Great Theorists in the Rhetoric of Political and Legal Theory – Great Theorists in Legal and Political Rhetoric
159A 001 | CCN: 31242
Great Theorists in Legal and Political Rhetoric
Instructor: Marianne Constable
Location: Dwinelle 215
Date / Time: Fr 2:00pm - 4:59pm
This course explores the development of one or two theorists on an important theme or issue, with close readings of major texts as well as attention to important commentators.
Many now associate the “Kafkaesque” with nightmarish bureaucracy. Indeed, Franz Kafka (1883-1924) wrote many of his novels and short stories while working as trainee, clerk, and lawyer in the Austro-Hungarian Empire’s early Workmen’s Accident Insurance Institute in Prague. What do Kafka’s writings tell us about modern bureaucracy, law, and governance? Why read literature for such insights?
In this advanced undergraduate seminar, we will consider Kafka’s The Castle in conjunction with a range of other material to think about how he now speaks to us. We will supplement the novel with some short stories and some of Kafka’s autobiographical material, office writings, and drawings. We will read and discuss some Kafka criticism, as well as works by Max Weber, Cornelia Vismann, and others, on files and bureaucracy. While engaging dialogically with Kafka and with one another, students will become familiar with a “great theorist” and prophet of bureaucratic regulation and will develop more advanced reading, research, writing and participation skills.
NOTE: attendance the first 2 weeks is required. Enrolled students who do not attend will be dropped in favor of those who do.