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Adi Gordon (Section 01)
Manifestos defined the modern age. They did so loudly, with great urgency, declaring a break with the past, diagnosing the present, and proclaiming the future. Manifestos, one observer noted, are “a document of ideology, crafted to convince and convert.” We, however, will read political, literary, theological, cultural, and artistic manifestos, not only for what they proclaim, but for what they signify. This first-year seminar will study manifestos critically, as historical documents of a contested modernity, as works of literature, and as specimens of a unique genre. Our manifesto reading will range from the nineteenth century to the twenty-first, from the communist to the fascist, from the canonical to the outlandish, from the political to the literary, and from theatrical gravity to hilarious irony. Among others we will read The Communist Manifesto (1848), The Futurist Manifesto (1909), Feminist Manifesto (1914), The Fascist Manifesto (1919), The Cannibalist Manifesto (1928), Humanist Manifesto I (1933), Existentialism is a Humanism (1945), and the SCUM Manifesto (1968). The diversity of the manifestos we will read lends itself to this seminar’s interdisciplinary approaches. Students in this discussion-based course will seriously engage the major ideologies of the modern age and critically reflect on the ideological landscapes of their own place and time.
Fall semester. Professor A. Gordon