#metoo and #BlackLivesMatter in the Light of Academic Debates over Cultural Recognition 4219-SH170
Leftist academics who in the last decades advocated cultural recognition as an important area of political activity have been criticized for too much reliance on theory, and too little effort to turn their ideas into legal or institutional projects. Consequently, they have never properly acknowledged their own ineffectiveness, i.e. the fact that while the academia was turning left, societies shifted to the right. The 2017 victory of Donald Trump in the presidential elections seems to support this line of criticism. Does this mean, however, that cultural recognition claims are unrealistic?
The course aims to examine the discourses of the #metoo and #BlackLivesMatter movements in this context, confronting ideas developed within the academia with those born in the protests, as well as with the statistical data on sex/gender- and race-based violence. The course allows moreover for an introduction of theoretical and empirical approaches resonating within the contemporary humanities and the social sciences. It is also envisioned to have a practical component in which students will be required to analyze social data on their own, interpret them in the light of the approaches discussed in class, and formulate their own arguments in the debate over the two movements.
The course is divided into three parts. Firstly, the students will be introduced to the concept of recognition. Secondly, they will be engaged in a workshop with the aim to put selected materials of the #metoo and #BlackLivesMatter discourses under scrutiny. Finally, they will be asked to take sides in the debate over both movements and formulate informed arguments based on the study materials.
Type of course
a) knows the concept of cultural recognition, is able to locate it in the current American debate over identity, inequality and discrimination; understands the meaning and importance of this concept to its proponents;
b) knows that #metoo and #BlackLivesMatter were preceded by many other emancipation movements in the US history, with similar goals;
c) knows terminology connected to gender, sexuality and race, as used in the contemporary cultural studies; realizes that the categories are defined in various ways in the public debate, and that those definitions often correspond to political goals and views;
d) knows what sexism, racism, homophobia, ableism, ageism, classism and other forms of stigmatization and discrimination are, and understands their social consequences;
e) is familiar with the ways in which identity categories connected to gender, sexuality and race have been represented in American popular culture in the twentieth and twenty first century.
Upon completing this course a student:
a) is able to identify and deconstruct ableist, sizeist, sexist, racisist content and deployment of such discourses;
b) can employ selected theoretical perspectives and data sources when analyzing American society and culture;
c) can thoughtfully use academic terminology connected to gender, sexuality and race;
d) can plan critical academic texts and presentations related to the topic of the course.
Upon completing this course a student:
a) can select and evaluate key ideas and arguments from texts;
b) actively participates in class discussions on complicated topics;
c) has basic skills connected to the selection and interpretation of social data; can use them to draw conclusions, formulate informed questions and arguments;
d) is able to follow and reconstruct political debates, interpret them in the light of theories studied, formulate views and defend standpoints.
Students need 60% to pass.
Response papers (3 per semester): 30 points
Independent research project: 30 points
Final test: 20 points
Participation: 20 points
Selection of readings subject to change.
Charles Taylor, “The Politics of Recognition”, in: Amy Gutman (ed.) (1994), Multiculturalism and "The Politics of Recognition," Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Judith Butler (1997) “Merely Cultural”, Social Text, 52/53: 265-277.
Nancy Frazer (1997) “Heterosexism, Misrecognition, and Capitalism: A Response to Judith Butler”, Social Text, 52/53: 279-289.
Richard Rorty (2000) “Is Cultural Recognition a Useful Concept for Leftist Politics? A Response to Judith Butler and Nancy Frazer”, Critical Horizons, 1/1:7-20.
Martha C. Nussbaum (1999) “The Professor of Parody: The Hip Defeatism of Judith Butler”, The New Republic, 22: 37-45.
Richard Rorty (1998) Achieving our Country: Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century America, Harvard UP.
Michael Burawoy (2005) “For Public Sociology”, America Sociological Review, 70: 4-28.
Carol Gilligan (2016) In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women’s Development, Harvard UP.
Rebeca Solnit (2015) Men Explain Things to Me, Haymarket Books.
Earl Babbie (2013) The Practice of Social Research, Wadsworth.
Aliya Saperstein Andrew M. Penner, “The Race of a Criminal Record: How Incarceration Colors Racial Perceptions,” Social Problems, Volume 57, Issue 1: 92–113.
Michelle Alexander (2010) The New Jim Crow, The New Press
Additional information (registration calendar, class conductors, localization and schedules of classes), might be available in the USOSweb system: