Autumn 2018 Programme

Sessions for Autumn 2018

All sessions are on Tuesday evenings between 6.30 and 8.30pm beginning 2nd October for seven weeks.

Ridley Road Market Bar, 49 Ridley Road, Dalston, London, E8 2NP

Admission Free, No need to book 

Course outline

Session 1

Oct 2

Making Meaning: Introduction to Semiotics

We make meaning from everything we see around us every day, but what informs our decisions about what ‘things’ mean? This session will introduce you to the work of the French Philologist Ferdinand de Saussure who gave us the tools to understand the role of ideology in how we make sense of everyday life.

Session 2

Oct 9

Workers of the World Unite: Marx for Beginners

Karl Marx is famous for predicting a workers’ revolution in Britain and, as some politicians will gleefully tell you, for being wrong. But many of Marx’s ideas are still startlingly relevant to how we think about the organisation of society and the role of the economy in determining our lives. In this session, we’ll develop our understanding of capitalism and think about the relationship between bodies, machines and work.

Session 3

Oct 16

Popular Interests: Antonio Gramsci and Hegemony

Antonio Gramsci was the leader of the Italian Communist party after WW1 and spent a lot of time in prison. Happily for us, it gave him plenty of time to think. In this session we’ll study his theory of ‘hegemony’ which helps to explain why we consent to be governed by people that really don’t have our best interests at heart.

Session 4

Oct 30

Monsieur Foucault and the Prison of the Self

Michel Foucault was a French theorist whose work has had wide ranging consequences for how we think about power and its effects on how we understand ourselves and others. We’ll be examining the design of an eighteenth century prison and how it gives us a model for understanding why we think some things (and people) are ‘abnormal’.

Session 5

Nov 6

Racial Mythologies: Edward Said and Orientalism

Foucault’s ideas have considerable implications for how we understand racism and its effects in contemporary culture. In this session, we’ll discuss the work of Edward Said who applied Foucault’s insights about history, language and self-identity to understanding how racial stereotypes come to be accepted as ‘truth’.

Session 6

Nov 13

Inventing Gender

This week we’ll start to look at the ideas that have had an influence on how we identify people based on their gender. We’ll take a brief tour through the world according to Sigmund Freud, look at how Charles Darwin gave scientific authority to the assumption that women are stupid and begin to explore feminist challenges to these ideas.

Session 7

Nov 27

What’s Sex Got to Do With It?

The current decade has exposed the widespread abuse of women’s bodies in public life alongside a resurgence of interest in feminism and demands for equality in the labour market. But is ‘equality’ enough? What does it even mean? In this final session we will examine the radical politics of gender dissent and why all forms of sexuality are political.