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(Academic Year 2002-2003: Semester I)



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I am available for pre-exam consultation during my regular office hours.

Click on the links to the left for the topics covered in Modules 2 and 3

Lecturer: Dr. Richard Clarke; E-mail:
Class Times: Two compulsory 1.5-hour seminars per week:

  • Sem. 1: Tuesday 10.30 AM - 12 NOON (A27)
  • Sem. 2: Thursday 10.30 AM - 12 NOON (A27)

Description: in this course, we will begin by exploring the radical implications of Saussure’s critique of traditional models of signification for conventional conceptions of cultural identity, linguistic representation, and self-expression.  

We will then read and discuss seminal essays representative of the following schools:

  • Module I: Semiotics / Structuralism,
  • Module II: Lacanian Psychoanalysis, and
  • Module III: Derridean Deconstruction.

In each module, we will begin by exploring the philosophical framework of the school in question before investigating its central critical concepts and main interpretative strategies.  We will explore in particular what, if anything, its major theorists have to say about the following issues:

  • cultural identity: what is human nature and how is it shaped by one's society and culture? 
    • subjectivity: the construction of personal identity:
      • the role of class,
      • the role of gender,
      • the role of race;
    • culture, society: the structure of the social formation;
  • signification: how do words mean or signify?
  • representation: the nature of the relationship between the literary work and the real world;
  • authorship: the nature of the relationship between the author and his /her literary work;
  • the reader: the nature of the relationship between the reader and the literary work;
  • literary form: the structure, genre, etc. of literary texts;
  • literary history / intertextuality: the nature of the relationship between a text and other texts.

In each module, we will also compare key (Post-)Structuralist essays with seminal essays by Feminist, Post-colonial, and African American theorists on the same topic in order to show how many of the latter have also engaged with Saussurean and post-Saussurean notions of ‘difference’ in an effort to rethink the dominant ways in which patriarchal, colonial and post-colonial cultural phenomena and practices have come to be conceptualised.  For example, we might compare Derrida's "Differance" with Cixous's "Sorties" and with Hall's "Cultural Identity and Diaspora."

Moreover, through close examination of practical illustrations of these theories (especially with reference to Post-colonial literatures), students will be encouraged to apply the paradigms discussed in their own critical writings.

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