The Craft of Writing 1
R1A-002 | CCN: 23502
Killing Time, Talking About Nothing
Date / Time: MWF 2pm - 3pm
As students at Berkeley in an era that presses particularly hard on personal productivity and self-entrepreneurship, you’re probably self-aware of the time you spend “wastefully,” perhaps even anxious as to how you craft time not spent directly on work or study. Am I losing out on something, failing to properly better myself, when I go on a Netflix binge, get boba tea with friends, or just indulge in other forms of self-pleasure? In this existentially quarantined R1A, we’ll kill some time together thinking and writing with the time we “kill” while we’re not working. This is not to say we’ll talk about how to make better use of that dead and dying time but rather, we’ll aim to think critically about notions like productivity and usefulness, as well as narratives that would pit productive time against its non-productive others — idleness, wasting time, killing time, etc. This is an anti-coaching class. Drawing on a range of literary works, films, philosophical and critical scholarly texts, etc. we’ll aim to flesh out a way of talking meaningfully, if not “usefully,” about quality time, idleness, failures and refusals to work, and non-productivity. Why might people choose not to work or properly use their time? In what ways do matters of race, gender, class, sexuality, and disability status affect the availability of a socially “useful” life? And beyond availability, is it desirable? What are we in fact doing when we’re doing nothing, talking aimlessly, and wasting time? In fact, who owns the time we kill—is it ours, is it a debt? What are the political stakes of use and uselessness, work and its refusals, and a (non-)productive life? What forms of sociality and communal life emerge in the time we don’t spend working, but also what forms of solitude?