MARXIST LITERARY THEORY

MARXIST LITERARY THEORY - Marxist Literary Theory(English...

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Marxist Literary Theory (English 353:320) Monday/Thursday 9:30-11:10am Professor Richard Dienst (email: [email protected]) office hours: Monday 1-2:30 pm and by appointment 43 Mine Street Room 102 NEXT MONDAY – MARAT/SADE NEXT THURSDAY – wildcard Week off Final project Diagnostic – object that is exemplary of current historical situation I would like to ask all of you all Monday to announce one or two or three potential topics for the paper. We’re going to see if you should map topics. – come on Monday with ideas written out and we’re going to discuss them as a group. You’ll have to have this essay finished at the earliest by the Thursday after thanksgiving and by the very latest by the end of class. The philosopher Alain Badiou recently described a “Communist Hypothesis,” an idea that has existed since Antiquity. In whatever iteration, the hypothesis proposes that class divisions are not inevitable, that “a different collective organization is practicable,” and that inequality and oppression can be eliminated. It is a broad and minimal conception of what a better society might be. From this perspective, Marxism offers just one version of the communist hypothesis, and Marxist literary theory just one discourse about it. In this course, we will explore how this radical hypothesis might be tested in the fields of literature, film, and culture more generally. What kinds of creativity and interpretation follow from it? How can the hypothesis itself be qualified or changed? What difference does it make to the way people live, when they accept the possibility that the present order of things is not inevitable and might be altered in basic ways? Attendance in class is essential: discussion is crucial to our work. No more than four absences should be taken, for whatever reason. There are three writing assignments, each comprising one-quarter of the final grade: —Seven one-page précis, to be turned in between September 8 and November 4. (You can choose which texts you want to address, and you should turn in the précis on the day the text is discussed . You will have to plan ahead and pace yourself.) Guidelines for the précis will be distributed separately. These pages will be graded as a set. —One essay (approximately seven pages), due in late September or early October. —A final essay or media-oriented project, the exact shape and topic of which will be negotatiated by mid-October. This project will involve several stages (proposals, outlines, etc. The remainder of the final grade will be based on participation, which is defined as making a positive contribution to the class sessions.
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The schedule for the course given below is provisional and subject to change. All changes will be announced in class; if you have missed a class, please be sure to check with me or another student about the next day’s work. course texts (available at the University bookstore):
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MARXIST LITERARY THEORY - Marxist Literary Theory(English...

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