L371 2102 BOSE
Introduction to Criticism

9:30a-10:45a TR (30) 3 cr.

PREREQUISITE: COMPLETION OF L202 WITH A GRADE OF C- OR BETTER. THE ENGLISH DEPARTMENT WILL STRICTLY ENFORCE THIS PREREQUISITE.

This course will be organized around a set of critical approaches, such as Formalism, Post-Structuralism, Marxism, Post-Colonialism, and Feminism. Rather than provide an exhaustive survey of critical theory, we will concern ourselves with investigating the ways in which these critical approaches conceptualize the relationship between narrative, on the one hand, and history, on the other. In addition to analyzing the conceptions of representation that underwrite our readings, we will contextualize them within the history of contemporary literary theory and social movements. Throughout the course, we will ask: what is the connection between representation in the mimetic sense delineated by Aristotle and political representation in the public sphere? And what sorts of ethical, moral, and political responsibilities are attendant on being an intellectual today?

We will approach individual readings fairly systematically by inquiring how each text 1) defines its object of investigation; 2) organizes its argument by ascertaining its key critical terms, its structure, and the kinds of evidence it employs; 3) contains conceptual gaps which cannot be elaborated within the terms of the argument. Readings will be drawn from the following authors: Plato, Aristotle, M.H. Abrams, John Guillory, Erich Auerbach, Edward Said, M.M. Bakhtin, Aijaz Ahmad, Jacques Derrida, Louis Althusser, Karl Marx, Benedict Anderson, Frantz Fanon, Fredric Jameson, Masao Miyoshi, Edwin Ardener, Barbara Harlow, Paula Moya, Jenny Bourne, and Susan Faludi. Students should expect to take several quizzes, a midterm, and final, and write one 7-10 page paper.