The Literature and Critical Theory Program is based on a pair of ideas. The first is that many of the most important and interesting issues that engage our attention call for a multidisciplinary approach. Second, that the kind of critical analysis demanded by the study of literary texts offers powerful tools for investigating cultural and social forms of the past and present. Central to the program is the comparative study of forms of representation – texts, media, institutions, and theories, in diverse cultures and historical periods. This requires thinking about what it means to compare and what it means to translate.
The Literature and Critical Theory Program will attract students who are interested in exploring existing and generating new links between literature and historical, cultural, political, social, and psychological forces. The program trains students to think about how problems of the present are tied to those of the past, and to consider critically both how we represent this past and how we imagine possible futures. This requires reflecting on the logic of historical transmission and transformation, and on the ways in which cultural forms mediate our experience.
Who is enrolled in the Literature and Critical Theory Program?
Literature and Critical Theory offers a wide-ranging and yet coherent adjunct to Major or Specialist programs in English, Classics, Modern Languages, Philosophy, Political Theory, Film Studies, Women's Studies, Caribbean Studies, Renaissance Studies, Semiotics, or any discipline in which the study of language, culture, or interpretation is central.