Spring 2015 - Graduate Course Descriptions

Gu, Ming
Discipline and Number
HUSL 6315 Section 001
W Time 10:00 AM - 12:45 PM
Course Title
Critical Theory: Major Schools

Description of Course:

This course is an introduction to critical and cultural theory with its focus on major schools of critical thought. It is intended for graduate students majoring in arts and humanities in general and in literary studies in particular. It is designed as a selective survey rather than an extensive treatment of a particular theorist, a historical period, movements or schools.

The main objective is to acquaint students with major schools and trends in the historical development of critical theories and influential theoretical works of major critical thinkers. It begins with Plato and Aristotle who laid the foundations for Western critical theory, continues from classical and neo-classical theories through romantic and idealistic theories to moral and humanistic theories, and then focuses on modern critical and cultural theories including Marxist, psychoanalytic, structuralist, poststructuralist, feminist, postcolonialism, postmodernism, and cultural studies.

As an introductory course, the emphasis will be laid on understanding the chosen texts in the larger context of critical theory. No prior knowledge of critical theory is required.

Required Texts:

Vincent B. Leitch et al, eds., The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, second edition (New York: Norton, 2010).
Some handouts

Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:

All students are required to attend class regularly, actively participate in classroom discussions, hand in summaries/reviews of assigned reading, give presentations on assigned materials, and write a final paper. The term paper may focus on a theorist, a school of thought, or the application of chosen theoretical approaches to his or her own field of learning. Midway through the course, each student needs to turn in an proposal for the final paper (2 pages) outlining the initial ideas, approaches and research materials for the final paper. The grading is based on the following:
1. Summaries/Reviews 10%
2. Presentations 10%
3. Preliminary proposal at midterm 5%
4. Attendance and Participation in discussion 10%
5. Term paper (15-18 pages) 65%
Total: 100%

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