ENGL 080. Introduction to Literary Theory

Initially referring to the Frankfurt School project of pursuing liberation in the context of the power structures that condition thought (including the thought of liberation), Critical Theory has subsequently come to mean criticism itself, which draws on, diverges from, and even rejects "theory." Integrating political economy, sociology, psychology, and philosophy, critical theory nonetheless rejects the all-explanatory systems of these disciplines while going beyond criticism in inquiring into not only the meaning of the text but also more fundamental questions like the text's place in the world, meaning in the world (as a text?), and the world in and through the text. This course provides an introduction to critical theory through a survey of its schools, examining its classical precursors, German origins, and seminal later developments-notably, structuralism, hermeneutics, deconstruction, historicism, postcolonialism, feminism, and posthumanism. We will focus on theories of aesthetics, political economy, the psyche, language, history, empire, race, gender, sexuality, disability, and ecology, in the process exploring the different ways that literature can be read. Authors may include Aristotle, Nietzsche, White, Marx, Horkheimer and Adorno, Benjamin, Althusser, Balibar, Arendt, Freud, Khanna, Saussure, Heidegger, Derrida, Hegel, Jameson, Greenblatt, Said, Bhabha, Anderson, Spivak, Morrison, Roediger, Day, Perez-Torres, Byrd, Irigaray, Spillers, Mohanty, Butler, Muñoz, Spade, Haraway, Nixon, and Bennett.
Prerequisite: At least one ENGL course.
Ideal for juniors and seniors.
1 credit.
Eligible for INTP
Fall 2022. Cohen.
Fall 2023. Ku.
Fall 2024. Staff.
Catalog chapter: English Literature  
Department website: https://www.swarthmore.edu/english-literature

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