English | Critical Practices
L371 | 12592 | Purnima Bose

Purnima Bose

12592 - 9:30a-10:45a TR (30 students) 3 cr., A&H

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.

Required readings will include Terry Eagleton, Literary Theory: An
Introduction; David Lodge, Nice Work; and either an anthology of
theory readings or individual articles posted online. Throughout the
semester, we will supplement our readings by watching documentaries
such as Edward Said on Orientalism, Frantz Fanon: Black Skin, White
Mask, and Fast Food Women, Students should expect to write two 6-8
page papers, take three exams, and enthusiastically participate in
class discussion.