Using Key Passages to Understand Literature, Theory and Criticism is a completely fresh and innovative approach to teaching and learning literary theory: using short passages of theory to make sense of literary and cultural texts. It focuses on the key concepts that help readers understand literature and cultural events in new and provocative ways. Covering a wide variety of iconic and contemporary theorists, the book offers a broad chronological and global overview, including thirty passages from theorists such as Viktor Shklovsky, Roland Barthes, Judith Butler, Diana Fuss, Jean Baudrillard, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Michel Foucault, Monique Wittig, and Eve Sedgwick.
Built on the premise that scholars use theory pragmatically, Using Key Passages to Understand Literature, Theory and Criticism identifies problems, puzzles, and questions readers may encounter when they read a story, watch a film, or look at artwork. It explains, in detail, thirty concepts that help readers make sense of these works and invites students to apply the concepts to a range of writing and research projects. The textbook concludes by helping students read theory with an eye on finding productive passages and writing their own “theory chapter,” signaling a shift from student as critic to student as theorist.
Used as a main text in introductory theory courses or as a supplement to any literature, film, theater, or art course, this book helps students read closely and think critically.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments; Introduction: Joining the Community 1. Becoming a Subject 2. Scripting Identity 3. Doing Not Describing 4. Enjoying the Carnivalesque 5. Reading as Writing 6. Simulating the Real 7. Creating a Space Between 8. Performing Gender 9. Locating Trauma 10. Intersecting Identities 11. Locating Alterity 12. Poaching Texts 13. Cultivating Rhizomes 14. Reconciling Double Consciousness 15. Shocking Readers 16. Joining Power and Knowledge 17. Revealing the Uncanny 18. Questioning Human/Nonhuman Boundaries 19. Historicizing and Contextualizing 20. Signifying Through Time 21. Thinking Ecologically 22. Recognizing Conceptual Metaphors 23. Representing Disability 24. Losing and Recovering Our Sovereignty 25. Resisting the Dominant Culture 26. Adapting and Appropriating 27. Describing Homosocial Relationships 28. Defamiliarizing the Familiar 29. Questioning Gender Binaries 30. Building on Another’s Work: Identifying Key Concepts; Index
Barry Laga is Professor of English and Department Head of Languages, Literature, and Mass Communication at Colorado Mesa University, USA. He teaches literary theory, American literature, film, and composition, and publishes on American literature, film, and cultural studies. He was a Fulbright Scholar at Universiteit Antwerpen, Belgium, and Universität Leipzig, Germany.