English 100

The Seminar on Criticism: Marxist Theory and Criticism

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
3 Fall 2021 Lye, Colleen
MWF 1-2 301 Wheeler


In the literary academy, general interest in Marxism began to ebb in the 1980s and hit a low in the 1990s—decades when a new vogue for government deregulation, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the market liberalization of China also affected dominant critical trends on the left inside and outside the university. But in the last ten years or so, Marxist literary criticism has experienced a flourishing that might well be compared with earlier intellectual revivals of Marxism—though this time in the absence of any constraining fealty to one or another internationalist party or Communist nation-state. It is taking place against the larger backdrop of uncertainty about the benefits of globalization, the sustainability of resource extraction, and, if not quite yet the inevitability of capitalism, at least the common sense of neoliberal policy. It is also taking place against the backdrop of a rise in liberation movements seeking to articulate identity, and the connections between different aspects and kinds of identity, from an anticapitalist perspective. The 1960s return to Marx had yielded a rich array of linguistic materialisms that helped to install literature at the center of social action. What new literary methods do we see arising from the post-2008 return to Marx? And in what changed ways are they making the social case for reading literature today?


The readings for this course will consist of a mix of theory, criticism and literature. Assignments will consist of regular bCourses reading journal submission and several short essays. The reading list for the course has not been finalized, so do not purchase books until after the first day of class.

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