The Critique of Everyday Culture
Professor Ioan Davies
This course will be perambular, archival, global and parochial, kinetic, sensual, traumatic, emotional. We will try to think about the everyday as an invention by others within which we have to negotiate our sense of the quotidian: clocks, railways, computers, printing presses, all the timetables of history.
We will think about the stories to be retold, mis-told, forgotten. We will scratch around in the ruins for gems and dung. We will alternately read theorists, watch films, read novels, listen to music, establish the ambience of place, but also for entire class-times, go to places in Toronto and explore the meanings of the connections. The course will be argumentative and, I hope, creative. We will, I hope, explore not only the ruins but also the meanings of the ongoing significations. We will place ourselves as students, ‘specialists', voyeurs as the actors, imaginators of practices of which we are only vaguely a part.
Walter Benjamin - Illuminations, Selected Writing
Andre Malraux - The Voices of Silence
Michel de Certeau - The Practice of Everyday Life
Derek Sayer - The Coasts of Bohemia
Michel Leiris - Rules of the Game
Henri Lefebvre - Everyday Life in the Modern World
Mikhail Bakhtin - Rabelais
Naoki Sakai, Subjectivity and Translation
Thursdays: 5:30 - 8:30
Grading: One essay, or the equivalent (CDROM, Video, etc)
This is a suggested outline for this course, taught as a half-course in the Fall-Term, 1999. (The Numbers refer to the sequences of the classes).
1 & 2: Introduction: The Spaces of Place. The phenomenological language of being, moving, looking, connecting, eating, playing, consuming, etc in the city: Simmel, Benjamin, Lefebvre, de Certeau, Leiris.
3: The language of body & class, of race, of belief: Mikhail Bakhtin
4: Andre Malraux, Michel Foucault, Guy Debord, Clifford and the objectification of being.
5, 6, 7: The literary sense of space, time, narrative, presence: Joyce, Calvino, Walcott, Kafka, Berger, Rushdie, Ann Michaels
8: Traveling Bodies: the saga of Mami Wata
9, 10, 11: Three Cities. Dublin, Berlin, Prague
12: Exploring Toronto: (i) the Skydome and its neighborhood
13: Exploring Toronto: (ii) Museums
14: The physical contours of the everyday and John Berger's sense of the presence of history
Send comments to: Ioan Davies