Projektgebundenes Seminar – Der Fetisch

Amanda Holmes
Art Sciences and Art Education, Philosophy
2022S, Project - bound Seminar (PGS), 5.0 ECTS, 2.0 semester hours, course number S03888

Description

This seminar runs together with Antonia Birnbaum's course SO3885.

The word fetish is derived from the Portuguese “feitiço,” which means artificial; and in the Christian juridical discourse it referred primarily to “witchcraft.” The term fetishism comes historically from a general religious theory of the "savage peoples" and appears in 1760 in the anonymous essay by Charles de Brosses, On the cult of the fetish Gods.

Marx ironically inverts de Brosse's colonialist theory to expose fetishism as a key feature of the modern commodity world. Freud develops a theory of fetishism as a specific erotic relationship to objects as substitute objects. Bataille claims that no art lover appreciates works like the shoe fetishist appreciates a shoe.

We can trace fetishism from colonialist religious theory to the logic of commodity under capitalism to psychoanalytic theories about the structure of sexuality and beyond. The enigma of fetishism concerns the logic of an object that makes everything about it alien. What is a part object and what is a whole object, what is human or inhuman about it, what is sensual and what is supernatural, what is property and what is expropriation: fetishism perverts all these relations, making them unrecognizable.

This seminar will address some of these difficulties, with particular focus on the shifting boundaries between colonialism, religion, commodities, sexuality, and art. In addition to reading and discussing the texts mentioned above, we will spend some sessions analyzing films in which we can identify the structure of fetishism. At the end of the semester, students will be expected to present on a theory of fetishism and to show how it relates to an art work of their choosing.

 

 

 

 

Reading List:

 

Charles de Brosses, "On the Worship of Fetish Gods: Or, A Parallel of the Ancient Religion of Egypt with the Present Religion of Nigritia". The Returns of Fetishism: Charles de Brosses and the Afterlives of an Idea, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2021, pp. 44-132.

 

Mladen Dolar, “Introduction: The Subject Supposed to Enjoy,” in The Sultan’s Court

 

Sigmund Freud, in The Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud

-the Dream of Irma’s Injection in The Interpretation of Dreams (1900) Vol. IV, Ch. 2

-“Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality” (1905) Vol. VII

-“Inhibitions, Symptoms, and Anxiety” (1926) Vol. XX

-“On Fetishism” (1927) Vol. XXI

 

Amy Hollywood, Sensible Ecstasy: Mysticism, Sexual Difference, and the Demands of History

 

Henry Krips: “Fetish and the Native Subject,” boundary 2, Vol. 24, No.1, pp.113-136

 

Karl Marx Marx, Capital (Volume I), “The General Formula for Capital” (329-336)

 

 

Robert Pfaller,   „ Aberglaube „  in Die Illusionen der anderen, F.a.M, Suhrkamp, 2002, s. 47-91

 

William Pietz, “The Problem of the Fetish, IIIa: Bosman’s Guinea and the Enlightenment Theory of Fetishism, RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics, No.16 (Autumn, 1988), pp.105-124

 

Slavoj Zizek, The Plague of Fantasies, Chapter on “Fetishism and its Vicissitudes”

 

Levi-Strauss, Claude, „Einleitung zu Marcel Mauss“, in : Marcel Mauss, Soziologie und Anthropologie, hg. Von Wolf Lepenies und Henning Rittes, Ullstein Verlag, 1978.

 

Hal Foster, “The return of the real” in: The return of the real, MIT press, 1995

 

Walter Benjamin, “Paris Hauptstadt des XIX Jahrhunderts“ in: Walter Benjamin, Gesammelte Schriften, Bd. V,1, F.a.M., Suhrkamp, 1991

 

Charles Baudelaire, „Spleen von Paris“, in: Die Tänzerin Fanfarlo und der Spleen von Paris, Diogenes Verlag, 2002.

 

 

 

Film Recommendations ( more to follow)

 

Vertigo,  Hitchcock

 

Blue Velvet, Lynch

 

Cet obscur objet du désir, Buñel

 

Tampopo, Itami

 

Die rosarote Panther

 

Examination Modalities

At the end of the semester, students will be expected to present on a theory of fetishism and to show how it relates to an art work of their choosing.

 

5-7 pages maximum

Key Words

Freud

Dates

16 March 2022, 16:30–18:30 Seminar Room 21
23 March 2022, 16:30–18:30 Seminar Room 21
30 March 2022, 16:30–18:30 Seminar Room 21
06 April 2022, 16:30–18:30 Seminar Room 21
27 April 2022, 16:30–18:30 Seminar Room 21
04 May 2022, 16:30–18:30 Seminar Room 21
11 May 2022, 16:30–18:30 Seminar Room 21
18 May 2022, 16:30–18:30 Seminar Room 21
25 May 2022, 16:30–18:30 Seminar Room 21
01 June 2022, 16:30–18:30 Seminar Room 21
08 June 2022, 16:30–18:30 Seminar Room 21
15 June 2022, 16:30–18:30 Seminar Room 21

Course Enrolment

From 01 February 2022, 00:01 to 01 April 2022, 23:59
Via online registration

Kunst- und Kulturwissenschaften (Master): Project-bound Seminars: Project-bound Seminar 1-3

Co-registration: not possible

Attending individual courses: not possible