The era of structuralism, followed by that of poststructuralism and the ´cultural turn´ (which, among other things, brought on a revived interest in the earlier work of Walter Benjamin), has yielded a large repertoire of new critical terms and approaches. As a result, concepts such as ‘episteme’, ‘logocentrism’ and ‘aura’, as well as the method of ‘discourse analysis’, are today common currency among academics. Unfortunately this development has also entailed a loss in critical momentum. After all, few take the trouble to read the thinkers to whom we owe these concepts and methods: Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, and Walter Benjamin. This is not to say that their work has become outdated or devalued. Quite the contrary: their ideas have become generally accepted, albeit in a familiarized form.
To counter this tendency, we propose to go back to the authors themselves. Our first purpose in doing so will be to become acquainted with (a selection of) their original texts and breathe new life into them. In addition, we will try to establish what these texts still have to offer to the humanities in general, and to literary studies in particular.
This course aims at providing knowledge of, and insight into, the work of four major theoretical thinkers who have played a major role in literature and cultural studies over the past decades.
Mode of instruction
Guided discussion assignments; mid-term assignment (30%); paper (70%).
- To be announced
Students have to apply for this course with the registration system of the university uSis.
General information about registration with uSis you can find here in Dutch and in English
Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply.
For information please contact the lecturers, Yasco Horsman and Madeleine Kasten