Imagining the Other

Grounded in a thorough examination of the various theories of society, such as social Darwinism, and designed around a comparative and multidisciplinary set of scholarly works, literary writings, and primary sources, this course explores the colonial, postcolonial, and imperial interactions between the West and the rest of the world during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  It looks at the ways the perception of differences informs reality and conditions the imagining and the construction of the racial, ethnic, and national other. On a more fundamental level, it questions the meaning of modernity and its civilizing processes steeped in the common myth of progress and betterment of itself through rationalization and institutionalization. Special attention will be dedicated to examining the way the modern West comes to establish, locate, control, trust, and distrust knowledge and the way the “Other” responds to it, and to the West in general. The comparative and multidisciplinary design of the course aims at helping students develop a more nuanced way of studying the subject, and by doing so, it exposes them to new ways of critical thinking.