Literature Critical Approaches and Distribution Requirements

Critical Approaches to the Study of Literature

Students must take at least one upper-division course in each of six Critical Approaches to the study of literature. Each upper-division course in literature (aside from the core courses Literature 101 and 102) has two Critical Approach designations; however, students may use each course to satisfy only one approach requirement.

Canons: The study of influential authors or works, and their critical afterlives: what books get read, which are forgotten, and how is that decided?

Genres: The study of fiction, poetry, drama, epic, testimonio, etc. across time and space: what happens when we classify together works of similar form?

Geographies: The study of local, regional, national, transnational, or global contexts: how do we use notions of place to group texts together?

Histories: The study of texts through socially or aesthetically defined periods or movements: how do historical pressures affect literature’s possibilities?

Media: The study of the written word as one medium among others: what can we learn from the analysis of visual, performative, sonic, filmic, and other media?

Power and Subjectivities: The study of human and other subjects as individuals and in collective groups: who has the power to speak, write, and read under different social conditions?

Distribution Requirements

Among the 10 upper-division courses, at least two must focus on literature written prior to the year 1750; one course must focus on non-Western literature or literature in a global perspective; and one course must focus on the study of poetry. One of the upper-division courses may be a senior seminar, which can be used to satisfy the campus comprehensive (exit) requirement. Some courses fulfill more than one distribution requirement. A list of annual course offerings indicating distribution codes for each course is available in the department office and on the Literature Department website.