Toril Moi
LIT690S-03; FRENCH 690S-2-01; GSF 590S-01; PHIL590S-04
Mon 1:25 – 3:55 p.m.
Friedl 102

Simone de Beauvoir

An overview of Simone de Beauvoir’s career as a writer, philosopher, and feminist thinker. The course will focus on Beauvoir’s understanding of the relationship between literature and philosophy, and between existentialism and feminism. We will pay special attention to Beauvoir’s understanding of how literature can convey experience in a way that is relevant for philosophy.


Stefani Engelstein
GERMAN 890S 
Mon, 4:40 – 7:10 pm
Old Chem 119

Kleist and His Interlocutors

Exploration of the work of Heinrich von Kleist in pairings with some of his chief interlocutors, both literary and philosophical.  Acerbic and incisive, tantalizing and enigmatic, violent and kaleidoscopic, Kleist’s writing remained adamantly nonconformist and unclassifiable against the background of Romanticism, Idealism, and Classicism. Additional authors will include contemporaries such as Lessing, Goethe, Schiller, Kant, Fichte, and Hegel, as well as Kleist’s afterlives in writers such as Kafka and Christa Wolf.  We will ask how Kleist’s work poses, frames, invites, and frustrates questions about signification, literary form, epistemology, ideology, ethics, politics, subjectivity, bodies and life processes, love, and nationalism, among other topics.  Discussion in English.  Texts available in German or English.


Thomas Pfau
XTIANTHE 890-03
Mon 5:15 – 7:45pm
0013 Westbrook

Incomprehensible Certainty: A Theological Aesthetics of the Image

Our seminar will explore the concept of the image as developed in pre-modern Christianity, supplemented by forays into modern phenomenology and theological aesthetics. Our guiding hypothesis will be that the power and efficacy of images cannot be assimilated to propositional, mimetic, or referential models of cognition. Whereas modern epistemology and philosophical aesthetics of the 18th century and beyond have tended to construe the image as a subset of “representation” (Vorstellung), Platonic, Patristic, and Byzantine thought approach the eikon quite differently, namely, by attending to the phenomenology of its experience. That is, they position the image as the visible mediation of the invisible logos, rather than as some kind of (aesthetic) “object.” Ensuring the icon’s unique efficacy are several factors: 1) a formal element, such as the return of “inverse [or “reverse”] perspective” in early-20th century Eastern Orthodox icon theory, yet also realized in post-impressionist (Western) modernist art; 2) the situational dynamic of the image, such as its embedding in, or alluding to, ambient liturgical frameworks and purposes; and 3) the image’s materiality, such as the modernist image’s reaffirmation of color as a principal means for unveiling (and entangling the beholder in) perceptible qualities that not only fall outside the scope of propositional knowledge but, in their incontrovertible reality and presence, exhort us to recover an ontology anterior to modern procedural reason.


Inga Pollman
GERM 880
Friday 10:10am-1:10pm
UNC Chapel Hill, Hamilton Hall 0423

Film Analysis, Film Theory, and Film Philosophy – via German Cinema

This course provides an introduction to critical developments in film theory, film analysis and film philosophy by attending closely to German cinema from the late nineteenth century to the present day in the context of the larger European and global film landscape. We will examine the historical formation of film analysis and its requisite objects such as montage, mise en scène, cinematography, and sound; we will survey the history of film theory, that is, engage the questions asked by film scholars since the medium’s inception: What is the material of cinema? How does the film medium compare and contrast with the other, older arts such as literature, music, painting, or architecture, and how does it fit within the current media landscape? What makes it a unique form of expression? What is the nature of the film image and what relationship does it bear to the physical world? How do the sounds, images, bodies, and narratives onscreen impact us – politically, emotionally, physically, mentally? Do technological factors, like the advent of sound or the shift from photochemical to digital “film” call for a fundamentally different theory of the medium and its expressive possibilities? Finally, we will ask how films could be forms of philosophical thought. Can the audiovisual language of moving images, this form of light and shadow, formulate ideas and concepts? How could a film contain a theory of cinema? What can film contribute to philosophy, and vice versa?

In order to engage with these questions of analysis, theory, and philosophy, we will read the classical German film theories of Hugo Münsterberg, Rudolf Arnheim, Béla Balázs, Siegfried Kracauer, and Walter Benjamin alongside classical and contemporary international theorists, from Jean Epstein, André Bazin and Sergei Eisenstein to Gilles Deleuze, Stanley Cavell, Vivian Sobchack, Laura Mulvey, and others. Among the approaches we will discuss are phenomenology, feminism, psychoanalysis, and affect theory. Each week, we will discuss 1-2 German films and important international interlocutors in light of these theories and larger questions, including Nosferatu,Dr. Mabuse, The Legend of Paul and Paula, Redupers, Western, and Toni Erdmann.


Markos Hadjioannou
LIT 620S-01; AMI 620S-01; ENGLISH 620S-01; VMS 622S-01; DOCST 620S-01; THEATRST 620S-01
Tue 3:05 – 5:35 pm, Friedl 102

Film-Philosophers / Film-Makers

Examines the intersections between film, critical theory, and continental philosophy. Focuses on different approaches to film theory from a philosophical prism, and on different philosophers addressing film as a mediated visual interpretation of reality and the world, but also our own bodies as thinking and feeling entities. We will also address film-making as an act of philosophical thought—that is, as a means for developing a way of understanding the world and representing the subject’s position within that world. Topics include: existential phenomenology, Bergsonism, Deleuzian metaphysics, feminism, structuralism and post-structuralism.


Gregory Flaxman
ENGL 862
Wednesday 6:00-8:50pm
UNC Chapel Hill, 305 Greenlaw Hall

“The Politics and Philosophy of Comedy”

The course is organized around the question of comedy as matter of taste, affect, genre, and philosophy. We’ll returning to classical sources, consider the place of comedy in broader aesthetic accountings, venture into questions of play and improvisation, and analyze the narrative and political dimensions of the genre. In so doing, we’ll draw on various media (literary, cinematic, televisual, digital) to consider comedy as a popular and, arguably, a philosophical genre. Among other things, we’ll read Aristotle, Austen (Jane and JL), Bergson, Berlant, Cavell, Darwin, Deleuze, Freud, Frye, Gates, Hegel, Huizinga, Ngai, and Nietzsche (among others).