Adventures in Theory: how to teach our new anthology

By | January 23, 2019

Calvin Thomas offers two sample syllabi for incorporating Adventures in Theory: A Compact Anthology and Ten Lessons in Theory: An Introduction to Theoretical Writing into your literary theory course.

I: Syllabus for a sixteen week course in Contemporary Critical Theory that would use Adventures in Theory as sole text.

Introductions

Editor’s Introduction: Gearing Up For Adventures

First Module: Foundations of Anti-foundational Theory

Marx, “Three Excerpts from Early Writings” (1844)

Nietzsche, “On Truth and Lie in an Non-Moral Sense” (1873)

Foucault, “Nietzsche, Freud, Marx” (1967)

Peter Brooks, “Freud’s Masterplot” (1977)

Second Module: Semiotics, Aesthetics, Identity, Ideology

Saussure, “The Signifier Considered in its Totality” (1916)

Shklovsky, “Art as Technique” (1917)

Fanon, “The Fact of Blackness” (1952)

Barthes, “Myth Today” (1957)

Editor’s Interlude: Two Brief Pieces on Lacanian Psychoanalytic Theory

Althusser, “On Ideology” (1971)

Zizek, “The Real of Sexual Difference” (2002)

Third Module: Poststructuralist, Postmodernist, and Postcolonial Theory

Johnson, “A Critique of Western Metaphysics” (1983)

Derrida, “Differance” (1967)

Said, “From the Introduction to Orientalism” (1978)

Hassan, “Toward a Concept of Postmodernism” (1987)

Spivak, “Can the Subaltern Speak?” (1988)

Fourth Module: Feminism, Gender Studies, and Queer Theory

Rubin, “The Traffic in Women: Notes on the ‘Political Economy’ of Sex” (1975)

Butler, “From Interiority to Gender Performatives” (1990)

Edelman, “The Future is Kid Stuff: Queer Theory, Disidentification, and the Death Drive” (1998)

Editor’s Afterword: (Still) No Kingdom (of the Queer)

II: Syllabus for a sixteen-week course in theory that would use Adventures in Theory(as intended) in conjunction with Ten Lessons in Theory: An Introduction to Theoretical Writing

Introductions Matter

Ten Lessons: Preface: “Something worth reading”: Theory and/as the Art of the Sentence; Introductory Matters: What Theory Does, Why Theory Lives

            Adventures: Editor’s Introduction: Gearing Up for Adventures

Part One: Antiphysis: Five Lessons in Textual Anthropogenesis

Antiphysis and/as Anthropogenesis

Ten Lessons: Lesson One: “The world must be made to mean”—or, in(tro)ducing the subject of human reality

Adventures: Marx, “Three Excerpts from Early Writings” (1: From “A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right”)

Antiphysis and/as Semiotics

Ten Lessons: Lesson Two: “Meaning is the polite word for pleasure”—or, how the beast in the nursery learns to read; Lesson Three: “Language is by Nature Fictional”—or, why the word for moonlight can’t be moonlight

Adventures: Nietzsche: “On Truth and Lie in an Extra-Moral Sense,” Saussure: “The Sign Considered in its Totality,” Barthes: “Myth Today”

Antiphysis and/as Interpretation

Ten Lessons: Lesson Four: “Desire must be taken literally”—a few words on sex, death, and interpretation

Adventures:  Editor’s Interlude: Two Brief Pieces on Lacanian Psychoanalytic Theory (2: Symbolic Castration); Foucault, “Nietzsche, Freud, Marx”; Peter Brooks, “Freud’s Masterplot”

Antiphysis + Identity = Ideology?

Ten Lessons: Lesson Five: “You are not yourself”—or, I (think, therefore I) is an other

Adventures: Editor’s Interlude: Two Brief Pieces on Lacanian Psychoanalytic Theory (1: The Mirror Stage); Althusser, “On Ideology”; Zizek, “The Real of Sexual Difference”

Part Two: Extimacy: Five Lessons in the Utter Alterity of Absolute Proximity

Extimacy and/as Dialectic

            Ten Lessons: Lesson Six: “This restlessness is us”—or, the least that can be said about Hegel

            Adventures: Fanon: “The Fact of Blackness”

Extimacy and/as Defamiliarization

Ten Lessons: Lesson Seven: “There is no document of civilization that is not at the same time a document of barbarism”—or, the fates of literary formalism

Adventures: Marx, “Three Excerpts from Early Writings” (2: Estranged Labor & 3: Money) Shklovsky: “Art as Technique”

Extimacy and/as the Unconscious

Ten Lessons: Lesson Eight: “The unconscious is structured like a language”—or, invasions of the signifier

Extimacy and/as Constitutive Otherness

Ten Lessons: Lesson Nine: “There is nothing outside the text”—or, fear of the proliferation of meaning

Adventures: Johnson, “A Critique of Western Metaphysics”; Derrida: “Differance”;

Said, “From the Introduction to Orientalism”: Hassan, “Toward a Concept of Postmodernism”; Spivak, “Can the Subaltern Speak?”

Extimacy and/as Global Queerness

            Ten Lessons: Lesson Ten: “One is not born a woman”—on making the world queerer than ever

Adventures: Rubin: “The Traffic in Women: Notes on the ‘Political Economy’ of Sex”;

Butler, “From Interiority to Gender Performatives”; Edelman, “The Future is Kid Stuff: Queer Theory, Disidentification, and the Death Drive”

The Ending Isn’t Over

            Ten Lessons: In the End: Theory is (not—) Forever

Adventures: Editor’s Afterword: (Still) No Kingdom (of the Queer)

*****

Adventures in Theory

Calvin Thomas is Professor of English and Director of Graduate Studies in English at Georgia State University in Atlanta, USA. He is the author of Ten Lessons in Theory: An Introduction to Theoretical Writing (Bloomsbury, 2013), Masculinity, Psychoanalysis, Straight Queer Theory: Essays on Abjection in Literature, Mass Culture, and Film (2008) and Male Matters: Masculinity, Anxiety, and the Male Body on the Line (1996). He is the editor of Straight with a Twist: Queer Theory and the Subject of Heterosexuality (2000), and Adventures in Theory: A Compact Anthology, now available from Bloomsbury.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

5 − 1 =