English | Critical Practices
L371 | 16308 | Patricia Ingham
L371 16308 CRITICAL PRACTICES
1:00p-2:15p TR (30 students) 3 cr. A&H.
TOPIC: “Meaning and Pleasure”
PREREQUISITE: L202 with grade of C- or better. NOTE: The English
Department will strictly enforce this prerequisite. Students who
have not completed L202 with a grade of C- or better will have their
registration administratively cancelled.
This course is designed to acquaint students with the conceptual and
historical roots of contemporary critical practice in literary and
cultural studies. Students enrolling in this class should expect a
seminar (not a lecture) and be ready to participate actively in a
hands-on (“workshop”), actively reading/discussing essays exemplary
of current critical practice and writing about them. We will take
an eclectic approach. Our primary category for analysis will
be “meaning and pleasure” and we will use these categories to
examine a variety of critical and theoretical assumptions about
texts and how they mean. Readings will include examples from
psychoanalytic, deconstructive, structuralist and poststructuralist,
French feminist, materialist, postcolonial, and queer theories.
While you will gain a good sense of the intellectual history of
contemporary critical methods, our primary commitment will be to ask
questions about the meaning, value, and implications of various
critical perceptions and aesthetic experiences. We will emphasize
careful reading, engaged discussion, and focused writing. Authors to
be read include Roland Barthes, Luce Irigaray, Michel Foucault,
Louis Althusser, Jacques Lacan, Homi Bhabha, Barbara Johnson, Herman
Melville, Jeanette Winterson, J.M. Coetzee, Judith Butler, and
In order both to help you orient yourself in the readings, and to
work steadily on improving critical perceptiveness and critical
prose, there will be weekly short, focused writing. There will also
be two papers, a midterm and a final.