Course Description and Objectives:

This course serves as our core course in both interpreting and teaching literature. It surveys the wide range of approaches to literature, beginning with traditional approaches such as biographical or historical context and genre and moving on to academic approaches including formalism, psychological methods, myth criticism, Marxist literary theories, reader-response theories, feminist criticism, queer theory, deconstruction, cultural studies, new historicism, and postcolonial and multicultural methods. Throughout the course, students will explore ways to use those approaches in effectively teaching literature courses.

By the end of the course, students should have acquired the following knowledge and developed the associated skills:

1. Become familiar with the history and development of literary theory.

2. Apply a variety of critical approaches to a single literary text.

3. Recognize “receptive” texts and apply the particular approach which they invite.

4. Learn how to research and assess academic journal articles applying literary theory to texts.

5. Practice teaching literary texts to secondary and post-secondary students making use of the approaches learned in this course.

5. Develop presentation and writing skills.

Special Note for Online Students:

The course design assumes that students may work independently at their own pace through the material. Each section of the text has Forum questions or other assignments linked to it. Some assignments have mini-lectures or recorded material attached to them; others just revolve around the text. As you proceed further in the course, you will be asked to write criticism of your own and will have the chance to teach one reading to your fellow students. Online sessions will be held weekly and/or on weekends where you may discuss the material, ask questions, or share your written work with others. These online sessions will be recorded so that students who cannot attend synchronously will still be able to pose questions, have them answered, and share with others. Arrangements can be made to record your presentations as well.

© Dr. Loren R. Schmidt, 1999-2018
No part of this syllabus may be used or reproduced
in any manner whatsoever without written permission.