Course Description – Alterity

In critical theory, the term “alterity” [derived from Latin, meaning “otherness”] acts as an invitation to reflect upon the relationship between self and others. Is otherness posited as radically excluded from the construction of a self? Or is the self seen as a relational category that fundamentally relies on others and otherness? In this course, we will analyze what kind of relations are assumed when others and otherness are separated from the self. Is the radical “alterity” of others accepted, so that their fundamental difference and separateness from the self are respected? Or are the (gender, sexuality, culture, corporeal …) differences used to create social and political hierarchies, control of resources, or forms of exclusion? We will look at different artistic, philosophical and political articulation of alterity, ranging from negation, exploitation, and exclusion to acceptance and erotic desire. And we will closely listen to the echos, repercussions and voices of those who are deemed as being other. We will thereby analyze diverse works, ranging from, among others, Christopher Columbus, Joseph Conrad, Jean-Luc Godard, Isaac Julien, Emmanuel Levinas to Emine Sevgi Özdamar. Students are expected to read the material thoroughly, to write short comprehensive essays on this blog in the course of the semester, and to actively participate in group discussions.

Looking forward to our discussions! Best wishes, Doro