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Cultural Theory

Respond to either of the below questions in 1500-2100 words. Your paper should be should be double-spaced with 1 margins, standard 12pt font, title, page numbers, and a complete and properly formatted bibliography.

1. In their discussion of the management of life by biopower, Nealon and Giroux claim that the central focus is the abnormal subject rather than the (disciplinary) criminal act (215). Explain what they mean by this. What is biopower, and how is it different from discipline? Use one non-textbook reading from this section of the class (Oliver, Cronon, Wittig, or Saunders) to explain how biopower works on subjects through some particular institution or practice. How does thinking in terms of biopower (as opposed to discipline) reorient your perspective on that particular exercise of power (say, in the discourse of health, crime, gender, or the environment)? Does it affect the legitimacy of that power? Does it make resistance more or less possible? More or less likely? In other words: What does the concept of biopower get you?

2. Nealon and Giroux warn about the distinctively modern way of thinking about the natural world (235) that separates nature from culture. Cronon similarly wonders whether and how the concept of wilderness might help us perceive and respect a nature we had forgotten to recognize as natural (88). What do these folks mean by natural? Explain how the modern approach to nature has contributed to environmental danger, and what, if anything, our readings offers in response. That is, how would our authors have us change environmental discourse? Would it help provide a response to some particular environmental problems (e.g., climate change, species extinctions, the ongoing water crisis in Flint, MI)? Would it make them worse? Defend your answer.


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