Related CalArts Courses

Here are three courses related to the course cluster topic that are taught by Arne De Boever, either in the Fall or in the Spring semester.

CS448-MA What Is Biopolitics?

2 units/ Semester I

Starting from a number of recent American cases that have all been associated with the power Michel Foucault calls biopolitics--the Guantánamo Bay detention camp, the Terry Schiavo case, the Abu Ghraib prison tortures--, this course sets out to investigate the “enigma of biopolitics” (Roberto Esposito). What is biopolitics so that it can be associated with these at first sight very different cases? Focusing on Foucault’s three most important lecture courses on the topic--“Society Must Be Defended”; Security, Territory, Population; and The Birth of Biopolitics--this course will explore the understandings of life’s relation to law and politics that the concept of biopolitics both enables and forecloses. In addition to Foucault’s lectures, the course will also take into account post-Foucauldian conceptualizations of biopolitics in the works of Roberto Esposito, Giorgio Agamben, Michael Hardt and Toni Negri, and Jacques Derrida. Course discussions will pay particular attention to how these theorists have conceived of art’s relation to biopolitics as an essential component of contemporary American power.

CS449-MA Giorgio Agamben and the Politics of Art

2 units/ Semester II 

In 2004, the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben cancelled a class he was supposed to teach in New York because of a new regulation that required all foreign nationals traveling to the United States with a visa to be photographed and fingerprinted when they cross the American border. Agamben’s decision reflects his analyses of contemporary American power, which he perceives to be increasingly invested in the biological lives of individuals and populations. Although Agamben’s political work has received plenty of attention in recent years, critics often forget that his critique of contemporary American power is rooted in his earlier work on art: his first book, The Man Without Content, was entirely devoted to aesthetics, and his interest in linguistics, literature, and art often reappears in his later, political work when he struggles to formulate a politics in response to the power he is criticizing (The Coming Community, Homo Sacer, The Time that Remains). Starting from Agamben’s analyses of the political situation in the US today, this course will explore the politics of art in Agamben’s entire oeuvre in order to inquire into the political relevance or irrelevance of art today. Course readings will include texts by such major figures as Sigmund Freud, Walter Benjamin, Jean-Luc Nancy, and Jacques Derrida, as well as critical responses to Agamben’s work by American critics such has Leland de la Durantaye, Julia Reinhard Lupton, and Donna Haraway.

CSSS451-MA: Who Comes After the Human?

2 units/ Semester II 

At the end of his book The Order of Things, Michel Foucault writes that human beings are “an invention of recent date” who might at some point be erased “like a face drawn in sand at the edge of the sea.” This course starts from one obvious question that this statement raises: if human beings might at some point be erased, then who or what will come after the human? Our answer will perhaps be surprising: we will explore the possibility that the future that Foucault was anticipating has in the meantime arrived, and that we have become posthuman. The first part of the course looks at the origins of current reflections on the posthuman in the writings of G.W.F Hegel, Michel Foucault, Emmanuel Levinas, Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze, Jean-François Lyotard, and Jean Baudrillard. The second part of the course focuses on posthumanism’s relation to Marxism, cyborg studies, and feminism. Here, we will be studying the writings of US critics such as N. Katherine Hayles, Donna Haraway, and Cary Wolfe, as well as texts by Vandana Shiva, Andy Clark, and Robert Pepperell. Class discussions will also take into account films (Invasion of the Body Snatchers; Grizzly Man; Robocop), literary texts (by Franz Kafka; J.M. Coetzee; Philip K. Dick), and artworks (by Critical Art Ensemble, amongst others).