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:: Syllabus for English 250: Theorizing the Emotions

Office: Wheeler 427
e-mail: altieri@uclink.berkeley.edu
Tues 1:30-3 and by appt.
..

Week 1: Introduction--some challenges for theory and a case for the anti-epistemic in criticism.

2: Towards a Theoretical Vocabulary: In reader from Copy Central on Bancroft down through selection from de Sousa, xerox p. 143. These readings present some different ways of talking about emotions that we will attempt to organize in class by focussing on what issues cause debate and how we might formulate the basic problems involved.

3. For the first half of this class two or three participants will write to the others by e-mail before Friday telling them what literary texts or works of art they have chosen as a way of using or problematizing the readings and discussions from the last class. These people will then lead discussion during this class. It might be useful if we choose most of our examples from the texts I have ordered, but I do not want to make those the exclusive sources, or even literature the exclusive medium. If the works are not easily available we will set up a drop box in the Graduate Reserve Reading Room. For the second half of the class we will discuss limitations developed from within Anglo-american philosophy of the now dominant cognitivist views of emotions. And we will take up the question of taxonomies of emotions in order to try alternative versions of emotional dynamics. Reader down through Descartes, xerox p. 193 (be sure to read the Moran essay especially carefully). (Walton in Emotions and the Arts responds to this essay.)

4. Again two or three presentations for the first half of class. Second half will concern itself with how to handle the imaginary dimension of emotions that is one factor making cognitive accounts problematic (others are the issue of the relation of emotions to values and emotions to boundaries of subject positions). Readings will be from Nicholas Luhman in reader (mislabelled), xerox pp. 264-76, and as much of Richard Wollheim as you can read (he is very readable). For reasons I can explain, the Wollheim text is available only as a single typescript text that you will have to make your own xerox of. It is on the reserve shelf that I hope will be in the new Graduate reading room in Doe.

5. Again two or three presentations. Second half of class will be devoted to phenomenological critiques of both cognitive and imaginary frameworks. I am treating Gilles Deleuze as a phenomenologist for this experiment, so please read at least chapter 5 of his Difference and Repetition. You can pick up the basic logic of the book from the opening and conclusion of the first chapter and beginning of the conclusion. In addition please read in reader from Smith to Cataldi, xer pp. 194-263.

6. Again two or three presentations. Discussion will focus on various readings about the relation of emotions to theories of value, especially in the domain of aesthetics. Please read the rest of the reader and in Emotions and the Arts essays by Levinson, Walton, Sparshott, Livingston and Mele, and de Sousa.

7. I see this week as largely time to catch up and see if we can agree on working paradigms or formulations of problems that will be provocative. We will have the opening presentations again, and readings will be essays of mine on Hegel on force, on Eliot, on Stevens, and on Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge which by then I hope to have on my web site.

8-15. The rest of the seminar will consist of two participant presentations per class. Those performing will select and text and make it available (if it is difficult to get) by Friday before class. They will then present a twenty minute conference paper. There will be one or two respondents who will spend just ten minutes indicating what aspects of the paper might create problems or require further thought, and then the group will have to sustain conversation. I assume that the final paper will learn something from these conversations. It will be crucial to the class that we all read whatever the person is writing about.

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