Hauntology: Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Citizens of The World
LIterature and Philosophy
Some may argue that in order to understand the twenty-first century, we need to look through the lens of “hauntology,” in other words looking for the past in the present. Hauntology asks us to look at the figures of ghosts, as that which are neither present nor absent, neither dead nor alive. Hauntology is a play off French philosopher Jacques Derrida’s arguments about ontology- the metaphysics of being- and “the ghostly specters” of Marxism (and arguably Fascism and Marxism when we talk about Spain) that hovers over the globe. How can Plato’s Allegory Of The Cave give us a way into understanding hauntology, ghostly histories, and the ghosts therein? Those who have been on the margins but who were nonetheless radiant and whole, those who may be did not win, those who were not allowed to leave a trace in what we have chosen to remember, what we have chosen to forget, or what we have chosen to see?
Who have been the philosopher kings in the following twentieth and twenty-first century conflicts?
What “truths” or enlightenment did they try to bring to those in the cave? To what extent did this philosopher king push back against closed political ideologies and embody the ideologies of openness and human fragility?
Who was killed for the beliefs they stood for? Who still lives, and what are they doing today?
In any case, how is this philosopher king connected to the ways we are still struggling to remember or acknowledge the history they were part of? How can Plato’s Allegory Of The Cave be a way to understand the ways memory is a portal for discovery, and thus why this history is important?
As a group select ONE of the following histories and attached figures/“ghosts” to research. Create a group poster or power point demonstration that explains the extent to which the figures I have asked you to research are philosopher kings. Explain the extent to which remembering this history ultimately reflects the connections between Plato’s Allegory of the Cave and hauntology - looking for the past in the present.
*YOUR CHOICE: ANY HISTORICAL CONFLICT AND FIGURES CONNECTED TO THIS CONFLICT
*Communist Russia: Joseph Brodsky, Osip Mandelstam, Zarina Zabrisky
*Laos and The Hmong of Fresno, California: General Vang Pao, Professor Ma Vang, Poet Soul Vang
*Bejing, China and The Tieneman Square Protests: Ding Zillin, Liu Xiaobo, Bei Dao.
*The Vietnam War, Thích Nhất Hạnh, Le Ly Hayslip
*Spain: The Spanish Civil War, Federico Garcia Lorca, Pablo Picasso, George Steer, George Orwell.
*Women And Labor in the 20th Century: The Delany Grape Strikes- Dolores Huerta, Ester Hernandez. Women And Labor In 21st Century: The Femicides of Maquiladoras in Juarez, Mexico- Violeta Luna, La Chica Boom.
*El Salvador: The El Salvadoran Civil War. Saint Oscar Romero, Roque Dalton, Harold Terezon
*THE YBCA TAKE THIS HAMMER ARTS EXHIBIT AND SAN FRANCISCO'S CURRENT CULTURAL: Please also address, James Baldwin, and the documentary he did about San Francisco in 1963, Take This Hammer (which the exhibit takes it's name from.)
*Los Angeles and the Punk Revolution: Penelope Spheeris, Alice Bag (Alicia Velasquez)
*The Plane Crash at Los Gatos: Woodie Guthrie, Timothy Z Hernandez.
*Five Februaries in Benghazi, Libya February 2011-2016: Masoud Basir, Ambassador Chris Stevens, Mehdi Ziu.
Your research should reflect at least 5-7 articles (secondary sources) about this history and 5-7 texts/articles about each of the philosopher kings associated with it. At least three of these texts should be primary sources, in the words of the “philosopher king.” I will be grading your posters/power points according to the following rubric:
CONNECTION OF PLATO TO TODAY’S WORLD
4- Vividly demonstrates how Plato’s Allegory Of The Cave connects to the history and philosopher kings you have studied
3- Adequately demonstrates how Plato’s Allegory Of The Cave connects to the history/philosopher kings you have studied
2- Somewhat demonstrates how Plato’s Allegory Of The Cave connects to the history and the philosopher kings you have studied
1- Fails to demonstrate how Plato’s Allegory Of The Cave connects to the history and the philosopher kings you have studied
THE HAUNTOLOGY OF THE PHILOSOPHER KING YOU HAVE STUDIED
4- Vividly demonstrates how hauntology connects to the history and philosopher kings you have studied
3- Effectively demonstrates how hauntology connects to the history and philosopher kings you have studied.
2- Somewhat demonstrates how hauntology connects to the history and philosopher kings you have studied
1- Fails to demonstrates how hauntology connects to the history and philosopher kings you have studied
4- The poster is vividly decorated/illustrated for emphasis.
3- The poster is adequately decorated/illustrated for emphasis.
2- The poster is somewhat decorated/illustrated for emphasis.
1- The poster fails to reflect any kind of decoration for emphasis.
“The Cave And You”
Along with your posters you are to write an individual essay about the extent to which one of the “philosopher kings” you studied connects to Plato’s “Allegory Of The Cave” as well as the extent to which studying Plato’s “Allegory Of The Cave” has helped you better understand the hauntology in world around you.
Support your ideas with details with at least 6-10 details from the research you have conducted about this philosopher king, at least 6-10 quotes from Plato’s “Allegory Of The Cave,” and, of course, your everyday personal experiences and observations.
Length 4-6 double spaced pages