L371 9104 CRITICAL PRACTICES
1:00p-2:15p TR (30 students) 3 cr., A&H.
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 will be organized around a set of critical approaches, such as formalism, structuralism, post-structuralism, psychoanalysis, Marxism, post-colonial and ethnic studies, feminism and queer studies. 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 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.
There are three required texts: Terry Eagleton's Literary Theory: An Introduction; Vincent B. Leitch's edited collection The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism and David Lodge's Nice Work. Students should expect to write one 5-6 page paper and one 8-10 page paper, and to take three exams.