Playing with authority

against "hegemony"

This is an advanced reading group reviewing theoretical developments leading to the current hegemony of "hegemony" as an explanatory tool for the ever more encompassing success of Euro-American schooling, both at the local level of face-to-face classroom interaction and at the broadest political levels where national policies are discussed.

My goal is to be build on my recent Successful failure (with R.P. McDermott. Westview, 1998), particularly Chapters 2 to 5 and 8, as well as my earlier American school language (1983).

I expect students to have done the readings required of first year students in anthropology (particularly Durkheim, Marx, Levi-Strauss and Bourdieu) as well as the readings required for my class Communication and Culture (particularly Benedict, G.H. Mead, Saussure, Bakhtin and Williams). While the class gestalt will be strongly anthropological, doctoral students in sociology or political science may also be interested.

I will expect different things from students depending on their position in their graduate career:

Students who are finalizing a proposal, conducting research, or writing up, will mostly be expected to talk about their research as the occasion arises and participate in the more general theoretical discussions.

Students who are preparing certification exams in any of the subfield concerned may be asked to summarize some of the traditions they are working on as they help each other prepare bibliographies and move on to dissertation topics.

Students at an earlier stage, or otherwise interested in the topic mostly as observers of developments, may find this an occasion to explore literatures and problematics that might deepen their current understandings.

Exact requirements for receiving a P in the class will be handled individually (grades must be requested). Please talk to me early on in the semester and then e-mail me your understanding of what we have agreed upon.

August 28, 2002