

E.M. Cioran, A Short History of Decay, trans. Richard Howard (New York: Arcade Publishing, 2012). French original: Précis de décomposition, 1949.

E.M. Cioran, History and Utopia, trans. Richard Howard (New York: Seaver Books, 1987). French original: Histoire et Utopie, 1960.

E.M. Cioran, The Fall Into Time, trans. Richard Howard (Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1970). French original: La Chute dans le temps, 1964.

Reinhart Koselleck, “Sediments of Time,” in Sediments of Time: On Possible Histories, trans. and eds. Sean Franzel and Stefan-Ludwig Hoffmann (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2018), 3-9. German original: “Zeitschicten,” in Zeit und Wahrheit: Europäisches Forum Alpbach 1994, 1995.

Reinhart Koselleck, “Fiction and Historical Reality,” in Sediments of Time: On Possible Histories, trans. and eds. Sean Franzel and Stefan-Ludwig Hoffmann (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2018), 10-23. German original: “Fiktion und geschichtliche Wirklichkeit,” 1976.

Reinhart Koselleck, “On the Meaning and Absurdity of History,” in Sediments of Time: On Possible Histories, trans. and eds. Sean Franzel and Stefan-Ludwig Hoffmann (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2018), 177-196. German original: “Vom Sinn und Unsinn der Geschichte,” 1997.

Friedrich Nietzsche, “On the Utility and Liability of History for Life,” in The Complete Works of Friedrich Nietzsche: Volume Two: Unfashionable Observations, ed. Bernd Magnus; trans. Richard T. Gray (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1995). German original: “Vom Nutzen und Nachteil der Historie für das Leben,” in Unzeitgemässe Betrachtungen, 1874.

Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morality: A Polemic, in The Complete Works of Friedrich Nietzsche: Volume Eight: Beyond Good and Evil / On the Genealogy of Morality, eds. Alan D. Schrift and Duncan Large; trans. Adrian Del Caro (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2014). German original: Zur Genealogie der Moral: Eine Streitschrift, 1887.

Zuordnung im Vorlesungsverzeichnis

Letzte Änderung: Mo 07.09.2020 15:21