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Meaning and Materiality: Recent Trends in Theory
ENGL 333
Fall 2014 not offered

Some of the most exciting recent trends in literary and cultural theory interrogate the relationship between humanity, materiality, and meaning. These scholars ask, How do people relate to the material world, and how do these relationships impact our understanding of literature? For example, book history explores the materiality of the book as it shapes our understanding of the text contained therein: Does it matter who printed the book, or how a given page looks? Other scholars focus on the materiality of readers and readers' minds: How do books work on our bodies, and can cognitive science help us understand our investments in novelistic character? Works in eco-criticism, animal studies, history of science, and "thing theory" ask other kinds of questions: What are the ethical, historical, and philosophical implications of the way objects are depicted in literature? In this course, we will familiarize ourselves with these theoretical trends as we grapple with the relationships between materiality and meaning. We will also map the various ways these trends intersect with or diverge from one another. What do each of these have in common with older, Marxist kinds of materialist thinking? Or with the kinds of postmodern thought that are often accused of neglecting "the real"? Why do these theoretical paradigms have such explanatory power right now? How do they speak to the concerns of our moment?
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA ENGL
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: None

Last Updated on JUL-23-2024
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