ENGL 7120: Introduction to Critical Theory
This course introduces students to a range of approaches to the interpretation of literary texts and other cultural artifacts. Although we cannot address the entire history of literary and cultural criticism, we will examine a range of important schools and key debates that continue to inform the study of literature. Readings will be historically contextualized and situated within the broader scholarly conversations to which they contribute. This class equips graduate students to think critically about the possible goals and methods of studying literature and culture. It emphasizes readings in critical theory but includes a range of poems, stories, and other artworks that will enable us to consider how our theoretical perspectives can inform textual interpretation. Readings include works of critical theory by Eliot, Derrida, Butler, Said, Benjamin, Sedgwick, and others; as well as literary texts by Poe, Frost, Brooks, Rich, and more. Written assignments invite students to develop their own theoretically informed interpretations of literature and to conduct independent research in the areas of critical theory that interest them most.