we are inevitably reminded of the phrase . . . that it is easier to imagine the end of the world than it is to imagine the end of capitalism. That slogan captures precisely what I mean by ‘capitalist realism’: the widespread sense that not only is capitalism the only viable political and economic system, but also that it is now impossible to even imagine a coherent alternative to it. Once, dystopian films and novels were exercises in such acts of imagination - the disasters they depicted acting as a narrative pretext for the emergence of different ways of living …
Mark Fisher
Capitalist Realism

Forget everything you've been taught.
Start by dreaming.

This is the website for Dr. Thomas’ Contemporary Culture course (HUM 415) for Fall 2013.  This version of the course is organized under the rubric of imagining the political. If you have no idea what that is, or means, you’re not alone. A quick glance at our current cultural landscape confirms that thinking imaginatively or even differently about the political–or even considering the disastrous ruins of our present political imaginary–is something seemingly banished from our everyday lives.  As someone once said: it’s easier for us to imagine the end of the world than it is for us to imagine the end of capitalism. So, just what kind of system do we have where so much energy is expended on preventing us from even thinking about, let alone imagining, any alternatives to what currently exists? This course poses these and other questions at the intersection of thought, aesthetics, and politics. Rather than definitively answer these questions, the course is intended as a guided study of this problematic in areas as diverse as time, education, and work, and through the example and study of diverse forms, such as psychedelic children’s music, 8-track tapes, vintage mopeds (and other forms of “repairing in order to create”), yarn bombing, file sharing, afro-futurism, science fiction and horror films, the Situationist International, the psychogeography of urban fruit, and contemporary theory and philosophy