2014-2015 / SPRING TERM GRADUATE COURSES
EL 592.01 Spc. Stud: Literary Theory
The second half of a two semester survey of the history of literary theory and criticism in the West. Our point of departure: the radically new approaches to literature made possible by the criticism of the late 19th and 20th centuries: formalism, structuralism, new criticism, deconstruction, post-structuralism. These approaches to literature are all committed, in different ways, to the dethroning of the author and the decentering of the subject. But in the new approaches to literature that arise in the second half of the twentieth century, the subject (and along with it, history and culture) returns with a vengeance. The second part of this semester treats many of the most significant critical theories, including Marxist criticism, psychoanalytic criticism, feminism, queer theory, black criticism, post-colonial criticism, cultural studies, and postmodern criticism, all of which attempt to understand literature as the expression of a subject which is, largely, a cultural or historical entity.
EL 593. 01 Spc. Stud: English Novel
The course aims to focus on selected contemporary novels that, both thematically and structurally, reflect hybrid, multi-faceted forms of identity in continuously dynamic and transforming constellations which challenge traditional boundaries of nation, religion, history and culture. The novels in question demonstrate multiple ways in which interlingual and intercultural contact, communication and interaction, mainly as enhanced by global economic, social and political configurations leading to the increasingly migrant and cosmopolitan position of individuals and communities alike, foster dialogic, pluralistic and transcultural perspectives and discourses with regard to national, social and political identity.
The analysis of these primary texts also requires contextualization within contemporary literary and cultural theories. The students will be encouraged not only to use and expand their knowledge of postcolonial and postmodern theories (among others) of race, class and gender, but also to transcend beyond their scope to perceive, imagine and/or theorize on new configurations of identity emerging in the novels.