PHILOSOPHY OF OPPRESSION AND RESISTANCE Summer 2016

PHILOSOPHY OF OPPRESSION AND RESISTANCE Summer 2016

PHILOSOPHY OF OPPRESSION AND RESISTANCE Summer 2016 Instructor: Patrick O’Donnell [email protected] MWF: 6­8:30 PM   The term “oppression” is thrown a...

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PHILOSOPHY OF OPPRESSION AND RESISTANCE Summer 2016 Instructor: Patrick O’Donnell [email protected] MWF: 6­8:30 PM  

The term “oppression” is thrown around a great deal, usually as a catch­all term for a perceived set of social injustices. Despite this, many are hard­pressed to say what it is that makes a given social relation, institution, or arrangement “oppressive,” and even fewer are able to articulate what specific kind of harm oppression is, let alone why it is a harm. Our goal in this course will be to answer these and other questions by lending precision to the notion of oppression. We will trace some of its characteristic manifestations (and non­manifestations) in the social conditions of late capitalism by focusing on instances of ​ racialized ​ and ​ gendered ​ oppression. We will address the ways in which these oppressions are both separate and intersecting, and will diagnose possible methods of resistance to these injustices. Our approach will rely on some of the analytical tools provided by philosophy, political science, and critical theory as well as the historical details of the cases which we will seek to analyze. The course is divided into 5 units, each of which is centered upon a particular theme or line of questioning: UNITS 1. The Metaphysics of Oppression Here we will be interested in questions about the fundamental nature of oppression­­ what it is, why it exists, and how it manifests itself. In so doing, we will separate “oppressive” social relationships from other types of “unjust” social relationships. We will also discuss the relationships between theories of oppression and theories of the nature of power. 2. Justice, Ethics, and Oppression After a brief introduction to the “liberal tradition” in political philosophy, we will ask ourselves why oppression is wrong or bad, and investigate the question of whether privileged ​ groups ​ are morally responsible for the treatment of oppressed groups. 3. M ​echanisms of Oppression We will analyze some of the social mechanisms that drive oppressive relationships. O’DONNELL: OPPRESSION AND RESISTANCE 2016

Generalized mechanisms include ideology, propaganda, and slurring language. More specific mechanisms include the racialization of incarceration in recent decades and the normalization of sexual violence (primarily against women.) 4. W ​hat does Oppression do to the Oppressed and the Privileged? Here we will examine oppression as a force which can ​ constitute ​ identity. We will pay attention to the ways in which ​ racialized ​ oppression plays a role in the social construction of subjectivity and agency. We will also be interested in how one’s position within an oppressive social structure affects one’s knowledge of the social world. 5. R ​esistance With our familiarity with these approaches in hand , we will turn to questions concerning the nature of and possibilities for resistance to oppressive social relationships. We will discuss both non­violent and violent action, direct action, and methods of disobedience. Moreover, most readings will be from an intersectional perspective­­ one which respects the way in which the power dynamics imposed by both race and gender affect the nature of the strategies we might rely on in resisting oppression. ASSESSMENT Required: 1. Weekly responses to the readings (minimum: 150 words] posted by Monday morning on Blackboard. Acceptable posts will include questions, comments, and/or other thoughts on the assigned readings for the day. Responses to others’ posts on Blackboard are also acceptable, as long as they are 150 words long. 2. A 15­minute presentation on one aspect of the readings. You will have some degree of choice over which themes you would like to cover. The presentation schedule will be determined during the first week of class. 3. Your participation in a team debate (details TBA) 4. A final paper (7­10 pages), due by email on Friday, June 23rd. Prompts will be handed out on Wednesday, June 15th 5. Your (complete) attendance and participation ATTENDANCE POLICY: You may miss one class for any reason, as long as you contact me before class starts. If you miss more than one class without notifying me beforehand, O’DONNELL: OPPRESSION AND RESISTANCE 2016

you will receive a 0 participation grade for the term. There are exceptions to this one­absence rule. If you need to miss class for a legitimate reason such as illness, religious observances, and the like, be sure to send me an email prior to class. If you don’t show up and I don’t hear from you prior to class, your absence is unexcused. TEXTS 1. On Blackboard 2. Suggested texts are not required, but highly recommended UNIT 1: METAPHYSICS OF OPPRESSION Class 1: May 23 Ursula Leguin, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” Iris M. Young, “Five Faces of Oppression,” in Haslanger and Hackett, eds. ​ Theorizing Feminisms​ . OUP, 2005. Michel Foucault, “Right of Death and Power over Life,” in ​ The Foucault Reader​ . Pantheon, 1984. Class 2: May 25 Sally Haslanger, “Oppressions: Racial and Other” in ​ Resisting Reality​ . OUP, 2012. Kimberle Crenshaw, “Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence against Women,” in Haslanger and Hackett, eds. ​ Theorizing Feminisms​ . OUP, 2005. Class 3: May 27 Kate Manne, “What is Misogyny? A Feminist Analysis” (manuscript, 2016) Charles M. Mills, “White Supremacy as a Sociopolitical System,” in Doan and Bonilla­Silva, eds. White Out: The Continuing Significance of Racism​ , Routledge: 2003. UNIT 2: JUSTICE, ETHICS, AND OPPRESSION Class 4: May 30 John Rawls, ​ Justice as Fairness: A Restatement​ , excerpts. Gerald F. Gaus, “The Diversity of Comprehensive Liberalisms,” excerpt (pp. 1­7) Suggested: ​ “Liberalism,” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (www.plato.stanford.edu) O’DONNELL: OPPRESSION AND RESISTANCE 2016

Class 5: June 1 Elizabeth Anderson, “What is the Point of Equality?,” ​ Ethics ​ Vol. 109, No. 2, January 1999. (excerpts) Iris M. Young, “From Personal to Political Responsibility,” Chapter 1 in ​ Responsibility for Justice​ , Oxford, 2011. Class 6: June 3 Karl Jaspers, ​ The Question of German Guilt, ​ excerpts Ta­Nehisi Coates, “The Case for Reparations,” ​ The Atlantic​ , June 2014 Suggested:​ “Collective Responsibility,” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (www.plato.stanford.edu) REPARATIONS DEBATE UNIT 3: MECHANISMS OF OPPRESSION Class 7: June 6: Ideology and Propaganda Karl Marx, ​ The German Ideology​ (1845) excerpts Notes for a Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right ​ ​ (1843), excerpts Jason Stanley, ​ How Propaganda Works​ , Princeton: 2015, Chapter 2 Class 8: June 8: Language Lynne Tirell. “Genocidal Language Games” in Maitra and McGowan, eds. ​ Speech and Harm: Controversies over Free Speech. ​ OUP, 2012. Eric Winsberg, “Slurs and Ideology” (manuscript 2016) Class 9: June 10: Race and Incarceration Michelle Alexander, ​ The New Jim Crow​ , Basic: 2010, Chapter 1 Angela Davis, “Racialized Punishment and Prison Abolition,” in ​ The Angela Davis Reader​ . 1998. UNIT 4: WHAT DOES OPPRESSION DO TO THE OPPRESSED? Class 10: June 13 Frantz Fanon, “The Lived Experience of the Black Man,” from ​ Black Skin, White Masks​ [1952] Grove Press, 2008. O’DONNELL: OPPRESSION AND RESISTANCE 2016

W.E.B. DuBois, excerpts from ​ The Souls of Black Folk​ : Chapter 1: “Of Our Spiritual Strivings” Class 11: June 15 Charles W. Mills, “Alternative Epistemologies,” in ​ Blackness Visible​ . Cornell, 1998. bell hooks, “Whiteness in the Black Imagination,” in ​ Killing Rage​ . Holt, 1995. Class 12: June 17 BLANK: Catch­up day OR Angela Davis on Women and Feminism UNIT 5: RESISTANCE Class 13: June 20 Gene Sharp, ​ The Politics of Nonviolent Action​ , excerpts from Chapters 1 and 2 Martin Luther King, Jr. “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” 1963 Class 14: June 22 Charles Hamilton and Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael), ​ Black Power​ (1966), excerpts Malcolm X, “The Ballot or the Bullet,” (1963) from ​ Malcolm X Speaks​ . New York: Pathfinder, 1989. Class 15: June 24 Mari Matsuda, “On Identity Politics,” in in Haslanger and Hackett, eds. ​ Theorizing Feminisms​ . OUP, 2005. Audre Lorde, “The Master’s Tools will never Dismantle the Master’s House” (1984) bell hooks, “Beyond Black Rage,” in ​ Killing Rage​ . New York: Holt, 1995. bell hooks, “Refusing to be a Victim” in ​ Killing Rage​ . New York: Holt 1995. “Revolutionary Hope: A Conversation Between James Baldwin and Audre Lorde,” http://mocada­museum.tumblr.com/post/73421979421/revolutionary­hope­a­conversation­bet ween­james O’DONNELL: OPPRESSION AND RESISTANCE 2016