Welcome to Pursuits for Fall 2016! The course meets with section 4 on Mondays 10:00-12:05 and alone (as section 3) on Wednesdays 10:00-11:15.
Pursuits of English is an inquiry into what constitutes literary study: its subject matter and its underlying goals and methods. We study literary texts of various genres and formats, as well as literary criticism and theory; examine and expand our ways of reading, interpreting, responding to, and writing about texts; trace the relation of literary criticism to theory; consider the relation of literary study to issues of political power; discuss how and why mainstream critical approaches change over time; and develop independent habits of thought, research, discussion, and analytic writing. By the end of the course, you should be able to understand that a single text can and does have multiple meanings depending on the theoretical lens a reader uses.
This particular instance of Pursuits explores the mutually dependent categories of the monstrous and the normal in fairy tales, Renaissance drama and its afterlives, and nineteenth-century fiction. Along with our fictional texts, we will consider historical and cultural materials from the periods in which they were written, as well as theoretical lenses including those of feminism, gender studies, Marxism, and postcolonialism.