Intro to English Studies

This course
provides a broad overview to critical/theoretical approaches for interpreting a
variety of texts, in particular “literary” ones, like fiction and poetry, but
other cultural productions as well, such as films and popular songs.  Central concepts for studying texts–rhetoric,
poetics, aesthetics, ideology, representation, performance, globalization,
post-colonialism–will serve as focal points for discussion. Because theory
without practice resembles learning to swim by watching film of people
swimming, we will read short primary texts, which will be sites for applying
theories as well as sources for essay topics.

REQUIRED TEXTS

Jonathan Culler: A Very Short Introduction to Literary Theory

Ernest Hemingway:
In Our Time

R. Zamora
Linmark: Rolling the R’s

Mark Twain: Pudd’nhead
Wilson

William
Shakespeare: Twelfth Night

Plus a packet of
critical essays.

RECOMMENDED

MLA Style
Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing
, 3rd ed. New York: Modern Language Association of America,
2008.

ASSIGNMENTS

In addition to a
mid-term and final, students will write short summaries, short response papers,
and two essays.

STUDENT LEARNING
OUTCOMES

Students finishing the class will be more
aware of the complexities of reading and thus be able to identify and
foreground different reading strategies; will better understand the processes
of interpretation; will become more confident about reading and discussing
theory; will become familiar with the history of theory; will become more adept
at integrating the steps required to write a critical essay that employs
theory.