Classics 239 :  Writing Disaster: Tragedy, Ecology, and Psychoanalysis (239.002)
Mario Telò
2:00 - 5:00

In this course, we will explore the meanings or non-meanings of catastrophe and crisis—whether psychological or environmental—by considering a genre, Greek tragedy, that attempts to represent the unrepresentable. Two plays that have deeply influenced the modern imagination—Euripides’ Hippolytus and Bacchae—will be our primary texts, along with works of reception by Sarah Kane, Wole Soyinka, and others. We will use Arendt, Blanchot, Butler, Derrida, Freud, Levinas, Žizek, and various forms of ecocriticism such as apocalypticism and eco-deconstruction to set up an eclectic theoretical framework. What’s the relationship between psychological crisis and ecological disaster? How does tragedy affect our experience as subjects in the midst of ongoing ecological crisis? Are there non-representational ways to write disaster? Can tragedy help us confront the current time despite, or because of, its “contagious” affective impact? The course is open to graduate students in Classics, Critical Theory, and other programs in the Humanities. (The Classics students are required to read the primary texts in Greek.)