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COURSE NAME: "Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theories "
SEMESTER & YEAR: Spring 2019

INSTRUCTOR: Alessandra Grego
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: TTH 8:30-9:45 AM
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: EN 110 with a grade of C or above
OFFICE HOURS: by appointment

Designed as an introduction to the theoretical approaches to literature, the course will stimulate students to think and write critically through the study of the principal topics of literary theory. The course will adopt both a historical approach, covering each theory in the chronological order of its appearance on the scene, and a critical approach - putting the theories to the test by applying them to a literary text. The course will also help students to move on to an advanced study of literature by introducing them to the research methods and tools for the identification, retrieval, and documentation of secondary sources.This is a reading and writing intensive course. Students in 200-level literature classes are required to produce 4-5,000 words of critical writing.
Students will learn to identify and employ the principal theories of literature and develop their own critical skills, approaching cultural texts in an theoretically informed way,  using research methods and writing critical papers of academic quality. Students will also learn to take into due consideration the interactions between literature, history, politics, cultures and theory. Students will test their understanding of the various theories by performing critical readings of a single text from different theoretical perspectives.

This class will demonstrate the extent to which a single text can appear radically different depending on the theoretical approach through which it is read. Studying the key elements and terminology of each literary and cultural theory, students will exercise their critical skills as they experiment how to effectively use theory to analyze cultural texts.
On completing this course students will be able
 - to approach a text from a theoretic point of view
 - to focus on form rather than content
 - to research effectively and write critically

Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
How to Interpret Literature, 3rd editionRobert Dale ParkerOxford University Press. 2014ISBN-13: 978-0199331161 Order at Almost Corner Bookshop
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Literary Theory an Anthology, second editionJulie Rivkin and Michael Ryan (eds.)Blackwell, 2004ISBN-13: 978-1405106962  

3 papers analytical papers in which you demonstrate your ability to perform a theoretical reading of a text60%
Final exam 20
Class contributionComing to class having read and considered the assignment, prepared to generate and contribute to class discussion. Note that silent attendance does not qualify as class participaion. 5%
Study questionsShort quizzes to test your understanding of the various theoretical approaches15%

AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.

Attendance is mandatory.  If you miss more than 4 classes it will impact your grade (1/4 of a grade per absence, e.g. from A to A-)  and if you miss 7 or more you will fail the class. Silent attendance does not count as class participation.
Students are required to follow some basic class rules: to arrive punctually, to stay in class for the whole period of the lesson, to refrain from using their mobile phones and laptops.
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.



Session Session Focus Reading Assignment Other Assignment Assignment and Exam Dates
Week 1
Introduction to the course. Preliminary questions: New Criticism: reading, critical reading, theory.
 Parker, Chap. 2
Week 2
Structuralism; Saussure and Semiotics 
Parker, Chap. 3, pp.44-65
Week 3

 Propp, Jakobsen, Barthes
Structuralist reading of Little Red Riding Hood
Parker, Chap. 3, pp.65-83
  In class excercise: Morphological reading of Little Red Riding Hood
Week 4

Psychoanalysis, Freud
Parker, Chap 5, pp.112-129
 Bruno Bettleheim, "The Uses of Enchantment"
Week 5

Psychoanalysis, Lacan Parker, Chap. 5, pp.130-146
  In class exercise: Psychoanalytic Terminology
Week 6

Marxism Parker, Chap. 8, pp.221-240 Extracts from  Marx, Wage, Labour and Capital

1st Home Paper

Week 7

Variations in Marxist Criticism, Gramsci, Althusser, Benjamin  Parker, Chap 8, pp. 241-284  Extracts from Gramsci, Hegemony, Zizek, The Sublime Object of Ideology; Benjamin, The Work of Art in the Age of Technical Reproduction
  In class exercise: Marxist terminology 
Week 8
From Deconstruction to New Historicism: Derrida, Foucault, Williams, Greenblatt, Gallagher
Parker, Chap. 9,   Extracts from: Foucault Discipline and Punish
James Finn Garner: Little Red Riding Hood
Roal Dahl: from Revolting Rhymes, Little Red Riding Hood and the Woolf.
Week 9 Feminist Theory Parker, Chap.9, pp.165-183 Extracts from Wollstonecraft, Woolf, De Beauvoir
Week 10

Parker, Chap. 7, pp.185-217  Irigaray, The Power of Discourse and the Subordination of the Feminine.

 2nd Home Paper

Week 11

 Queer and Gender Theory
 Parker, Chap. 7, pp. 259-280 Angela Carter: In the company of Woolves
Week 12

Colonial and Postcolonial studies: Said, Bhaba, Fanon
Parker, Chap. 10, pp. 286-311
Homi K. Bhaba,  Signs taken for Wonders IN class exercise: Feminist Terminology
Week 13

Race and Ethnicity studies

Parker, Chap. 10, pp. 311-327
Audre Lord, Age, Race, Class and Sex.
Tony Morrison, Playing in the Dark 
Week 14