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The Politics of Authenticity

GOVT 393
Spring 2020
Section: 01  
This course may be repeated for credit.
Certificates: Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory
Course Cluster: Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory Certificate

Is there such a thing as an authentic self? If so, can politics help us realize it? Fifty years ago, authenticity was a thriving political ideal, invoked by radical feminists, black liberation movements, gay and lesbian activists, Marxists and conservatives alike. Over the past four decades, however, political appeals to authenticity have come under heavy scrutiny. Some claim that appeals to authenticity inadvertently marginalized individuals who are not "true women," "real blacks," or "actual natives." Others argue that the idea of an authentic culture can be deployed to constrain individual members of cultural minorities. Where does authenticity reside--in gender, sexuality, experience, or culture--and how do we know which one is "real"? Is it worth faulting politicians for hypocrisy if there is no such thing as a "true self"? What becomes of certain emancipatory or justice claims--such as those coming from trans-politics or multiculturalism debates--without a notion of authenticity? In this course, we will discuss what authenticity is or might be, how it has been conceptualized in political theory and contemporary social movements, and why it has become an object of widespread suspicion and continuing appeal.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: SBS GOVT
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (CSCT)(GOVT)(GOVT-Theory)
Past Enrollment Probability: 75% - 89%

Last Updated on JUL-19-2024
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