Awesome London Consortium Courses

I was poking around the internet today looking for a course on underground things that I might reccomend to Anru. After some truly inspired Googling I finally managed to find the school I was looking for: the “London Consortium”:http://www.londonconsortium.com/. Like the “European Graduate School”:http://www.egs.edu/ it appears to be a theory-heavey interdisciplinary MA-granting sort of thingamajig. However, while EGS has always seemed a little too outre to me I must say that I am very impressed with the London Consortium’s program, which seem both interdisciplinary and open-ended, but also rigorous and imaginative (here’s a link on “the consortium’s early years”:http://www.npc.org.uk/page/862441200.)

I am particularly impressed by “their classes”:http://www.londonconsortium.com/courses/coursesmres.htm — I want to take them all! Lest anyone think my long quotations of Robert Lowie and Weber in this blog indicate a sort of stiff-necked obsession with orthodoxy — what Ozma calls the “minor works of Rodney Needhan” approach to scholarship — rest assured I like interdisciplinarity as much as the next person, as long as it is done well. And done well the courses are too — they have a “PDF brochure”:http://www.londonconsortium.com/7071Bro.pdf with more course listings (including readings and a rough schedule) and there is additional information and readings in short pieces in Critical Quarterly 42(2) — a “description”:http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/templates/jsp/_synergy/images/Summary_btn.gif of the logic behind the classes and “a list”:http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1467-8705.00291 (both require authentication — sorry).

The two most interesting courses I found were both by Paul Hirst before his “untimely passing”:http://www.guardian.co.uk/obituaries/story/0,3604,981060,00.html and just look awesome. The one on “what lies beneath the ground” covers monsters undeground (i.e. “the minotaur and crocs in the New York sewer”), “Caverns, Graves, and Wells”, mines, sewers, air raid shelters, and of course The Underground itself. Texts to be read include Murakami’s Hard Boiled Wonderland, Bachelard’s Poetics of Space, and the sixth book of the Aeneid. Hirst’s other seminar — entitled “Shit and Civilization: Our Ambivalent Relationship to Ordure in the City, Culture, and the Psyche” starts with favelas, moves through Mary Douglas, and ends with a week on “shit and art.” Awesome.

Even though Hirst is not around the other classes that they are teaching all seem equally good. I encourage you to check out the catalog.

Alex Golub is an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. His book Leviathans at The Gold Mine has been published by Duke University Press. You can contact him at rex@savageminds.org

4 thoughts on “Awesome London Consortium Courses

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  2. I believe my original phrase was “the minor essays of Rodney Needham”… and it’s always fondly meant. 😉

  3. I meanwhile have taken a look on their classes. This is what you call Kulturwissenschaft, just for the record.

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