04:30 PM to 07:10 PM T
Section Information for Spring 2021
This course is an introduction to literary, critical and cultural theory via an investigation of the relationships between “persons” and “things.” How do we differentiate between persons and things? What happens when people are treated as things? What happens when things appear to take on the qualities of persons? What implications do conceptions of “persons” and “things” hold for our relationship to the environment or the non-human world? How are we shaped by the things we buy, use, desire, hoard and discard? What kind of things are texts, or works of art, or literary characters?
We’ll explore such questions with the help of a range of writers in literary theory, psychoanalysis, philosophy, anthropology, environmental criticism, critical race studies, feminist studies, cultural studies and folklore. We’ll consider selected literary texts and examples from film and tv, with a special focus on stories of the “uncanny” — where the differences between persons and things blur in fascinating or troubling ways. Students will learn how to read, understand, and engage with theoretical texts, and will see how a range of theoretical methodologies can open new perspectives on literary and other cultural texts.
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