Accueil > Conférence de lecture de Elena SIDIROVA (1)

BHUM 15A01 - Conférence de lecture

Type d'enseignement : Seminar

Semester : Autumn 2017-2018

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English

Voir les plans de cours et bibliographies



Course Description

The lecture course discusses the issue of violence in the context of anglophone classic literature, visual arts (fine arts, photography, conceptual art and performance art) and contemporary political philosophy. The lecture course consists of three study blocs : - Bloc 1 (Sessions 1-4) aims to familiarize students with the main principles of working with a literary text. It will explain different techniques of commenting a text, placing it in a historical context, highlighting main ideas and formulating analytical questions. - Bloc 2 (Sessions 5-8) seeks to teach students to analyze images, installations and performances. It will demonstrate various approaches of looking at the visual material, examining its contents and connecting it with broader socio-political context. - Block 3 (Sessions 9-12) allows students to dwell upon various salient political issues through the prism of contemporary philosophical texts. It will deal with the peculiarities of reading an academic text, defining research concepts, analyzing scienctific terms, debating and arguing upon a specific point in a philosophical discussion. Although the phenomenon of violence will be at the center of all the three study blocs, the lecture course will be accompanied by or linked with a number of other issues in the context of each selected piece of reading/visual material. All three blocs aim to teach students to analyze texts and images by means of close reading, issue writing and a method of comparison. They will develop such skills, as the ability to reason and argue, formulate and present ideas, compare and contrast different points of view, participate in oral discussions and advance in structured thinking. The lecture course comprises of twelve in-class study sessions and is offered in English on a bi-weekly basis.


SIDOROVA, Elena (Doctorante)

Course validation

The grading policy of this course is based on the logic of cumulative grading. To get a grade, a student will have to submit all homework assignments (50% of the grade) and sit a final exam (50% of the grade). The presence in class is obligatory. Punctual arrival is recommended. Homework assignments will have to be prepared for each class in advance and will include the following components : - Close reading. Each student is obliged to read a text or get acquainted with an image before the class. During the class, each student is supposed to participate in oral discussions, which will serve as a basic criterion for assessment of a student's knowledge of reading/visual materials. The participation in oral discussions during the class is strongly encouraged. - Issue writing. After each class, students will be given with a task to write an issue essay, which is to be submitted before the next class. Issue essays will be centered around a certain issue discussed in class in connection with the reading/visual material prepared for the class and will have a word limit. - Comparative writing. After the end of each of three blocs, students will be given with a task to write an essay, in which they will have to compare and contrast all the reading/visual materials of the previous study bloc. Comparative essays will be based both on texts/images and issues discussed in class and will have a word limit. All homework assignments are to be submitted on time before the deadline. Written assignments will be checked against plagiarism. If a student gets a zero grade for at least one homework assignment or is caught up in plagiarism, she/he will not be allowed to sit a final exam. The grade for homework assignments will represent 50% of the final grade. Final exam will be in form of a comparative essay. Each student will have to compare and contrast the reading/visual materials from all the three study blocs (one literary text, one image and one philosophical text) and explain several issues discussed in class. Final exam will not have a word limit, but will have a time limit. No electronic devices will be allowed during the exam. Any use of an electronic device and/or Internet will end up in the disqualification of a student from the exam and the course. The grade for the final exam will account for the 50% of the final grade. If a student gets a zero grade for the final exam, she/he gets a zero final grade.

Plans de cours et bibliographies

Session 1 : The perils of ignoring cultural diversity

  • Reading before class : ORWELL, George. Politics and the English Language (1946).
  • Issues discussed : ‘culture, multiculturalism, values, globalization.
  • Oral discussion of the text
  • Presentation of the lecture course

Session 2 : The cost of progress

  • Reading before class : CONRAD, Joseph. An Outpost of Progress (1897).
  • Issues discussed : economic development, colonialism, migration, environmentalism.
  • Oral discussion of the text
  • Written homework assignment № 1 (issue essay) is due

Session 3 : Securing human dignity

  • Reading : WELLS, H.G. Under the Knife (1896).
  • Issues discussed : security ; critical security, human security, human dignity.
  • Oral discussion of the text
  • Written homework assignment № 2 (issue essay) is due

Session 4 : The question of war and peace in International Relations

  • Reading : SAKI. The Toys of Peace (1914).
  • Issues discussed : war and peace ; international conflict/cooperation ; international negotiations.
  • Oral discussion of the text
  • Revision of the first block of the lecture course
  • Written homework assignment № 3 (comparative essay) is due

Session 5 : The cost of life ?

  • Painting : WARHOL, Andy. Big Electric Chair. Collection of Centre Pompidou.
  • Issues discussed : natural law, common law, morale, ethics.
  • Oral discussion of the painting
  • Written homework assignment № 4 (issue essay) is due

Session 6 : Living through the pitfalls of economy

  • Photograph : EVANS, Walker. Alabama Tenant Farmer. Walker Evans Archive, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
  • Issues discussed : economic system, economic crisis, class society, poverty.
  • Oral discussion of the photograph
  • Written homework assignment № 5 (issue essay) is due

Session 7 : The consequences of human empathy

  • Installation : EMIN, Tracey. My Bed. Collection of Tate Modern.
  • Issues discussed : sympathy/empathy, socialization, augmented reality, emotions.
  • Oral discussion of the installation
  • Written homework assignment № 6 (issue essay) is due

Session 8 : Vulnerability of a human being 

Session 9 : After violence

  • Reading : BUTLER, Judith. Indefinite Detention. Chapter no. 3 from Precarious Life. Verso : 2004, pp. 50-100.
  • Issues discussed : terrorism, collective memory, trauma, sovereignty, governance.
  • Oral discussion of the text
  • Written homework assignment № 8 (issue essay) is due

Session 10 :  Tolerance – myth or reality ?

  • Reading : ZIZEK, Slavoj. Tolerance as an Ideological Category. Chapter no. 5 from Violence : Six Sideways Reflections. Profile Books: 2008, pp. 119-150.
  • Issues discussed : tolerance, ideology, political regime/system, nation-branding.
  • Oral discussion of the text
  • Written homework assignment № 9 (issue essay) is due

Session 11 :  Justice for all

  • Reading : COVER, Robert. Violence and the World. Yale Law School Legal Scholarship Series: 1986, pp. 1601-1629.
  • Issues discussed : human rights, justice, public/private law, human rights litigation.
  • Oral discussion of the text
  • Written homework assignment № 10 (issue essay) is due

Session 12 :  The logic of non-violence

  • Reading : GAHDHI, Mahatma. Part II From Selected Writings of Mahatma Gandhi.  The Beacon Press: 1951, pp. 45-70.
  • Issues discussed : Western and non-Western political philosophy, non-violence.
  • Oral discussion of the text
  • Revision of the third block of the lecture course
  • Concluding remarks
  • Written homework assignment № 11 (comparative essay) is due

Final Exam