This course in contemporary literary
theory introduces some the principal methods of current criticism, ranging
from deconstruction to psychoanalysis, from performance theory to gender
and cultural studies. Critical works will be placed in the context of postmodern
culture, and hypertext theory, and cyberspace. Ridley Scott's film Blade
Runner and Shelley Jackson's Patchwork Girl, a hypertext reworking
of the Frankenstein story, will serve as reference points for the exploration
of theoretical issues.
Readings will include representative
works by Louis Althusser, Lauren Berlant, Roland Barthes, Judith
Butler, Helene Cixous, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Paul Gilroy,
Donna Haraway, Fredric Jameson, Jacques Lacan, Ferdinand
de Saussure, Patricia Williams, Slavoj Zizek, and
Week 1 (August 31) - Background: From Structuralism to Poststructuralism
Ferdinand de Saussure, "from Course in General Linguistics"
Roland Barthes, "From Work To Text" (Reserve Room)
Week 2 (Sept.
7) - The Poststructuralist Controversy
Jacques Derrida, from Of Grammatology (Reserve
Michel Foucault, "What Is an Author" (Reserve Room)
Week 3 (Sept. 14) - Autobiography,
Patricia Williams, The Alchemy of Race and Rights
Week 4 (Sept.
21) - Postmodern Theory (Beta Version)
Fredric Jameson, Postmodernism, Ch. 1
Week 5 (Sept.
28) - Poststructuralism and Hypertext
George Landow, Hypertext 2.0
First Paper due, Friday, October
2 (5-7 pp.)
Week 6 (Oct.
5) - Hypertext Critical Fictions
Shelley Jackson, Patchwork Girl (Computer
Lab, Garland Hall)
Revised First Paper posted in Class
Folder, Friday, October 9
Week 7 (Oct. 12) - Bodies
Blade Runner (Screening TBA, Garland Hall)
Donna Haraway, "A Manifesto for Cyborgs" (Reserve
Helene Cixous, "The Laugh of Medusa" (Reserve Room)
Jay Clayton, "Concealed Circuits: Frankenstein's Monster,
the Medusa, and the Cyborg," Raritan 15:4 (1996): 53-69 (Reserve
Week 8 (Oct.
19) - The Other Psychoanalysis
Edgar Allen Poe, "The Purloined Letter" (Muller and
Richardson, Ch. 1)
Jacques Lacan, "Seminar on 'The Purloined Letter'" (Muller
and Richardson, Ch. 2)
Recommended: Shoshana Felman, "On Reading Poetry: Reflections
on the Limits and Possibilities of Psychoanalytic Approaches" (Muller
and Richardson, Ch. 7)
Jacques Derrida, "The Purveyor of Truth" (Muller and
Richardson, Ch 9)
Recommended: Barbara Johnson: "The Frame of Reference: Poe,
Lacan, Derrida" (Muller and Richardson, Ch 10)
Week 9 (Oct.
26) - Queer Performativity
Judith Butler, Bodies that Matter, "Introduction,"
Chs. 1, 4, 6, and 8
Paris Is Burning (Screening Sunday, 7:00-9:30,
Garland Hall, rm. 220)
Week 10 (Nov. 2) - Psychoanalysis
?? Louis Althusser, "Ideology and the Ideological State Apparatuses"
Slavoj Zizek, The Sublime Object of Ideology, Ch.
Week 11 (Nov. 9) - Race
Paul Gilroy, The Black Atlantic, Chs. 1-3, 6
Week 12 (Nov.
16) - Gender and Nationality
Lauren Berlant, from The Queen of America Goes to Washington
City, "Introduction," Chs. 1, 4, 6
Draft of Conference Paper due (Friday,
(Thanksgiving Break - November 21-29)
Week 13 (Nov.
30) - Theory on the Web
Week 14 (Dec.
7) - Web Theory