Fall 2019

The Politics of Address: From Benjamin to the Present

Listed in: Political Science, as POSC-424


Monique Roelofs (Section 01)


This course explores a key concept in contemporary political theory that gives rise to intriguing and far-reaching social and philosophical questions. Modes of address, such as a police hailing or following directions from our cellphones, are forms of signification. People, other living beings, objects, and places direct these modes at each other. Address underpins large-scale political structures, such as transnational organizations, national institutions, technology, publicity, and cosmopolitanism, as well as diminutive everyday interactions like seeing, hearing, and feeling. It informs bodily existence, intimacy, materiality, and social difference. New forms of governance and citizenship are at stake. How does address fulfill these roles? This question provides our point of entry into key texts in twentieth- and twenty-first century political theory. Readings by theorists such as Walter Benjamin, Louis Althusser, Frantz Fanon, Michel Foucault, Gloria Anzaldúa, Stuart Hall, Judith Butler, and Dina Al-Kassim.

Requisite: At least one POSC course (200 level or above). Limited to 18 students. Not open to first-year students. Fall semester. Karl Loewenstein Fellow Roelofs

If Overenrolled: Priority first given to fourth-year students, then to a balance of sophomores and juniors, randomly determined, followed by 5-college students.


Attention to Speaking, Attention to Writing


2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2019