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Public: Adjective or Noun?

Organizing Committee:

What is "public" about The Public School? Is it "public" because it is open to "the public," or is The Public School itself a public? This course would be a close reading of Michael Warner- an examination of his notion of "a public" (as a noun) and its importance as a social form. Discussion of what this form is and how it has emerged as one of the most universal aspects of modern society. What constitutes "a public" and how does it function in so many different cultural contexts? Would include an introduction to public-sphere theory with a brief history of "the public sphere" and its structural transformation as put forth by Habermas. A discussion of contemporary debates on the complexity of terms like "public" and "private," and the idea of "counterpublics" in relation to public-sphere, feminist, and especially queer theory.


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TPS's picture

hi publics,

there is as a class coming up that I think will continue the conversation we had in Mia's course. It is only a one day affair so please try and make it!


rukana's picture

Our third (and final) class will take place at The Public School's NEW LOCATION: 951 Chung King Road. We're going to be talking about The Public School itself (hopefully in relation to the Warner and Kester texts, but also in terms of pedagogy, theory/practice, and whatever else comes up).

The only assigned reading is Jan Verwoert's short essay "Lessons in Modesty - The Open Academy: A Model", which is already up on aaaarg.

Even if you haven't attended the previous two sessions, please feel free and welcome to come to this class. I'm looking forward to a self-reflexive discussion about TPS in its new (street-level!) space.

rukana's picture

Grant Kester's "Collaboration, Art, and Subculture" is now up on aaaarg.

I'm only assigning this one text for next week's class because I think there are plenty of avenues to discuss between Kester and Warner. (If you're DYING for more to read then click here)

See you on Sunday.

rukana's picture

Thank you to all for coming on Sunday and for the lively discussion. I will be posting next week's readings by tomorrow so please check back!

rukana's picture

Sorry for the confusion. Yes, the assigned readings are (as Sarah posted earlier): Intro, Public & Private, and Publics & Counterpublics. [The abridged version was published in 2002 in Public Culture before the full version came out in his book in 2005. I posted it initially because it was easier but then I ended up scanning the full one.]

Sorry about posting extra readings (i get a little over-excited sometimes) I only did that in case people wanted to read other related texts (like the Fraser "Re-thinking the Public Sphere," which Warner draws from in his discussion of counterpublics). By the way, if anyone has texts that they would like to add to the "public/private" issue on aaaarg, please feel free...

I will make sure to post only assigned readings to the "public: adjective or noun" issue from now on.

See you all Sunday!

sarahkessler's picture

just to clarify, the assigned readings for the first course session are the following parts of michael warner's "publics and counterpublics:"

the introduction
"public and private"
"publics and counterpublics"

mia, can you quickly clarify the difference between the abridged and full versions of "publics and counterpublics" posted to aaaarg? just want to make sure we're all reading what we should be reading!

for clarity's sake, i've dumped the readings for session #1 into an aaaarg issue entitled "public: adjective or noun?": these readings can also be found in the "public/private" aaaarg issue (, which contains a broader selection of readings related to the course but not directly assigned...

rukana's picture

Good suggestion to discuss Grant Kester. I am pretty intrigued by Chandler's idea of inviting people to select a text of their own for the second and/or third class to discuss in relation to Warner. So perhaps you could bring this one to the table, bkelleyjr? (is it Bill?) Are there more suggestions that other people are thinking about?

Also, I've posted "Publics and Counterpublics" on aaarg and, while it's a bit long, I'd like to add it to the assigned reading (the full version) for the first class. I was going to hold off on it until the second class, but I think it makes more sense to just delve into Warner as much as possible in the first class so that we can have time to discuss other texts later.

robtsum's picture

I'll be there ...

sarahkessler's picture

Google Checkout button visible and functioning! Just wanted to let you all know:)

HI. HOw about a chapter from Grant Kester's book: Conversation Pieces. I would suggest Community and Communicability. So far the list is pretty much on the same page. This could help vary the discussion.



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