Upon completion of the course, students will be able to:
- relate the historical (imperial and colonial) foundations of planetary cultural politics to their contemporary manifestations and dynamics;
- engage the ways in which planetary cultural politics operate simultaneously at multiple scales: the local, the national and the global;
- address the relation of culture to questions of identity, liberation, violence, socio-economic relations, religion/secularism, urbanity, environment and climate;
- address the significance of geopolitical inequality between countries and regions (notably, the US-European West to "the Rest") to planetary cultural politics;
- demonstrate this understanding through the oral and written analysis of specific case studies.
This course allows students to engage with one of the distinctive developments of modernity: planetary cultural politics. With a foundation in 19th-century global imperial relations, planetary cultural politics are today being dramatically transformed by social media, neoliberalization, religious political movements, global migration, environmental degradation and climate change. This raises a number of issues: what is the relation of the cultural to the material, political and economic? How to think through issues of power, precarity, and fragility in relation to identity, culture, environment, democracy and war? How to understand these issues at a planetary level, given how varied our world is? And what difference does inequality between countries and regions (the hegemony of the United States, the wealth of Europe, the rise of China, the devastation of the Middle East, the invisible dynamism of Africa) make to these developments?|
After considering the historical foundations for current planetary cultural politics, the course will consider a number of topics and case studies more closely, such as world cities; climate change; migration; clothing; food; music; petroculture and religion.