ENGL-260 Introduction to Critical Theory
Spring for 2014-2015
This course provides an introduction to and overview of literary and critical theory, with an emphasis on the value and application of critical theory today. Accordingly, we will proceed from the questions “what is critical theory” and “what is it for?” Though conventional wisdom would have it that literary texts—let alone theoretical approaches to text—are hardly relevant beyond the confines of libraries and classrooms, we will challenge this assumption by examining critical theory with an emphasis on its place in the wider worlds of science, economics, politics, history, commerce, and art. In so doing, we will progress from foundations of epistemology (how do we know what we know?), to the practice of judgment (how do we move beyond opinion to critique?), to a series of topics in Marxian, Freudian, feminist, structuralist, post-structuralist, postmodernist, and postcolonial critical theories.
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