This course will introduce you to some of the major strands of twentieth-century literary theory: structuralism, psychoanalysis, deconstruction, and historicism. We will spend three-quarters of the semester closely reading and discussing selections from the writings of four figures whose works are foundational for much subsequent literary theory: Roland Barthes, Jacques Lacan, Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault. After familiarizing ourselves with their various ideas, methods and styles, we will turn to trace their profound and complicated influence on the writings of Julia Kristeva, Luce Irigaray, Judith Butler, Gayatri Spivak and Homi Babha.
Course requirements: four 5-page response papers, one 10-page research paper, one oral report, and occasional brief informal writing assignments. No final exam.