University of Toronto 2018-19


Time: Spring term, Wednesdays, 1-3

Sexual predators purchase secrecy from their victims, billionaires hide obscene wealth in off-shore bank accounts, government spies conduct counter intelligence under false identities–so many dirty truths are managed today by what we might call “non disclosure agreements.” But the double negative contained in the category of the “non disclosure” figures a limit to these agreements and opens up to the most pressing aesthetic, philosophical, and political questions regarding what constitutes truth, justice, and representation.  And then there is the act.  Whereas the “action” and the “agreement” function to reproduce the existing order, the act creates the conditions for something radically different to come into the world.  In this seminar, we will focus on the promise of the non disclosure act as a way to question such key modern binaries as public-private, exposure-concealment, knowable-unknowable, conscious-unconscious, presence-absence, representation-presentation, and theory-practice. We will study encounters with the problem of disclosure by such thinkers as Badiou (truth procedures), Barad (quantum entanglement), Butler (performativity), Derrida (deconstruction), Heidegger (unconcealment), Jameson (representation) Karatani (transcritique), Lacan (the real), Marx (ideology critique), Nishida (praxis), and Zizek (the parallax). We will also study artistic experiments of the non disclosure act, ranging from film, video, and literature to performance art, dance, architecture, and new media.

EAS 243 H Japanese Cinemas 2 (Fall)

VIC   Praxis and Performance (Fall)

EAS Body, Movement Japan (Spring)

University of Toronto 2017-18

Fall, 2017

COL 5110 Post-Capitalist Fantasy, 1-3 (Thursdays)

Every now and then we sense a world beyond the capitalist one in which we live. Maybe it is a society without punishing inequality. Or a self without anxiety. Or an ecosystem without human rapaciousness. This sense (feeling, impulse, drive) can be as banal as a quiet moment alone, or as go-for-broke as a revolutionary act together. Like death, it is something we already know and something beyond our wildest dreams. Like love, it is in us more than us. Sometimes we attempt to shake open this otherness by the sheer force of our imagination or collective will; other times we meet it without any intention, without any focused desire or recognition that we are actually engaged in such a radical act.  Regardless of whether such post-capitalist worlds are possible or whether such desires are naïve or hysterical, our encounter with them—with these speculative futures—is promising.  But promising of what?

EAS 448: Future, Architecture, Japan (Wednesdays)

How do we build something for the future? Wait! Who’s future? What future? What is the future? And who’s this “we” that will build something for this future that is so slippery to know? While we’re at it: to build? Must all buildings be built for them to be buildings? What about dreams? Political movements? Personal relationships? Are they buildings too? Let’s keep going: what about the unbuilt and the not-built? The act of unbuilding and not-building? In this seminar we will explore these creeping questions and examine how the future is imagined and materialized in architectural theory and practice throughout Japanese history. From the Ise Shrine of the seventh century to modernist experiments of the Metabolist movement, from contemporary works by Isozaki Arata and Atelier Bow Wow (and many others) to our own crazy experiments we will study built, unbuilt, and non-built structures as theories of the future…and significant acts of the present.

Winter, 2018

EAS 23x: The Japanese Cinemas: Film Form and the Problems of Modernity (I) (Wednesday)

University of Toronto 2015-16

Fall, 2015

Praxis and Performance (VIC 30x)

Approaches to East Asian Studies (EAS 209)

Winter, 2016

Marxism and Form (Graduate Seminar, COL)

University of Toronto 2014-15

Fall, 2014

East Asian Studies (undergraduate): “Future, Architecture, Japan”

Winter 2014-15

Comparative Literature (graduate): “Lacan, Clinic, Late Capitalism”

East Asian Studies (undergraduate): “Japanese Cinema (2)”



University of Toronto 2013


E. Cazdyn
Time: Fall term, Thursdays, 3-5

Triggered by the 2008 Global financial meltdown, there has emerged a reinvigorated engagement with the question “what comes after capitalism?”  This question—this desire—calls all parties to the table: artists, activists, intellectuals, psychoanalysts and the rest of us, who—whether we know it or not—stake a claim on this question in the most direct and indirect ways. This seminar will depart from two problems: first, the concept and practice of fantasy (in a psychoanalytic mode) and, second, the historiographical/literary problem of emplotment on which any expression of a post-capitalist future must turn. We will then pursue these problems as they intersect culture, politics and subjectivity, with special attention granted to utopian and dystopian fiction and film, radical architecture and urban planning, new theoretical and political radicalisms, and the affective turn in the project of transforming the human subject.

Materials will include work by Sigmund Freud, Isozaki Arata, Jacques Lacan, Felix Guattari, Karl Marx, Fredric Jameson, Lauren Berlant, Slavoj Zizek, Rem Koolhaus, Jodi Dean, Karatani Kojin, Kim Stanley Robinson, Shigeru Ban, Kathleen Stewart, Franco Bifo Berardi, Alexander Kluge, Christian Marazzi, Jean-Luc Godard, Michael Hardt, China Miéville, Antonio Negri, Wang Hui, Alain Badiou, Hayden White, Pier Vittorio Aureli, Jacques Ranciere, Marge Piercy, and Bruno Bosteels.

One Research Paper: 40%;
One Class Presentation and Write-up: 40%;
Class Participation and Weekly Responses*: 20%.
*Every Thursday a one-page (single spaced) response is due (these should include impressions and questions regarding readings and class discussion).


EAS xxxH  Japanese Cinemas: Film Form and the Problems of Japanese Modernity (Part 1) (unergraduate)

Fall Term, Tuesday 9-12
Innis Town Hall



University of Toronto 2011-2012

Instructor: E. Cazdyn
Spring term (2012), Wednesdays, 3-5

In this seminar we will explore the status of the image today. Gilles Deleuze wrote his two “cinema” books around a transition—from the Movement-Image to the Time-Image. The Movement-Image presupposes an action that prompts a reaction (that coordinates, in principle, to pre-World War II cinema—Griffith, Eisenstein, classical Hollywood codes), while the Time-Image prompts actions that float in situations rather than bring these situations to conclusion—Rosselini, Resnais, Ozu, Godard. Is it time to theorize a third book, a third image in relation to the contemporary moment of a saturated, digitized, wiki-leaked imagescape? With this question in mind we will explore contemporary studies of the image as well as images of the contemporary moment…all the while wondering what might constitute a radical break of—and with—the dominant regime of representation. Readings will include works by Deleuze, Paul Virilio, D.N. Rodowick, Mary Ann Doane, Jacques Ranciere, Fredric Jameson, Susan Sontag, Guy Deborg, Laura Mulvey, Akira Lippit, Lev Manovich and others. And images by Claire Denis, Tsai Ming-Liang, Chris Marker, Apichtpong Weerasethakul, Manu Luksch as well as medical, surveillance, and an assortment of non-visual images.

VIC304H1S  Praxis and Performance
Professor E. Cazdyn
2012 T 3-5

This course will explore what it means to “act” in cultural, political, religious, and psychological realms.  We focus on the historically shifting relations between theory and practice, between structure and agency, and between being and doing.

We will begin with the aesthetic and then move to the political, the psychoanalytic, the spiritual, and the pedagogical. Readings and viewings will include: Nam June Paik, Sigmund Freud,  Lenny Bruce, Basho, Harold Pinter, Jean Paul Sartre, Theodor Adorno, Jean-Pierre Gorin, John Cage, Erika Fischer-Lichte, Judith Butler, Marina Abramović’, Karl Marx, The Invisible Committee, John Stewart, Cathy Caruth, Jacques Lacan, Astra Taylor, Dogen, Jamgon Kongtrul, Slavoj Zizek, John D. Caputo, Jacques Rancière, Bertoll Ollman.

 EAS 209 H Approaches to East Asia

(2011) Tuesdays 7-9    Professor Eric Cazdyn

This course will introduce students to three of the most pressing theoretical problems faced in the study of East Asia: history, geography, and subjectivity. By history we mean the problem of history, the choices made when studying and narrating the past and how these choices shape the meaning of the present and the possibilities for the future. To think carefully about history is at once to think about time, or the way that various concepts of time shape lived experience. By geography we mean the problem of geography, the choices made when mapping the world and how these choices shape the meaning of the planet, region, nation, city, countryside, all the way to the smallest corners of everyday life.  To think about geography is at once to think about space, from physical space to the space of thought. Finally, by subjectivity we mean the problem of the human subject, the choices made when examining ourselves and others and how these choices shape (and are shaped by) gender, race, class, sexuality, and other categories of difference.  Together with subjectivity will come a focus on language, in particular how subjects do not only speak and write language, but are spoken and written by it. Whether we know it or not (or like it or not) we move through these three problems whenever we think about East Asia. The primary purpose of this course is to draw attention to this inevitability and to explore what such a recognition might enable for East Asian studies and beyond.


University of Toronto 2010-2011
Lacan and  Psychoanalytic Thought (and Practice) (Graduate)
COL: 5092H (also: VIC 401)  Fall Term 2010
PART 1: Introductions
Week 1: Lacan, Lacanian, Lacanians and Late Capitalism (16 September)
The four discourses, then and now
Week 2: Background. Concepts (23 September)
Lacan: “The Place, Origin and End of My Teaching,” and “So, You Will Have Heard Lacan” from My Teaching; Recommended: Homer: 1-64, 111-128; Fink: “Listening and Hearing,” 1-23; Grosz: 1-49; Zizek: 1-6.
Week 3: Background. Concepts (30 September)                                                            
 Lacan: “The Instance of the Letter or Reason Since Freud” (Écrits); Tokyo Discourse; Recommended: Fink: “Reading ‘The Instance of the Letter in the Unconscious,’” 63-105; Homer: 65-94Grosz: 50-114.
PART 2: Seminars
Week 4: Seminar I: Freud’s Papers on Technique (7 October)
Week 5: Seminar I: Continued (14 October)
Week 6: Seminar VII: The Ethics of Psychoanalysis (21 October)
Week 7: Seminar VII: Continued (29 October)
Week 8: Seminar XI: The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis (4 November)
Week 9 Seminar XI: Continued (11 November)
Week 10: Seminar XVII: The Other Side of Psychoanalysis (18 November)
Week 11: Seminar XVII: Continued (25 November)
Week 12: Seminar XX: On Feminine Sexuality, The Limits of Love and Knowledge (2 December)
Critical Thinking on the Bike (Undergraduate)
HUM 199 H (2011)
Week 1: Introductions (11 January)
How to think critically on the bike without crashing? How to think about crashing? How to crash without thinking? Or: What is the problem of praxis? Cycling on one’s own and cycling together. Thinking on one’s own and thinking together. Cycling and thinking the world over.
 Week 2: Bike Criticism (18 January)
Zack Furness’ One Less Car (Intro)
David Herlihy’s Bicycle: The History (Intro)
Jeff Mapes’ Pedaling Revolution (Intro)
Week 3: Bike Criticism, continued (25 January)
One Less Car (Chapters 2 and 3)
Bicycle: The History (Part 1)
Week 4: Bike Writing (1 February)
David Byrne’s Bicycle Diaries (Introduction, American Cities)
Bicycle: The History (Part 2)
Week 5: Bike is History (8 February)
Bicycle: The History (Parts 3, 4)
Roland Barthes’ What is Sport? (selection on Tour de France)
Week 6: Bike Monkeys (15 February)
Richard Poplak’s Kenk
Week 7: Biking the World Over (1 March)
Global (Ciclovia, Vélib, Scandinavia, Japan, China)
Bicycle: The History (Part 5, Conclusion)
Week 8: Mitigating Crash (8 March)
Critical Mass (in general and in Toronto–Carlsson, Beiler)
Week 9: How to Die on the Bike (15 March)
 Beckett’s Molloy/Krabbé’s The Rider/Breaking Away/Pee Wee’s Big Adventure/The Bicycle Thief/HG Wells’ The Wheels of Chance
One Less Car (Chapter 5)
Week 10: Bike Collectives and Anti-Collective Collectives (22 March)
Bike collectives/cooperatives (Urbane, Bike Pirates, CBN, Cinecycle, Bike Union, Bike Business, Bikejoint, Cyclometer, et al.) (Final paper draft due)
One Less Car (Chapter 7)
Week 11: Bike Art/Bike Politics (29 March)
Mobile Kitchen/Velocity
Week 12: Bike Style/Bike Life (5 April)
Bike Life-Style (design, courier, fixie, bmx, DIY)
One Less Car (“DIY Bike Culture”; “Conclusion: ‘We Have Nothing to Lose but Our (bike) Chains’”)
Marxism and Form (Graduate)

This course will depart from Fredric Jameson’s 1974 work Marxism and Form, in which Jameson develops a dialectical analysis of culture (with an emphasis on the problem of aesthetic form) by working through some of the key figures of Western Marxism—namely, Adorno, Benjamin, Marcuse, Bloch, Lukacs, and Sartre. We will begin with Jameson’s text and then carefully return to the work of those he examines (with equal care granted to the study of Marx and Hegel). The second half of the course will be dedicated to pushing this cultural theory into the present with an examination of such figures as Karatani Kojin, Slavoj Zizek, Judith Butler, Jacques Ranciere, Alain Badiou, Gayatri Spivak, Wang Hui, and Jameson’s latest work.
Other Courses

The Japanese Cinema(s): Film Form and the Problems of Modernity

Advanced Topics in Japanese Cinema
Globalization and Culture
Japanese Literature and the Nation
Marx, Deleuze, Empire
On Comparativity and Crisis
Japanese Modern Literature
Aesthetics and Politics