Cultural Appropriation (CCEA-UH 1069)

Virtually unknown outside of academic discourse until very recently, the term cultural appropriation has become a commonplace in social and popular media, as activists and public intellectuals have highlighted what they see as problematic uses (or abuses) of cultural symbols, artifacts, or expressive modes connected to marginalized groups. But what exactly is cultural appropriation, and under what circumstances can it be said to constitute a form of exploitation or violence? This course approaches these questions both philosophically and empirically, asking, on the one hand: What is culture, and how can it be “owned” or “stolen”? and on the other: How have practices of adopting or using culture been implicated in processes of social subjugation or marginalization? Course readings are drawn from a range of disciplines across the humanities and social sciences, including cultural anthropology, art theory, music studies, and philosophy. By engaging with a rich corpus of ideas through in-class discussions, oral presentations, and written reflections, students will develop critical perspectives on cultural appropriation as well as the broader concepts of culture, race, and ethnicity.

Core: Cultural Exploration & Analysis (Undergraduate)
4 credits – 15 Weeks

Sections (Fall 2023)

CCEA-UH 1069-000 (16833)
08/29/2023 – 12/15/2023 Mon,Wed
12:00 AM – 2:00 PM (Early afternoon)
at Abu Dhabi
Instructed by Eisenberg, Andrew Jarad

Technophilia and Its Discontents (CCEA-UH 1043)

Why must Luke Skywalker turn off his in computer at the climactic moment of George Lucas’s iconic film Star Wars (1977)? The film started a revolution in cinematic special-effects, but underlying its narrative logic is a deeply rooted anxiety about the right uses of technology. If man, as Hannah Arendt famously put it, is homo faber, the “creator,” the tool-making animal, then from at least Plato to the present, human beings have told stories about how dangerous tools can be. This course investigates philosophical writing, novels, plays, and films from a variety of world cultures to explore the vexed relationship between humans and the technologies they create. Why are human beings, perhaps more than ever at the start of the 21st century, so enamored with technological progress? Why is technophilia, the love of technology, so often accompanied by its opposite, technophobia, the fear of technology? What do the attitudes represented in the texts and films we examine tell us about human agency and about the relationship between science and religion?

Core: Cultural Exploration & Analysis (Undergraduate)
4 credits – 3 Weeks

Sections (Summer 2022)

CCEA-UH 1043-000 (6042)
06/13/2022 – 07/07/2022 Mon,Tue,Wed,Thu
1:00 PM – 3:00 PM (Early afternoon)
at Abu Dhabi
Instructed by Patell, Cyrus