English 506 - Modern and Contemporary Critical Theory

Katherine Cummings

T Th, 1:30-3:20

Katherine Cummings

This seminar is designed to introduce you to an ongoing critical conversation and to offer points of departure that you might pursue in your own scholarship. Its starting points, on which we will touch down briefly, are Marx, Nietzche, and—time permitting—Freud. In reading them, we will home in on critical concepts and interpretive methods that late 20th and early 21st century theorists have engaged and transformed. Among them are Balibar, Benjamin, Butler, Hartman, Foucault, Lowe, and Spivak. Short—one page—critiques of assigned texts will be required (figure on eight); the objective of this writing assignment is to hone your skills in reading, summarizing and assessing critical arguments that you might well want to put to use in your graduate study. To facilitate this critical ngagement, you’ll each be asked to identify a problem or question that animates your study and a short set of additional texts that promise to address it. We will share these contributions and build upon them as you work in peer groups to craft a final 10 page essay. The subject/text of this paper will be up to you , but it must draw on the critical archive that we’ve assembled.