SUMMER ART EXPERIENCE Monday 9 - Friday 13 January 2012
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SUMMER ART EXPERIENCE Monday 9 - Friday 13 January 2012


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Tout savoir sur nos offres
21 pages


Summer Art Experience 2012 ARTISTS SOCIETY OF CANBERRA SUMMER ART EXPERIENCE Monday 9 – Friday 13 January 2012
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Publié par
Nombre de lectures 16
Langue English


(Revised 8 December 2011)

Winter Term 2011

Department of English and Cultural Studies
McMaster University

English and Cultural Studies 3Q0
Cultural Studies and Critical Theory 3Q03

History of Critical Theory:
Representation, Education, and the Question of the Just Community

Instructor: Dr. David L. Clark
T.A.: Mr. Tyler Pollard

Study Questions and Course Blog


(Matthew Paris, 1200-1259 AD)

Photographs: Sir Philip Sidney, Plato and Aristotle
Plato instructing Socrates to write [That’s weird.]; John Locke
Friedrich Schiller

How to Use the Study Questions and Course Blog Document

The purpose of this document is to help you understand and consolidate some of the key elements
of this course. This document is not a summary of the lectures and is not designed to replace your
careful reading of the course material or the notes that you are taking in class. It is rather a series
of questions designed to help you connect your understanding of the assigned reading materials to
those notes. The document also includes sections--blogs--where I return to points that I made in
class, reiterating those points to assist you in keeping on track in the course.

After each lecture, my suggestion is return to the assigned reading materials and to your lecture
notes, and ensure that you are able to answer the study questions listed here. If not, take the time
to track down the answers to these questions by going back to the assigned texts. The objective is
fourfold: 3

1) To confirm that you are consistently able to anchor the large concerns of each theorist
in specific details, arguments, and illustrations in their work;
2) To help you to learn how take better notes, i.e., notes that are robust enough to yield
strong answers to the questions that are posed here.
3) To help you better knit together the lectures, the assigned readings, and your
understanding of the assigned readings.
4) To help you move from thinking of the course material in terms of broad
generalizations to addressing the course material in much more specific ways, i.e.,
rooted in the specific details, arguments, illustrations, and questions that quicken the
assigned readings. The midterm and the final examination will call upon you to discuss
the course materials at just such a level of detail.

I have complete confidence that you can do this….if you put your back into it! These Study
Questions and Blog entries are best used as the course unfolds, i.e., to ensure that you have the best
possible grasp of the materials and questions and problems at hand. In other words, the Study
Questions and Blog entries are best used while the lectures and the readings are freshest in your
mind. Therefore, I strongly encourage you not to leave wrestling with this document until just
prior to the midterm or just prior to the final examination.

Hint: experience with this course suggests that forming purposeful and focussed Study Groups
designed to address the Study Questions and Course Blog can be very useful to students. What
about creating a Facebook page for the course?

This document is dynamic, i.e., all sections—not just the last section--are updated and revised as
the course unfolds. Check the “Revised” date in bold at the top left hand corner of this document
to confirm that you are reading the latest version.


Cite and explain at least six different ways in which Plato evokes the question of justice in the
Republic. Point to particular arguments that he makes.

How and why does Socrates distinguish between speech and writing in the Phaedrus? How
exactly does Socrates’ argument about the differences between speech and writing end up
qualifying and compromising itself? Why does this glitch happen? What is its significance?

Point to particular examples of loss and mourning in the Republic. What are Socrates’ concerns
about these scenes? Connect these scenes to the Republic as a whole, which commemorates the
life and teachings of his mentor, Socrates.

Why does Plato situate the fictional discussion with Socrates at the heart of the Republic back in
time, indeed, to the time of Plato’s childhood?

What are the virtues most prized by Socrates in the Republic? What does these virtues tell us
about how Plato views the world? What does he value and what does he value much less?

Socrates criticizes artistic mimesis for being two removes from the “real” world. Referring to the 4
particular arguments he makes in the Republic, explain the basis for his criticism. Why two
removes? What is one remove from the “real” world?

Locate the following passages and explain what Plato means in them, beginning by situating them
in his argument, and then connecting them to the Republic’s larger concerns:

…faith in reasoning (75)

And when rationality does make its appearance, won’t the person who has been brought up
in this way recognize it because of its familiarity, and be particularly delighted with it? (92)

Even that might help them to care more about the city and one another. (108)

We shouldn’t be lead by success, money, power—or even poetry—into neglecting justice,
or virtue in general. (330)

In this way, they will be kept safe, and they will keep the city safe. (110)

Then we must select from the guardians the kind of men who on examination strike us most
strongly, their whole lives through, as being utterly determined to do what is in the city’s interests,
and as refusing to act in any way against its interests. (105)

There’s not the remotest chance of becoming properly educated—either for ourselves or
for the people we way we must educate to be our guardians—until we recognize the sort of thing
self-discipline is. Likewise courage, liberality and generosity of spirit…. (93)

When things go wrong, and he faces death and wounds, or encounters some other danger,
in all these situations he holds out to the end in a disciplined and steadfast manner. Plus another
mode for someone engaged in some peaceful, voluntary, freely chosen activity. He might be trying
to persuade someone of something, making some request—praying to a god, or giving instructions
or advice to a man…He might be listening patiently to someone else making a request, or
explaining something to him, or trying to get him to change his mind, and on that basis acting as
he thinks best—without arrogance, acting prudently and calmly in all situations… (89)

And…then we must do what lovers do when they have fallen in love with someone and
decided their love is not a good thing. (32

There is a long-standing antagonism between poetry and philosophy. The “howling dog”
which “yelps against its master,” “great in the empty eloquence of fools,” “the mob of wise men
who have mastered Zeus,” “how subtle thinkers are but beggars yet,” and countless other
passages, are evidence of their long-standing opposition. (329)

Because we shall say, I imagine, that writers of poetry and prose both make very serious
errors about mankind. They say that…injustice pays if you can get away with it, whereas justice is
what is good for someone else, but damaging to yourself.

…enemy of rational argument (104)
Where does Socrates speak of betraying our truest selves?

What is a “Form” in the Republic?

Like each of the texts on this course, Plato is unwilling to discuss conceptual problems (the nature
of knowledge, mimesis, love, etc.) without connecting these problems to moral and ethical
concerns. Education—teaching and learning—is the setting in which he makes these connections.


Notice the painting above showing Plato and Aristotle standing side by side. Plato points upwards,
whereas Aristotle, book in hand, gestures to the world. Why? How are their respective
understandings of mimesis captured by this difference in the painting?

Aristotle pins part—but a central part—of the effectiveness of tragedy on hamartia, or
mistake/error. Why is it important for the central character of a tragedy to make a mistake and to
be capable of making a mistake? Later Christians will translate the Greek term as sin, but this
translation obscures the meaning of the original in profound ways and gives emphasis to moral
features of a character that Aristotle does not. Plot means so much more to him than character.
(Why? What exactly is plot in the Poetics?) Heroes who make mistakes in Greek tragedy are not
considered to have suffered a moral flaw of the sort that, for example, we sometimes see in the
villains of Shakespeare’s plays. But the consequences of a mistake in Greek tragedy are often
enormous. Audiences are expected to feel pity and fear because these consequences are so
undeserved. Point to the particular passages in the Poetics where Aristotle makes this point.

Rehearse with Aristotle the various ways in which plots may work in tragedy, and explain how and
why some are so much more effective than others. Note that Greek tragedy is what it is precisely
by avoiding the temptation to demonstrate that there is perfect justice in the world. Artistic
mimesis serves an interesting cultural role: its job, as it were, is to affirm the irrepressibility of
injustice in the world (remember what Socrates says in the Republic: there is so very much more
injustice in the world than justice: where, exactly does Socrates say this?), and to have the courage
to tarry with that injustice, to model a relationship with it that doesn’t mean fleeing into salutary
clichés or too easy endings.

Point to specific passages in the Poetics that capture some of the ambiguities about the term
mimesis, ambiguities that Aristotle exploits rather than regrets. For example, point to passages in
which mimesis isn’t simply a reflection of the world but a kind of subtle reorganization of the
nature of things as they are into what they might be, a distancing and refining of reality so that
everything extraneous is stripped away.

Mimesis in Aristotle is sometimes said to be handled in two general ways: as a formal matter, as a
question of the most effective arrangement of the parts of a mimesis, with the parts adding up to
more than their sum; and as a pragmatic or social/cultural concern, centered on the effects of drama
on an audience. Point to particular arguments and illustrations in the text that make this case.
European thinkers, centuries after Aristotle, will often draw underline one emphasis over the other,
yet Aristotle himself never treats them as wholly distinct. Explain.
Katharsis remains one of Aristotle’s most obscure terms, and yet it is treated as centrally important
to the experience of dramatic mimesis. Katharsis has two different connotations:
1) It evokes the experience of the purification of the spectator, and of observing tragedy
and experiencing tragic plots in a dignified and dignifying way, an experience that enlarges the
mind and in which large and informing contexts are expanded and reconfigured. According to this
reading of katharsis, tragedy is an elementally human affair, legible to the rational and secular
mind and confirming the centrality of that mind.
2) Katharsis also evokes the working “off” of certain emotions, a process in which a
heightened moment of extreme feelings functions to purge those feelings from us. This
understanding of katharsis brings us closer to tragedy as a mimesis of a precarious world,
brimming with inexplicable injustices, a world that is irrational as well as orderly. In what ways
does the Poetics capture both of these understandings of the nature of things?

Now, one can hardly blame Aristotle for having the relentlessly rational view of the world that he
has. Point to at least four places in the Poetics in which Aristotle admits irrationality into the
design of tragedies….but then recuperates matters by folding those irrationalities into a larger and
rational setting. Remember that rationality is the enemy of prejudice and thoughtlessness.
Aristotle is re-imagining tragedy for the purpose of helping the Greeks escape the cycle of revenge
that plays such an important role in their literature and their lives. Are the plays—as Aristotle
reconfigures them—an occasion for spectators to overcome the emotions that fuel the violence of
vengeance? --A noble and ethical cause. But Aristotle may end up transforming classical tragedy
in revealing ways, moving it away from its origins as a complex cultural event that combines the
ritualistic affirmation of irrational forces with the claim for emotional and social orderliness. In
the end, Aristotle may translate classical tragedy into something closer to a detective story, a kind
of cognitive-emotional puzzle….perhaps a far cry from the brooding, exciting, partly
overwhelming and promiscuously collective experiences that classical tragedy actually was.

Aristotle points to half a dozen elements of tragedy, with “plot” being the most important and
“spectacle” being the least important. Explain.

Pointing to particular arguments in the Poetics, explain the significance of recognition and
reversal. Which forms of recognition and reversal work best…and why?

Where and why does Aristotle compare living creatures to well-formed mimeses?

Point to at least four ways in which Aristotle’s argument about mimesis differs significantly from

Aristotle begins the Poetics emphasizing how human beings are by nature curious, desirous of
knowledge; they take pleasure in knowledge, and in particular in the pleasures to be had in learning
about the nature of things through and with the assistance of mimesis. Why does Aristotle start his
argument bringing together these various questions (teaching and learning, pleasure, knowledge,
mimesis)? What exactly does he say about mimesis, pleasure, and knowledge in these opening
moves? (I.e., as always in this course, it’s important to be able to speak in specifics rather than
generalities about the theorist’s particular arguments, claims, and illustrations.)

Sir Philip Sidney

Explain the significance of each of the following citations, references, and allusions from the
Defence of Poesy:

Edward Wotton and John Pietro Pugliano (212).

first light-giver to ignorance, and first nurse (213).

the poets who draw with their charming sweetness the wild untamed wits to an admiration
of knowledge (213).

truly even Plato...though the inside and strength were philosophy, the skin, as it were, and
beauty depended most of poetry: for all standeth upon dialogues, wherein he feigneth many
honest burgesses of Athens to speak of such matters....(213).

in our neighbour country….where truly learning goes very bare (214).

enduring the conquests of Romans, Saxons, Danes, and Normans, some of whom did seek
to ruin all memory of learning from among them, yet do their poets even to this day last (214).

The poet was called vates,...diviner, foreseen, or prophet, those entrusted with heart-
ravishing knowledge (214).

say that the holy David’s Psalms are a divine poem (215).

songs, fully written in metre...., including his notable prosopopeias (215).

The poet is poiein, which is, to make (215).

Only the poet, disdaining to be tied to any such subjection, lifted up by the vigour of his
own invention, doth grow in effect another nature, in making things either better than nature
bringeth forth, or, quite anew, forms as never were in as he goeth hand in hand with
nature, not enclosed within the narrow warrant of her gifts, but freely ranging only within the
zodiac of his own wit (216).

Nature’s world is brazen, the poets only deliver a golden (216).

the poet not only makes a Cyrus, which is an excellency nature has done, but bestows a
Cyrus upon the world to make many Cyruses (217).

Can it be deemed too saucy a comparison to balance the highest point of man’s wit with
the efficacy of nature? (217)

since our erected wit maketh us know what perfection is, and yet our infected will keepeth
us from reaching unto it.

This much (I hope) will be given me, that the Greeks with some probability of reason gave 8
him the names above all names learning.

Poetry is mimesis, a representing, a counterfeiting, or figuring forth....with this end, to
teach and delight (217)

yet want there not idle tongues to bark at them (xx)

What is teaching and learning? [P]urifying of wit, enriching of memory, enabling of
judgment, enlarging of conceit...which we commonly call learning (xx).

Sidney can be sharply critical of different forms of knowledge, although often in
exaggerated ways that remind us that he is doing so with a smile and a wink. After all, he
treasured and show-cased his own broad and deep education, and seeks in the Defence to affirm
the importance of knowledge in an age that felt to him to be conducting a war on thought. More
often, Sidney celebrates the variety of forms of human inquiry into the nature of things. All of it is
part of a spectrum of teaching and learning. Whatever shape it takes, knowledge has—or should
have—a common goal: as he says, what...soever it be directed, whatever name it has, teaching and
learning has as the final lead and draw us to as high a perfection as our degenerate souls,
made worse by their clayey lodgings, can be capable of (219). Note the subtle qualification here:
we are urged to work towards the perfection that we are capable of, rather than commanded to kill
ourselves trying to be something that we cannot be. Sidney mimics the language of degeneracy
and purity that he inherits from his more puritanical colleagues, the ones who spent too much time
denouncing human beings for their corruptness and incompetence, so as to use this language
against itself, against the anti-humanisms of the ascetics around him, those who focus on the
clayey lodgings, and who treat us an undeserving of a better world, or of what Sidney calls a just
empire, i.e., a commonwealth activated by justice. Our lodgings may be clayey, yes, but they
remain lodgings, i.e., a home worth defending, not in spite but precisely because of its flawed and
rough-and-ready character. The English language itself—and the complex cultural and social
history for which that language is a metaphor—will later on in the text become an example of that
clayey lodging worth defending.

It’s true, he notes, natural philosophers, supernatural philosophers, musicians, mathematicians, and
other teachers want to know, and by knowledge to lift up the mind from the dungeon of the body to
the enjoying of his own divine essence. Those are wonderful aspirations to have…as long as they
aren’t followed at the expense of taking care of living here on earth. What if the astronomer ends
up falling into a ditch because she or he is so focussed on the stars, Sidney asks?
What good is the mathematician who can draw forth a straight line with a cooked heart? These
are examples of thinkers who refuse to link their thinking to larger, ethical concerns, questions of
civic responsibilities and just commonwealths.

Who criticizes whom for living and working in the dangerless Academy of Plato?

What does Sidney mean when he says that the problem with certain knowledges—which
ones, exactly?--is that they each have a private end in themselves?

What does Sidney mean by the ethic and politic consideration, and by a concern with the
end of well-doing and not of well-knowing only (219)?
Why does Sidney speak of the following: how, by plain setting down how [virtue]
extendeth itself out of the limits of a man’s own little world to the government of families and
maintaining of public societies (220)? What is the object of Sidney’s criticism here? Whose
family does he evoke, albeit politely and discreetly?

Who does Sidney cite, whose authority does he rely on, when he speaks of how it is not
gnosis but praxis must be the fruit?

Sidney says hoc upus, hic labour est [roughly speaking, “that is the hard bit”]. What is the
hard bit?

Sidney offers two proofs of the strange effects of this poetical invention (227), including
the example of Menenius Agrippa. What is Agrippa’s story? (228)

Sidney names the various genres or classifications of poetry, ranging from pastoral poetry
to heroical poetry. As he describes each genre, we become aware that these are much more than
classifications: each kind in fact describes a particular relationship with the world, and a different
way to admire knowledge. Each genre of poetry becomes an occasion to evoke for his readers a
commonwealth that is humane, understanding of human weakness, and committed to justice. How
so? What does Sidney say in particular about the virtues of heroical poetry?

Where does Sidney speak against carping and taunting? And where does he tell us that
scoffing cometh not of wisdom?

Towards the end of his text, but before his two digressions, Sidney turns to the most
important criticisms of poetry and addresses each of these in turn. What are those objections, and
what are his answers?

why England, the mother of excellent minds, should be grown to hard a stepmother to
poets (240).

The English only proceedeth from their wit, being indeed makers of themselves, not takers
of others (240)

Sidney is careful not to come across as if he were against or beyond laughter. Far from it
(245). But he calls for delightful laughter, and teaching delightfulness (246). Laughter without an
ethical context too easily masks forms of exclusiveness and aggression. For what is it to make
folks gape at a wretched beggar and a beggarly clown; or, against law of hospitality, to jest at
strangers, because they speak not English well as we do? (245)

I have lavished out too many words of this play matter (246); But what? Methinks I
deserve to be pounded for straying from poetry to oratory (247). Between these two hesitations,
two moments in which Sidney stops himself, and finds fault with himself, what has he discussed?
What is the purpose of these two digressions? How do they exemplify the relationship to
knowledge and to others that his text explores and affirms?

Earlier in the text, Sidney warns readers against withdrawing into the “privative” realms of 10
knowledge, “privative” here meaning knowledge that forgets “the ethic and politic consideration”
which joins it to public concerns and worries and hopes. By writing in English, and often resorting
to a certain Anglo-Saxon earthiness in his English, Sidney signals something important: namely,
there is no need to hide behind Latin or Greek or other learned languages. Roman and Greek
civilizations brim with crucially important insights, histories, and knowledges. But to translate
these knowledges into action, into praxis, to make them meaningfully or legible human and
humane, English—“our language,” as he says--will do just fine: whereto our language giveth us
great occasion, being indeed capable of any excellent exercising of it (248). There are some who
denounce English as a mingled language. But for Sidney, so much the better: the language’s
complex multicultural origins and nature registers a certain openness to others. As he says: And
why not so much the better, taking the best of both the other? He praises English for being so easy
in itself, its capacity for utterly sweetly and properly the conceits of the mind. Sidney notes that it
hath equally with any other tongue in the world. What we are hearing here is not so much a
“nationalistic” proclamation of the purity of English (he has already celebrated English’s “mixed”
heritage), as humanistic affirmation of the tools to hand, in this case what he calls the mother-
tongue. Learning and doing-well cannot be confined to those few in the possession of Latin or
Greek, as important as these languages certainly are to Sidney. We “have” English in the same
way that we live in the “clayey lodgings” of our bodies: these are the imperfect worlds we inherit
and into which we are thrown. Life is not about denouncing those worlds, and awaiting the arrival
of a better one in the afterlife. A good life is about doing-well in this world, profoundly aware of
its limitations, but also nurturing an “admiration of knowledge,” risking even knowledge that
“ravishes” the heart…and having the courage to do well.

Teaching and learning worthy of the name always involve a wager, an uninsurable risk.
How does Sidney put that risk to us in the last paragraph of his text. What verbs does he use to
propel his last complex sentences forward to capture that sense of the future?

John Locke

Your coursepack is missing a page and a half of Locke’s text! I’ve posted those pages (406-408)
on the coursepage. Once you’ve had a chance carefully to consider these pages, consider the
following queries:

1) Why does Locke refer here to the child’s idea of “Gold”? Where else does Locke turn
to this example?
2) The fact that human beings come to believe that there is a natural “connexion between
certain Sounds, and the Ideas they stand for” (407) is, at first glance, an epistemological question
pertaining to how language works in the real world. But as always, Locke’s ultimate interests are
political and ethical. From an ethical and political point of view, why is this particular point
3) Consider paragraph #8 (408) carefully. Why does Locke suggest that “every Man has
so inviolable a Liberty, to make Words stand for what Ideas he pleases, that no one hath the Power
to make others have the same Ideas in their minds, as he as, when they use the same Words, that he
does”? Note that in the very next sentence, Locke also says that “therefore the great Augustus
himself, in the Possession of that Power which ruled the world, acknowledged, he could not make
a new Latin word: which was as much to say, that he could not arbitrarily appoint, what Idea any
Sound should be a Sign of, in the Mouths and common Language of his Subjects.” Are these
sentences simply contradictory? What is the ethical and political consequence of these two

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