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CAS 597 - Special Topic

Professor: Bradford Vivian
210 Sparks Building
Ph: (814) 865-0945
Email: bjv113@psu.edu 

Sovereignties: Agamben, Butler, and Rancière

This seminar will investigate the work of Giorgio Agamben, Judith Butler, and Jacques Rancière for two primary reasons: first, they represent three of the foremost contemporary figures working at the intersection of political philosophy, rhetorical theory (broadly defined), and ethical thought; second, scholars in Communication as well as English have engaged Agamben, Butler, or Rancière’s ideas in their own research, thereby revealing substantive affinities with current preoccupations in rhetorical inquiry.

Course Objectives

  • Enhance students’ training in rhetorical theory from interdisciplinary and disciplinary perspectives alike by engaging with the influential work of these thematically linked figures.
  • Enable students to gain a functional proficiency with the crucial topics that Agamben, Butler, and Rancière investigate in highly compatible and generative ways—such as the evolving state of contemporary political formations; the relationship between law and violence; and the status of the individual subject.
  • Allow students to refine, via these engagements, their own analytic orientations to such rhetorical phenomena as consensus, language, narrative, speech, representation, textuality, and more.