This course aims at providing an exposure to the main discourses and practices of theory understood both as literary and cultural theory. We will start with earliest formulations of the problem of interpretation with Plato and then jump to a contemporary approaches. We will try to systematize the main tenets of schools of thought such as Formalism, Structuralism, Post-structuralism, Psychoanalysis, Marxism, Feminism and Deconstruction. We will then engage with Post-colonial studies, Cultural Studies and Queer Theory. We will begin by reading two dialogues by Plato, Ion and Protagoras, and will look at Roland Barthes's Writing Degree Zero (1953) so as to situate the question of writing in history. The two other books used will be Jean-Michel Rabaté's The Future of Theory (2002) and the anthology Literary and Cultural Theory edited by Donald E. Hall (2001). Requirements: One oral report, three short papers and one research paper of fifteen pages. No final exam.
Bibliography: Roland Barthes, Writing Degree Zero, translated A. Lavers and C. Smith (New York: Noonday, 1988). Selected Dialogues of Plato, The Benjamin Jowett Translation, (New York: Modern Library, 2001). Jean-Michel Rabaté, The Future of Theory (Oxford: Blackwell, 2002). Donald E. Hall, Literary and Cultural Theory: From Basic Principles to Advanced Applications (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2001).