The seminar this Fall will focus on postmodernism and economics. Postmodernism has been an important presence in the humanities and social sciences over the course of the last 25 years. Associated with such diverse figures as Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, Jean-François Lyotard, Judith Butler, Christopher Jencks, and Barbara Kruger, postmodernism (together with deconstruction and poststructuralism) has transformed the work that is being done in a wide range of disciplines, from art and architecture to literary theory and philosophy. Now, economists have begun to explore the implications of postmodern theory in their discipline.
In this course, we will explore the relationship between postmodernism and economics. We will begin by examining some of the basic themes and concepts of postmodern theory and the debates surrounding the history and current meanings of postmodernism. Then, we will examine some of some of the significant "postmodern moments" in the diverse theories that together make up contemporary economics.
Two texts will be used in the course: The Routledge Critical Dictionary of Postmodern Thought, edited by Stuart Sim, and Patchwork Girl, a hypertext novel on CD, by Shelly Jackson, both available at the bookstore. Additional readings are available in a "course packet" from the Arts and Letters Copy Shop Center.
The course will be conducted as a seminar. Therefore, it is important for all students to complete the assigned readings before each session and to participate in the discussions. There will be no examinations in this course. Instead, students will prepare weekly papers, each approximately 1.5 to 2 pages, due at the beginning of each week. One of the purposes of the papers is to "grapple" with the readings-to formulate the main themes, to raise the interesting issues, to pose the key questions-in preparation for the classroom discussions. I will be looking for serious, thoughtful, and well-written engagements with the readings. The other purpose is to develop ideas for two 8-10-page papers. For each of these papers, students should choose a specific topic, concept, or theme from the readings and then explore it in more depth than is possible in the required readings and class discussions. Students should feel free to contact me-in person, by office telephone, or by email-to discuss paper topics, ways of investigating the topics, and possible references.
Paper 2 (5 PM, 14 December)
Back to the top