ENGL 311 (Section 901, Schedule #33006)
Virginia Commonwealth University
Fall 2015
MW 5:30-6:45pm :: 260 Hibbs
Prof. David Golumbia
Office: 324D Hibbs Hall
Fall 2015 Office Hours: MW 2:30-3:45pm

Introduction to Literary Theory

This course offers an advanced introduction to some of the major themes and concepts in contemporary literary theory; it is intended for English majors who have some general background in literary criticism and at least some of its methods. We will read works by recent major theorists, and students will use these works to uncover some of the foundational texts on which this more recent work is built. In part we will track the deployment of key concepts in thought since at least the Ancient Greeks, including logos (λόγος), technê (τέχνη), poiesis (ποίησις), and rhetoric (Ῥητορική). This is a discussion class in which student participation is essential and a significant part of the grade. Students will be evaluated based on short written papers, midtem and final exams, and vigorous participation in class discussion.

Books (Required Texts)

The following is a list of required texts to purchase for the class. Other texts are provided on Blackboard or on direct links to websites in the Week-by-Week Syllabus below.

Assignments and Evaluation

Evaluation will be based on written exercises and course participation as follows:

Course-Specific Policies

Official VCU Policy Statements

The VCU Office of the Provost maintains a list of official policy statements for each semester. Students are required to review the list of policies in its entirety. They constitute official course policies. Among the important topics covered in this policy statement, students should note the following policy regarding email:

Students are expected to check their official VCU email on a frequent and consistent basis in order to remain informed of university-related communications. The university recommends checking email daily. Students are responsible for the consequences of not reading, in a timely fashion, university-related communications sent to their official VCU student email account.

Week-by-Week Syllabus

Week One. Introduction

Week Two. Introduction

Week Three. Poiesis, Technê

Week Four. Paolo Virno

Week Five. Derrida, Archive Fever

Week of Sep 19-27. No classes (reading period due to bicycle race)

Week Six. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, essays

Week Seven. Stiegler, What Makes Life Worth Living?

Week Eight. Hortense Spillers, essays

Week Nine. Noys, Malign Velocities

Week Ten. Lauren Berlant, essays

Week Eleven. Thacker, In the Dust of This Planet

Week Twelve. Sianne Ngai, essays

Week Thirteen. Braidotti, The Posthuman

Week Fourteen. Heather Love, essays

Week Fifteen. Open discussion

There is a final exam for the course, at 5:30-6:45pm on Weds, Dec 9, per the registrar's e xam schedule.

Last updated November 18, 2015.