LSP 200: Philosophical Approaches to Multi-Culturalism Professor Evan Edwards WQ 2017 Class Meeting: TTh 9:40 - 11:10 a.m. Office Hours: TTh 11:20 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. E-mail Address: [email protected]
"The very word culture meant 'place tilled' in Middle English, and the same word goes back to Latin colere, 'to inhabit, care for, till, worship' and cultus, 'A cult, especially a religious one.' To be cultural, to have a culture, is to inhabit a place sufficiently intensive to cultivate it — to be responsible for it, to respond to it, to attend to it caringly." - Edward Casey "Culture refers to all the ways in which human beings overcome their original barbarism, and through artifice, become fully human." - Samuel Pufendorf Course Overview: American society, like many countries in the post-industrial west, might best be described as a “multicultural liberal democracy.” This course is a philosophical and critical investigation of what that phrase signifies. What is culture? What does it mean for multiple cultures to inhabit a shared space? What is liberalism? What is democracy? What is “a people,” and what are “the people” in a society that does not have a single shared culture? How do culture, liberal ideology, and democracy interact, negate, and/or amplify one another? These are the central questions of this class. As we’ll see, the problems of multi-culturalism are built into the word “democracy” itself. Democracy, from the Greek words demos (the people) and kratos (rule), is a political regime that means “rule of the people.” Democracy is, as Jacques Ranciere will argue, predicated on egalitarianism: equality of the people and the rejection of hierarchies within “the people.” But this immediately leads us to the question, “who are the people?” For the Athenians, “the people” were by and large homogeneous, all part of the same culture, ethnicity, and religion. What happens when “the people” don’t share the same culture, ethnicity, and/or religion? Can democracy exist in such a situation? And if so, who gets to define who belongs to “the people” and who is excluded? This issue is compounded when democracy is also “liberal.” Liberalism, a political philosophy that emerged during the so-called “Enlightenment,” stresses universalism, rule of law, individual liberty, and supposedly inalienable “rights” of the human. As critics point out, the ideals of liberalism often come into conflict with those of democracy. How, for example, do we reconcile the fact that the people—and therefore democracy—is inherently exclusionary with the universalism of liberalism? Further, as Chantal Mouffe points out, the ideals of liberalism often cover over and prevent us from really confronting the material inequalities existing in society, inequalities that the egalitarianism of democracy seeks to eliminate. Finally, liberalism, with its emphasis on the universal, liberal individual, tends toward the eradication of cultural specificities. As this brief introduction should make clear, every one of these terms — multi-culturalism, liberalism, democracy — is in some way in tension or direct contradiction to the other two. Our goal in this class is to think about what this means as we move forward in a new era of American politics.
Badiou, Alain, ed. What is a People? New York: Columbia University Press, 2016. Mouffe, Chantal. The Democratic Paradox. New York: Verso, 2000.
Taylor, Charles. Multiculturalism: Examining the Politics of Recognition. New York: Princeton University Press, 1994. All other readings will be posted on D2L
Learning Outcomes: 1. Critically discuss (via well-grounded arguments) philosophical issues and questions from the perspective of multiple methods, traditions, and historical contexts. 2. Evaluate philosophical issues, questions, and problems critically. 3. Formulate and evaluate one’s own understanding of a wide range of philosophical problems. 4. Understand philosophical issues as they apply to contemporary modes of discourse and events.
Course Requirements: Preparation and Participation: You are required to read the assigned section of text before each class meeting. You must also bring each text to class so that we can refer to the text itself during our meeting. I do not expect you to have an entirely thorough understanding of each text before class, but I do expect you to re-read texts each week. Class time and lectures will prepare you for subsequent readings. Course Assignments:
Attendance and Participation: This course is oriented around a seminar class experience. This means that we must all (students and professor alike) contribute to the class in order for the course to work. For this reason, attendance and participation is mandatory for this class. I also expect you to be on time for class. I take attendance every day and cut off attendance at the beginning of class. If for any reason you are late, you must come speak to me after class. If you are late multiple times, it may be ground for marking you absent. Furthermore, attendance is mandatory for this class. You are allowed two absences during the course of the semester. You do not need to give me an excuse for these absences. Make sure to use them wisely, as there will be no extra absences allowed. All absences past the two that are allowed will result in a 5% decrease on your final grade. Finally, I will give you discussion questions to answer for nearly every class. You must have answers prepared for class so that I can call on you to contribute. Research Paper: You will produce a full research paper during the course of this seminar. This paper will be 10-12 pages, and require you to incorporate the work of at least three of the authors about whom we will be reading. In week 5 you must turn in an annotated bibliography. We will discuss what I expect in this assignment in class. You will turn in a draft of this paper in week 7, and I will return the paper at the very latest in week 9. This will give you the opportunity to revise the paper before turning it in at the end of the quarter. Your final draft must show changes from your first draft in order to earn you credit. Weekly Writing Assignments: Every week you will choose one of the texts we are reading that week, and produce a one page single spaced synopsis of the text. This paper will be graded based on three criteria: 1) identification of the author’s thesis, 2) evaluation of her or his argument, 3) identification of at least one question you have about the text. These will act as the raw material out of which to build your research paper, and keep you on track with the readings. You will be actively encouraged to use these writing assignments to aid in your seminar participation.
Grading: Attendance/Participation: 20% Annotated Bibliography: 10% First Draft of Research Paper: 15% Final Draft of Research Paper: 30% Weekly Writing Assignments: 25% Late Assignments: No late assignments will be accepted. You will receive a ZERO for any assignment handed in late.
Plagiarism: Remember that plagiarism is a severe academic violation, and any plagiarized work will result in an F for the course. If you are unclear as to what constitutes plagiarism, please consult the DePaul University Student Handbook, or visit (http://academicintegrity.depaul.edu). Accommodations: If you need any sort of accommodation to make the class more comfortable (special seating for wheelchairs, enlarged text on the projector, &c.) let me know so I can help as much as possible. If you have a learning disability that requires more time on assignments or alternative learning styles, please contact the Center for Students with Disabilities (http://studentaffairs.depaul.edu/csd). Someone at the Center will help me to best accommodate your specific skill set. Classroom Etiquette: Students are allowed to bring drinks and snacks so long as they are not a distraction to any other students or the instructor. Please be respectful to the instructor and your classmates during class lectures and discussions. As a class, we will collaboratively make a code of respect on the first day of the semester. I reserve the right to ask a student to leave class who is being disrespectful or disruptive during class.
Reading Schedule: (Note that this is tentative and most likely will change) Week I: Reading: “Introduction” by Amy Gutman in Multiculturalism: Examining the Politics of Recognition (hereafter MEPR), pgs. 3-24
Week 2: Reading: “The Politics of Recognition” by Charles Taylor in MEPR, pgs. 25-74 Week 3: Reading: “Identity, Authenticity, Survival: Multicultural Societies and Social Reproduction” by Kwame Appiah in MEPR, pgs. 149-164 Week 4: Reading: “Struggles for Recognition in the Democratic Constitutional State” by Jurgen Habermas in MEPR, pgs. 107-148 Week 5: Readings: Day 1: The Democratic Paradox (hereafter TDP) pgs. 1-16 Day 2: TDP pgs. 17-35 Assignment: Annotated bibliography due Week 6: Readings: Day 1: TDP pgs. 36-59 Day 2: TDP pgs. 60-80 Week 7: Reading: TDP pgs. 80-107 Assignment: First Draft of Research Paper Due Week 8: Readings: Day 1: “The People Which is Not One” by Bruno Bosteels in What is a People? (hereafter WIAP), pgs. 1-20 Day 2: “We, the People” by Judith Butler in WIAP, pgs. 49-65 Week 9: Readings:
Day 1: “The People and the Third People” by Sadri Khiari in WIAP, pgs. 87-100 Day 2: “The Populism That Is Not to Be Found” by Jacques Ranciere in WIAP, pgs. 101-106
Week 10: Reading: “Does Democracy Mean Something?” by Jacques Ranciere on D2L