Unique Course ID: 35775
TH 3:30-6:30 p.m.
Office: Garrison Hall, Room 405
Office hours: Tuesdays 1-4 p.m.
office phone: (512) 475-7258
This course examines issues at the intersection of language, science, and culture. We will read some of the most important theoretical statements of the twentieth century, including works by Saussure, Wittgenstein, Austin, Levi-Strauss, Derrida, Foucault, Bourdieu, Kuhn, Deleuze, Baudrillard, and Spivak. We will take a critical approach to critical studies, focusing on two broad themes. First, we will examine the interdependency of conceptualizations of language, science, and culture. For example, we will trace how the "science" of language -- Saussure's structuralist linguistics -- became the model for the "science" of culture; conversely, we will examine how theories about language (such as incommensurability) and culture were adopted to explain the development of science. Second, we will chart a general shift from unity to disunity. That is, in the first half of the twentieth century, languages were often conceptualized as systemic unities (and thus used to explain differences between cultures); cultures were conceptualized as distinct, coherent entities defined by essential distinguishing features; science was a unified body of knowledge based on a shared methodology developing teleologically toward common universal truths. Yet, by the end of the century, critical works were suggesting a fundamental disunity of language, science, and culture. We will explore these assertions of disunity, their formulations, and implications.
Class attendance is mandatory. Students may choose one of the following two options:
(1) Before class write a brief summary of the readings. Notes on each of the readings should usually be two short paragraphs -- one summarizing the central argument and one offering critical analysis -- for a total of 2 to 5 pages per week. Students should complete notes for three of four readings per week and for twelve of the fifteen weeks. These will be graded and will serve as the basis for class discussions. Grading: reading assignments 80%; class participation 20%.
(2) Complete a final paper of 16 pp. for undergraduates and 20 pp. for graduate students. Students should consult me as early as possible on possible topics. An outline and bibliography are due by March 28; a first draft must be turned in by April 18; and the final draft is due May 2. Grading: final paper 80%; class participation 20%.
The following texts are available at the Co-op Bookstore:
Saussure, Course in General Linguistics.
Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations.
Austin, How to Do Things with Words.
Baudrillard, Symbolic Exchange and Death.
Bourdieu, Language and Symbolic Power.
Deleuze and Guattari, Thousand Plateaus.
Derrida, Of Grammatology.
Foucault, Foucault Reader.
Galison and Stump, Disunity of Science.
Spivak, Critique of Postcolonial Reason.
All readings (with the exception of Saussure's Course in General Linguistics) are available through electronic reserves:
This electronic reserves page is password-protected; please email me if you need the password.
Please bookmark the electronic reserves page and also this syllabus -- I will make changes in the readings as the semester progresses.
Auguste Comte (1798-1857), "Aims of the Course: General Considerations on the Nature and Importance of Positive Philosophy," in The Essential Comte: Selected from Cours de philosophie positive, ed. Stanislav Andreski and trans. Margaret Clarke (New York: Barnes & Noble, 1974); translation of Cours de philosophie positive (1830-42).
Karl Popper (1902-1994), Logic of Scientific Discovery, Torchbook ed. (New York: Harper & Row, 1965); translation of Logik der forschung: zur erkenntnistheorie der modernen naturwissenschaft (Wien: J. Springer, 1935).
Rudolf Carnap, "Logical Foundations of the Unity of Science," in International Encyclopedia of Unified Science, ed. Otto Neurath, Rudolf Carnap, and Charles Morris (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1955-); originally published 1938.
Otto Neurath, "Unified Science as Encyclopedic Integration," in International Encyclopedia of Unified Science; originally published 1938.
Saussure developed structuralist linguistics as a "science" of language, asserting that language was a synchronic, homogeneous, self-contained whole; following the economic sciences, he argued that the fundamental units of language -- the linguistic sign -- formed a system of pure values defined only by mutual difference.
Ferdinand de Saussure, introduction, pt. 1 "General Principles," and pt. 2 "Synchronic Linguistics," in Course in General Linguistics, ed. Charles Bally, Albert Sechehaye, and Albert Riedlinger, translated and annotated by Roy Harris (London: Duckworth, 1983); originally published as Cours de linguistique générale (Paris: Payot, 1916).
We will compare Saussure's science of language with Wittgenstein's analysis of language (the totality of propositions) as a logical picture of the world (the totality of atomic facts), Peirce's classifications of signs, and Chomsky's generative grammar.
Ludwig Wittgenstein, propositions 1 to 4.3 and 6.4 to 7, in Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, trans. C.K. Ogden (New York: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1981); originally published as Logisch-Philosophische Abhandlung (1921).
Charles S. Peirce, "Logic as Semiotic: The Theory of Signs," in Philosophical Writings of Peirce (New York: Dover Publications, 1955), pp. 98-119; from selections originally published in Collected Papers of Charles Sanders Peirce, ed. Charles Hartshorne and Paul Weiss (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1931-35).
Noam Chomsky, Syntactic Structures ('s-Gravenhage: Mouton, 1957), pp. 11-60.
Louis Hjelmslev (1899-1965), Resume of a Theory of Language, trans. Francis J. Whitfield (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1975).
Roman Jakobson (1896-1982), On language, ed. Linda R. Waugh and Monique Monville-Burston (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1990) and Main Trends in the Science of Language (London: Allen and Unwin, 1973).
Structuralism, as the model of the science of language, became the model for the scientific analysis of primitive cultures (Lévi-Strauss) along with literature (Barthes, S/Z), the subconscious (Lacan), and contemporary culture (Barthes, Mythologies); it was theorized as the model for all systems of signification (Barthes, Semiology).
Claude Lévi-Strauss, "Nature and Culture" and "The Problem of Incest," chaps. 1 and 2 of The Elementary Structures of Kinship, trans. James Harle Bell and John Richard von Sturmer, rev. ed. (Boston: Beacon Press, 1969), pp. 3-25; originally published as Les structures élémentaires de la parenté (Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1949, rev. ed. 1967).
Claude Lévi-Strauss, "Structural Analysis in Linguistics and in Anthropology," in Structural Anthropology (New York: Basic Books, 1963), pp. 31-54; originally published as Anthropologie structurale (Paris: Plon, 1958).
Jacques Lacan, "The Agency of the Letter in the Unconscious or Reason since Freud," in Ecrits: A Selection, trans. Alan Sheridan (New York: Norton, 1977), pp. 146-178; originally published in Écrits (Paris: Éditions du Seuil: 1966).
Roland Barthes, S/Z, trans. Richard Miller (New York: Hill and Wang, 1974), pp. 3-41; originally published as S/Z (Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 1970).
Roland Barthes, Elements of Semiology, trans. Annette Lavers and Colin Smith (New York: Noonday Press, 1968); originally published as Éléments de Sémiologie (Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 1964).
Roland Barthes, Mythologies, trans. Annette Lavers (New York: Noonday Press, 1972); originally published as Mythologies (Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 1957).
Pierre Bourdieu, "Irresistible Analogy," in The Logic of Practice, trans. Richard Nice (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1990), pp. 200-270; originally published as Le sens pratique (Paris: Les Éditions de Minuit, 1980).
Edmund Leach, ed., The Structural Study of Myth and Totemism (London: Tavistock Publications, 1967).
Drawing on Nietzsche's celebration of the illogic of logic and language, early post-structuralist critiques retained many of the assumptions of structuralist models to assert the illogic of culture (Derrida, "Structure, Sign and Play"), philosophy (Derrida, "Play"), literature (de Man), and history (Foucault, "Nietzsche"). If post-structuralists conflated the structuralist model of reality with the reality of the model, the failure of the structuralist model became the deconstruction of the West.
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, "On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense," in Philosophy and Truth: Selections from Nietzsche's Notebooks of the Early 1870's, trans. Daniel Breazeale (Atlantic Highlands, N.J.: Humanities Press, 1979), pp. 79-97.
Jacques Derrida, "Structure, Sign, and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences" in Eugenio Donato and Richard Macksey, eds., The Languages of Criticism and the Sciences of Man: The Structuralist Controversy (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1970), pp. 247-265.
Michel Foucault, "Nietzsche, Genealogy, History," in The Foucault Reader, ed. Paul Rabinow (New York: Pantheon Books, 1984), pp. 76-100; originally published as "Nietzsche, la généalogie, l'histoire," in Hommage à Jean Hyppolite (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1971).
Paul de Man, "Rhetoric of Persuasion (Nietzsche)," chap. 6 of Allegories of Reading: Figural Language in Rousseau, Nietzsche, Rilke, and Proust (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1979), pp. 103-131.
Jacques Derrida, "Play: From the Pharmakon to the Letter and from Blindness to the Supplement," in Dissemination, trans. Barbara Johnson (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981), pp. 156-171; originally published as La Dissémination (Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 1972).
Jacques Derrida, Speech and Phenomena, and Other Essays on Husserl's Theory of Signs, trans. David B. Allison, Northwestern University Studies in Phenomenology & Existential Philosophy (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1973); originally published as La Voix et le Phénomène (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1967).
Jacques Derrida, Edmund Husserl's "Origin of Geometry": An Introduction, trans. John P. Leavey, Jr. (Lincoln Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, 1978); from revised edition of Introduction à "L'Origine de la géométrie" de Husserl (Presses Universitaires de France, 1962).
Michel Foucault, Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason, trans. Richard Howard (New York: Vintage Books, 1988); translation of portions of Histoire de la folie à l'âge classique: folie et déraison(Paris: Librairie Plon, 1961).
Against earlier studies which viewed universal science as radically transcending particular cultures (culture could only aid or distort the development of science along its natural teleology toward truth), work in the 1960s and 70s sought ways to re-place science in cultural context. These studies applied various models of culture and language to the study of science: paradigms and incommensurability (Kuhn); the archaeology of human sciences (Foucault); the social science of science (Collins); the anthropology of science (Latour and Woolgar); and gender studies of science (Keller).
Thomas S. Kuhn, postscript, in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, International Encyclopedia of Unified Science, 2d ed., enl. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1970), pp. 174-210.
Michel Foucault, "The Human Sciences," in The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences, World of Man (New York: Pantheon Books, 1970), pp. 344-387; originally published as Les mots et les choses (Paris: Éditions Gallimard, 1966).
Bruno Latour and Steve Woolgar, "An Anthropologist Visits the Laboratory," in Laboratory Life: The Social Construction of Scientific Facts, vol. 80 of Sage Library of Social Research (Beverly Hills, Calif.: Sage Publications, 1979), pp. 43-90.
Evelyn Fox Keller, "Spirit and Reason at the Birth of Modern Science," in Reflections on Gender and Science (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985), pp. 43-65.
H. M. Collins, "The Scientist in the Network: A Sociological Resolution of the Problem of Inductive Inference," in Changing Order: Replication and Induction in Scientific Practice (Beverly Hills, Calif.: Sage Publications, 1985), pp. 129-159.
David Bloor, Knowledge and Social Imagery (London: Macmillan, 1976).
Sandra G. Harding, The Science Question in Feminism (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1986).
Paul Feyerabend, Against Method (London: Verso, 1988).
If structuralist approaches to culture were based on the structuralist model of language, early post-structuralist works incorporated aspects of culture into reformulated analyses of language that still retained crucial structuralist assumptions: Bourdieu formulated an "economy of linguistic exchanges"; Foucault described the structure of discourse; Derrida transfigured Saussure's structural linguistics into a science of writing; and Baudrillard's simulacra transformed marxist modes of production into modes of signification. (But for Derrida on Austin, Searle on Derrida, and Derrida on SARL, see Limited Inc.)
Jacques Derrida, "Linguistics and Grammatology," in Of Grammatology, trans. Gayatri Spivak (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1976), pp. 27-73; originally published as De la grammatologie (Paris: Édition de Minuit, 1967).
Michel Foucault, pt. 1 introduction and pt. 2 "The Discursive Regularities" in The Archaeology of Knowledge, trans. A. M. Sheridan Smith (New York: Pantheon Books, 1972), pp. 3-76; originally published as L'Archéologie du Savoir (Paris: Éditions Gallimard, 1969).
Pierre Bourdieu, "The Production and Reproduction of Legitimate Language" and "Price Formation and the Anticipation of Profits," in Language and Symbolic Power, ed. John B. Thompson, trans. Gino Raymond and Matthew Adamson (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1991), pp. 37-89; originally published as Ce que parler veut dire: l'économie des échanges linguistiques (Paris: Librairie Arthème Fayard, 1982).
Jean Baudrillard, "The Order of Simulacra," in Symbolic Exchange and Death, trans. Iain Hamilton Grant, Theory, Culture & Society (Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications, 1993), pp. 50-86; originally published as L'échange symbolique et la mort (Paris: Éditions Gallimard, 1976).
Bourdieu, Logic of Practice.
Foucault, "The Discourse on Language," in Archaeology of Knowledge, pp. 215-237.
Jacques Derrida, Limited Inc, trans. Samuel Weber and Jeffrey Mehlman (Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press, 1988); "Signature Event Context" and "Limited Inc a b c ..." appeared in Glyph 1 and 2 (1977).
The central theses of post-structuralism -- deconstructive critiques and the focus on language as a system of discourse -- had a profound influence on other areas of cultural studies, resulting in attempts to reconcile post-structuralism with post-colonialism (Spivak), marxism (Laclau and Mouffe), and feminism (Butler). In an elaborate proof by contradiction, Habermas contrived to arrange the postmoderns into paths which he then proclaimed to be dead-ends, leaving as the only alternative his critical return to the Enlightenment.
Gayatri Spivak, "Subaltern Studies: Deconstructing Historiography," in In Other Worlds: Essays in Cultural Politics (New York: Methuen, 1987), pp. 197-221.
Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe, "Hegemony and Radical Democracy," in Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: Towards a Radical Democratic Politics (New York: Verso, 1985), pp. 149-193.
Judith P. Butler, "Subjects of Sex/Gender/Desire" and "Conclusion: From Parody to Politics," in Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, Thinking Gender (New York: Routledge, 1990), pp. 1-34 and 142-149.
Jürgen Habermas, "The Critique of Reason as an Unmasking of the Human Sciences" and "Some Questions Concerning the Theory of Power: Foucault Again," in The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity: Twelve Lectures (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1987), pp. 238-293.
Fredric Jameson, "On Interpretation," chap. 1 of The Political Unconscious: Narrative as a Socially Symbolic Act (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1981).
Maurizio Passerin d'Entrèves and Seyla Benhabib, eds., Habermas and the Unfinished Project of Modernity: Critical Essays on the Philosophical Discourse of Modernity, Studies in Contemporary German Social Thought (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1997).
Later works in the history of science conceptualized science as culture and adopted approaches from cultural studies; the lessons about culture offered in the received historiography of science were inverted in new studies of Galileo (Biagioli) and experimental science (Shapin and Schaffer). But viewing science as culture further reinforced the identification of the two imagined unities "science" and "the West." In its encounter with the non-West, Western science was not universal but hegemonic (Prakash); the separation of Nature and Society by Western science accounted for the Great Divide between the West and non-West (Latour).
Mario Biagioli, "Galileo's Self-Fashioning," in Galileo, Courtier: The Practice of Science in the Culture of Absolutism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993), pp. 11-101.
Steven Shapin and Simon Schaffer, "Seeing and Believing: The Experimental Production of Pneumatic Facts," chap. 2 of Leviathan and the Air-Pump: Hobbes, Boyle, and the Experimental Life (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985), pp. 22-79.
Gyan Prakash, "Translation and Power," chap. 3 of Another Reason: Science and the Imagination of Modern India (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1999), pp. 49-85.
Bruno Latour, "Crisis," "Constitution," and "Relativism," chaps. 1, 2, and 4 of We Have Never Been Modern, trans. Catherine Porter (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1993), pp. 1-12, 13-48, and 91-129; originally published as Nous n'avons jamais été modernes: Essais d'anthropologie symétrique (La D écouverte, 1991).
Mario Biagioli, ed., The Science Studies Reader (New York: Routledge, 1999).
Andrew Pickering, ed. Science as Practice and Culture (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992).
In these two weeks we will explore alternatives to structuralist linguistics, examining several approaches which disaggregate language. This week we will focus on the critiques Wittgenstein presented in Investigations to correct the "grave mistakes" in his earlier Tractatus.
Ludwig Wittgenstein, sections 1-243 in Philosophical Investigations, trans. G. Anscombe (Oxford: Blackwell, 1958), pp. 1-89 (part I completed by 1945).
Saul A. Kripke, Naming and Necessity (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1980).
This week we will examine Austin's analysis of the performative aspects of language, Deleuze and Guattari's "rhizomes," and Grice's conversational implicature.
J. L. Austin, lectures 1 and 2, in How to Do Things with Words, ed. J. O. Urmson and Marina Sbisà, 2nd ed. (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1975), pp. 1-24 (delivered as the William James Lectures at Harvard in 1955).
Paul Grice, "Logic and Conversation," in Studies in the Way of Words (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1989), pp. 22-40 (revised version of William James lectures delivered at Harvard in 1967).
M. M. Bakhtin, "Social Heteroglossia," chap. 5 of The Bakhtin Reader: Selected Writings of Bakhtin, Medvedev, and Voloshinov (London ; New York: E. Arnold, 1994).
Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, "Introduction: Rhizome" and "November 20, 1923: Postulates of Linguistics," in A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, trans. Brian Massumi (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987), pp. 3-25 and 75-110; originally published as Mille plateaux, vol. 2 of Capitalisme et schizophrénie (Paris: Les Éditions de Minuit, 1980).
Deleuze and Guattari, "1914: One or Several Wolves?" and "10,000 B.C.: The Geology of Morals (Who Does the Earth Think It Is?)," chaps. 3 and 4 of A Thousand Plateaus.
John R. Searle, Speech Acts: An Essay in the Philosophy of Language (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1969).
This week we will examine new approaches which question the unity of culture, nations, and civilizations: a deconstructive reading of culture (Spivak); an analysis of the imagining of "locality" in the context of emerging globalism (Appadurai); imagining nations (Anderson); and the scattering of peoples and cultures (Bhabha).
Gayatri Spivak, "Culture," chap. 4 of A Critique of Postcolonial Reason: Toward a History of the Vanishing Present (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1999), pp. 313-421.
Homi K. Bhabha, "DissemiNation," chap. 8 of The Location of Culture (New York: Routledge, 1994), pp. 139-170.
Arjun Appadurai, "The Production of Locality," chap. 9 of Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization, Public Worlds, vol. 1 (Minneapolis,: University of Minnesota Press, 1996), pp. 178-99.
Benedict Anderson, "The Long Arc of Nationalism," pt. I of The Spectre of Comparisons: Nationalism, Southeast Asia, and the World (New York: Verso, 1998).
Rethinking Science and Civilization: The Ideologies, Disciplines and Rhetorics of World History (http://www.stanford.edu/dept/HPS/RethinkingSciCiv/).
Lydia H. Liu, ed., Tokens of Exchange: The Problem of Translation in Global Circulations, Post-Contemporary Interventions (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1999).
Stephen Jay Greenblatt, "Shakespeare and the Exorcists," chap. 4 of Shakespearean Negotiations: The Circulation of Social Energy in Renaissance England (Berkeley: University of California Press,1988), pp. 94-128.
Michel de Certeau and Luce Giard, Culture in the Plural (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997).
We will explore various aspects of the disunity of science. Hacking and Dupré present historical contextualizations and philosophical critiques of the Unity of Science movement. Galison, arguing that physics is disunified, analyzes its development as the result of imperfect, intercalated translations between its subcultures. Haraway presents a critical history of the cultural, gender, legal, and corporate context of contemporary biotechology. Fujimura analyzes the ideologies of a scientist who imagines a new Japanese modernity which, by combining contemporary genetics with traditional Japanese beliefs in a continuum of life-forms, will supercede the modernity of the West.
Peter Galison, "Trading Zone: Coordinating Action and Belief," in The Science Studies Reader, ed. Mario Biagioli (New York: Routledge, 1999), pp. 137-171; excerpted from chap. 9 of Galison, Image and Logic: A Material Culture of Microphysics (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997).
John Dupré, "Metaphysical Disorder and Scientific Disunity," in The Disunity of Science: Boundaries, Contexts, and Power, ed. Peter Galison and David J. Stump, Writing Science (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1996), pp. 101-17.
Donna Haraway, first half of "Femaleman©_Meets_Oncomouse," chap. 2 of Modest_Witness@ Second_Millennium. Femaleman© _Meets_Oncomouse: Feminism and Technoscience (New York: Routledge, 1997), pp. 49-87.
Joan H. Fujimura, "Transnational Genomics: Transgressing the Boundary between the 'Modern/West' and the 'Premodern/East,'" in Doing Science + Culture, ed. Roddey Reid and Sharon Traweek (New York: Routledge, 2000), pp. 71-92.
Tim Lenoir's website (http://www.stanford.edu/dept/HPS/TimLenoir/) and "Inscription Practices and Materialities of Communication," in Inscribing Science: Scientific Texts and the Materiality of Communication, ed. Lenoir, Writing Science (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1998).
Bruno Latour, "Circulating Reference: Sampling the Soil in the Amazon," in Pandora's Hope: Essays on the Reality of Science Studies (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1999), pp. 24-79.
Michael M. J. Fischer, "Eye(I)ing the Sciences and Their Signifiers (Language, Tropes, Autobiographers): InterViewing for a Cultural Studies of Science and Technology," in \ Technoscientific Imaginaries: Conversations, Profiles, and Memoirs, ed. George E. Marcus, Late Editions: Cultural Studies for the End of the Century, vol. 2 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995).
Brian Rotman, Taking God Out of Mathematics and Putting the Body Back in: An Essay in Corporeal Semiotics (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1993).
James Clifford, "On Orientalism," chap. 11 of The Predicament of Culture: Twentieth-Century Ethnography, Literature, and Art (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1988), pp. 255-75.
Arjun Appadurai, "Disjuncture and Difference," in Modernity at Large.
Fredric Jameson, “Notes on Globalization as a Philosophical Issue,” in The Cultures of Globalization, ed. Fredric Jameson and Masao Miyoshi (Durham: Duke University Press, 1998), pp. 54-77.
Paul Rabinow, "Representations Are Social Facts: Modernity and Post-Modernity in Anthropology," chap. 2 of Essays on the Anthropology of Reason (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press), pp. 28-58.
Arjun Appadurai, ed., Globalization, Public Culture, vol. 12, no. 1 (Durham, NC: Duke University Pr., 2000). http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/public_culture/toc/pc12.1.html