Friday, April 6, 2018

PE of Fash Week I: How to Talk to a Nazi (Reading List)

Tonight was the first of a six week course I designed for the New York Public Library. The course begins with an overview of the course in the form of my "How to Talk to a Nazi" workshop based on my zine "You Can't Punch Every Nazi." I gave students a copy of the zine. The course then goes through investigating fascist ideology at four levels: as a political religion, a social science, a governmental theory, and a political praxis. The course then concludes with an exploration of alternative perspectives that answer some of the legitimate critiques of liberalism that fascists appropriate from the far left but resolve with cynical authoritarianism.

I'm also trying out Google Classroom and am rather enjoying it. We'll see if the students feel the same way. The cool thing s that it allows me to provide auxiliary reading and media to the core course readings without having to put it in the syllabus. Basically, I always feel weird about putting non-scholarly literature or (sparingly) primary source documents on a syllabus so this is a nice way around that.

The split between the two rosters of sources, syllabus and classroom management system, allows me to distinguish between two sets of priorities. The syllabus was compiled for the sake of posterity. It includes only readings from what are widely recognized as scholarly sources alongside one of my own publications that express my position based on my research. Among the scholarly sources are the "required" readings consisting of 3-4 peer-reviewed journal articles as well as 2-4 books for further reading in each week's subjects. I do not expect students to read the books while taking the class.

I used the scheduling feature to stagger different kinds of content so they appeared in order according to the type of source they were. I included the "required" readings up top with a short summary of each. 'Required' is in scare quotes because I don't anticipate students actually reading all of the articles in full. I have highlighted and annotated each of these readings to identify and explain key points, including points of contention within the broader literature with citations to those authors.

In addition to the "required" readings, followed by my publication, I include several optional readings from popular publications, followed by videos of lectures, interviews, and documentaries. For the sake of replicating such an approach for your own course materials, I'm including the time stamps I used for each category (I queued them to publish this morning). My hope for students is that they come away with a broad understanding to various approaches to how fascism develops as a movement within the polities in which it functions.

The first week, however, was different insofar as I didn't expect students to have prepared for the first week's readings. I posted the zine and the lecture slides (unfortunately, the first day was lecture style to introduce the course). What follows is a reading list by posting time with any accompanying comments.

(8:00 AM) You Can't Punch Every Nazi

This is my self-published zine that serves as the rough outline for the areas of fascist ideology we will explore. Those areas are:

  • Fascism as a political religion
  • Fascism as a scientific epistemology
  • Fascism as a theory of governance
  • Fascism as a political praxis

(7:59 AM) Slides

These are the slides from the first class. This will be the last class in which there will be a lecture. The remainder of the classes will be seminar style. You should come to subsequent classes prepared to discuss the readings assigned in the syllabus.

(7:58 AM) Popular Publications

Dylan Matthews I Asked 5 Fascism Experts Whether Donald Trump Is a Fascist. Here's What They Said
Umberto Eco Ur-Fascism
Spencer Sunshine Three Pillars of the Alt Right: White Nationalism, Antisemitism, Misogyny
Robert O. Paxton The Future of Fascism (excerpted from The Anatomy of Fascism)
Jeet Heer Is Donald Trump a Fascist?

(7:57 AM) Videos

What Is Fascism?
Spencer Sunshine The Far Right Today in the US and New York City

Books for Further Reading

Tamir Bar-On 2007 Where Have All the Fascists Gone?
Richard Wolin 2004 The Seduction of Unreason: The Intellectual Romance with Fascism from Nietzsche to Postmodernism