The primary course listing for this course is COML501:401.
Over the last three decades, the fields of literary and cultural studies have been reconfigured by a variety of theoretical and methodological developments. Bracing—and—often confrontational—dialogues between theoretical and political positions as varied as Deconstruction, New Historicism, Cultural Materialism, Feminism, Queer Theory, Minority Discourse Theory, Colonial and Post-colonial Studies and Cultural Studies have, in particular, altered disciplinary agendas and intellectual priorities for students embarking on the professional study of literature. In this course, we will study key texts, statements and debates that define these issues, and will work towards a broad knowledge of the complex rewriting of the project of literary studies in process today. The reading list will keep in mind the Examination List in Comparative Literature—we will not work towards complete coverage but will ask how crucial contemporary theorists engage with the longer history and institutional practices of literary criticism.
There will be no examinations. Students will make one class presentation, which will then be reworked into a paper (1200-1500 words) to be submitted one week after the presentation. A second paper will be an annotated bibliography on a theoretical issue or issues that a student wishes to explore further. The bibliography will be developed in consultation with the instructor; it will typically include three or four books and six to eight articles or their equivalent. The annotated bibliography will be prefaced by a five or six page introduction; the whole will add up to between 5000 and 6000 words of prose. Students will prepare “position notes” each week, which will either be posted on a weblog or circulated in class.