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    Reading Moby-Dick: History, Obsession, and Affect

    Brooklyn Institute for Social Research

    620 S. 9th Street Philadelphia PA 19147

    Thursday November 14th 2019 to Thursday December 12th 2019

    • Thursdays

      6:30pm to 9:30pm

    “Whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul,” Ishmael muses, “I quietly take to the ship.” In this course we will join him, traveling with the crew of the Pequod and its captain, the monomaniacal Ahab, as we read, in its entirety, Melville’s multifaceted masterpiece, Moby-Dick; or, The Whale.


    We will discuss the novel’s historical context, considering it in relation to slavery, American imperial expansion, and transcendental philosophy; we will analyze its deep engagements with questions of labor, social organization, and homosociality; and we will consider its experiments with literary form as so many meditations upon genre, language, and the production of knowledge.


    Readings will include not only Moby-Dick, but also texts by Eve Sedgwick, Lauren Berlant, Stanley Cavell, and Brian Massumi.

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    Brooklyn Institute for Social Research

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