Introduction to Anglophone Modernities

MOOC Critical Cultural Literacy Online Test Version

This research colloquium provides students in Anglophone Modernities with the opportunity to study and critically engage with various current approaches to literary and cultural studies. Advanced students can also present their own MA projects and receive feedback. In addition, we will make time to discuss the process of writing an MA thesis. Attention: the central approach! es discussed in this particular colloquium are psychoanalysis, ethics of reading, and distant reading/world literary studies.

Is literature still relevant in a period increasingly dominated by images rather than words, by fragmentary tweet-format messages rather than coherent texts, by instantly decipherable standardized icons and emoticons rather than evocations of unique and singular experiences? In this research-oriented seminar we will explore and discuss a sample of diagnoses of the current crisis of literature, but we will also engage with a set of recent theoretical models that attempt to reclaim an unbroken relevance for literature as a cultural praxis. These approaches range from the appreciation of literature as a strictly ‘private’ event with both aesthetic and ethical implications to the construction of literature as intervention into the established arrangement of the social world at large. We will read and analyse extracts from some of the most influential contributions to literary theory today, including texts by Derek Attridge, Pheng Cheah, Rita Felski, Jacques Rancière and Gayatri Spivak, among others.
Participants are expected to engage with theory and must be prepared to read ‘difficult’ texts.

The course Queer Cinema combines theoretical readings with screening a wide variety of visual materials. It seeks to perform a “queer pedagogy” by suspending quick identifications of what is often taken as “queer” of queer cinema, namely the seemingly transparent LGBTQ subject matter. By watching an eclectic selection of films that consists of documentaries, shorts, and long feature films, as well as video art works made for exhibition spaces, the course intends to introduce key concepts in gender/sexuality and queer studies, and at the same time also aims to displace the participants away from the familiar contexts, namely Anglo-American and/or West-European foci of most queer theory and film studies. In this way, the seminar seeks to answer, by closely engaging with the cinematic texts, “what is queer cinema” and “what is queer about queer cinema”?