8: 6000 Introduction to Critical Theory: Course Information and Assignments

5:00-6:15 MW Room 469 EPB

Instructor: Florence Boos, florence-boos@uiowa.edu

Office: 319 EPB: office phone 335-0434

Office hours: most evenings before and after class, 6:30-7:30 and T Th Fri afternoons by appointment

Textbook at IMU Bookstore:

Vincent Leitch, ed. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism (2010, 2005 or 2001 eds.); For 2010 selections not in earlier versions I can scan the texts for you.

I will hand out selections from Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan, Literary Theory: An Anthology and other sources.
handouts: on psychology, historicism, utopia, ethics, nature, and translation theory

Informal exam: Monday December 10th or Tuesday December 11th, by student choice; students will report on their final essays and answer any queries. Final versions are due Friday December 14th, 2018 at the end of the day.

Course Requirements:

1. reading of all texts for class discussion: Many of the sessions will be at least partly student-led, and thus each student will help conduct discussion several times during the semester.

2. for each class session, please bring in a < 1 page response to the following three questions: What (if anything) in this text did you find difficult or requiring explanation? What did you find especially valuable or insightful? How might it seem relevant to a particular kind of literature and/or an aspect of contemporary life?

3. ICON postings: 6 times during the semester (preferably at least twice in September, once or more in October, and the rest in November and December) please post an essay equivalent to two typed pages on our ICON page. You should number and title your postings, e. g. Kant, Smith, No. 1. Please read the postings of your fellow students; at least three of your postings should comment on these.

3. critical essay: Students are asked to write an essay of 12+ pages which evaluates a strand of critical thought, centering on a book by one of the authors we have read or another work relevant to issues considered during the course. For example, you might discuss an issue important to contemporary Marxism, such as interpellation by social media, setting Frederic Jameson’s Post Modernism, or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism in the context of other theorists we have read, or assess a translation in the terms suggested by Venuti and other translation theorists. If you hand in a rough draft a week before the essay is due December 14th, I’ll give preliminary suggestions and comments. During finals week, in lieu of an official exam, we will hold a class session in which students describe their respective projects and respond to queries from their fellow students.

Syllabus for English 6000: Introduction to Critical Theory

M August 20th, 2018   introduction; some course materials

W August 22nd, 2018  Aristotle


M August 27th, 2018  Immanuel Kant

W August 29th, 2018  Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels (handout, Origins of the Family, Private Property and the State)

F  August 31st, 2018   1st ICON posting due

M September 3rd, 2018  Labor Day

W September 5th, 2018  Christine de Pisan, Mary Wollstonecraft + handout
M September 10th, 2018 reader response approaches: Walter Pater, Hans Robert Jauss, Wolfgang Iser

W September 12th, 2018 psychology/psychological approaches: Sigmund Freud, including “Mourning and Melancholia,” Jacques Lacan

F  September 14th, 2018 second ICON posting due

M September 17th, 2018 Bessel van der Kolk and Alexander McFarlane, Judith Butler, Slavoj Zizek

W September 19th, 2018 humanism, historicism: Wilhelm Dilthey, Hayden White, Martha Nussbaum

M  September 24th, 2018 historicism, utopia: Michel Foucault, “The Archeology of Knowledge,” Walter Benjamin, “Theses on the Philosophy of History,” Ernst Bloch

W  September 26th, 2018 Frederic Jameson on historicism and utopia, Ruth Levitas, Izolt Cziganyik


M  October 1st, 2018 postmodernism: Andrew Bennett and Nichaolas Boyle, Jean-Francois Lyotard, Jean Baudrillard

W October 3rd, 2018  translation theory: Lawrence Venuti et alia

F October 5th, 2018 third ICON posting due


M October 8th, 2018 postmodernism continued: Frederic Jameson on postmodernism; postmodern cultural studies: Michel de Certeau, Pierre Bordieu, Henri Lefebvre

W October 10th, 2018 aesthetics: William Morris, “The Beauty of Life,” Li Zehou, Kojin Karatani


M October 15th, 2018 Arnold Berleant (The Aesthetics of Environment), Jacques Ranciere

W October 17th, 2018 Russian formalists and post-structuralism: Boris Eichenbaum, Jacques Derrida, Giles Deleuze and Felix Guattari

F October 19th, 2018 fourth ICON posting due


M October 22nd, 2018 ethics, ethics and literature: Wayne Booth, Emmanuel Levinas, poss. J. Hillis Miller or Derek Attridge


W October 24th, 2018 -----


M October 29th, 2018 applied ethics, memory and forgetting: Avishai Margalit, The Ethics of Memory

W October 31st, 2018 applied ethics, animals: Peter Singer, Tom Regan

F  November 2nd, 2018 fifth ICON posting due


M November 5th, 2018 applied ethics, nature and the environment: Arne Naess, Bill Duvall, James O’Connor, Val Plumwood, Carolyn Merchant

W November 7th, 2018  ------


M November 12th, 2018 race: Langston Hughes, bell hooks, Paul Gilroy, Audre Lorde

W November 14th, 2018  post-colonial theory: Edward Said, Gayatri Spivak, Homi Bhabha

---------Thanksgiving break November 19th-23rd

M November 26th, 2018 post-colonial theory: Alan Lawson on settler relations, Anne McClintock

November 28th, 2018 cultural studies and ideology: Raymond Williams, Louis Althusser on interpellation

F November 30th, 2018 sixth ICON posting due


M December 2nd, 2018 the media, surveillance: Walter Benjamin, Michel Foucault on incarceration, Laura Mulvey; if possible, something on social media

W December 4th, 2018 gender and sexuality: Eve Sedgwick, Gayle Rubin, Lisa Lowe


M December 10th or T December 11th, 2018 (tentative date) draft of final paper; you will summarize your final essay in our exam period session and respond to your fellow students’ questions. All postings and the final essay should be submitted as a packet December 14th, 2018.


CLAS Teaching Policies & Resources

Administrative Home The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) is the administrative home of this course and governs its add/drop deadlines, the second-grade-only option, and other policies. These policies vary by college (https://clas.uiowa.edu/students/handbook).

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Making a Complaint Students with a complaint should first visit with the instructor (and the course supervisor), and then with the Director of Undergraduate Studies in English (Matthew-P-Brown@uiowa.edu) for majors courses, the Director of General Education Literature (Blaine-Greteman@uiowa.edu) for GEL courses, or the Director of Graduate Studies (Kathy-Lavezzo@uiowa.edu ) for graduate courses, before appealing, if need be, to the Chair of the English Department (Claire-Fox@uiowa.edu). Students may then bring the concern to CLAS (https://clas.uiowa.edu/students/handbook/student-rights-responsibilities).

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