359:210 Introduction to Literary Theory

E6 6/27-8/5 TTH 6:00-9:40 PM CAC 04893 WELTY MU-208

Screw Authority!”: Introduction to Literary Theory

In the 20th century, philosophers and literary critics increasingly began to question long held values and assumptions about literary texts and methodologies. In this class, students will engage with key texts in the history of literary theory and criticism in order to tackle questions like the following:

“What is a text?”
“What is the role of an author’s intention in interpreting a text?”
“How do issues like race, class, gender, and form shape literary texts?”
“What is the relationship of literature to politics?”
“Is Theory dead? Who killed it?”
The course not only will focus on the way different theoretical traditions questioned authority and canonical ways of thinking, but will also focus on the internal struggles for authority within these traditions. Theoretical traditions to be studied will include deconstruction, psychoanalysis, (post)structuralism, cultural studies, feminism, queer theory, and more. Individual authors will include Judith Butler, bell hooks, Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, Stuart Hall, Raymond Williams, Slavoj Žižek, and many more.