French 7770

Fall Semester 2000

Literary Criticism and Cultural Studies: French Cultural Studies

Charles J. Stivale
361 Manoogian, 577-0970

General Syllabus

General Description and Goals
This seminar, as part of the Ph.D. minor in cultural studies and literary criticism, is intended to provide participants with a broad understanding of different links between current issues both in Cultural Studies and literary studies as they relate to the field of French, specifically, and more broadly, to academic research and debate in languages and literature. In particular,

-- To provide a basis for pursuing research in Cultural Studies in relation to literary studies, we will review a number of theoretical premises on which Cultural Studies and work in literary criticism are based.

-- To approach the relationship of Cultural Studies to the field of French, we will read essays that have deliberately reflected on these links and also critical works of authors who have inspired research in both Cultural Studies and French studies.

One curious facet of this course is that we will not be focusing on specific literary texts as such, but rather on writings -about- literary and cultural texts -and- on writings that discuss the professional implications of these kinds of writings. While I certainly do not wish to minimize in any way the importance of engaging with primary literary texts as well as with
literary critical sources that address these texts, I understand the meta- and meta-meta-critical emphases of this course as having a complementary goal: to provide students (both those intending to enter the academic profession and those interested in broadening their critical acumen) with tools for working with literary -and- cultural texts and with a clearer understanding of what the stakes might be in undertaking such work at the end of the twentieth century.

Required Book for the Seminar
Le Hir, Marie-Pierre, and Dana Strand, ed. French Cultural Studies: Criticism at the Crossroads (Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2000).

+ extensive readings available on reserve at the Purdy/Kresge Library.

Seminar Organization (cf. Detailed Program for specific dates):
I. Weeks 3-5: Mythologies, Past and Present

II. Weeks 5-8: Reading Practices and Cultural Studies

III. Weeks 8-10: Cultural Studies: Synopses/Critiques

IV. Weeks 11-15: Readings of and with Key Cultural Theorists