Bachelor: 7,5 ECTS
Kandidat: 7,5 ECTS
Notice: It is only possible to enroll for one course having a 3-day compulsory written take-home assignment exam due to coincident exam periods.
Is there the possibility of an anarchic politics, a politics without rule? Political science has often read anarchy as a political problem – a threat to sovereign power, consequent to civil war, rioting, and collapsing institutions. But how necessary is government to social collaboration and political action? Is a radical anarchic politics—a politics without government, without domination, and without rule—possible today? This course explores anarchism’s contemporary possibility, attempting to explicate the politics that might come from resistance to rule.
Anarchism has historically taken many forms – from organized resistance to state authority and the police, to mutual aid societies, experimental communes, and the general strike. In this course, students will be asked to think experimentally about these anarchist political ideas and practices.
Through close engagement with anarchist texts in late modern and contemporary political theory—including Proudhon, Goldman, Benjamin, Deleuze, and Rancière, amongst others—this course will explore the variations of anarchist political thought. In this way, this course will offer a tracing of anarchism’s developments as a constellation of resistant theories and techniques, as well as their place in contemporary politics.
Describe the challenges that anarchism poses to political rule, in particular with regard to power and the state.
Understand and explain origins and developments of anarchism and post-anarchism as political theory.
Evaluate the validity of various arguments for anarchism and post-anarchic politics.
Present and analyze key contributions to the reconceptualization of anarchic politics in modern and contemporary political thought.
Apply reconceptualization of anarchic power to discussions about the institutions and culture of democratic politics.
Critical thinking and ability to combine complex theories with insights from the contemporary political world.
Writing and presentation of coherent arguments.
Ability to discuss and evaluate competing claims.
The following is a preliminary reading list. Materials will be added or amended before the beginning of the semester:
Agamben, Giorgio, “What is Destituent Power?” Society and Space 32(1) 2014.
Benjamin, Walter “Critique of Violence,” in Reflections: Essays, Aphorisms, Autobiographical Writings, trans. E. Jephcott (Schocken Books/Harcourt Inc., 1978), pp. 277-300.
Blumenfeld, Jacob, Chiara Bottici, and Simon Critchley (eds.), The Anarchist Turn (Pluto, 2013).
Daring, C. B., et al (eds.), Queering Anarchism: Addressing and Undressing Power and Desire (AK Press, 2013).
Deleuze, Gilles and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia (University of Minnesota Press, 1987).
Derrida, Jacques, “Force of Law: The Metaphysical Foundation of Authority” in Drucilla Cornell, Michel Rosenfeld, and David Carlson (eds.), Deconstruction and the Possibility of Justice (Routledge, 1992).
Ferguson, Kathy, Emma Goldman: Political Thinking in the Streets (Rowan and Littlefield, 2011).
Foucault, Michel, Security, Territory, Population: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1977–78, Ed. F. Ewald and A. Fontana. Trans. G. Burchell (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), selections.
Graeber, David, Possibilities: Essays on Hierarchy, Rebellion, and Desire (AK Press, 2007).
Goldman, Emma “The Psychology of Political Violence” in Anarchism and other Essays (Dover, 1969).
Hardt, Michael and Antonio Negri, Assembly (Oxford University Press, 2019).
Hegel, G. W. F., Phenomenology of Spirit, trans. A. V. Miller (Oxford University Press, 1977), paragraphs 178-196.
Kinna, Ruth, The Government of No One: The Theory and Practice of Anarchism (Pelican, 2020).
Klausen, Jimmy and James Martel (eds.), How Not to be Governed: Readings and Interpretations from a Critical Anarchist Left (Lexington Press, 2011).
Le Guin, Ursula The Dispossessed (Harper, 2014).
Martel, James, “The Anarchist Life we are Already Living” in Towards the Critique of Violence, Brendan Moran and Carlo Salzani (eds.) (Bloomsbury, 2015).
May, Todd, The Political Philosophy of Poststructuralist Anarchism (Penn State University Press, 1994).
Newman, Saul, Postanarchism (Polity, 2016).
Proudhon, Pierre-Joseph, What is Property? (Cambridge, 1994).
- Class Instruction
- 7,5 ECTS
- Type of assessment
- Written assignmentThree-day compulsory written take-home assignment
- Marking scale
- 7-point grading scale
- Censorship form
- No external censorship
- In the semester where the course takes place: Three-day compulsory written take-home assignment
- In subsequent semesters: Free written assignment
Criteria for exam assesment
Criteria for exam assesment
- Grade 12 is given for an outstanding performance: the student lives up to the course's goal description in an independent and convincing manner with no or few and minor shortcomings
- Grade 7 is given for a good performance: the student is confidently able to live up to the goal description, albeit with several shortcomings
- Grade 02 is given for an adequate performance: the minimum acceptable performance in which the student is only able to live up to the goal description in an insecure and incomplete manner