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Proseminar

ENGL 600.301
instructor(s):

In this course graduate students will be introduced to some of the important theoretical approaches (structuralism, poststructuralism, Marxism, feminism, and postcolonialism) that have informed literary studies over the past three decades.  But instead of reading only representative (“greatest hits”) essays and articles, as is frequently the case in theory course, we will read a number of recent monographs and programmatic essay.  We will start with a few elegant overviews and then turn to some representative examples of major trends that are currently animating and reshaping the field.  These trends include various modes of historicism and political formalism, new sociologies of literature, affect studies, ecocriticism, book history, queer and gender studies, and so forth.  The course will conclude with some reflections on the nature of graduate studies and the profession today, under the rubrics “surviving,” “publishing,” and “teaching.”  The syllabus is still a work in progress, but students may well see some of the following texts on the reading list: Culler, Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction, Loomba, Colonialism/Postcolonialism, Felski, Literature after Feminism, McGann, The Textual Condition, English, An Economy of Prestige, Moretti, Maps, Graphs, Trees, Phillips, The Truth of Ecology, Ngai, Ugly Feelings, and (a golden oldie) Jameson, The Political Unconscious.  Course requirements include: a book review and a conference paper and presentation (10 pages) applying insights from what we have studied to a text of your own choosing.