The Death of Everything: The Postmodern Condition Revisited

New School for Social Research: Liberal Studies

Liberal Arts

Graduate Course

Degree Students (with Restrictions)

The Death of Everything

Fall 2019

Taught By: Jeremy Varon

Section: A

CRN: 7053

Credits: 3

In the last decades of the 20th-century, a specter haunted the intellectual and cultural life of the developed West: postmodernism. Adherents of a new, postmodern sensibility declared the project of Occidental modernity dead, with its great pillars lying in ruins: reason, rationality, the self, the author, ideologies of emancipation, all myths of progress, and the very idea of truth. The question burned: how to make sense and make the most of this brave new world? Could the postmodern condition be grasped as a “system”? Could it ever be transcended, whether by force of its own logic or by collective, political will? Never fully answered, such questions faded from view. Interest in postmodernism has roared back to life with the characterization of Trump and other strongmen as “postmodern” leaders, reveling in a “post-truth” world. Left-wing intellectuals who advanced the postmodern turn are made to wonder if they had a hidden hand in today’s authoritarian condition. This indictment begs the questions: Just what was postmodernism? What have been its effects and legacy? And how might a past bear responsibility for a future? This seminar approaches these questions by reconstructing postmodernism at its moment of inception. We will examine seminal postmodern texts that set the terms of debate; look at exemplary instances of postmodern culture drawn from film, TV, media, art, and architecture; ask if postmodernism had, or implied, a “politics”; blend “deep play” with rigorous inquiry; and consider both negative and positive ways of understanding postmodernism’s legacy.

College: New School for Social Research (GF)

Department: Liberal Studies (GLIB)

Campus: New York City (GV)

Course Format: Seminar (R)

Max Enrollment: 5

Add/Drop Deadline: September 9, 2019 (Monday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: November 17, 2019 (Sunday)

Seats Available: Yes

Status: Closed*

*Status information is updated every five 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: 11:16pm 2/28/2020 EST

Meeting Info:

Days: Thursday

Times: 6:00pm - 7:50pm

Building: 6 East 16th Street

Room: 901

Date Range: 8/29/2019 - 12/12/2019