Critical Practices

L371 — Spring 2020

Judith C. Brown
Days and Times
1:00-2:15 TR
Course Description

TOPIC: “How to Read a Page”

In this class we'll examine some of the major theories that have shaped critical reading practices over the past one hundred or so years. What assumptions determine the ways we read? What cultural narratives govern our understandings of human life? What role does interpretation have in the ways we view the world around us? And what role does literature play? Through our readings in semiotics, psychoanalysis, Marxism, deconstruction, identity-based theories (centered on race, gender, and sexuality), postcolonialism, and postmodernism, we'll consider how they transform the ways we read. We’ll read theoretical work alongside three novels – The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, Heart of Darkness, and City of Glass – in order to think through the possibilities opened up by theoretically-informed interpretation. Course evaluation will be based on several short “keyword” definitions, two papers, and a mid-term exam.