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.
Jonathan Culler: Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction.
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.
MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing, 7th ed. New
York: Modern Language Association of America, 2009.
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