Eng 308 - Critical Theories (Spring 2014)

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Dr. Joel M. Dodson                                MW sec. 01 2-3:15, sec. 02 3:25-4:40  Engleman D266

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Course Schedule

Working Paper Assignments

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Course Description

Eng 308 is an introduction to critical theory and practice. Its purpose is to build upon the skills and vocabularly you gained in Eng 307 in order to help you explore the kinds of problems, rather than solutions, raised by further study of literature and its interpretation.

This semester, we will focus our efforts on three literary case studies – the poetry of John Donne, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and Sarah Ruhl’s The Clean House – which raise several more advanced problems for literary interpretation: problems about language, textuality, authorship, readership, historical context, anxieties of influence, and performance. In doing so, we will explore how to consider a given text from a variety of theoretical perspectives (e.g, feminism, gender and sexuality studies, historicism, and postcolonialism), as well as how to use reference material – like footnotes and critical editions – to attend to the constructed nature of our reading.

Many of the readings will be challenging and will require extra effort, quite often re-reading. By the end of the semester, however, you should have a set of critical and writing strategies for studying a given work of literature in greater depth, as well as the ability to think seriously about the nature of your interpretive choices. 

 © Joel Dodson 2014