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Cornell University    
 
    
 
  Nov 23, 2017
 
Courses of Study 2017-2018
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ANTHR 4413 - Walter Benjamin

(crosslisted) COML 4429 , GERST 4413 , JWST 4913 , NES 4913  
(CA-AS)      
Spring. 4 credits. Letter grades only.

Co-meets with ANTHR 7413 /GERST 4413 /JWST 7913 /NES 7913 .

J. Boyarin.

This extraordinary figure died in 1941, and his death  is emblematic of the intellectual depradations of Nazism. Yet since World War II, his influence, his reputation, and his fascination for scholars in a wide range of cultural and political disciplines has steadily grown. He is seen as a bridging figure between German and Jewish studies, between materialist critique of culture and the submerged yet powerful voice of theology, between literary history and philosophy. We will review Benjamin’s life and some of the key disputes over his heritage; read some of the best-known of his essays; and devote significant time to his enigmatic and enormously rich masterwork, the Arcades Project, concluding with consideration of the relevance of Benjamin’s insights for cultural and political dilemmas today.



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