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JOHN CABOT UNIVERSITY

COURSE CODE: "CMS 320"
COURSE NAME: "Cultural Resistance"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2020
SYLLABUS

INSTRUCTOR: Kwame Phillips
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: TTH 1:30-2:50 PM
TOTAL NO. OF CONTACT HOURS: 45
CREDITS: 45
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: COM 220
OFFICE HOURS:

COURSE DESCRIPTION:
This course analyzes the ways in which diverse cultural practices have been used or understood as political weapons, as attempts to intervene in the historical world. The course will introduce students to a number of approaches –both theoretical and practical, through readings of source texts and analysis of specific case studies—which have investigated the possibility of cultural practice being used as a tool of conflict, dissent, affirmation of identity, and resistance. One of the areas of inquiry will be an investigation of how, in advanced capitalist societies, social and political struggle necessarily happens through an engagement with dominant culture and media forms rather than in spite of them; the course will therefore concentrate on those cultural practices that, although not apparently political in content and aim, can nonetheless be used in politically productive ways. Emphasis will be placed on popular and mass culture artifacts and on the ways in which ‘style’ is used by ‘sub-cultures’ and other social identities in both national and global contexts.
SUMMARY OF COURSE CONTENT:

During the course, we will develop analyses that situate practices of cultural resistance in a historical, inter/national and political economic context. In the first part of the course we will discuss the way in which different scholars have analysed culture and cultural resistance. Subsequently we will focus on how resistance is communicated by examining practices that challenge authoritarian, repressive and oppressive power relations and we will discuss how specific cultural practices can subvert dominant culture and challenge such power relations. The focus will be on postcolonial cultures and cinematic practices, race and gender theories of subcultures, as well as music and popular culture.

LEARNING OUTCOMES:

This course will provide students with a critical understanding of the notions of culture and resistance. By the end of the course students should be able to engage critically with an analysis with various forms of popular culture and to detect and examine forms of resistance in the subversion of dominant cultural codes. They will be also able to critically analyse how differences in regard to race, class, gender, sexuality and nation shape groups’ media and communication practices.

TEXTBOOK:
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
The Cultural Resistance ReaderStephen DuncombeVerso9781849661799  
REQUIRED RESERVED READING:
NONE

RECOMMENDED RESERVED READING:
NONE
GRADING POLICY
-ASSESSMENT METHODS:
AssignmentGuidelinesWeight
Attendance and Discussion 10
Midterm paper  30
Final research project 30
Presentation 15
Weekly reflections  15

-ASSESSMENT CRITERIA:
AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the course.
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.

-ATTENDANCE REQUIREMENTS:

You are allowed three unexcused absences in this course. After that, students will automatically lose a letter grade for every three absences.

Lateness: Students more than 10 minutes late are marked as absent. Late arrival (less than 10 minutes) is marked as such, and 3 late arrivals are counted as one absence.

Leaving the class for more than 10 minutes will be counted as one absence.

ACADEMIC HONESTY
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
STUDENTS WITH LEARNING OR OTHER DISABILITIES
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.

SCHEDULE

THIS SYLLABUS WILL BE UPDATED, BUT READINGS WILL COME FROM SOME/MANY OF THESE SOURCES

Week 1 & 2 : Culture, politics and resistance

CRR (Sections I - III):
Introduction
Christopher Hill, “Levellers and True Levellers”;
Raymond Williams, from
Keywords
Marx & Engels, from The German Ideology
Matthew Arnold, from Culture and Anarchy
Walter Benjamin, Author as Producer
Antonio Gramsci from The Prison Notebooks
Mikhail Bakhtin, from Rabelais and his World
Kelley, from Race Rebels

PDFs:
Raymond Williams,
Culture is Ordinary
Hesmondalgh, “Alternative Media, Alternative Texts?”
Hans Magnus Enzensberger, “Constituents of a Theory of the Media”
Duncombe, excerpts from Zines: Notes from the Underground

Week 3 & 4: The Politics of Resistance, Intro to Subcultures

CRR (Sections 3-4):
Jean Baudrillard,
The Masses: The Implosion of the Social in the Media
James C. Scott, from Weapons of the Weak
Stuart Hall, Notes on Deconstructing the Popular
Hobsbawm, from Primitive Rebels
Dick Hebdige, The Meaning of Mod
John Clarke, The Skinheads and the Magical Recovery of a community

PDFs:

Dick Hebdige from Subculture: The Meaning of Style
Chapter 6 : Subculture: The Unnatural Break
Chapter 7 : Style as Intentional Communication
Chapter 8 : Style as Homology

Honors students:
James C. Scott,
Everyday Forms of Resistance;
John Clarke, Stuart Hall, Tony Jefferson, Brian Roberts: Subcultures, Cultures and Class from Resistance through Rituals
Robert Cross, The Teddy Boys as Scapegoat

Week 5 & 6: Subcultures, Racism and Resistance

CRR (Part 5):

Elaine Goodale Eastman, “The Ghost Dance of the War”
Stuart Cosgrove, “The Zoot-Suit and Style Warfare”
Mahatma Gandhi, Hind Swraj
CLR James, Beyond Boundary

PDFs:

Frantz Fanon, Racism and Culture
Alica Gaspar De Alba, “A theoretical introduction: Alternative Ethnography, a lo rasquache” from Chicano Art: Inside/Outside the Mater’s House
Jose Antonio Burciaga, “Con Safos”

Week 7: Girls and subcultures, Feminism, Postfeminism and Resistance

CRR (Section 4):
Radicalesbians: “The Woman identified Woman”
Riot Grrrl, “Riot Grrrl is...”
Kathleen Hanna,
Interview in Punk Planet

PDFs:
Rosalind Gill
, Postfeminist Media Culture: Elements of a Sensibility
McRobbie, Post-feminism and Popular Culture. Bridget Jones and the New Gender Regime
Fien Adriaens, Postfeminism in Popular Culture: A Potential for Critical Resistance?
Garber & McRobbie, Girls and Subcultures
Kristen Schilt, “I’LL RESIST WITH EVERY INCH AND EVERY BREATH”
Wivian Weller, The Feminine Presence in Youth Subcultures
Kristen Schilt, Girls and Zine Making as a Form of Resistance

Week 8: Midterm

Review and Midterm

Week 9: Resistance and Music

From the CRR (Section 3, 5):
Hakim Bey, from
TAZ: The Temporary Autonomous Zone;
George Lipsitz, “Immigration and Assimilation: Rai, Reggae and Bhangramuffin”
Simon Reynolds from Generation Ecstasy

PDFs:
Dick Hebdige: from
Cut’n’Mix; Reggae Rastfarianism; Reggae Rastas and Rudies.
Stephen Duncombe, White Riot Punky Reggae Party

Weeks 10-13: Commodities, Co-Optation and Culture Jamming; Remix and Convergence; Pop Politics

CCR (Section 7 and 8):
Theodor Adorno, "On the Fetish-Character in Music and the Regression in Listening"
Richard Hoggart from The Uses of Literacy
Malcolm Cowley from Exile's Return
Thomas Frank, "Why Johnny Can't Dissent"
Adolph Reed, Jr., "Why Is There No Black Political Movement?"
The account of “a lynching in 1920”
Jordan, “Reclaim the Streets”
Jason Grote on 'Revered Billy' and
Ricardo Dominguez's 'Electronic Disturbance'

 PDFs:
Jenkins, "Worship at the Altar of Convergence"
Marshall, "Forms of Interactivity: The Disappearance of the Audience"
Himanen, "From Netiquette to a Nethic"
(includes Linus Torvalds' Preface to The Hacker Ethic, "What Makes Hackers Tick?")
Wark, "The Hacker Manifesto"
Matt Mason, "We Invented The Remix"
Henry Jenkins, "Photoshop for Democracy"
Aoki, Boyle and Jenkins - Bound By Law?
James Boyle from The Public Domain: Enclosing the Commons of the Mind

PDFs:
David Pottie,
The Politics of Meaning in Punk Rock
Dylan Clark, Waker Cells and Subcultural Resistance
Dylan Clark, The Death and Life of Punk;
Rupa Huq, Young People on the Edge. A World of Post-Subcultures and Post- Suburbs?
Kevin DeLuca, excerpts from Image politics: The New Rhetoric of Environmental Activism

Honor students:
The complete version of Baudrillard's "The Masses: The Implosion of the Social in the Media."

Additional Recommended Baudrillard Readings:

Jean Baudrillard, Requiem for the Media
Jean Baudrillard, The Implosion of Meaning in the Media from Simulacra and Simulation
Manovich, "Principles of New Media"
Lessig, "Building Blocks: Commons and Layers" + "Commons on the Wires" from The Future of Ideas

Week 14: Conclusion: Ethical Sceptical

PDF: Duncombe, “Towards an Ethical Spectacle”
Wrap up and Review