This course will introduce you to the major schools of contemporary literary theory. We will investigate theories such as Marxism, Feminism, and psychoanalysis and question how they can help us understand the ways in which literature produces meaning, affects its readers, and both responds to and shapes the social world. Theories studied will include structuralism, post-structuralism, deconstruction, post-colonialism, and Cultural Studies. We will test the usefulness of these sets of ideas by analyzing several literary texts. Course requirements include lively participation in class discussion, several short response papers, a midterm, and a final.