170 | CCN: 77946

Rhetoric of Social Science

“On the shattered grounds of the social”

Instructor: Mario Wimmer,

TuTh 5-630P, 105 DWINELLE

4 Units

The course this semester will introduce to post-foundational social and political theory, and—based on close readings of some of the main texts in the field—revisit classical text in the history of the social sciences since the nineteenth century. Together we will work on new readings of major texts in history, sociology, economics, and political science.
At the end of the first unit of the course there will be an early mid-term exam about the main concepts and models we discussed for the first couple of weeks to make sure we share an analytical language for our work with historical sources. The course will be organized in 8 units:

Unit 1: How can we study the rhetoric of the social sciences?

Unit 2: On the shattered grounds of the “social”—part 1

Mid-term exam

Unit 3: Sociology

Unit 4: Empirical social research

Unit 5: Political Scienc

Unit 6: Anthropology

Unit 7: Economics

Unit 8: On the shattered grounds of the “social”—part 2

Final essay

I will take the time to work with you on a final research paper and take you, step by step, through the process of finding a topic and researching relevant literature to developing an argument and crafting an essay.

Readings will include: Laclau. A Critical Reader, ed. by Oliver Marchart and Simon Critchley, London/New York: Routledge 2004; Oliver Marchart: Post-Foundational Political Thought: Political Difference in Nancy, Lefort, Badiou and Laclau, Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 2007; Louis Althusser et al: Reading Capital. The Complete Edition, London: Verso, 2016; Jacques Rancière: Staging the People: The Proletarian and His Double, London: Verso, 2011; The Certeau Reader, ed. by Graham Ward, Blackwell Publishers, 1999. Justin Stagl: A History of Curiosity: The Theory of Travel 1550-1800, Taylor & Francis, 1995.
A broad range of historical sources from the Manifesto of the Communist Party to Kracauer’s Salaried Masses: Duty and Distraction in Weimar Germany.