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ENGL-090 Methods of Literary and Cultural Studies
Fall for 2015-2016
This course aims to give students a coherent understanding of various theoretical and critical tools used to interpret texts by introducing
them to strategies of close reading and to larger discussions regarding textual analysis. Although the course will not encompass the entire history of literary and cultural criticism, it will examine a
range of schools and methods. These schools and methods will be grounded historically and will be situated and contextualized within larger critical conversations that have developed over time. Specifically, we will explore a range of theoretical approaches to literature and culture in concert with reading several of the works of Shakespeare. While critical theory tends to draw ideas and perspectives from "non-literary" fields such as history, linguistics, psychology, and economics, many of theory's innovators have developed their ideas through reading the plays and poetry of Shakespeare. We will not only consider the ways in which Shakespeare's texts have
influenced the formation of various theoretical perspectives, but we will also read from his work across different literary genres, and study literary criticism from different theoretical schools on these
plays and poems.
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: HUMW 011 or equivalent; Does NOT count toward HUMW II

Sections:

ENGL-090-01 Methods of Literary and Cultural Studies
Spring for 2015-2016
Faculty:
  • Fox, Pamela
  • What is “English,” after all? What is reading? This course in the theory and method of literary study has two goals that might, at first, seem contradictory: (1) to introduce students to the conventions of reading, thinking, and creative concept-making crucial to flourishing as a Georgetown English major; and (2) to examine those processes from critical and historical vantages, so as to turn naïve practice into self-conscious method.

    To those ends we’ll read literary works by authors like Emily Bronte, Lewis Carroll, Bram Stoker, and J.G. Ballard alongside critical texts from a range of traditions: Marxism, psychoanalysis, historicism, formalism, gender and sexuality studies, deconstruction, and ecocriticism. In light of our literary texts, these short conceptual works will provide new models; ask new questions; and push us to see from new angles the processes of reading, interpretation, and contextualization that are the bread and butter of college English.

    This term, we will devote one unit to considering the challenges to traditional models of literary activity posed by climate change. The course will incorporate the 2015 Lannan Symposium, “In Nature’s Wake: The Art and Politics of Environmental Crisis.” To close the term, we’ll use literary methods and concepts of “environment” to examine what may be today’s most dominant cultural form, the video game.

    Throughout, our aim will be to develop a self-aware, historically-grounded sense of how we read and why -- a particularly urgent problem now, perhaps, when new media forms threaten to diminish forever our capacity to think critically. Or so we’re told. No prior exposure to “literary theory” is necessary.
    Credits: 3
    Prerequisites: None
    ENGL-090-02 Methods of Literary and Cultural Studies
    Spring for 2015-2016
    Faculty:
  • Cima, Gay
  • How do we think? How do we make sense not just of the literary texts that we encounter but also of the cultures in which we are enmeshed? Performing as a critical thinker is a culturally-based, interpretive practice, a performance that alters over time. In this course we’ll study how scholars routinely transform the discipline called “English” by adopting new analytical methods or adapting old strategies of interpretation. We’ll begin to see that “English” is actually a collection of shifting, overlapping, and historically-grounded conversations, each with its own vocabulary, rhetorical strategies, stated and implicit goals. We’ll pay particular attention to three specific methodologies within the discipline of English: Performance Studies, African American Studies, and Feminist Studies. Throughout the semester, we’ll work to become more fully aware of the strategies that we ourselves use as we analyze texts and cultural productions of various kinds. We’ll try to identify the strengths and the blind spots of the methods that we study and employ. In addition to reading and rereading theoretical texts together, we’ll examine a host of literary and cultural texts: plays, poems, short stories, novels, films, videos, cartoons, and television shows.
    Credits: 3
    Prerequisites: HUMW 011 or equivalent; Does NOT fulfill HUMW II requirement
    ENGL-090-03 Methods of Literary and Cultural Studies
    Fall for 2015-2016
    This course aims to give students a coherent understanding of various theoretical and critical tools used to interpret texts by introducing
    them to strategies of close reading and to larger discussions regarding textual analysis. Although the course will not encompass the entire history of literary and cultural criticism, it will examine a
    range of schools and methods. These schools and methods will be grounded historically and will be situated and contextualized within larger critical conversations that have developed over time. Specifically, we will explore a range of theoretical approaches to literature and culture in concert with reading several of the works of Shakespeare. While critical theory tends to draw ideas and perspectives from "non-literary" fields such as history, linguistics, psychology, and economics, many of theory's innovators have developed their ideas through reading the plays and poetry of Shakespeare. We will not only consider the ways in which Shakespeare's texts have
    influenced the formation of various theoretical perspectives, but we will also read from his work across different literary genres, and study literary criticism from different theoretical schools on these
    plays and poems.
    Credits: 3
    Prerequisites: HUMW 011 or equivalent; Does NOT count toward HUMW II
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