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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Carolyn Allen
C LIT 516
Seattle Campus

Colloquium in Criticism

Recent trends in literary criticism, taught by representatives from various literature departments, covering critical trends such as structuralism, poststructuralism, hermeneutics, reception theory, and sociological approaches to literature.

Class description

After years of scholarship in twentieth-century studies featuring the "waning of affect" (in Jameson's famous phrase about postmodernism), study of affect, emotion, trauma, and "feelings" in modern and contemporary literary and cultural texts is now, again, a topic of theoretical and critical attention, with a growing number of conferences, fellowships, books, and journal articles devoted to it. This course will read essays from (mostly) contemporary writers in our discipline with an eye toward seeing what the current debates and contexts are. We’ll ask such questions as: What are the stakes in differentiating “affect,? from “emotion? How are emotion and affect studies related to recent work in representation and theories of mind? What about the return to “character? as, in Rita Felski’s words, “the puzzle of elucidating our intellectual curiosity about, and emotional attachment to, people who do not exist?? In addition to thinking through emotion, and affect in socio-cultural contexts, we'll consider literary fiction and narrative shape, the production of readerly affect, and the novel as a site for theorizing emotion. For papers, students who are already focused on a text or set of texts in their graduate studies are welcome to continue that work in the theoretical contexts of the course. But new projects are also fine. In addition to a number of contemporary theorists of these rubrics, we’ll read some classic novels, probably by Woolf, Faulkner and Morrison. The course is open to anyone interested in the topic.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Carolyn Allen
Date: 11/07/2011