Undergraduate Seminar: Theory and Practice of Reading and Interpretation
118 | CCN: 31657
Instructor: Rebecca Gaydos
This seminar focuses on a particular set of questions that preoccupied 20th-century philosophers, social scientists, and literary theorists: How do interpretation and meaning intersect with–or arise from–the physical processes of living bodies? How does human desire manifest itself in and through a process of symbolization? Are language and meaning-making restricted to human minds or can we reasonably speak of linguistic processes that are not governed by a consciousness (such as genetic “information” or a computer manipulating symbols)?
Our readings will include texts of Freud, Ricoeur, Lacan, Levi-Strauss, Leroi-Gourhan, Austin, Derrida, and Searle, as well as contemporary texts that examine the role of linguistic metaphors in the biotech industry.
A seminar is a course whose primary goal is discussion. Seminars are cooperative ventures and their success depends upon the full and active participation of each member of the class. Therefore, conscientious preparation and regular attendance are required. You will be expected to be fully and actively engaged in the work of the seminar, whether in connection with class discussions or class presentations. There will be several writing assignments designed to refine your skills as writers, to provide opportunities for research, and to serve as the basis of class discussion.