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Subject's code : 24413061
This Unit wants to outline the adequate definitions and contexts to basic concepts in the field of literary theory and criticism. Its nature is mainly theoretical due to the introduction to general concepts and ideas that must be essential knowledge to any student of literary studies, but its focus is practical since theoretical information will be accompanied by practical self-assessment questions. This is an introductory but fundamental Unit to which we will return throughout the course to review information. As an orientation for organization the contents of Unit 1 are designed to take more or less three weeks and 25 hours of study.
2. Specific Learning Outcomes
The Unit has been designed so that at the end of its study students will be able to:
This Unit focuses on a basic introduction to the main ideas of postcolonial studies and postcolonial literary criticism, defining and outlining the use of their terms and concepts to be applied to literary and cultural analysis. It will deal with the concepts of ethnicity, diaspora, hybridity, geographical movement and colonization in order for the student to familiarize with current and established cultural issues in the literature in English and contemporary English-speaking societies. The aim of this Unit is to present the impact of social, cultural and historical issues on literature, issues which are extrinsic but immanent within the literary text. The information provided and knowledge generated through this Unit wants to place students outside the text in order to make them comprehend how these outside important cultural issues are closely imbricated in literary and cultural texts. From society and history, we will move towards the power of ideology and the text in the following Unit and the construction of subjectivity and gender in Unit 4. The dynamic of approach to the text in relation to society and culture as led from Unit 2 (social movements and historical events) to Unit 4 (the subject) is based on a conscious rhythm of analysis that is intended to make students understand how “texts” (literary and cultural) relate and contribute actively to the creation of bigger external social structures and dynamics and the most internal structures such as individual subjectivities.
2. Specific Learning Outcomes
Unit 3 introduces students to the tenets of poststructuralist thought and postmodern criticism to be applied to the analysis of literary and critical texts. These critical schools have reflected some of the most radical changes in Western thought in relation to philosophy and culture, so a clear and basic introduction to these changes are essential for students to become contextualized within contemporary literary and cultural criticism and analysis. As some of the main conceptual parameters of these schools (i.e. the death of the author, the pervasiveness of textuality, history as text, reality as discourse and language, the impossibility of fixed meaning, the breaking of main Western metanarratives) are usually difficult to understand by students, the methodology presented will be as straightforward and clear as possible, giving them tools to understand basic terms, authors, and concepts through interactive activities and active involvement in the creation of material. If Unit 2 is intended to generate the knowledge in students about the connection between external societal issues and the structures and nature of literary texts, Unit 3 aims at presenting the vision of the possibility of inner openness of the text towards ideology, discourse, authorial ambiguity and irony, which circulate within literary texts creating multiple meaning and connections.
Specific Learning Outcomes
Unit 4 introduces students to the basic tenet of Gender Studies and Feminist literary criticism as well as practicing literary analysis of short stories. The revolution of the feminist movement throughout the twentieth century has created a new field of studies at universities and a new perspective towards gender identity and sexual difference in society. The way we constitute ourselves as male or female and elaborate our behavior and identity as feminine or masculine has been the topic of extensive theory and cultural discourse from the 1970s to our times in English- speaking societies. Main theoreticians on gender identity are North-American (and French) and a whole corpus of feminist literary criticism (the way gender is represented and reinstated in literature, the way gender identity interacts with writing and creativity, etc.) has been developed. Students will learn to read texts focusing on gender issues and taking into consideration stereotypes of gender identities and their possible transformations. Students will analyse the specific narrative elements of the short-story and will be introduced to main concepts and thinkers of gender and literature. Unit 4 exposes how the factor of gender, which seems to be the most intimate part of subjectivity, is also part of our social identity, which is constructed through cultural discourses among which literature is found.