RICHARD L. W. CLARKE


 

 

 

LITS3304 CONTEMPORARY CRITICAL THEORY:
(POST-)STRUCTURALISMS AND POST-COLONIALISMS

(formerly E33D POST-STRUCTURALISMS AND POST-COLONIALISMS)
 

COURSE ARCHIVE

2012-2013

2011-2012

2010-2011

2009-2010

2008-2009

2007-2008

2006-2007

2005-2006

2004-2005

2003-2004

2002-2003

2001-2002

2000-2001

1999-2000

1998-1999

1997-1998

1996-1997

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OFFICIAL THUMBNAIL COURSE DESCRIPTION

An introduction to several key schools of Continental philosophy and literary / cultural theory that may be grouped under the rubric '(Post-)Structuralism.'  These will be chosen from Deconstruction, Dialogism, Foucauldian Discourse Theory, Deleuzean Theory, Structuralism, Structuralist Marxism, and Structuralist Psychoanalysis.  We will also study Feminist, Post-colonial and African American thinkers who have engaged with these schools.

DETAILLED DESCRIPTION

The theories explored in this course are called '(Post-)Structuralist' because they are all informed by, expand upon and, in some cases, also critique Saussure's philosophy of language, that is, his theory of the way in which signs produce meaning.  This gave rise to a school of thought called 'Structuralism' (or sometimes 'Semiotics') which exercised an enormous influence in fields ranging from anthropology to psychology (so-called 'Structuralist Psychoanalysis') to sociology ('Structuralist Marxism') to literary criticism.  Structuralism in turn spawned several 'Post-Structuralist' schools of thought which have all explored, sometimes critically, the various implications of Saussure's critique of the sign.  These schools include: Derridean Deconstruction, Bakhtinian Dialogism, Foucauldian Discourse Theory and Deleuzean Theory

We shall discuss the theories advanced by some of these schools on some of the following topics: communication; human nature (body, mind, self); knowledge; society and government and, especially, literature and related cultural practices.  With regard to the latter, we shall focus in particular on the following issues: the Audience (the nature of the relationship between the audience and the literary work), Authorship (the nature of the relationship between the author and his / her literary work), Literary Form (the structure and genre of literary works), Literary History / Intertextuality / Canonicity (the nature of the relationship linking literary works to each other and their socio-historical context), and Representation (the nature of the relationship between the literary work and the world).

We will also compare the views of seminal Feminist, Post-colonial and African American theorists.  To this end, we may pair Derrida's "Différance" with Cixous' "Sorties" and Hall's "Cultural Identity and Diaspora," or Foucault's "Nietzsche, Genealogy, History" with Butler's Gender Trouble and Said's Orientalism, for example.

Moreover, through close examination of practical illustrations of these theories (especially with reference to Post-colonial literatures), students will be encouraged to apply the paradigms discussed in their own critical writings.

PREREQUISITES

A pass in LITS2306 History of Criticism Because LITS2306 History of Criticism provides an indispensable foundation for this course, it is in students’ interest to register for this course only when this prerequisite has been met.

A pass in LITS2307 Modern Critical Theory and / or LITS3303 Modern Critical Theory is also welcome. 

ASSESSMENT

Seminar Participation and / or Presentation(s) and / or Response(s): 10%

Term Paper: 30%

Final Examination: 60% (2 questions in 2 hours)

Please note that, whatever the final mark, students must pass at least one question in the final exam to pass any course in Literatures in English.  Failures of this sort are denoted by FE ('Failed Exam') on the grade slip.

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