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Death and the Limits of Representation

COL 232
Spring 2013 not offered
Crosslisting: HIST 297
Certificates: Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory

The disciplines of history, philosophy, and literature all hinge on the issue of representation. The ability to communicate ideas, visions, or arguments all depend on the ability to represent these abstract notions in a concrete and recognizable form. In this course we will problematize the basis of all three disciplines by exploring death as the limit of representation--as that which is ultimately unknowable (or knowable only secondhand) and thus beyond representation. Indeed, what is the concept of the ghost but an attempt to represent someone who is dead in the recognizable form of the body that once lived. Yet, the ghost appears and disappears, is not bound by the laws of time or space, and is largely present in its absence. By exploring texts by such authors as Plato, Shakespeare, Poe, and Levinas and by studying historical events such as the Black Death and the Shoah, we will attempt to understand the project of representation and its limits.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA COL
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Student Option
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (COL)

Last Updated on JUL-13-2024
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