Below, please find syllabi for our October 15th discussion and lecture. Typically these resources are posted 2 weeks in advance.
Theory, Criticism, and Society: 10/2018 – 3/2019
During this semester, we’ll explore ideas from theory and criticism focusing on art, literature, music, and culture, with the further intention of applying such ideas to the creation and organization of society. Our goal is to deepen our understanding of theory and criticism, and to broaden our perspective of the world we live in—and the possibilities open to us.
During this lecture we will explore the history of the Frankfurt School and discuss its contemporary relevance. The Frankfurt School has been demonized by the new right and cultural conservatives generally as an instrument for the dissemination of ‘cultural Marxism’ in Western society. In order to examine some of the more amusing (and sinister) conspiracy theories which have developed around this theme we will consider Martin Jay’s article ( linked below ):- ” Dialectic of Counter-Enlightenment: The Frankfurt School as Scapegoat of the Lunatic Fringe.” We will consider the Marxist distinction between ‘base’ and ‘superstructure’ in order to set the stage for a discussion of the Frankfurt School’s major themes and concerns. Finally we will look at the work of individual theorists:- Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, Herbert Marcuse and Walter Benjamin.