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Contemporary Issues in Critical Theory, Literary & Cultural Studies

ENGL 571.301
crosslisted as: COML682, SPAN682
R 3-6
Benn 201

The primary listing for this course is SPAN682:301.

This course will focus on leading critical issues pertaining to literary and cultural studies today. The initial emphasis will be on clarifying conceptual paradigms as much as possible, outlining their historical evolvement in the 20th Century first, then their spheres of dissemination and contradiction, and finally looking at the ways they can be deployed in analyzing literary and cultural texts (short stories, novels, poems, films, videos, music or other forms). The list of issues and questions will include the following:

Textual Revolution since Romanticism: How does the concept of modern literature unfold through the legacy of textual critiques that derive from Sausurean, formalist, Frankfurt School, reception theory, close reading, structuralist, semiotics, and post-structuralist modes of reading and understanding?

Postmodern, Postcolonial and Subaltern proposals of the past twenty years. Do they offer new points of departure for literary and cultural studies or just a graduate school version of multicultural pluralism? Are the profound differences between the British and Hispanic legacies of colonialism in the Americas highlighted or erased through these discourses? What are the claims of diasporic, post-nationalist and post-humanist forms of writing and reading? What role does feminism play in them?

Culture and New citizenry. Are contemporary subjects susceptible to a powerful aesthetic pull which post-humanistic theories fail to address? Is there such a thing as an aesthetic of globalization? Can it be studied critically? Does literature play a role in it? Do theorists such as Badiou, Agamben, Virno, Negri and Deleuze bring us past the linguistic turn and the various posts it has imbued?

Performativity. A look at various notions surrounding this general trope; specifically how it impacts modes of writing and reading, as well as the idea of creativity, autobiography and culture brokering prevalent in the pull towards techno-mediatic globalization and cultural studies. What is the work of literature in this sphere?

Mappings and Periodization: How do such notions as Black Atlantic, Cosmopolitanism, Coloniality, Transatlantic, New Republic of Letters, New Ethnic Constructions, Queer Theory, among others, address the current moment of disciplinary work?

The final list of writers, critics and theorists is still in progress. It will constitute a selection of creative writers and sell as theorists. Some likely entries are: Jorge Luis Borges, Damiela Eltit, Roberto Bolaño, Clarice Lispector, Severo Sarduy, J. Ranciere, Antonio Negri, Slavoj Zizek, Judith Butler, Ernesto Laclau, Paul de Man, Homi Bhabha, Gayatri Spivak, J. Derrida, R. Barthes, A. Badiou, Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, Nelly Richard, G. Deleuze, Clarice Lispector, Fredric Jameson, Richard Rodriguez.

This course will be taught in English.