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240515 SE Affect Theory: Approaching Power and Precarity in the Post-Industrial World (P4) (2016S)

Continuous assessment of course work

Participation at first session is obligatory!


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


max. 40 participants
Language: English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

ACHTUNG: geänderte Termine!

Thursday 03.03. 09:45 - 11:15 Übungsraum (A414) NIG 4. Stock
Thursday 17.03. 09:45 - 13:00 Übungsraum (A414) NIG 4. Stock
Thursday 07.04. 09:45 - 13:00 Übungsraum (A414) NIG 4. Stock
Thursday 21.04. 09:45 - 13:00 Übungsraum (A414) NIG 4. Stock
Wednesday 11.05. 09:45 - 13:00 Übungsraum (A414) NIG 4. Stock
Thursday 19.05. 09:45 - 13:00 Übungsraum (A414) NIG 4. Stock
Thursday 09.06. 09:45 - 13:00 Übungsraum (A414) NIG 4. Stock
Thursday 23.06. 09:45 - 13:00 Übungsraum (A414) NIG 4. Stock


Aims, contents and method of the course

The sense of a post-industrial crisis is all-pervasive in many parts of the world, particularly in what was once called the '1st World' of North America and Europe. 'No hope' and 'no future' characterise this historical moment, but it still seems to be hard to talk about these fundamental changes. One field in which scholars have tried to tackle these changes most thoroughly is the literature on affect. Based on an introduction into theories on affect, this course will explore recent contributions by thinkers such as Kathleen Stewart, Elizabeth Povinelli, and Anne Allison in order to search for the impact current precarious work relations, a post-industrial loss of the future, and widespread existential insecurities have on human life worldwide. Their shared approach will help us to, firstly, re-embed affect in a broader political economy of precarity and abandonment. It will also, secondly, assist us in exploring how 'the political' and 'power' have been reconfigured in times of constant crisis, when planning seems impossible and expert knowledge loses authority. Indeed, what role do human bodies, needs and affects play when negotiating change and political belonging, how has the human subject been reconstituted in the 21st century, and how is the discipline of anthropology to respond to this?
Students will gain in-depth insights into recent anthropological debates on precarity as well as on affect and its politics, including literatures on the body, citizenship and ethics. By working through a variety of ethnographic studies and more theoretically inclined papers, they will further develop their analytical abilities and theoretical understandings of core and topical anthropological problems. Overall, the course asks them to create their own critical perspectives on the failures and possibilities of politics in the post-Cold War, post-industrial era.
Seminars with group presentations and discussions. All seminar literature will be provided via moodle. Students will be assisted in their analysis, interpretation and discussion of the requested reading.

With this course, students will familiarise with one particular school of thought, which will strengthen their broader theoretical, analytical and methodological skills and insights. It is hoped that students can use their acquired knowledge for their future academic work.

Assessment and permitted materials

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

Reading and course attendance (max. absence: one session); seminar presentation (20%), participation and pre-seminar comments (10%); final paper (3000-5000 word essay, 70%)

Examination topics

Reading list

To be announced at introductory session.

Association in the course directory

Last modified: Mo 07.09.2020 15:40