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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Study Questions on BA EST431 Literary theory Course - PSEng, JPEng, CEP

Following are the study questions on BA EST431 Literary theory  Course composed by II year PSEng students on 10 Mar 2011. Hats off to them. Special thanks to Susan, Fathima, Margaret for co-ordinating the workshop output. 

What is Literature?
1. What is literature according to Terry Eagleton?
2. What does Terry Eagleton say about the notion of literature being defined as-
i. imaginative writing (fact vs fiction)
ii. uses language in peculiar ways.
iii. depending on content.
iv. self referential language.
v. "fine writing"
3. Why does Jacobson speak of literature as "organized violence committed on ordinary speech"?
4. Explain the Formalists view of literature.
5. In your opinion, should there be a fixed definition for what constitutes literature? If so, what?
6. What is your personal understanding of literature and its influence on you?

What is Literary Theory?
1. What is "literary theory" according to Klages?
2. How can any kind of writing qualify as "literature"? How do you judge them as "valuable"?
3. How can we distinguish "literature" from other kinds of texts?
4. What is "close reading"?
5. Why is "literary theory" considered a necessary and valuable part of a literary education?
6. What is "literature"?
7. How do we use "literary theory" in our daily life?
8. What is the "product" of studying "literature"?
9. "What we call 'literary theory' really ought to be named something like 'world theory'..." Do you agree with the statement? Explain.

Plato and Aristotle
1. Compare and contrast Plato and Aristotle's views on Art.
2. Differentiate between Plato and Aristotle's ideas on Form.
3. What are your view on "Reason" as a process of logical deduction? Keep in mind the Platonic and Aristotelian perspectives.
4. Censorship of media content is critical in maintaining order in society. Do you agree or disagree? Use the views of the thinkers in our syllabus to substantiate your stance.

Humanist Literary Theory
1. "Poetry is a useful teaching tool". Explain according to Horace's views.
2. After reading from Horace to Mathew Arnold, do you view poetry as pleasurable reading or a teaching tool? If you disagree with both, specify why.
3. Talk about poetry in respect to subjectivities keeping in mind the views of Edmund Burke.
4. When Joseph Addison views poetry as pleasure, what insight does it give us? What's your take on it?
5. What is the negative capability according to John Keats and why is it important for art?
6. How do the views from Horace to Mathew Arnold reflect the Humanist approach?

1. How does Levi Strauss build on Saussure's theory of language?
2. Explain the study of Myth according to Claude Levi Strauss.
3. Explain the theory of Signification.
4. Explain the study of Myth with regard to Oedipus Complex by Levi Strauss.
5. Explain the ideas of "Langue" and "Parole".

1. How does deconstruction problematize structuralism?
2. Illustrate the role of the centre in holding the structure together in deconstruction.
3. Explain "Bricolage" with an example.
4. What does Derrida uncover in Levi Strauss' problems "the elementary structure of Kinship"?
5. What is Derrida's critique of primacy speech over writing in his deconstruction theory?

1. Trace the Psychosexual development of humans by Sigmund Freud.
2. How is psychoanalysis useful to the study of literary criticism?
3. Why does Freud consider that women are not suitable to be the rulers and shapers of civilization?
4. Discuss the three stages of Polymorphous perversity according to Lacan.
5. Why does Lacan consider boys to be closer to the Phallus than girls?
6. Differentiate between Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis.
7. What is the difference in the stages of polymorphous perversity as dealt with by Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis?

1. What is the difference between the pre-post structuralist and post structuralist feminism?
2. Explain the concept of "l'ecriture feminism".
3. What is Feminism according to Helene Cixous and the concept of Medusa?
4. Explain the post structuralist view of feminism.
5. Briefly portray the background of feminist ideology.
6. Explain Feminism in relation to Literature.
7. What is "Jouissance"? What is the importance of the concept in feminist ideology?
8. Explain the concept of "sexuality" in feminism.
9. How does Luce Irrigaray substantiate her take on "this sex which is not one"?

Queer Theory
1. What are the contributions of feminist theory of the formation or basis of the queer theory?
2. Explain the two basic approaches to the understanding and categorizing of human sexuality.
3. Do you think Queer theory (as mentioned in the syllabus) is relevant in the context of the Indian social structure?
4. How does Freudian Sexuality look at the operation of homosexuality and gender?
5. Does Judith Butler advocate the destruction or change of the traditional family structure? If so, how?
6. Explain homosexuality in terms of the oedipus complex. Explain Judith Butler's view on the same.
7. Explain why women should not be looked at as ontological entities according to Butler.

Ideology and Discourse
1. How do ideologies work? Do ideologies construct subjects?
2. Explain how Althusser, Bakhtin and Faucault's perception of ideology functions.
3. Explain Marxism and the Marxist theory in the light of literature.
4. According to Faucault, how does discourse create relationships of power and knowledge?
5. Explain Bakhtin's concept of Luteroglossia.

Race and Postcolonialism
1. Briefly outline the theories of post-colonialism and Orientalism.
2. Comment on the views given by Henry Louis Gates Jr. on "The signifying Monkey".
3. Compare and contrast the ideas of Gloria Anazaldua and Homi Bhaba.
4. What are your views on race and post-colonialism?
5. What according to Bhaba is the idea of a nation?
6. Explain Homi Bhaba's idea of Hybridity. In this context, what are your views on identity formation?
7. Explain Henry Gate's analysis of "Signifying" and "Signified".
8. Define Post Colonialism and explain its theory.
9. How does Race function as a signifying system? Explain in the Indian context.
10. Explain the West's projection of otherness on to the orient through the analysis of a relevant movie (other than Karate Kid which is used in the text)
11. What is Gloria Anzaldua's analysis of "the border"? And what is her theory on the multiplicity of language and identity formation?
12. How have structuralist theories influenced the theory of Post Colonialism?

Post Modernism
1. Define modernism and name the prominent authors associated with this movement.
2. What are the main characteristics of modernism?
3. How is post modernism similar to modernism and how do they differ?
4. What are Frederic Jameson's views on modernism and post modernism?
5. Differentiate between modernism and modernity.
6. What are the basic ideas of Enlightenment?
7. What are Jean-francois Lyotard's views on post- modernism.
8. Explain in brief Jean Baudrillard's views as a post-modernist.
9. Who are the authors of "Anti-Oedipus"? What are their contributions and views? What is a Rhizome?


Kapitblom! said...


Anonymous said...

thank you to everone who contributed :)
and sir/anyone, what will the question paper pattern for the end-sems be? 10 10-mark questions? also, it would be great if someone put up a summary on the "postmodernism" chapter here

Anonymous said...

thanx a lot sir.....