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contemporary political theories ateneo de manila university
contemporary political theories ateneo de manila university

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Categories:Types, School Work
Published by: Rene Raymond NotoApeco Raneses on Nov 02, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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12/25/2012

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At the heart of the present uncertainty gripping theworld in the wake of what seems to be a stillunabated global economic crisis and the unraveling of the political, socio-cultural infrastructures andconsensus that supported the dominant world orderin the past few decades is a growing recognition of the terrifying presence of an overwhelming force thateludes and refuses to be reined by what we modernmen have long held on to as a marker of our capacityto shape our lives and destiny: reason.What is striking, however, about our contemporarycondition is how appeals to the restoration of reasonand the retrieval of human agency to shape individualand collective ways of living together are invokedwith either an implicit or explicit spirit of despair. Onthe one hand, the triumphalism and messianism of the market reveals not quite a hopeful trust in theoriginality of the human person to reorganize whatexisting possibilities for creative self-actualizationprovide but a submission to the logic and rationalitiesthat enable such possibilities. The resounding call toreason which has been the battle cry of theEnlightenment is by now no more than areverberating call to identify with the privilegedreason of modernity
that of the market.
On the other hand, the blatant condemnation of contemporary reason found in the skepticism of thosewho lament the potentials of human creativity
 –
itsideological domination and thus lack of originality
 –
 under the technological apparatuses of late capitalistmodernity has prevented many agents of criticaltransformation from developing a consensual anduniversal paradigm around which collective forms of identification may be organized.This rejection of a universal account of reason andcollective identification betrays what many critics of modernity aim for
 –
the retrieval of the particularityand historical uniqueness of human creativity andagency
 –
since in the repudiation of the desirability of a stabilizing foundation for collective self-realization,attempts to build shared political goals may tend tobe received and perceived as impositions of uncompromising positions rather than as self-disclosing moments. Once understood this way, itbecomes too easy to subject the aims of specificcommunities competing in the political struggle to theenforcing apparatuses of a rarefied consensus anduniversalism that is no longer publicly andcommunally accessible.
For every image of the past that is not recognized by the present as oneof its own concerns threatens to disappear irretrievably 
.-- WALTER BENJAMIN
 
 
Moving beyond the fascination that technology exerts, we must reappropriate thetrue meaning of freedom, which is not an intoxication with total autonomy, but aresponse to the call of being, beginning with our own personal being.
– 
POPE 
BENEDICT XVI, “Caritas in veritate” 
 
This course investigates the status, deployments, rationalities and prospects of 
REASON
in thecontext of our contemporary
CAPITALIST MODERNITY
. It does so by revisiting the
categorical opposition 
within the political vocabulary and imaginary of modernity between
REASON AND RELIGION
through a genealogical study of the historico-material andtheoretical terrains that have lent currency to such a discursive oppositionality while paying attentionto the concrete strategies of its deployment as well as consequences to the possibility of truly
REVOLUTIONARY
and
HUMANIST
political practices and modes of criticism.Throughout the semester, the course will show how the diverse pursuits, reflections and theoreticalengagements of modern and contemporary political theorists are underpinned by a struggle to definethe boundary of the religious and the non-religious with the aim of securing and guarding the freedompromised by the modern conceptualization of reason. The course proceeds from the overarching claimthat the framing of these conceptual struggles/oppositions cannot be separated from the criticalappraisal of and resistance to the demands of the historically dominant mode of economic organizationand production and as such any attempt to reconfigure the frames and terms of these conceptualcategorizations by way of discursive representation and theoretical innovation must also pay attentionto the possibility of reproducing the very system of economic life and accumulation that allows such asystem of representation to attain a meaningful and powerful status in theconsciousness of observers and critical interrogators. The centralobjective of the course then is to strive in the most effective wayto resist and displace the possibilities for reproducing theserepresentational and discursive tendencies.The route for reflection offered by the course is directedtowards the study of contemporary political subjectivityand the cultivation of possible counter-subjectivitiesas well as the endorsement of forms of counter-consciousness drawn from the concrete experiencesof those at the margins of the authorized rationalityof capitalist modernity - laborers, religious mystics,theologians, women, homosexuals and postcolonialsubjects
 –
and are the constant targets andinstruments, but as such, also possible sources of resisting, the disciplinaryapparatuses and forms of violence underlying thepresent order.

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