In this course we will learn of the many ways to read a cultural text by surveying the history of literary theory. We will address questions such as: What is literature? How do texts generate meaning? How do we determine the meanings of a cultural text? What are the relationships among an author, a text, a reader, and a context? What role does a text play in representing or even producing ideas of race, class, nation, sexuality, and gender? We will learn to read cultural texts closely and carefully: that is, to read for a text’s figures, themes, meanings, contexts, and structures. In addition, we will learn to ask and write about a text’s social, political, and material aspects.