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FRENG046 - Political Theologies Between the Early and Postmodern
This module will introduce students to a range of early and more recent
political theories that unsettle our common assumptions about power and
authority. We will look at a range of texts that consider the
ambiguities and difficulties of the shift from a social order grounded
in the divine to one seemingly stripped of theological meaning. Is it
possible to imagine sovereignty, justice and order without a sense of
divine authority? What can early modern interests in oriental despotism
tell us about absolutist and tyrannical monarchs in Europe? Why do
utopian texts sexualize the economy while raising issues about property
and equality? We will read a range of seminal works of political and
social theory to explore this question; we will also ask how works
usually defined as literary perform in these political debates.
Preparatory Reading and Set Texts:
- ‘Lettre à Monseigneur Colbert’, in Un libertin dans l'Inde moghole. Les voyages de François Bernier (1656-1669), Frédéric Tinguely ed. (Chandeigne: 2008). Trans.: ‘Letter to Colbert’, in www.columbia.edu/itc/mealac/pritchett/00generallinks/bernier/index.html (Columbia University Libraries: François Bernier, Paris: 1670, trans. by Archibald Constable, 1891)
- Louis XIV, Mémoires pour l’instruction du Dauphin. Available online, extracts chosen. English extracts available.
- Gabriel de Foigny, La terre australe connue (1676) [Paris], Pierre Ronzeaud ed. (Société des textes français modernes: diff. Aux amateurs de livres, 1990); Trans. The Southern Land, Known by Gabriel de Foigny, ed. David Fausett (Syracuse University Press: 1993)
- Denis Veiras, Histoire des Sévarambes, 3e partie – extracts to be provided (Encrage Edition: 1994); trans. The History of the Sevarambians by Denis Veiras (Author), et al. (State University of New York: 2006)
- Gabriel Naudé, Considérations politiques sur les coups d’Etat, ed. L. Marin (extracts to be provided) – English translation: Political Considerations upon Refin’d Politicks, and the Master-strokes of State, as Practis’d by the Ancients and Moderns (London, 1711) – extracts to be provided.
- Denis Diderot, Supplément au Voyage de Bougainville, Folio.; Histoire des deux Indes (extracts). Photocopy to be provided. Trans. in Diderot, Political Writings (Cambridge, 1992).
- Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Du contrat social (Folio 1993). Available in English as The social contract ed. Victor Gourevitch (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought, CUP 1997)
- Claude Lefort, Essai sur le politique (Seuil)
- Jacques Ranciere, Aux bords du politique (Folio). Available in English as On the shores of politics (Verso 1995)
- Jacques Rancière, La mésentente (Galilée, 1995); in English as Disagreement (Minnesota, 2005)