Structure / Form - Course Materials
Winter 2016, Wednesday 3:30-5:45
How do we define the terms "structure" and "form"? How do we distinguish between these concepts, and how do they function differently in such fields as philosophy, literary criticism, architecture, art, and science?
Beginning with these questions, we will study major concepts of structural and formal determination in Plato, Aristotle, Kant, and Marx. We will then follow these concepts through several key texts on the dialectical constitution of artworks (Adorno), structural causality (Althusser, Miller, Macherey), and formal rupture in poetic language (Kristeva, Moten). We will then conclude with Reinhold Martin's analysis of ideologies of structure and form in corporate architecture, Kate Marshall's account of infrastructure as a narrative figure in American fiction, and Rosalind Kraus & Yves Alain-Bois' delineation of a "formless" trajectory in 20th century art, following Bataille's theory of the informe.
Introduction: Definitions & Methods
Week 1, Levine, Forms; Gordon, Structures: Or Why Things Don't Fall Down (selections)
Week 2, Plato, Timaeus
Week 3, Aristotle, Physics Books I-IV
Week 4, Bianchi, The Feminine Symptom: Aleatory Matter in the Aristotelian Cosmos
Week 5, Kant, Critique of the Power of Judgment, First Part
Week 6, Marx, Capital Vol. 1, Chapter 1
Action of the Structure
Week 7, Adorno, Aesthetic Theory: "Art, Society, Aesthetics"; "Situation"; "Toward a Theory of the Artwork"
Week 8, Miller, "Action of the Structure," Macherey, A Theory of Literary Production, Some Elementary Concepts
Week 9, Kristeva, Revolution in Poetic Language
Week 10, Moten, In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition
Week 11, Martin, The Organizational Complex
Week 12, Marshall, Corridor
Week 13, Bois & Kraus, Formless