Selective Readings of Modern and Contemporary Literary Theories:
Gender, Language, Textuality and Space

This course is designed for you to achieve three goals:

1) critical reading of both primary and secondary theoretical texts to get a general understanding of important contemporary literary theories,

2) engagement in theoretical issues (such as text and textuality, canon formation, interpretation, ideology, discourse, identity, power relations, etc.) as they arise from our reading of the primary texts, and

3) analyzing literary texts from different theoretical perspectives with an awareness of the limitations of each.

Modern and Contemporary Critical Theories form quite a complicated network of discourses which cannot be clearly divided into different camps, nor lined up in a chronological order. Instead, in between different theoretical schools, there are intersections and appropriation, contradictions and negotiations, not to mention convergence of earlier theoretical schools in later ones, or revising or discovery of earlier theorists. Different maps can be drawn of this theoretical terrain, just as different routes can be taken by students to enter, struggle with and get intellectually engaged in the theoretical issues.Among the many possible routes and many possible combinations, I choose for this course Structuralism, Poststructuralism, Feminism, and then the topic of Space and Politics of Location.


In this course, you will be responsible for:
1) active participation in class and on the internet,
2) a 30-minute report on a theoretical text with an outline ready for online publication,
3) a one-hour report on how a certain theory can be "critiqued" by, "used" on, or articulated with another literary or theoretical text.
4) a term paper of both theoretical discussion and literary application.

Textbook: Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. Eds. Vincent B. Leitch, et al. NY: Norton, 2001. Also selections ofa articles from some other anthologies.