Chronological study of literary and media works in English, beginnings to the present, emphasizing analytic reading and writing skills.
English 305 orients students to the intellectual rationale behind the English major by presenting the discipline’s history and debates. We will do this by studying “critical theory,” a form of writing that seeks less to interpret the meaning of cultural objects than to interrogate the historical, social, and ideological forces that underwrite the ways in which meaning is made. Class lectures and discussions will be guided by three goals. First, we will develop strategies for reading and understanding critical theory as a distinct form of writing. Second, we will consider the contexts from which key theory debates have emerged. Third, we will focus on how theory expands, constricts, or complicates our analysis of specific texts.
Arts & Letters (A&L) courses create meaningful opportunities for students to engage actively in the modes of inquiry that define a discipline. Courses are broad in scope and demonstrably liberal in nature (that is, courses that promote open inquiry from a variety of perspectives). Though some courses may focus on specialized subjects or approaches, there will be a substantial course content locating that subject in the broader context of the major issues of the discipline. Qualifying courses will not focus on teaching basic skills but will require the application or engagement of those skills through analysis and interpretation.