This course establishes a foundational capacity to read, talk about, and write about critical and literary theory. We will examine the tension between theories of subjectivity and theories of reading as they developed in relation to one another. In this course, we will study authors who instruct their readers on how to interpret art while arguing about its value, its relation to “truth,” and the role it plays in society. Gradually, we will examine the structures of language itself, how it mediates culture, and how it constitutes the subject. The way we pay attention to literature, the way we organize our understanding of it, impacts the ways in which subjects become intelligible in the world and relate to one another. Areas of study include selections from classical and continental philosophy, structuralism, psychoanalysis, Marxism, and ideological critique.
The course begins with the expectation that students will have little to no previous exposure to theory. We will explore not only the contents of the material but also how to read the texts themselves as well as begin to engage theory in their literary analyses. This course will prepare students for the recommended related course in the Winter Term, English 297
Assessment consists of:
- Final exam
*Subject to change*
- Level 2 or above