Sad Planets

New School for Social Research: Liberal Studies

Liberal Arts
Graduate Course
Degree Students
Sad Planets
Spring 2024
Taught By: Dominic Pettman and Eugene Thacker
Section: A

CRN: 14714

Credits: 3

In this course, we will explore the relationship between environment, estrangement, and pathos in philosophical, cultural, and aesthetic terms. Starting with questions of cosmic scale – what Friedrich Nietzsche once termed “humanity’s place in the universe” – we will turn to novels, poems, and films that respond to existential alienation, entropic decline, imminent catastrophe, and the sense of a general melancholia pervading the natural world. We will touch upon a wide range of traditions, from the wilderness poetry of ancient China to contemporary “cli-fi,” from the desert hermits of ancient Egypt to fin-de-siècle decadence, from Romanticism’s poetics of nature to modern “weird fiction.” Along the way we will address topics such as the threat of extinction, “ecological grief,” “collapsology,” and other affects associated with the Anthropocene. Readings will likely include fiction by Kōbō Abe, J.G. Ballard, Aase Berg, Algernon Blackwood, Rachel Carson, Liu Cixin, Camille Flammerion, Anna Kavan, Izumi Kyōka, Stanislaw Lem, Ursula Le Guin, Octavia Butler, Kim Stanley Robinson, Vladimir Sorokin, and others. While this is a graduate class, we have a handful of seats for undergraduates in their final year (i.e., seniors). Permission to register is necessary in this case. For consideration, kindly fill out this form:

College: New School for Social Research (GF)

Department: Liberal Studies (LBS)

Campus: New York City (GV)

Course Format: Seminar (R)

Modality: In-Person

Max Enrollment: 5

Add/Drop Deadline: February 4, 2024 (Sunday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: April 16, 2024 (Tuesday)

Seats Available: Yes

Status: Closed*

* Status information is updated every few minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 1:30am EDT 6/14/2024

Meeting Info:
Days: Thursday
Times: 1:55pm - 3:45pm
Building: Johnson/Kaplan 66 West 12th
Room: 702
Date Range: 1/25/2024 - 5/9/2024