English CRI 200A - Winter, 2020

Class Information

Instructor: Menely, Tobias
Time: R 3:10-6:00
Location: 248 Voorhies


    Etymologically, to theorize means to look contemplatively, to examine from a distance, to speculate. To be a theorist, for the Greeks, is to stand apart and consider, whether one is viewing the stage, the stars, or the underlying forms of things. Critique, by contrast, assumes an active and invested relation to a determinate historical situation. Modern criticism developed, Terry Eagleton suggests, in bourgeois opposition to the absolutist state. Critical theory, then, is defined by a constitutive tension between two imperatives: to contemplate, tarrying with the negative and the abstract, and to judge, as an intervention in structures of power. This seminar will survey modern critical theory, emphasizing links between foundational texts and current debates in the critical and speculative Humanities, particularly as scholars are drawing on, and reworking, canonical critical theory in response to the economic, political, and planetary crises of the twenty-first century.


    Weekly Discussion Posts
    Final Essay


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