Theories in Cultural Studies

English 625B/E
Theories and Methods of Literary and Cultural Studies
Tuesdays, 15:15-17:45

This course will provide you with an introduction to some key concepts, methodologies, and problems in literary and cultural studies. Given cultural studies’ focus on situated intellectual/political engagement, the course will approach these materials and methods in relation to our own location in Hawai‘i. From that position we will consider a variety of theoretical frameworks including gender and sexuality studies; theories of race; post- and decolonial theory; ecocriticism; new materialisms, formalisms, and historicisms; and posthumanism. These theories and methodologies will be situated historically and contextualized in relation to larger critical conversations, all with a view to empowering you to confidently join those conversations in your own work. We will also practice reading texts in relation to these theories; such texts may include works by M. NourbeSe Philip, Henry James, Jamaica Kincaid, Larissa Lai, Richard Van Camp, and Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner (students will also have an opportunity to shape our syllabus by collectively choosing some texts to include). Throughout the semester we will engage the common thread between all 625 classes in Fall 2020 (this year, the theme is “self”), enabling you to join conversations across the Department in classes and colloquia.

SLOs: after completing this course you will be able to…
…analyze multiple genres at the level of content and form (including theoretical writing)
…employ literary and cultural studies theories, concepts, and methodologies as part of your own engagement with a wide range of practices and media
…reflect on your positionality as a critical thinker and political actor
…analyze the relevance of different literary and cultural studies theories and methods for a Hawaiian and Oceanic context, and evaluate responsible frameworks for critical reading and writing in that context
…write a conference-length research paper ready for presentation at a scholarly meeting

weekly reading responses
two short in-class presentations
abstract and annotated bibliography
colloquium presentation
conference-length research essay