Fall 2018 Graduate Seminar: Geographical Materialisms
Fall 2018 Course Description:
GEOG 804 Seminar—Social
Instructor: Scott Kirsch
As a philosophy that prioritizes the material conditions of existence over spiritual and metaphysical prime causes, materialism, in varied forms, has animated geographical inquiry for centuries. This graduate seminar joins the conversation on “how matter matters” by focusing on geographical engagements with materialism from the 1970s on, including historical-geographical materialism and marxist humanism (and “production of space”), alongside “new materialist” approaches associated with interdisciplinary science & technology studies and political ecology. In context of current debates over agency, temporality, and crisis in the Anthropocene, the seminar raises questions about the value and implications of materialist approaches and encourages students to think through their own research problems in materialist terms.
We will read works by, among others, Terry Eagleton, Donna Haraway, Doreen Massey, Bruce Braun, Kathryn Yusoff, Bruno Latour, Don Mitchell, David Harvey, and Henri Lefebvre, exploring a range of issues around cities, infrastructure, and environments. Course requirements will include seminar participation, a research paper, and “object study” – modeled after CHE’s Anthroslam: Cabinet of Curiosities http://nelson.wisc.edu/che/anthroslam/objects/ (which also provides us with a textbook: Future Remains (Mitman et al., 2018) http://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/F/bo27213130.html.