Professor Dominik Zechner

This course expounds the ways in which the logic of capitalism shapes our experience of reality. Probing capitalism’s promise of unending enjoyment – what David Foster Wallace, borrowing from Shakespeare, has called “infinite jest” – we seek to discern the abject discontent on the other side of consumerist abandon. With a special emphasis on the cultural dominance of late-stage capitalism, we will confront a variety of media – theory, prose, music, TV, and the cinema – in an attempt to gauge the impact of what philosophers have termed “the culture industry” on the desiring subject. In addition to thinkers from the Frankfurt School, we will discuss works by Wendy Brown, Todd McGowan, Neil Postman, and Slavoj Žižek; literary works by Elfriede Jelinek and Charles Yu; David Fincher’s filmography; and indie music by Mitski and others.

No prerequisites. All readings and discussions in English. This course satisfies SAS Core Curriculum Learning Goals AHp, WCd.