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ENGL 301 M - Intro to Critical Theory

Campus: Urbana-Champaign


Introduction to the critical frameworks and methods that have had the greatest impact on the field of literary studies. Students will read, discuss, and write about numerous theoretical approaches, including (but not limited to) critical race studies, ecocriticism, feminism, Marxism, postcolonialism, poststructuralism, psychoanalysis, queer theory, and structuralism. No previous background with theory is required. Course Information: Prerequisite: Completion of the Composition I requirement; one year of college literature or consent of instructor. For majors only.

Special Instructions:

In this course, we will survey major developments in the history of thinking hard from the eighteenth century to today. To cope with the unwieldy and sometimes stupefying abstraction called -critical theory,- we will generally read short, iconic selections, thinking for the most part in broad, vivid strokes, with a few full texts interspersed for depth and texture. Most importantly (for newcomers to such material), we will work through these readings in a way that makes sense, challenges you, and does not put any of us to sleep (or drive us crazy). This is, in short, an introduction to the history of Big Ideas, and any lively, alert, thinking reader should be able to keep up. A large part of this class is about what theory says. But an even bigger part is simply about learning how to read theory. And we will do that by doing what we do in every English class: close reading the text itself.

Option 1

Number of Required Visit(s): 0

Course Level: Undergraduate

Credit: 3

Term(s): Fall


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