'Making the Modern Self' syllabus

By Os Keyes

This quarter I was lucky enough to be asked to teach a class on “making the modern self” at Seattle University-although due to a miscommunication I sort of did it, um, accidentally, having assumed I was literally being asked to guest lecture and not be an adjunct professor of philosophy before I’ve even passed my candidacy exams. My pattern of failing upwards at unexpected velocities continues!

Anyway: it was incredibly fun, the students were delightful, and I’m posting my syllabus because it might be useful or interesting. The class as finally delivered had some of these cut because I refuse to be monstrously abusive and ask my students to pretend the current time is normal.

Pro-tip about syllabus posting: tenure reviews often involve demonstrating research impact, and “my paper was used in a class” is impact. Your syllabus transparency could help give someone job security!

Making the Modern Self

Introduction to Social Selves

  • O’Brien, Jodi. “Shared Meaning is The Basis of Humanness.” In The Production of Reality: essays and readings on social interaction. Thousand Oaks: Pine Forge Press (2011).
  • Chapter 1, “Identity as a Question” of Lawler, Steph. Identity: sociological perspectives. John Wiley & Sons, 2015.
  • Chapter 1 of Scott, Suzie. Negotiating Identity: Symbolic Interactionist Approaches to Social identity

Becoming through Interaction

*Chapter 4 of Scott, Suzie. “Negotiating Identity: Symbolic Interactionist Approaches to Social identity”

Doing Identity in Practice

  • West, Candace, and Don H. Zimmerman. “Doing gender.” Gender & Society (1987): 125-151.
  • Pyke, Karen D., and Denise L. Johnson. “Asian American Women And Racialized Femininities: “Doing” Gender across Cultural Worlds.” Gender & Society1 (2003): 33-53.
  • Du Bois, W. E. B. “Double-Consciousness and the Veil.” Social Class and Stratification: Classic Statements and Theoretical Debates (1998): 208.

Critical Perspectives on Identity

  • “Foucault’s Counter-History of Ideas” in McHoul & Grace, A Foucault Primer
  • Foucault, Michel The History of Sexuality: Volume 1
  • Weir, Allison. “Who are we? Modern identities between Taylor and Foucault.” Philosophy & social criticism 35.5 (2009): 533-553.

Bridging the Critical and Interactive

  • Hacking, Ian. “The looping effects of human kinds.” In Causaul Cognition (1995).
  • Hacking, Ian. “Between Michel Foucault and Erving Goffman: between discourse in the abstract and face-to-face interaction.” Economy and society 33.3 (2004): 277-302.

Applying Critical Perspectives

  • Spade, Dean. “Resisting Medicine/Remodeling Gender” Berkeley Women’s Law Journal.
  • Roen, Katrina. “Transgender theory and embodiment: The risk of racial marginalisation.” Journal of Gender Studies (2001): 253-263.

Classification and the Stuff of Identity

  • Bowker and Star, Sorting Things Out: Classification and its Consequences
  • Star, Susan Leigh, and Geoffrey C. Bowker. “Enacting silence: Residual categories as a challenge for ethics, information systems, and communication.” Ethics and Information Technology 9.4 (2007): 273-280.

Neoliberalism and Identity

  • Rottenberg, Catherine. “The rise of neoliberal feminism.” Cultural studies (2014): 418-437.
  • David, Emmanuel. “Capital T: Trans visibility, corporate capitalism, and commodity culture.” Transgender Studies Quarterly (2017): 28-44.
  • Yergeau, Melanie. “Clinically significant disturbance: On theorists who theorize theory of mind.” Disability Studies Quarterly (2013).

Technology and Identity

  • Hogan, Bernie. “The presentation of self in the age of social media: Distinguishing performances and exhibitions online.” Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society (2010): 377-386.
  • De Vries, Katja. “Identity, profiling algorithms and a world of ambient intelligence.” Ethics and information technology (2010): 71-85.
  • Keyes, Os. “The Body Instrumental” https://logicmag.io/nature/the-body-instrumental/

Resistance, Hope and Wonder

  • Medina, José. “Toward a Foucaultian epistemology of resistance: Counter-memory, epistemic friction, and guerrilla pluralism.” Foucault Studies (2011): 9-35.
  • Schram, Brian. “Accidental Orientations: Rethinking Queerness in Archival Times.” Surveillance & Society (2019): 602-617.
  • Simpson, Audra. “The ruse of consent and the anatomy of ‘refusal’: Cases from indigenous North America and Australia.” Postcolonial Studies (2017): 18-33.
  • Diprose, Rosalyn. “Toward an ethico-politics of the posthuman: Foucault and Merleau-Ponty.” Parrhesia (2009): 7-19.