English | Critical Practices
L371 | 2953 | Shane Vogel


L371 CRITICAL PRACTICES
Shane Vogel

2953 - 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.

TOPIC: “Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, and their Legacies”

This course is designed to provide students with an introduction to
intellectual and theoretical traditions that have shaped the
understanding of literature, culture, and self in the modern era.
The primary focus in this course will be on how to read theory.
Rather than a broad survey of every school of critical thought, we
will focus our discussions on the work and intellectual legacy of
three of the most important and influential thinkers of the modern
era: Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud. The first half of the course will
be devoted to a rigorous and in-depth investigation into the key
works of these authors, including The Manifesto of the Communist
Party and The German Ideology; The Birth of Tragedy and The
Genealogy of Morals; and On Dreams and Three Essays on a Theory of
Sexuality. In the second half of the course we will examine the way
important aspects of these thinkers were elaborated in twentieth
century thought, tracing the development of materialist literary
criticism after Marx, anti- (or post-) foundational criticism after
Nietzsche, and psychoanalytic criticism after Freud in recent
critical thought. While our emphasis will be on the theoretical
texts themselves, we will ground our discussions in several literary
texts throughout the semester. Students will write a number of
formal reading responses and two papers that will serve as a take-
home midterm and a take-home final.