Summer Institute 2022 (PHIL 3380-050): Philosophy and Social Movements I

In the summer of 2012, Douglas College began a project entitled the Summer Institute for Continental Philosophy. The institute takes the form of a third-year Philosophy course, PHIL 3380, attended by members of the Philosophy Department and other scholars, and includes a lecture by a visiting guest speaker. Students from all institutions are invited to attend.

 

Course Description

This summer marks the tenth year of the Summer Institute in Continental Philosophy.

The theme for the Summer Institute for Continental Philosophy (2022) is ‘Philosophy and Social Movements.’ We will examine two philosophers—Simone de Beauvoir and Herbert Marcuse—who sought to align their projects with revolutionary and antifascist social movements. Each is an important figure in realigning the history of 20th century Continental philosophy around a philosophy of antifascism. We will then use their work as a critical perspective for evaluating Judith Butler’s recent book, The Force of Non-Violence.

During this course, we will examine the following themes: freedom and violence, revolution and counter-revolution, no-platforming, and community self-defense.

Prerequisites: 9 prior credits in Philosophy or permission of the instructor.

Enrolment Requirements: Douglas students who have met the prerequisites can enrol directly.

PHIL 3380: Continental Philosophy is open to all post-secondary students with 9 credits in Philosophy (or suitable equivalents) and may transfer as third-year credit to universities across British Columbia, including UBC and SFU.

Students currently enrolled in a BC post-secondary institution do NOT need to apply for admission to Douglas College in order to take this course. Students may apply to enroll into PHIL 3380 by completing and submitting the enrolment form and accompanying documents to Jessica Maitland, Associate Registrar (maitlandj1[at]douglascollege.ca), as per instructions on the form. All applications will be reviewed by the instructor. Please contact Dr. Shaw with any questions at shawd3@douglascollege.ca

 

Keynote Address

“Critical Theory and Antifascist Strategy Today”

Joan Braune, Gonzaga University

Abstract: Understanding resurgence of participation in fascism includes examining three dimensions: (1) structural-political forces, (2) individual and social psychology, and (3) subjective agency. Only by understanding and reckoning with these intersecting dimensions, which Frankfurt School Critical Theory and existentialism help us to reconcile, can we effectively fight fascism. Too often approaches ignore one dimension or focus exclusively on a single one. Fascism is a social movement seeking power, always already connected to sources of power. Yet at the same time, its appeal for those who join it is structured upon individual psychological appeals and tendencies, as well as the ways that fascist recruitment plays upon certain human needs. Finally, fascists are making a choice for which they can and should be held morally and in some cases legally responsible, and they are not the passive playthings of economic and political forces, nor of personal trauma. I will address each of these three dimensions and show how Critical Theory and existentialism, and especially the Critical Theory of Erich Fromm, help us to understand the relationship between these three dimensions. I will also discuss the implications of these three dimensions for antifascist practice.

Biography: Dr. Joan Braune is a Lecturer in Philosophy at Gonzaga University, where she is active in the Gonzaga Institute for Hate Studies. Her research focuses on Critical Hate Studies (understanding and countering fascist movements) and Frankfurt School Critical Theory, especially Erich Fromm. She is author of Erich Fromm’s Revolutionary Hope: Prophetic Messianism as a Critical Theory of the Future (2014) and co-editor with Kieran Durkin of Erich Fromm’s Critical Theory: Hope, Humanism, and the Future (2020). She is currently completing a book on understanding and resisting fascist movements in the U.S. today for Routledge Press’s series on Fascism and the Far-Right, and is co-editing a volume on The Ethics of Researching the Far-Right, with Antonia Vaughn, Meghan Tinsley, and Aurelien Mondon. In addition to her academic research, she is a community activist and a frequent invited speaker to help organizations, schools, faith communities, and others understand how to respond to the threat posed by hate groups.

 

Course Evaluation

1) Two essays, each worth 40% of the final grade. Essays must follow accepted academic conventions and must each be around 3000 words in length. Each essay must directly address material found in the course texts and must demonstrate some degree of familiarity with secondary literature on its topic. A short essay proposal (no more than 250 words) must be submitted and approved for each essay before students may proceed with their writing. A more specific handout about expectations will be distributed during the course. Essays must be submitted via Blackboard.

* First essay is due June 16th at the beginning of class.

* Second essay is due July 28th at the beginning of class.

2) Research discussion, worth 20% of the final mark. This interview should be scheduled with the professor sometime between August 5th and August 12th. It has no pre-set questions and will generally focus upon philosophical questions which arise out of student’s completed essay work.

 

Required Readings

These required textbooks will be available at the Douglas College Bookstore:

  • Simone de Beauvoir, The Ethics of Ambiguity. Trans. Bernard Frechtman (New York: Citadel, 1976). ISBN: 978-1504054225.
  • Herbert Marcuse, An Essay on Liberation (Boston: Beacon Press, 1969).       

ISBN: 978-080700595-8

  • Judith Butler, The Force of Non-Violence: An Ethico-Political Bind (London: Verso, 2020). ISBN: 978-1788732772.

The remaining readings are supplied on Blackboard in PDF format:

  • Simone de Beauvoir, “Right-Wing Thought Today” in Political Writings. Ed. Margaret A. Simons and Marybeth Timmermann (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2012), 113–153; 165–193.
  • Herbert Marcuse, Eros and Civilization (excerpt).
  • Herbert Marcuse, “Repressive Tolerance,” in The Essential Marcuse. Ed. Andrew Feenberg and William Leiss (Boston: Beacon Press, 2007), 32–59.
  • Chad Kautzer, “Notes for a Critical Theory of Self-Defense” in Setting Sights: Histories and Reflections on Community Armed Self-Defense. Ed. scott crow (Oakland: PM Press, 2018), 35–48.
  • Robert F. Williams, Negroes with Guns (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1998), 72–86.
  • M.I. Asma, On Necrocapitalism: A Plague Journal (Montreal: Kersplebedeb, 2021), 109–117.

 

Schedule (Subject to Change) Guest Speakers in Bold

May 12

Introduction

May 19

Beauvoir, Ethics of Ambiguity, Chapter 1

May 26

Beauvoir, Ethics of Ambiguity, Chapter 2

June 2

Beauvoir, Ethics of Ambiguity, Chapter 3

June 9

Beauvoir, “Right-Wing Thought Today”

June 16

Marcuse, Eros and Civilization (excerpt)

Bob Nicholls (Douglas College, retired)

June 23

Keynote Address:

Joan Braune, “Critical Theory and Antifascist Strategy Today”

Room TBA

June 30

Marcuse, “Repressive Tolerance”

Wes Furlotte (Thompson Rivers University)

July 7

Marcuse, Essay on Liberation

July 14

Marcuse, Essay on Liberation

July 21

Butler, 1–25; Kautzer, “Notes for a Critical Theory of Self-Defense”

July 28

Butler, 26–77; 100–102; Williams, Negroes with Guns

Aug 4

Butler, 26–77; 100–102; M.I. Asma, On Necrocapitalism

Faculty

The Summer Institute for Continental Philosophy is directed by four Douglas College faculty, philosophers who have specialized in this area of Philosophy:

Dr. Devin Zane Shaw completed his PhD at the University of Ottawa. He is the author of three books, Philosophy of Antifascism: Punching Nazis and Fighting White Supremacy (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2020), Egalitarian Moments: From Descartes to Rancière (Bloomsbury, 2016) and Freedom and Nature in Schelling's Philosophy of Art (Bloomsbury, 2010). He has also published articles in the area of political philosophy. 

Dr. John Bruin received his PhD from Guelph/McMaster with a dissertation on Husserl which was subsequently published by the University of Ottawa Press in 2001 under the title Homo Interrogans. Dr. Bruin has also published articles on Heidegger.

Dr. Robert Nicholls (retired) completed his PhD at the University of Waterloo in 1988 with a dissertation entitled Sense and Existence: Heidegger 1925-29. Dr. Nicholls has published essays on Nietzsche, Husserl and Heidegger, as well as in the areas of literary theory, philosophy of education and Eastern philosophy.

Dr. Mano Daniel (retired) completed his doctorate at the University of Waterloo with a dissertation on the work of Hannah Arendt. He co-edited the book Phenomenology of the Cultural Disciplines, and  has written papers in the areas of  environmental sustainability; philosophy of biography; philosophy and public policy; and the nature of apology.

 

Past Summer Institutes

2021

Marx and Marxism

 
2020

Literatures of Commitment: Writings of Jean-Paul Sartre (Cancelled Due to Covid)

Scheduled Guest Speaker: Glen Sean Coulthard (Yellowknives Dene), associate professor in First Nations and Indigenous Studies and the Department of Political Science at UBC, and author of Red Skin, White Masks: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition (2014).
2019

Interpreting Nietzsche

Guest Speaker: Robert B. Pippin, Evelyn Stefansson Nef Distinguished Service Professor in the Committee on Social Thought, Department of Philosophy, University of Chicago.
2018

Existentialism and Psychology

Guest Speaker: Andrew Feldmar, Practising Existential Psychotherapist, Vancouver, BC
2017

After Heidegger: a Survey of Continental Philosophy

Guest Speaker: Professor Alan Schrift, F. Wendell Miller Professor of Philosophy at Grinnell College, Iowa
2016

Heidegger's Nietzsche Volumes

Guest Speaker: Professor Patricia Glazebrook, Director of the School of Politics, Philosophy and Public Affairs, Washington State University.
2015

Heidegger's Essays: Basic Writings

Guest Speaker: Professor Raj Singh, Philosophy, Brock University
2014

Marcuse: One-Dimensional Man

Guest Speaker: Professor Andrew Feenberg, Canada Research Chair in Philosophy of Technology, School of Communication, Simon Fraser University
2013

Heidegger's Being and Time

Guest Speaker: Professor Jeff Mitscherling, Philosophy, University of Guelph
2012

Sartre's Being and Nothingness

Guest Speaker: Professor Bruce Baugh, Philosophy, Thompson Rivers University