5 January 2021

Body, Language, Power: The Question of the Human in 20th Century French Philosophy

Following the groundbreaking phenomenological insights of Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger, philosophers in France in the 20th century developed a uniquely existential phenomenology that emphasizes our concrete experience as subjects situated in a world of meaning. This course studies key representatives of this tradition, focusing on the ways that our experience as human beings is defined by our relations to other people, our embodiment, and our concerns about freedom and authenticity. We will explore the challenge that philosophers such as Jean-Paul Sartre, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and Frantz Fanon pose to the familiar image of the human as primarily rational, individual, and autonomous, and we will work towards developing instead a “relational” understanding of the human being as characterized by desire and as cultivated in socio-political contexts. We will also trace the development of existential phenomenology toward the critique of “the subject” in works by Julia Kristeva and Michel Foucault, exploring the ways that human beings are produced in systems of language and power, while at the same time capable of reinventing or “revolting” against these systems. 

Dr. Andrew Tebbutt
ICS 220608 W21
Remote (Online Synchronous)
Wednesdays, 2 - 5pm

(MA, PhD)


*Attention UT/TST students: if you are interested in taking this course for credit, you must petition your college of registration to count the course credit toward your degree program.