Difference between revisions of "S Jagged Little Pills: Self-Enhancement and Substance Abuse in Literature and Film, from Opium to Neuroenhancers"

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Under Construction!
 
 
SUBJECT TO ALTERATIONS!
 
  
 
'''COURSE OUTLINE'''
 
'''COURSE OUTLINE'''
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* Active Participation
 
* Active Participation
  
Active Participation is ungraded but mandatory. In order to fulfil the requirements, you will have to write four abstracts, each including a topic, a state of research, a thesis statement, and a brief outline of your argument (approx. 1 page), in the course of the seminar. You can choose your own topic; however: all abstracts have to address different primary texts. In other words, your abstracts will have to cover four out of five primary materials. They are due by the end of the week (i.e. Friday) that marks the ending of the respective sections, i.e. due date ''Confessions of an English Opium-Eater'': May, 15; due date ''Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde'': May, 29; due date ''The Sign of Four'': June, 05; due date ''Limitless'': June 26; due date ''The Wolf of Wall Street'': June 26; due date ''Twilight'': July, 10)
+
Active Participation is ungraded but mandatory. In order to fulfil the requirements, you will have to write four abstracts, each including a topic, a state of research, a thesis statement, and a brief outline of your argument (approx. 1 page), in the course of the seminar. You can choose your own topic; however: all abstracts have to address different primary texts. In other words, your abstracts will have to cover four out of five primary materials. They are due by the end of the week (i.e. Friday) that marks the ending of the respective sections, i.e. due date ''Confessions of an English Opium-Eater'': May, 15; due date ''Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde'': May, 29; due date ''The Sign of Four'': June, 05; due date ''Limitless'': June 26; due date ''The Wolf of Wall Street'': July, 10)
  
* Chat
+
* Weekly Chat
  
 
In order to discuss the presentations and related topics, I will be in the chatroom ("Meetings" on our Stud.IP page) during the first part of each session, i.e. Wednesday 12-1 am/pm. Please make sure to read/ watch the presentations before you join the chat. The second part of each session, i.e. Wednesday 1-2 pm, is booked for the respective presentation groups (''see'' video conference for presentation groups)
 
In order to discuss the presentations and related topics, I will be in the chatroom ("Meetings" on our Stud.IP page) during the first part of each session, i.e. Wednesday 12-1 am/pm. Please make sure to read/ watch the presentations before you join the chat. The second part of each session, i.e. Wednesday 1-2 pm, is booked for the respective presentation groups (''see'' video conference for presentation groups)
Line 110: Line 107:
  
 
'''Theory Texts'''
 
'''Theory Texts'''
* Foucault, Michel. ''The History of Sexuality, Vol. I: The Will to Knowledge''. London: Penguin, 1979. 133-45. Print.
+
* Foucault, Michel. ''The History of Sexuality, Vol. I: The Will to Knowledge''. London: Penguin, 1979. Print. (Excerpts: "Part V: Right of Death and Power over Life", esp. 133-145)
* Rose, Nicolas. "Neurochemical Selves." ''Society'' 41 (2003): 46-59. Print. (Excerpts)
+
* Rose, Nicolas. "Neurochemical Selves." ''Society'' 41 (2003): 46-59. Print. (Excerpts: 46-48 and 53-59)
  
 
'''Guiding Questions'''
 
'''Guiding Questions'''
 +
 +
''On Foucault''
 +
 +
Foucault critically observes that, in our society, control over life is exercised by "a power that exerts a positive influence on life, that endeavors to administer, optimize, and multipy it, subjecting it to precise controls and comprehensive regulations." (137)
 +
 +
On the text:
 +
* What shift has taken place in the workings of power since the classical age? And how does power organise life in modern societies?
 +
* What is power's aim with regard to the administration and organisation of life in modern societies?
 +
* What are the two basic forms of power and what is it that these control precisely?
 +
* What are the institutions that exercise control over life? What is the effect of these forms of control?
 +
* What are the drawbacks of such a regime of power?
 +
 +
Beyond the text:
 +
* How can the said forms of power over life be linked to economic and political interests and regimes?
 +
* What influence do biopolitical societies have on the individual?
 +
* What is the ambivalent relationship between biopower and performance-enhancing substances?
 +
 +
''On Rose''
 +
 +
Rose moves beyond Foucault and argues that "[w]here Foucault analyzed biopolitics, we now must analyze bioeconomics and bioethics [...] The new neurochemical self is flexible and can be reconfigured in a way that blurs the boundaries between cure, normalization, and the enhancement of capacities. And these pharmaceuticals offer the promise of the calculated modification and augmentation of specific aspects of self-hood through acts of choice." (58-9)
 +
 +
On the text:
 +
* What shift has occured in psychiatric practice since the 1990s?
 +
* How do neurosciences (and pharmacology) re-conceptualise the idea of the human being? What is a 'neurochemical self'?
 +
* In psychopharmacological societies, what aims can be pursued by means of substance intake?
 +
 +
Beyond the text:
 +
* How does the 'neurochemical self' relate to other identities linked to substance abuse? What other identities come to mind? And when have they been construed?
 +
* Thinking more generally about literary or cinematic representations of substance (ab-)use, what are some of the major narratives that these representations provide? How do they relate to each other?
  
 
==Session Three, April, 29, Theory Session: Opium, Nitrous Oxide, and Cocaine in Nineteenth-Century Literature==
 
==Session Three, April, 29, Theory Session: Opium, Nitrous Oxide, and Cocaine in Nineteenth-Century Literature==
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'''Theory Texts'''
 
'''Theory Texts'''
 
* Ruston, Sharon. "Representations of Drugs in 19th-Century Literature." ''Discovering Literature: Romantics & Victorians.'' British Library, 15 May 2014. Web. 13 Feb. 2020.
 
* Ruston, Sharon. "Representations of Drugs in 19th-Century Literature." ''Discovering Literature: Romantics & Victorians.'' British Library, 15 May 2014. Web. 13 Feb. 2020.
 +
* Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky. "Epidemics of the Will." ''Tendencies''. London: Routledge, 1994. 130-42. Print. (esp. 130-6)
 +
* Davison, Carol Margaret. "'Houses of Voluntary Bondage': Theorizing the Nineteenth-Century Gothic Pharmography." ''Gothic Studies'' 12.1 (2010): 69-85. Print.
 
* Ruston, Sharon. "'High' Romanticism: Literature and Drugs." ''The Oxford Handbook of British Romanticism''. Ed. David Duff. Oxford: OUP, 2018. 341-54. Print.
 
* Ruston, Sharon. "'High' Romanticism: Literature and Drugs." ''The Oxford Handbook of British Romanticism''. Ed. David Duff. Oxford: OUP, 2018. 341-54. Print.
* Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky. "Epidemics of the Will." ''Tendencies''. London: Routledge, 1994. 130-42. Print.
 
  
 
'''Guiding Questions'''
 
'''Guiding Questions'''
 +
 +
''On Sedgwick''
 +
* What shift regarding substance use is produced through "the newly ramified and pervasive medical-juridical authority of the late nineteenth century" (130)? What are the effects of this shift on the individual? What "narratives" are being construed for the individual?
 +
* What development does the inflationary use of the term ''addiction'' bring about? What does the term ''addiction attribution'' show and how can it be used as a means of deconstructing 'normative' narratives regarding the addict?
 +
* What are the cultural/historical contexts of "the present crisis of addiction attribution" (135)?
 +
* Regarding ''Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde'', what are the conceptual links between substance use and same-sex desire in the second half of the nineteenth century (cf. 135-6)?
 +
 +
''On Davison'' (and ''On Ruston. "Representations of Drugs in 19th-Century Literature."'')
 +
* For etymology's sake, what are the roots of the term ''addiction''?
 +
* In Gothic literature, what purposes does substance use and abuse serve? What identity conflicts appear in these narratives that make substance intake a particularly Gothic convention?
 +
* What changes occured, in society, when opium, "the Victorian drug of choice" (70), became more available and accessible in everyday life? How are these changes reflected/represented in Victorian literature. e.g. with regard to narratology or literary motifs (''Faustian pact'',''doppelgänger'')?
 +
*How are Victorian representations of drug use linked to contemporary Victorian discourses and debates on ''sexology'', ''orientalism'', ''imperialism'', or even ''degeneration''?
 +
 +
''On Ruston''
 +
* Reconstructing the contemporary discourse, which role does science (and scientific curiosity) play for the Romantic generation? In what ways is science linked to progress, optimism, and/or pessimism?
 +
* What role does self-experimentation play in the scientific explorations of substances, be it opium or nitrous oxide?
 +
* Considering the stock character of the scientist, how is this figure represented throughout the 19th century, from DeQuincey to Stevenson? Is he [sic] viewed as a polymath or a specialist? What does he specialise in?
 +
* How does substance use help construct the notion of literary genius? What effects are linked to the practice of writing 'under the influence'?
  
 
'''Video Conference'''
 
'''Video Conference'''
* ''Video Conference Group'':
+
* ''Video Conference Group'': Jana Wessels, Nico Groenewold
  
 
==Session Four, May, 06, Romanticising Opium: Recreational Drug Use Between Creativity and Addiction==
 
==Session Four, May, 06, Romanticising Opium: Recreational Drug Use Between Creativity and Addiction==
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'''Secondary Material'''
 
'''Secondary Material'''
 
* Catani, Damian. "The 'Spleen' and 'Idéal' of Opium: Baudelaire and Thomas de Quincey." ''Dix-Neuf'' 17.3 (2013): 237-50.
 
* Catani, Damian. "The 'Spleen' and 'Idéal' of Opium: Baudelaire and Thomas de Quincey." ''Dix-Neuf'' 17.3 (2013): 237-50.
 +
* Morrison, Robert. "Introduction." ''Confessions of an English Opium-Eater and Other Writings.'' By Thomas De Quincey. 1821. Oxford: OUP, 2008. ix-xl. Print.
  
 
'''Presentation'''
 
'''Presentation'''
 
* Writing 'Under the Influence,' or, The Romantics and Their Ambivalent Opium Narratives: Thomas De Quincey, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Charles Baudelaire
 
* Writing 'Under the Influence,' or, The Romantics and Their Ambivalent Opium Narratives: Thomas De Quincey, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Charles Baudelaire
  
* ''Presentation Group'':
+
* ''Presentation Group'': Jana Wessels, Nico Groenewold
  
 
'''Video Conference'''
 
'''Video Conference'''
* ''Video Conference Group'':
+
* ''Video Conference Group'': Shirin Müller, Catharina Siemann, Anna-Lena Müller
  
 
==Session Five, May, 13, Dealing with Opium: British Imperialism and the Historical Context of 19th-Century Opium Trade==
 
==Session Five, May, 13, Dealing with Opium: British Imperialism and the Historical Context of 19th-Century Opium Trade==
Line 149: Line 195:
  
 
'''Secondary Material'''
 
'''Secondary Material'''
* TBA
+
* Krishnan, Sanjay. "Opium and Empire: The Transports of Thomas De Quincey." ''Boundary 2'' 33.2 (2006): 203-34.
 +
* Sitter, Zak. "The Native Performant: Linguistic Authority in the Text of Romantic Orientalism." ''Differences'' 21.2 (2010): 109-141.
 +
 
 +
'''Further Reading'''
 +
* Said, Edward W. ''Orientalism: Western Concepts of the Orient''. London: Penguin, 1995. (Excerpts, esp. "Introduction")
  
 
'''Presentation'''
 
'''Presentation'''
* An "Exotic" Invasion: Orientalism, the Opium Wars, and Representations of the Other in ''Confessions of an English Opium-Eater''
+
* Enter the Malay: Orientalism, the Opium Wars, and Representations of the Other in ''Confessions of an English Opium-Eater''
  
* ''Presentation Group'':
+
* ''Presentation Group'': Shirin Müller, Catharina Siemann, Anna-Lena Müller
  
 
'''Video Conference'''
 
'''Video Conference'''
* ''Video Conference Group'':
+
* ''Video Conference Group'': Selcuk Ordul, Rebecca Krumbein
  
 
     May, 15: Abstract ''Confessions of an English Opium-Eater'' due
 
     May, 15: Abstract ''Confessions of an English Opium-Eater'' due
Line 173: Line 223:
 
* A Case Study in Addiction: ''Strange Case'''s Narratological Design and Its Ambivalent Representation of Dr Jekyll as a Medical Doctor and a (Mad) Scientist
 
* A Case Study in Addiction: ''Strange Case'''s Narratological Design and Its Ambivalent Representation of Dr Jekyll as a Medical Doctor and a (Mad) Scientist
  
* ''Presentation Group'':
+
* ''Presentation Group'': Selcuk Ordul, Rebecca Krumbein
  
 
'''Video Conference'''
 
'''Video Conference'''
* ''Video Conference Group'':
+
* ''Video Conference Group'': Patricia Schlump, Lina Wenke, Kristin Greite
  
 
==Session Seven, May, 27, Exploring the Self: Unleashing Queer Doubles in Victorian Gothic Fiction==
 
==Session Seven, May, 27, Exploring the Self: Unleashing Queer Doubles in Victorian Gothic Fiction==
Line 190: Line 240:
 
* Through the Backdoor, or, Inside Doctor/House: Metonymies (and Topographies) of Same-Sex Desire
 
* Through the Backdoor, or, Inside Doctor/House: Metonymies (and Topographies) of Same-Sex Desire
  
* ''Presentation Group'':
+
* ''Presentation Group'': Patricia Schlump, Lina Wenke, Kristin Greite
  
 
'''Video Conference'''
 
'''Video Conference'''
* ''Video Conference Group'':
+
* ''Video Conference Group'': Maximilian Rugen, Leonard Engelbart
  
 
     May, 29: Abstract ''Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde'' due
 
     May, 29: Abstract ''Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde'' due
Line 204: Line 254:
 
'''Secondary Material'''
 
'''Secondary Material'''
 
* Small, Douglas. "Sherlock Holmes and Cocaine: A 7% Solution for Modern Professionalism." ''ELT'' 58.3 (2015): 341-60. Print.
 
* Small, Douglas. "Sherlock Holmes and Cocaine: A 7% Solution for Modern Professionalism." ''ELT'' 58.3 (2015): 341-60. Print.
* O'Dell, Benjamin D. "Performing the Imperial Abject: The Ethics of Cocaine in Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Sign of Four." ''The Journal of Popular Culture'' 45.5 (2012): 979-99. Print.
+
* O'Dell, Benjamin D. "Performing the Imperial Abject: The Ethics of Cocaine in Arthur Conan Doyle’s ''The Sign of Four''." ''The Journal of Popular Culture'' 45.5 (2012): 979-99. Print.
  
 
'''Presentation'''
 
'''Presentation'''
 
* The Detective v. the Doctor, or: Late 19th- century Discourses on Cocaine, Representations of Cocaine Addiction and Their Effects on the Master Detective
 
* The Detective v. the Doctor, or: Late 19th- century Discourses on Cocaine, Representations of Cocaine Addiction and Their Effects on the Master Detective
  
* ''Presentation Group'':
+
* ''Presentation Group'': Maximilian Rugen, Leonard Engelbart
  
 
     June, 05: Abstract ''The Sign of Four'' due
 
     June, 05: Abstract ''The Sign of Four'' due
Line 223: Line 273:
  
 
'''Video Conference'''
 
'''Video Conference'''
* ''Video Conference Group'':
+
* ''Video Conference Group'': Volha Silkina, Jelto Witt
  
 
==Session Ten, June, 17, Constructing the Self: Pop-Cultural Representations of Self-Empowerment ==
 
==Session Ten, June, 17, Constructing the Self: Pop-Cultural Representations of Self-Empowerment ==
Line 237: Line 287:
 
* "I Was Blind but now I See": Representing Enhancement Enthusiasm Visually and Cinematographically
 
* "I Was Blind but now I See": Representing Enhancement Enthusiasm Visually and Cinematographically
  
* ''Presentation Group'':
+
* ''Presentation Group'': Volha Silkina, Jelto Witt
  
 
'''Video Conference'''
 
'''Video Conference'''
* ''Video Conference Group'':
+
* ''Video Conference Group'': Jonas Rother, Jonas Menzel, Adrian Englisch
  
 
==Session Eleven, June, 24, "What Dreams May Come?": A Society Between Self-Enhancement and Self-Annihilation==
 
==Session Eleven, June, 24, "What Dreams May Come?": A Society Between Self-Enhancement and Self-Annihilation==
Line 254: Line 304:
 
* "What Dreams May Come?": ''Limitless'' as a Cautionary Tale  
 
* "What Dreams May Come?": ''Limitless'' as a Cautionary Tale  
  
* ''Presentation Group'':
+
* ''Presentation Group'': Jonas Rother, Jonas Menzel, Adrian Englisch
  
 
'''Video Conference'''
 
'''Video Conference'''
* ''Video Conference Group'':
+
* ''Video Conference Group'': Maik Harms, Susanne Scholl
  
 
     June, 26: Abstract ''Limitless'' due
 
     June, 26: Abstract ''Limitless'' due
Line 273: Line 323:
 
* "And I Choose Rich Every Fucking Time": Neo-Liberalism, Biopolitical Societies, and Self-Optimisation in ''The Woolf of Wall Street''  
 
* "And I Choose Rich Every Fucking Time": Neo-Liberalism, Biopolitical Societies, and Self-Optimisation in ''The Woolf of Wall Street''  
  
* ''Presentation Group'':
+
* ''Presentation Group'': Maik Harms, Susanne Scholl
  
 
'''Video Conference'''
 
'''Video Conference'''
* ''Video Conference Group'':
+
* ''Video Conference Group'': Kimberly Dawn Labonte, Clara Sophie Schenck
  
 
==Session Thirteen, July, 08, Enter Popeye: Parodying Self-Optimisation and Self-Enhancement==
 
==Session Thirteen, July, 08, Enter Popeye: Parodying Self-Optimisation and Self-Enhancement==
Line 290: Line 340:
 
* Spinach Overdose: Parodying Self-Enhancement Through Popeye, ''Miami Vice'', and Other Intertextual References in ''The Wolf of Wall Street''
 
* Spinach Overdose: Parodying Self-Enhancement Through Popeye, ''Miami Vice'', and Other Intertextual References in ''The Wolf of Wall Street''
  
* ''Presentation Group'':
+
* ''Presentation Group'': Kimberly Dawn Labonte, Clara Sophie Schenck
  
 
     July, 10: Abstract ''The Wolf of Wall Street'' due
 
     July, 10: Abstract ''The Wolf of Wall Street'' due

Latest revision as of 12:03, 1 July 2020

COURSE OUTLINE

3.02.980: S Jagged Little Pills: Self-Enhancement and Substance Abuse in Literature and Film, from Opium to Neuroenhancers

  • [Module] ang981,ang982, ang983 - The Canon and the Margins
  • [Credits] M.A. English Studies: 12 KP; M.Ed. Gym: 9 KP; M.Ed. WiPäd 6 KP
  • [Instructor] Dr. Christian Lassen
  • [Time] Wednesday, 12-1 am/pm: weekly chat (via "Meetings" on our Stud.IP page); Wednesday, 1-2 pm: video conference for presentation groups, designed to discuss the presentation scheduled for the following week
  • [Room] A04 4-411; until further notice: video conferences for presentation groups; power point presentations; chat (via "Meetings")
  • [Description] According to Foucault, the principle aim of a biopolitical society in a Capitalist culture is to enhance and optimise life in order to maximise productivity. Consequently, the lives of both individuals and society as a whole have long been organised in ways that apparently meet precisely these ends. And yet, the neo-liberal policies of the last decades arguably seem to have reinforced this development, not least by leading individuals to manipulate their own mental and physical capacities so as to enhance their efficiency and to 'optimise' themselves. Building on Foucault's concept of biopower, this seminar problematises literary and cinematic representations of substance (ab-)use in the context of self-enhancement and self-optimisation. We will discuss the use of a wide range of drugs, such as opium, cocaine, or nootropics, and their various intended effects, be they medicinal, recreational, or performance-enhancing (via micro-dosing, for example). The aim of the seminar is, therefore, twofold: firstly, it traces the historical construction of addiction and the emergence of the addict as an identity category; and secondly, it seeks to deconstruct the mechanisms of an ideological regime that, paradoxically, has come to criminalise and ostracise behaviours it arguably incites at the same time. Moreover, it may in fact require these very behaviours in order to thrive – not uncommonly, that is, at the expanse of those who suffer the effects of addiction.
  • [Office Hours] see Stud.IP; until further notice, office hours will be held via video conference. Please sign up for a time slot on my Stud.IP profile ("Sprechstunden") and you will receive a link to the virtual conference room.


PRIMARY TEXTS

  • De Quincey, Thomas. Confessions of an English Opium-Eater and Other Writings. 1821. Oxford: OUP, 2008. Print.
  • Stevenson, Robert Louis. Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. 1886. Ed. Katherine Linehan. New York and London: Norton, 2003. Print.
  • Conan Doyle, Arthur. The Sign of Four. 1890. London Penguin, 2001. Print. (excerpts)
  • Limitless. Dir. Neil Burger. Perf. Bradley Cooper, Abbie Cornish, and Robert De Niro. 2011. Concorde, 2011. DVD.
  • The Wolf of Wall Street. Dir. Martin Scorsese. Perf. Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, and Margot Robbie. 2013. Universal, 2014. DVD.


ASSIGNMENTS

  • [Prüfungsleistung]

M.A. English Studies: Referat (max. 2 Personen; 45-60 min.) mit Schriftlicher Ausarbeitung (15 Seiten) [oder in Ausnahmefällen: Hausarbeit (20 Seiten)] (9 KP) + Project/ Essay (3 KP)

M.Ed. Gym.: Referat (max. 2 Personen; 45-60 min.) mit Schriftlicher Ausarbeitung (15 Seiten) [oder in Ausnahmefällen: Hausarbeit (20 Seiten)] (9 KP)

M.Ed. WiPäd: Referat (max. 2 Personen; 45-60 min.) mit Schriftlicher Ausarbeitung (10 Seiten) [oder in Ausnahmefällen: Hausarbeit (15 Seiten)] (9 KP)

  • [Aktive Teilnahme] 4 Abstracts, jeweils inklusive Thema, Forschungsstand, These und Outline des Arguments (je 1 Seite insgesamt)

Please note that written assignments (abstracts, short term papers, long term papers) need to be composed according to the style sheet ("Leitfaden")of the University of Oldenburg, which can be accessed via the 'Institutswiki'-page of the English department. The style sheet not only provides relevant information on how to write a correct bibliography but it may also help you to structure your work according to academic standards.

Please make sure to sign the "Erklärung zum 'Plagiat'" and to attach it to your research papers.

  • [Abgabefrist] September, 15, 2020.




Introduction [Session One]

Organisational Matters

  • Assignments

Assignments are graded and mandatory.

M.A. English Studies: In order to obtain 12 credits (KP), you will have to give a (group) presentation (Referat, 45-60 min.) on one of the presentation topics specified in the syllabus. In addition to that, you will have to hand in a short term paper (Ausarbeitung, 10 Seiten) by the end of term (September, 15). In exceptional cases, you may hand in a long term paper (Hausarbeit, 15 Seiten) instead of the above. However, an exception is only granted upon consultation. As M.A. students, you will have to hand in an extra project/essay, the topic and design of which we will discuss during an individual consultation.

M.Ed. Gym: In order to obtain 9 credits (KP), you will have to give a (group) presentation (Referat, 45-60 min.) on one of the presentation topics specified in the syllabus. In addition to that, you will have to hand in a short term paper (Ausarbeitung, 15 Seiten) by the end of term (September, 15). In exceptional cases, you may hand in a long term paper (Hausarbeit, 20 Seiten) instead of the above. However, an exception is only granted upon consultation.

M.Ed. WiPäd: In order to obtain 6 credits (KP), you will have to give a (group) presentation (Referat, 45-60 min.) on one of the presentation topics specified in the syllabus. In addition to that, you will have to hand in a short term paper (Ausarbeitung, 10 Seiten) by the end of term (September, 15). In exceptional cases, you may hand in a long term paper (Hausarbeit, 15 Seiten) instead of the above. However, an exception is only granted upon consultation.

  • Presentation Topics, Presentation Groups, Video Conferences for Presentation Groups

Presentation Topics are specified on your syllabus. In order to prepare your presentations, please pick a topic, get together in groups (see below) and write up a power-point presentation. Add your commentary to the presentation, for example via open cast, save the file and send it on to me so that we can discuss your presentation in a video conference (see below). After that, you make your file available on Stud.IP on the Friday before your presentation so that all participants can read/ watch the presentation in time, i.e. before the session/ chat.

Requests regarding your choice of presentation topics can be send to me via e-mail, starting on Monday, April, 06. I will sign you in in the order of the requests' arrival. Please check this page regularly to see if your requests have been met.

Video Conferences for presentations take place in the second part of the weekly sessions, i.e. Wednesday 1-2 pm. Please make sure that you attend the video conference the week before your presentation is due.

  • Active Participation

Active Participation is ungraded but mandatory. In order to fulfil the requirements, you will have to write four abstracts, each including a topic, a state of research, a thesis statement, and a brief outline of your argument (approx. 1 page), in the course of the seminar. You can choose your own topic; however: all abstracts have to address different primary texts. In other words, your abstracts will have to cover four out of five primary materials. They are due by the end of the week (i.e. Friday) that marks the ending of the respective sections, i.e. due date Confessions of an English Opium-Eater: May, 15; due date Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde: May, 29; due date The Sign of Four: June, 05; due date Limitless: June 26; due date The Wolf of Wall Street: July, 10)

  • Weekly Chat

In order to discuss the presentations and related topics, I will be in the chatroom ("Meetings" on our Stud.IP page) during the first part of each session, i.e. Wednesday 12-1 am/pm. Please make sure to read/ watch the presentations before you join the chat. The second part of each session, i.e. Wednesday 1-2 pm, is booked for the respective presentation groups (see video conference for presentation groups)

  • Seminarapparat

Relevant secondary material will be made available on Stud.IP. Please note that, additionally, the syllabus includes an extensive bibliography that may be helpful with regard to your presentations and written assignments (abstracts; short/ long term papers).

   Summary: Presentations

1. Pick a presentation topic and contact me via e-mail (starting April, 06). Check below for available places. Presentation groups may consist of a maximum of 2 people.

2. Contact the other members of your group and prepare your presentation, i.e. power-point presentation with audio commentary (e.g. with open cast).

3. Send me your presentation 8 days before your presentation is scheduled.

4. Discuss your presentation with me in a video conference 7 days, i.e week, before your presentation is scheduled. Video conferences take place on Wednesdays, 1-2 pm.

5. Upload your file on the Friday before your presentation is scheduled.

6. Join the chat and be ready to answer questions via chat on the day of your presentation. Chats take place on Wednesdays, 12-1 am/pm.

Session Two, April, 22 Theory Session: From Biopower and Biopolitics to Neuroethics

Theory Texts

  • Foucault, Michel. The History of Sexuality, Vol. I: The Will to Knowledge. London: Penguin, 1979. Print. (Excerpts: "Part V: Right of Death and Power over Life", esp. 133-145)
  • Rose, Nicolas. "Neurochemical Selves." Society 41 (2003): 46-59. Print. (Excerpts: 46-48 and 53-59)

Guiding Questions

On Foucault

Foucault critically observes that, in our society, control over life is exercised by "a power that exerts a positive influence on life, that endeavors to administer, optimize, and multipy it, subjecting it to precise controls and comprehensive regulations." (137)

On the text:

  • What shift has taken place in the workings of power since the classical age? And how does power organise life in modern societies?
  • What is power's aim with regard to the administration and organisation of life in modern societies?
  • What are the two basic forms of power and what is it that these control precisely?
  • What are the institutions that exercise control over life? What is the effect of these forms of control?
  • What are the drawbacks of such a regime of power?

Beyond the text:

  • How can the said forms of power over life be linked to economic and political interests and regimes?
  • What influence do biopolitical societies have on the individual?
  • What is the ambivalent relationship between biopower and performance-enhancing substances?

On Rose

Rose moves beyond Foucault and argues that "[w]here Foucault analyzed biopolitics, we now must analyze bioeconomics and bioethics [...] The new neurochemical self is flexible and can be reconfigured in a way that blurs the boundaries between cure, normalization, and the enhancement of capacities. And these pharmaceuticals offer the promise of the calculated modification and augmentation of specific aspects of self-hood through acts of choice." (58-9)

On the text:

  • What shift has occured in psychiatric practice since the 1990s?
  • How do neurosciences (and pharmacology) re-conceptualise the idea of the human being? What is a 'neurochemical self'?
  • In psychopharmacological societies, what aims can be pursued by means of substance intake?

Beyond the text:

  • How does the 'neurochemical self' relate to other identities linked to substance abuse? What other identities come to mind? And when have they been construed?
  • Thinking more generally about literary or cinematic representations of substance (ab-)use, what are some of the major narratives that these representations provide? How do they relate to each other?

Session Three, April, 29, Theory Session: Opium, Nitrous Oxide, and Cocaine in Nineteenth-Century Literature

Theory Texts

  • Ruston, Sharon. "Representations of Drugs in 19th-Century Literature." Discovering Literature: Romantics & Victorians. British Library, 15 May 2014. Web. 13 Feb. 2020.
  • Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky. "Epidemics of the Will." Tendencies. London: Routledge, 1994. 130-42. Print. (esp. 130-6)
  • Davison, Carol Margaret. "'Houses of Voluntary Bondage': Theorizing the Nineteenth-Century Gothic Pharmography." Gothic Studies 12.1 (2010): 69-85. Print.
  • Ruston, Sharon. "'High' Romanticism: Literature and Drugs." The Oxford Handbook of British Romanticism. Ed. David Duff. Oxford: OUP, 2018. 341-54. Print.

Guiding Questions

On Sedgwick

  • What shift regarding substance use is produced through "the newly ramified and pervasive medical-juridical authority of the late nineteenth century" (130)? What are the effects of this shift on the individual? What "narratives" are being construed for the individual?
  • What development does the inflationary use of the term addiction bring about? What does the term addiction attribution show and how can it be used as a means of deconstructing 'normative' narratives regarding the addict?
  • What are the cultural/historical contexts of "the present crisis of addiction attribution" (135)?
  • Regarding Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, what are the conceptual links between substance use and same-sex desire in the second half of the nineteenth century (cf. 135-6)?

On Davison (and On Ruston. "Representations of Drugs in 19th-Century Literature.")

  • For etymology's sake, what are the roots of the term addiction?
  • In Gothic literature, what purposes does substance use and abuse serve? What identity conflicts appear in these narratives that make substance intake a particularly Gothic convention?
  • What changes occured, in society, when opium, "the Victorian drug of choice" (70), became more available and accessible in everyday life? How are these changes reflected/represented in Victorian literature. e.g. with regard to narratology or literary motifs (Faustian pact,doppelgänger)?
  • How are Victorian representations of drug use linked to contemporary Victorian discourses and debates on sexology, orientalism, imperialism, or even degeneration?

On Ruston

  • Reconstructing the contemporary discourse, which role does science (and scientific curiosity) play for the Romantic generation? In what ways is science linked to progress, optimism, and/or pessimism?
  • What role does self-experimentation play in the scientific explorations of substances, be it opium or nitrous oxide?
  • Considering the stock character of the scientist, how is this figure represented throughout the 19th century, from DeQuincey to Stevenson? Is he [sic] viewed as a polymath or a specialist? What does he specialise in?
  • How does substance use help construct the notion of literary genius? What effects are linked to the practice of writing 'under the influence'?

Video Conference

  • Video Conference Group: Jana Wessels, Nico Groenewold

Session Four, May, 06, Romanticising Opium: Recreational Drug Use Between Creativity and Addiction

Primary Material

  • De Quincey, Thomas. Confessions of an English Opium-Eater and Other Writings. 1821. Oxford: OUP, 2008. Print.

Secondary Material

  • Catani, Damian. "The 'Spleen' and 'Idéal' of Opium: Baudelaire and Thomas de Quincey." Dix-Neuf 17.3 (2013): 237-50.
  • Morrison, Robert. "Introduction." Confessions of an English Opium-Eater and Other Writings. By Thomas De Quincey. 1821. Oxford: OUP, 2008. ix-xl. Print.

Presentation

  • Writing 'Under the Influence,' or, The Romantics and Their Ambivalent Opium Narratives: Thomas De Quincey, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Charles Baudelaire
  • Presentation Group: Jana Wessels, Nico Groenewold

Video Conference

  • Video Conference Group: Shirin Müller, Catharina Siemann, Anna-Lena Müller

Session Five, May, 13, Dealing with Opium: British Imperialism and the Historical Context of 19th-Century Opium Trade

Primary Material

  • De Quincey, Thomas. Confessions of an English Opium-Eater and Other Writings. 1821. Oxford: OUP, 2008. Print.

Secondary Material

  • Krishnan, Sanjay. "Opium and Empire: The Transports of Thomas De Quincey." Boundary 2 33.2 (2006): 203-34.
  • Sitter, Zak. "The Native Performant: Linguistic Authority in the Text of Romantic Orientalism." Differences 21.2 (2010): 109-141.

Further Reading

  • Said, Edward W. Orientalism: Western Concepts of the Orient. London: Penguin, 1995. (Excerpts, esp. "Introduction")

Presentation

  • Enter the Malay: Orientalism, the Opium Wars, and Representations of the Other in Confessions of an English Opium-Eater
  • Presentation Group: Shirin Müller, Catharina Siemann, Anna-Lena Müller

Video Conference

  • Video Conference Group: Selcuk Ordul, Rebecca Krumbein
   May, 15: Abstract Confessions of an English Opium-Eater due

Session Six, May, 20, Enter the Scientist: Experimenting with the Substance

Primary Material

  • Stevenson, Robert Louis. Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. 1886. Ed. Katherine Linehan. New York and London: Norton, 2003. Print.

Secondary Material

  • Harrison, Debbie. "Doctors, Drugs, and Addiction: Professional Integrity in Peril at the Fin de Siècle." Gothic Studies 11.2 (2009): 52-62. Print.
  • Wright, Daniel L. "'The Prisonhouse of My Disposition': A Study of the Psychology of Addiction in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." Studies in the Novel 26.3 (1994): 254-67. Print.

Presentation

  • A Case Study in Addiction: Strange Case's Narratological Design and Its Ambivalent Representation of Dr Jekyll as a Medical Doctor and a (Mad) Scientist
  • Presentation Group: Selcuk Ordul, Rebecca Krumbein

Video Conference

  • Video Conference Group: Patricia Schlump, Lina Wenke, Kristin Greite

Session Seven, May, 27, Exploring the Self: Unleashing Queer Doubles in Victorian Gothic Fiction

Primary Material

  • Stevenson, Robert Louis. Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. 1886. Ed. Katherine Linehan. New York and London: Norton, 2003. Print.

Secondary Material

  • Showalter, Elaine. "Dr Jekyll's Closet." The Haunted Mind: The Supernatural in Victorian Literature. Eds. Elton S. Smith and Robert Haas. Lanham, MD, and London: Scarecrow, 1999. 67-88. Print.
  • Halberstam, Judith. Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters. Durham, NC, and London: Duke UP, 1995. 53-85. Print.

Presentation

  • Through the Backdoor, or, Inside Doctor/House: Metonymies (and Topographies) of Same-Sex Desire
  • Presentation Group: Patricia Schlump, Lina Wenke, Kristin Greite

Video Conference

  • Video Conference Group: Maximilian Rugen, Leonard Engelbart
   May, 29: Abstract Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde due

Session Eight, June, 03, Enter the Genius: Ennobling Substance Abuse in Late-Victorian Crime Fiction

Primary Material

  • Conan Doyle, Arthur. The Sign of Four. 1890. London Penguin, 2001. Print. (excerpts)

Secondary Material

  • Small, Douglas. "Sherlock Holmes and Cocaine: A 7% Solution for Modern Professionalism." ELT 58.3 (2015): 341-60. Print.
  • O'Dell, Benjamin D. "Performing the Imperial Abject: The Ethics of Cocaine in Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Sign of Four." The Journal of Popular Culture 45.5 (2012): 979-99. Print.

Presentation

  • The Detective v. the Doctor, or: Late 19th- century Discourses on Cocaine, Representations of Cocaine Addiction and Their Effects on the Master Detective
  • Presentation Group: Maximilian Rugen, Leonard Engelbart
   June, 05: Abstract The Sign of Four due

Session Nine, June, 10, Theory Session: Neuroenhancers in Twenty-First-Century Films

Theory Texts

  • Hildt, Elisabeth. "Cognitive Enhancement – A Critical Look at the Recent Debate." Cognitive Enhancement: An Interdisciplinary Perspective. Eds. Elisabeth Hildt and Andreas G. Franke. Springer: Dordrecht, 2013. 1-14. Print. (Excerpts)
  • Wagner, Greta. "Leveling [sic] the Playing Field: Fairness in the Cognitive Enhancement Debate." Cognitive Enhancement: An Interdisciplinary Perspective. Eds. Elisabeth Hildt and Andreas G. Franke. Springer: Dordrecht, 2013. 217-31. Print.
  • Roxburgh, Natalie. "The Rise of Psychopharmacological Fiction." Representations of Science in Twenty-First-Century Fiction. Eds. Nina Engelhardt and Julia Hoydis. London: Palgrave. 19-35. Print.

Guiding Questions

Video Conference

  • Video Conference Group: Volha Silkina, Jelto Witt

Session Ten, June, 17, Constructing the Self: Pop-Cultural Representations of Self-Empowerment

Primary Material

  • Limitless. Dir. Neil Burger. Perf. Bradley Cooper, Abbie Cornish, and Robert De Niro. 2011. Concorde, 2011. DVD.

Secondary Material

  • Zwart, Hub. "Limitless as a Neuropharmaceutical Experiment and as a Daseinsanalyse: On the Use of Fiction in Preparatory Debates on Cognitive Enhancement." Medicine, Health Care, and Philosophy: A European Journal 17.1 (2014): 29-38. Print.
  • Heuner, Ulf. "100% Gehirn plus/minus 100% Moral: Neuroenhancement in Limitless." Zocker, Drogenfreaks & Trunkenbolde: Rausch, Ekstase und Sucht in Film und Serie. Eds. Martin Poltrum, Bernd Rieken and Thomas Ballhausen. Berlin: Springer. 2019. 437-52. Print.

Presentation

  • "I Was Blind but now I See": Representing Enhancement Enthusiasm Visually and Cinematographically
  • Presentation Group: Volha Silkina, Jelto Witt

Video Conference

  • Video Conference Group: Jonas Rother, Jonas Menzel, Adrian Englisch

Session Eleven, June, 24, "What Dreams May Come?": A Society Between Self-Enhancement and Self-Annihilation

Primary Material

  • Limitless. Dir. Neil Burger. Perf. Bradley Cooper, Abbie Cornish, and Robert De Niro. 2011. Concorde, 2011. DVD.

Secondary Material

  • Zwart, Hub. "Limitless as a Neuropharmaceutical Experiment and as a Daseinsanalyse: On the Use of Fiction in Preparatory Debates on Cognitive Enhancement." Medicine, Health Care, and Philosophy: A European Journal 17.1 (2014): 29-38. Print.
  • Heuner, Ulf. "100% Gehirn plus/minus 100% Moral: Neuroenhancement in Limitless." Zocker, Drogenfreaks & Trunkenbolde: Rausch, Ekstase und Sucht in Film und Serie. Eds. Martin Poltrum, Bernd Rieken and Thomas Ballhausen. Berlin: Springer. 2019. 437-52. Print.

Presentation

  • "What Dreams May Come?": Limitless as a Cautionary Tale
  • Presentation Group: Jonas Rother, Jonas Menzel, Adrian Englisch

Video Conference

  • Video Conference Group: Maik Harms, Susanne Scholl
   June, 26: Abstract Limitless due

Session Twelve, July, 01, Enter the Yuppie: Neo-Liberal Identity Performances

Primary Material

  • The Wolf of Wall Street. Dir. Martin Scorsese. Perf. Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, and Margot Robbie. 2013. Universal, 2014. DVD.

Secondary Material

  • Roxburgh, Natalie. "Entertainment, Optimization, and Self-Medication in The Wolf of Wall Street." Business-Fiktionen und Management Inszenierungen. Eds. Christine Künzel et al. Berlin: Peter Lang, 2018. 289-302. Print.
  • Kogan, Ilany. "Master of the Universe: Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street Through a Psychoanalytic Lens." The American Journal of Psychoanalysis 78 (2018): 267-86. Print.

Presentation

  • "And I Choose Rich Every Fucking Time": Neo-Liberalism, Biopolitical Societies, and Self-Optimisation in The Woolf of Wall Street
  • Presentation Group: Maik Harms, Susanne Scholl

Video Conference

  • Video Conference Group: Kimberly Dawn Labonte, Clara Sophie Schenck

Session Thirteen, July, 08, Enter Popeye: Parodying Self-Optimisation and Self-Enhancement

Primary Material

  • The Wolf of Wall Street. Dir. Martin Scorsese. Perf. Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, and Margot Robbie. 2013. Universal, 2014. DVD.

Secondary Material

  • Raile, Paolo. "Aufstieg und Fall des Jordan Belfort." Zocker, Drogenfreaks & Trunkenbolde: Rausch, Ekstase und Sucht in Film und Serie. Eds. Martin Poltrum, Bernd Rieken and Thomas Ballhausen. Berlin: Springer. 2019. 175-90. Print.
  • Ferriss, Suzanne. "Refashioning the Modern American Dream: The Great Gatsby, The Wolf of Wall Street, and American Hustle." The Journal of American Culture 41.2 (2018): 153-75. Print.

Presentation

  • Spinach Overdose: Parodying Self-Enhancement Through Popeye, Miami Vice, and Other Intertextual References in The Wolf of Wall Street
  • Presentation Group: Kimberly Dawn Labonte, Clara Sophie Schenck
   July, 10: Abstract The Wolf of Wall Street due

Session Fourteen, July, 15, RPO Session

Guidelines for finding your RPO topic:

Your RPO topic needs to be related to at least one of the primary texts

   September, 15: Term Paper due