What is technology? Does technological change drive social change? Is technology independent of social relations? What are the consequences of “technological progress” under capitalism? What constraints does capitalism place on such progress?Find out more »
Season 1: Changing Places in America
Herman Melville, The Confidence-Man (1857). John Barth, The Sot-Weed Factor (1960) Lisa Ko, The Leavers (2017)
In his 1970 essay “Philosophy and the Form of Fiction,” William Gass brought the term “metafiction” forward to the reading public as a way to characterize the work writers such as Borges, Barth, Flann O’Brien, as well as the type of novels Gass himself would write. He described metafiction as writing “in which the forms of fiction serve as the material upon which further forms can be imposed”. Does metafiction provide escape for the committed writer from the bourgeois strictures that the novel form imposes? As critical readers we need to check out all the angles. The metafiction form will over time become incorporated as yet another aspect of modern fiction as ultimately there is no way to over-ride what happens when ink is committed to paper, impulses to the interactive screen.
American fiction writers have lots to write about. We are introducing a four term look at writing by American authors who have novels appropriate to four themes important to critical thinkers of the broad American questions on nation, class, race and gender. Much of this fiction becomes part of what our unfolding reality is as a nation, group of nations, as aspiring internationalists. Many of the fictional works we will read are not as formally postmodern or would formally fall in the metafiction category as delineated by Barth.Find out more »
After the defeat of the 1848-50 revolutions in Europe, Marx acknowledged that he failed to provide an adequate analysis of the economic foundation of society and turned from a focus on organizing to an intense, life-long study of political economy. Catalyzed by the first global economic crisis in 1857 and after 10 years of concentrated study, he started the first of seven notebooks to self-clarify his work up to that point. Not published or available outside the USSR until 1953, Martin Nicolaus provided the first—and only —English translation of all seven notebooks in 1973 as the Grundrisse: Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy.Find out more »