This course shares a website with its
LITS3304 Post-Structuralisms and
An introduction to several
schools of Continental philosophy and critical theory that may be
grouped under the rubric 'Post-Structuralism.' These will be chosen from
Dialogism, Foucauldian Discourse Analysis, Deleuzean Thought, and Structuralist Marxism.
We will also study Feminist, Post-colonial and African American thinkers who
have engaged with these schools.
In this course, we
will explore several schools of Continental philosophy and critical
theory sometimes termed 'Postmodernist' or,
accurately, 'Post-Structuralist.' They are called this because they are all informed by and, in some cases,
expand upon Saussure's Structuralist philosophy of language
(sometimes called 'semiotics'), that is, his theory of the way in
which meaning is produced in human discourse.
We will begin by exploring
the theories advanced by each school concerning the nature of some or
all of the following:
mind, identity, self;
society and government.
We will then
investigate each school's main critical tenets and interpretative strategies,
focusing on the following issues in particular:
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;
Criticism: the nature of the critical act;
(Literary) Form: the formal
structure and genre of (literary) works; and
(Literary) History / Intertextuality /
Canonicity: the nature of the relationship linking (literary) works
to each other and their socio-historical context;
Art / Literature: the nature of art / literature in general;
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 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
LITS6001 Modern Critical Theory and / or
LITS6002 Post-Structuralisms and
Post-colonialisms I would be very useful.
Seminar participation and / or presentation(s)
and / or response(s):
Research Paper (15-20
double-spaced pages; topic to be approved by course director): 60%