Introduction to Critical Theories
Mr. Dror Yinon
In this course we shall endeavor to understand the nature of critique particular to critical theory through analyzing the various contexts in which such a theory develops. The course will be divided into three parts, integrating the historical and conceptual development of critical theories with a focused examination on the key concepts in these theories. The first part is dedicated to the sources of critical theory in the thinking of Kant, Hegel and Marx, leading to the Frankfurt School where the term “Critical Theory” was coined in the way we shall understand it in the course. The second part of the course will be dedicated to concepts central to critical theories, such as ideology and hegemony, with a focus on thinkers who did not belong to the Frankfurt School. The final part of the course will be devoted to a review of the concept of enlightenment and an attempt to rehabilitate the critical theory of the Frankfurt School in the new conceptual framework offered by Jürgen Habermas. The philosophical and conceptual platform provided by the course enables a deeper understanding of the theories and social movements that developed in the twentieth century and raised critical public debate regarding gender relations, sexuality, the treatment of minorities, the significance of the mass media and its impact on democratic society and a wide variety of issues weighing heavily on the establishment and shaping of society.
Discourse Analysis (Lecture and tutorial)
Dr. Dorit Lemberger
This course will deal with the philosophy of language from the close of the nineteenth century to our own era, focusing on the following questions: 1. What is language? 2. What is the relation between language and the world? 3. How can we investigate language?
During the course we shall examine the characteristics of the “linguistic turn” and its implications for the humanities and social sciences by studying and discussing the methods of the central thinkers and scholars influencing the study of language. In the lecture we shall discuss the views of various thinkers from a theoretical perspective, and in the tutorial the methodology of each of these thinkers will be applied to the readings of texts from various fields.
Prof. Roni Miron
This course will deal with the thinking of the chief personalities shaping the modern theory of interpretation, from Schleiermacher to Paul Ricoeur. In this framework we shall examine: the fundamental assumptions that made the development of hermeneutics possible, the main questions that led to it and accompanied its development, and the turning points in its history. In addition, we shall discuss the influences and implications of this discipline on the development of the humanities and social sciences and also on the discipline of cultural studies. On the basis of our acquaintance with the main milestones in the history of hermeneutics and our critical consideration thereof, we shall examine the possibility of applying the studied material in an interdisciplinary framework.
Theories of Culture: Sociological Aspects
Dr. Tal Kohavi
This course lays out a variety of methods for analyzing and understanding society. These methods are anchored in philosophical, historical or sociological theories, but they are in essence multidisciplinary, just like the concept they endeavor to analyze: culture. This complex and multi-faceted concept is at the center of the course, and over the year we shall examine the history of the concept and also the central debates arising in the emerging field of cultural studies over the last few decades. The aim of the course is twofold: on one hand, to become well acquainted with the central problematics of the field through examining classical and contemporary approaches and also through following the development of key ideas in western thought, for example: the concept of progress, universalism vs. particularity, description and understanding, and others; on the other hand, the course aims to impart to the students numerous and varied tools to assist them in expressing as clearly as possible their research questions and research range and the methodology appropriate to each issue.
Selfhood, Identity and Culture (required course for second year students)
Prof. Avi Sagi
The course is divided into two central parts. The first part comprises the systematic description and analysis of notions of selfhood and identity, from the beginnings of the philosophical tradition (Plato and Aristotle) to the existentialist revolution. This revolution serves as a fresh viewpoint through which newer understandings of the notions of selfhood and identity are examined. The existentialist tradition will be analyzed as a transition point between the classic perception of selfhood and identity and the new perception – the cultural. The second part of the course deals with the new understandings of selfhood and identity, in whose framework the cultural component is central in the formation of selfhood and in the fabrication of identity. With the rise of the notion of culture, a new series of questions arises: in the light of the fact that man is formed by culture, or by the cultures in which his life is consolidated, what is the meaning of the identity of selfhood? Does the exchange of the essence of identity from an a priori basis to a historical-cultural-social basis require the complete dismantling of the notions of identity and selfhood? These questions will guide the discussion in the second part of the course.
Colloquium – required throughout the program
The Program for Hermeneutics and Cultural Studies is interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary. The colloquium purports to create a place for meeting and discussion among all the participants. The encounter that takes place in the framework of the colloquium is diverse: meeting with assorted researchers from various fields at different points in their development, from doctoral candidates to world-class professors; meeting with influential personalities in the social, legal and cultural realms of Israeli society and meeting with artists from various fields.