LIT204 : Criticism And Literary Theory

Convenor(s): Dr. Fabienne Collignon


Please note: This module may or may not run in any individual session. Please check with the course Convenor.

General Information

The module in Critical and Literary Theory engages with interdisciplinary approaches to the study and critique of texts, culture and society. To begin with, it interrogates the notion of what, for example, constitutes a ‘text’, but the issues raised in this course move beyond the study of ‘literature’ into wider political and cultural spheres. The module employs the most ground-breaking and influential theorists of both the past and the present (including Marx, Lacan, Kristeva, Barthes, Jameson, Foucault, Derrida, Haraway, Virilio, Deleuze and Guattari, Spivak, Žižek, Shukin, Morton) to explore a range of concepts such as power, knowledge, identity, empire, capitalism, body, myth, subject, discourse, trauma, human, technology, environment, animal, terror—concepts that, in turn, can be used to illuminate the reading of words/worlds. The course develops thematically, and invites each topic under consideration to be approached from a number of theoretical or critical angles; the objective of the course is to give you a fundamental grounding in literary theory, a critical approach that is frequently provocative, radical, and open-ended.


The module will be taught by a combination of lectures and seminars that will help you develop an awareness and understanding of the key ethical, political and theoretical debates in literature and culture. By the end of the module, you will have • acquired a knowledge of the history of and debates within critical theory; • engaged with and compared different kinds of cultural production (e.g. novels, films) drawing on an informed critical vocabulary; • accessed and used information from a wide variety of sources, both critical and historical; • undertaken independent research


The assessment for this course consists of 2 essays: the first of which is 1,500 words long and is weighted at 35%; this essay invites you to explore the material presented in lectures and seminars during the first half of the course, and ask you to either focus on a specific theory or work of a theorist or encourage you to understand the connections between and/or within theoretical movements or approaches. The second essay is 2,500 words long and weighted at 65%; in this assessment, you will apply at least two theoretical or critical approaches as studied on the module to the analysis of at least one literary or cultural text. In the process of this application of theory, you will evaluate the ways in which the different theories produce different textual readings.

Contact Details

0114 222 0242

Information last changed: Monday 10th of August 2015 :: 12:40:10 PM (BST)


The University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK