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Economies of Erasure: Exploring the Violence Concealed by the Liberal Promise of Care
CHUM 330
Spring 2023
Section: 01  
Crosslisting: AMST 330, ANTH 330

This course will aid students in understanding and recognizing the processes of erasure that maintain ongoing regimes of domination. In particular, we will attempt to understand how the twinned promises of equity and tolerance made by seemingly liberal, multicultural democracies work to conceal the ongoing--and specifically targeted--violence that in fact constitute and continue to subtend these nation-states. How, we will ask, do these regimes make violence disappear through the promise to "care" for their citizens, even as they wield spectacular violence to maintain domination? How are we as subjects of these regimes conditioned to pay attention to certain events, ideas, and systems, and what is made to disappear through such selective forms of attention? What communities, bodies, and individuals are sacrificed by the liberal promise of care? To answer these questions, the course will juxtapose readings in philosophy and social theory with ethnographic and historical case studies, giving students both the conceptual tools to analyze erasure and a set of examples through which to understand how these forms of erasure operate in the world. Crucial to our tool kit is the concept of disavowal, best understood as an active deflection from attending to the obligations of what one knows or should know. Disavowal, as we will see, makes it possible for subjects to imagine the political, social, and cultural spaces in which they live as moral, legitimate, and ethical, taking violence as an aberration rather than as the normative maintenance of an order of domination. This disavowal, the course contends, grounds itself in the ideologically charged embrace of a liberal sense of care that is, in turn, abstracted away from actual and ongoing histories of power and domination. In order to manage the potential scale of this exploration, we will primarily examine examples from North America, examining how white supremacy, patriarchy, and settler colonial domination operate in tandem in order to legitimize regimes of power by disavowing their violence.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA CHUM
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Student Option
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (AMST)(ANTH)
Past Enrollment Probability: 50% - 74%

Last Updated on JUN-15-2024
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