Samuel Catlin: Syllabus and Teaching Portfolio Workshop

Samuel Catlin

PhD Candidate, Comparative Literature & Religion, Literature, and Visual Culture

Syllabus Design and Teaching Portfolio Workshop: “Masters of Suspicion: The History of ‘Critique’ and Contemporary Debates in Hermeneutical Theory”

Monday, February 10, 12:30 PM, Swift 200

In this workshop, we will look at a syllabus-in-progress for an upper-level undergraduate seminar in comparative literature, continental, philosophy, and/or religious studies (including the philosophy of religions), titled “Masters of Suspicion: The History of ‘Critique’ and Contemporary Debates in Hermeneutical Theory.” I will supply beforehand the syllabus as well as excerpts from two of the readings, which should be read in advance of the workshop.

The purpose of a syllabus-design workshop is double. The syllabus is in the very roughest stage of conception and I am seeking constructive feedback about the course objectives, structure, readings, etc. Going in the other direction, the workshop contributes to the professional preparation of current pre-candidacy PhD students by giving them a chance to look at a component of most academic job portfolios, the sample syllabus, and learn about the process of developing such syllabi (how many? at what levels? What course content?) as well as the role these documents and related pedagogical materials play in positioning oneself on the academic job market. To that end, the PR Workshop has planned this workshop specifically to benefit pre-candidacy PhD students working at the intersection of (continental) philosophy, religious studies, and/or literary theory.

The course is intended for advanced undergraduates with a working familiarity either with major trends in continental philosophy since the 17th century or with contemporary literary theory. The course treats the notion of a “hermeneutics of suspicion” as it gets articulated in the 1960s by Paul Ricoeur and Michel Foucault; the syllabus aims to situate this notion in a longer genealogy of post-Enlightenment “critique” (especially the critique of religion) and to interrogate the recent, increasingly widespread push for “post-critical” reading in literary studies over the last two decades (e.g. R. Felski, B. Latour, H. Love, S. Marcus and S. Best, F. Moretti, The Point, the later E.K. Sedgwick). I want this course to accomplish three related objectives:

(1)   to get students reflecting about the relationship between the modes of critical reading in which their education has trained them and, by denaturalizing the genealogy of critique, religious modes of engagement with texts against which such critical reading has historically been defined;

(2)   to think seriously about the relationship – genealogical and phenomenological – between “suspicion” and “charity” as hermeneutical and ethical principles;

(3)   to acquaint students with of-the-moment theoretical and methodological debates in the study of literature, especially as these bear on philosophy and religious studies.

Finally, as you shall see on the syllabus document itself, the course is divided in two parallel streams: various short theoretical and philosophical texts, on the one hand, and on the other a single, particularly difficult literary work which the class will read very carefully with an eye toward its explicit thematization of the hermeneutics of suspicion and the unrestricted economy of charity – Herman Melville’s late novel The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade.

Lunch provided

The Workshop on the Philosophy of Religions is committed to being a fully accessible and inclusive workshop.  Please contact Workshop Coordinators Rebekah Rosenfeld (rrosenfeld@uchicago.edu) or William Underwood (wunderwood@uchicago.edu) in order to make any arrangements necessary to facilitate your participation in workshop events.

Daniel Wyche: “Georges Friedmann: From the Great Disequilibrium to the Interior Effort”

Daniel Wyche

PhD Candidate, Philosophy of Religions

Georges Friedmann: From the Great Disequilibrium to the Interior Effort

Monday, January 27, 12:30 PM, Swift 200

Refreshments provided

The Workshop on the Philosophy of Religions is committed to being a fully accessible and inclusive workshop.  Please contact Workshop Coordinators Rebekah Rosenfeld (rrosenfeld@uchicago.edu) or William Underwood (wunderwood@uchicago.edu) in order to make any arrangements necessary to facilitate your participation in workshop events.

Ryan Bingham: Grammēsis: Time and Writing in Derrida’s “Ousia and Grammē”

Ryan Bingham

PhD Student, Religion, Literature, and Visual Culture

Grammēsis: Time and Writing in Derrida’s “Ousia and Grammē

Monday, November 11, 12:30 PM, Swift 200

Lunch provided

Ryan’s paper may be accessed here. Please contact rrosenfeld@uchicago.edu for password.

The Workshop on the Philosophy of Religions is committed to being a fully accessible and inclusive workshop.  Please contact Workshop Coordinators Rebekah Rosenfeld (rrosenfeld@uchicago.edu) or William Underwood (wunderwood@uchicago.edu) in order to make any arrangements necessary to facilitate your participation in workshop events.

David Newheiser: A Pessimistic Politics of Hope

David Newheiser

Australian Catholic University

A Pessimistic Politics of Hope

Monday, November 4th, 12:30 PM, Swift Common Room

Lunch Provided

The Workshop on the Philosophy of Religions is committed to being a fully accessible and inclusive workshop.  Please contact Workshop Coordinators Rebekah Rosenfeld (rrosenfeld@uchicago.edu) and William Underwood (wunderwood@uchicago.edu) in order to make any arrangements necessary to facilitate your participation in workshop events.

 

Peter Chen: a this and a that: atheism and interpretation

Peter Chen

MA Student, Divinity School

a this and a that: atheism and interpretation

Monday, October 21, 12:30 PM, Swift 200

Lunch provided

Peter’s paper may be accessed here

The Workshop on the Philosophy of Religions is committed to being a fully accessible and inclusive workshop.  Please contact Workshop Coordinators Rebekah Rosenfeld (rrosenfeld@uchicago.edu) or William Underwood (wunderwood@uchicago.edu) in order to make any arrangements necessary to facilitate your participation in workshop events.

Thomas Meyer: The Human Condition vs. Classical Political Philosophy

Thomas Meyer

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

The Human Condition vs. Classical Political Philosophy: Hannah Arendt, Leo Strauss, and the ‘War of Ideas'”

Monday, October 14th, 4:00 PM, Social Sciences Research Building 122

The Workshop on the Philosophy of Religions is committed to being a fully accessible and inclusive workshop.  Please contact Workshop Coordinators Rebekah Rosenfeld (rrosenfeld@uchicago.edu) and William Underwood (wunderwood@uchicago.edu) in order to make any arrangements necessary to facilitate your participation in workshop events.

 

Faculty Panel: What is Philosophy of Religions?

Dan Arnold, Ryan Coyne, Sarah Hammerschlag, and Brook Ziporyn

Professors, Philosophy of Religions, University of Chicago Divinity School

What is Philosophy of Religions?

Monday, October 7, 12:30 – 1:20 PM, Swift 208

Lunch Provided

Join us to discuss the question “What is Philosophy of Religions?” with members of the PR faculty. Professors Dan Arnold, Ryan Coyne, Sarah Hammerschlag, and Brook Ziporyn will share their perspectives on the field, its contemporary challenges, and what it means to “do PR” in the Divinity School. The majority of the panel will be dedicated to student questions. All are welcome!

Please contact workshop coordinators Rebekah Rosenfeld (rrosenfeld@uchicago.edu) and William Underwood (wunderwood@uchicago.edu) with any questions concerning this event.

Olivia Bustion: “The Spirit as Plural Person: A Constructive Reading of Karl Barth’s Pneumatology”

Olivia Bustion

PhD Candidate, Theology

The Spirit as Plural Person: A Constructive Reading of Karl Barth’s Pneumatology

Wednesday, May 29, 12:00 PM, Swift 400

Lunch provided

The Workshop on the Philosophy of Religions is committed to being a fully accessible and inclusive workshop.  Please contact Workshop Coordinator William Underwood (wunderwood@uchicago.edu) in order to make any arrangements necessary to facilitate your participation in workshop events.

Philosophy of Religions Panel and Send-off

Scott Ferguson, Zeke Goggin, Lisa Hendrick, Russell Johnson, Hannah Roh, and Stephen Walker

Please join the Philosophy of Religions Workshop as we renew a workshop tradition and send off the graduating and soon-to-be-graduating doctoral candidates in the Philosophy of Religions. Scott Ferguson, Zeke Goggin, Lisa Hendrick, Russell Johnson, Hannah Roh, and Stephen Walker will present short summaries of their dissertations and answer questions about their research. This event will be provide an opportunity for students to reconnect and hear about each other’s work, or to meet for the first time and learn about the kind of work that goes into a dissertation.

Wednesday, May 22, 12:00 PM, Swift 200

Lunch will be provided

The Workshop on the Philosophy of Religions is committed to being a fully accessible and inclusive workshop.  Please contact Workshop Coordinator William Underwood (wunderwood@uchicago.edu) in order to make any arrangements necessary to facilitate your participation in workshop events.

Professor Carlos Manrique: “Ontologies of the colonized body, and the politics of religious edgings (notes on a civic popular uprising in Afro-Colombia’s pacific littoral)”

Carlos Manrique

Professor, Dept. Philosophy, Universidad de los Andes

“Ontologies of the Colonized Body, and the Politics of Religious Edgings (notes on a civic popular uprising in Afro-Colombia’s pacific littoral) 

Monday, May 13th, 12:00 PM, Swift 106

The paper is part of a work in progress engaged in a philosophical narration of a forceful
civic uprising that took place in the main city port of Colombia’s pacific littoral,
Buenaventura, in 2017. Such a narration seeks to elaborate the ways in which the archive,
and the testimonies of participants, from this political event call for a conceptual re-
description or re-imagining of, among other issues: the theologico-political; the
topographies of the social space in which it took place; what a peace-building religious
activism implies here in a hardly recognizable form; the ontology of the political that can
account for the force of ethnic, racial and religious difference that this event mobilized.
This presentation is focused on this last question. It puts into conversation the historical
singularity and density of this event, with an aporia that, in our view, contemporary
political theory confronts: the short circuit between sites of political praxis in which the
political import and force of cultural difference is unmistakable, and the way in which the
prevalent frameworks in political theory to render it legible miss it (be it liberal
multiculturalism, or the contemporary critiques of it that reclaim the return of a universal
subject). The exposition also enters in dialogue with other interventions in critical theory
that have proposed an ontological level of analysis into the problem of the politics of ethnic
or racial difference, such as Franz Fanon’s ontology of the colonized body.

Lunch will be provided

The Workshop on the Philosophy of Religions is committed to being a fully accessible and inclusive workshop.  Please contact Workshop Coordinator William Underwood (wunderwood@uchicago.edu) in order to make any arrangements necessary to facilitate your participation in workshop events.