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Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities: What was Vitalism? Genealogies of the Living in Modernity

HUM 595/ARC 593/CLA 595/MOD 595

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This course unfolds from a variant on the anthropologist Stefan Helmreich's question "what was life?" to trace vitalism across the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, while interrogating its contemporary theoretical implications in relationship to biopolitical theory and the ontological plasticity of life at the horizon of technological expansion. We consider scalar complexity, from the cell to the cosmos and the new planetary connectedness. We also consider differently scaled histories of life through receptions of classicized Greek texts in modern vitalisms and the unstable temporality between the modern and the contemporary.
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Section S01

  • Type: Seminar
  • Section: S01
  • Status: O
  • Enrollment: 0
  • Capacity: 12
  • Class Number: 20204
  • Schedule: T 01:30 PM-04:20 PM