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Critical Approach to Literature HUMA 3300.001

by: Nicholas Notetaker

Critical Approach to Literature HUMA 3300.001 HUMA 3300.001 (Ming Dong Gu)

Marketplace > University of Texas at Dallas > Arts and Humanities > HUMA 3300.001 (Ming Dong Gu) > Critical Approach to Literature HUMA 3300 001
Nicholas Notetaker
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Summary of Chapter 9: Cultural Studies approach and prelude into post colonialism
Critical Approaches to Literature
Dr. Ming Dong Gu
Class Notes
Literature, Critical Approaches to Literature, mingdongu, UTD, HUMA, HUMA3300, Cultural, Studies, culturalstudies, UTDallas
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Nicholas Notetaker on Monday April 25, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to HUMA 3300.001 (Ming Dong Gu) at University of Texas at Dallas taught by Dr. Ming Dong Gu in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 17 views. For similar materials see Critical Approaches to Literature in Arts and Humanities at University of Texas at Dallas.

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Date Created: 04/25/16
Critical Approaches to Literature April 19th­21st, 2016 Chapter 9 Cultural studies Defining Cultural studies  Cultural studies has turned from an initial movement to an academic discipline with its  own degrees in colleges and universities around the world and exerted an enormous  influence on other academic disciplines, especially on literary studies, sociology, media  and communication, linguistics, and history, etc. o However, it is still a fuzzy, confusing, and disorienting field or disconcerting  discipline. o Unlike other academic disciplines, cultural studies are a multidisciplinary  academic field, which has neither a well­defined methodology, nor clearly  demarcated fields for investigation. As it may cover subjects as diverse as  sociology, history, philosophy, literary theory, media theory, communication  studies, political theory, translation studies, museum studies, and art history, but it has a clear aim, which is the study of "culture," especially in its contemporary  forms. What are cultural studies?  A tautological answer: Cultural studies are a study of culture. Questions: If cultural studies study culture, what is "culture"?  A fuzzy word: "culture" is one of the few most complicated words in the English  language  Geographical sense: oriental culture, occidental culture, Chinese culture, American  culture, Islamic culture  Functional sense: High culture; popular culture; low culture; mainstream culture; drug  culture, mafia culture.  Social sense: Bourgeois culture; Middle­class culture, working culture; mainstream  culture; sub­culture; elite culture; etc. Two polarized definitions:  Mathew Arnold: "all the best that has been thought and said"  Raymond Williams: "A Whole way of life material, intellectual, spiritual" What are cultural studies?  It is not so much a discrete approach as a set of practices influenced by many fields such  as Marxism, post­structuralism, postmodernism, gender studies, anthropology, race and  ethnic studies, popular culture and post­colonialist studies  It concentrates on social and cultural forces that either create community or cause  division and alienation Four goals  It transcends the limits of disciplines, as it is made up of elements of various fields. It  involves scrutinizing the cultural phenomenon of a text and drawing conclusions about  the changes in textual phenomena over time. Not necessarily about literature in the  traditional sense or even about art  Cultural studies are politically engaged. It takes an oppositional position, not only within  its own discipline but also too many of the power structures of society. Questions  inequalities within power structures. As meaning and individual subjectivity are  culturally constructed, they can thus be reconstructed.  o Culture war­ people who hold different positions on what is "culture"  Cultural studies deny the separation of high and popular culture. "Culture" used to refer  to highbrow, elite tastes and intellectual pursuits. Today it includes mass culture, popular, folk, or urban.   Critics analyze not just the text but also its modes of literary production and circulation.  Marxist influence: who supports a given artist? Who publishes his or her books and how  are these books distributed and reviewed? Who buys books? o In a word, it joins subjectivity to engagement: Combining culture in relation to  individual lives with a direct approach to attacking social ills. o Postmodernism celebrates the acts of dismembering traditions of modernism and  all previous periods; in literature postmodernism appears in stream­of­ consciousness writing, pastiche, metafiction, among others. U.S. Ethnic studies  US ethnic studies includes primarily African­American, Latino/a, Native American, and  Asian American authors  Gates: uses "race" in quotation marks as "a dangerous trope"; for it "pretends to be an  objective term of classification" but it is a "dangerous trope... of ultimate, irreducible  difference between cultures, linguistic groups or adherents of specific belief systems  which... also have fundamentally opposed economic interests." Postmodernism and popular culture  Postmodernism contrasts between modernism and postmodernism  Modernist literature recognized fragmentation and alienation of life but mourned them  with a tragic but still hopeful vision:  Postmodernism does not care about the fragmentation and loss of meaning in a work of  art, and celebrates the loss and the disillusionment with institutions Origin of postmodernism:  Ihab Hassan: its origins can be traced to the subversive stain in modernism, in such  writers as Rimbaud, the Dadaists, Franz Kafka, and Samuel Beckett, which led them to  literary avant­garde of the 1960s and French experimental writers Historical development:  Frederic Jameson: modernism and postmodernism as cultural formations that accompany  particular stages of capitalism and are to some extent constructed by it: o Realism­ 18th and 19th century market capitalism: associated with the steam  engine o Modernism­ late 19th century monopoly capitalism, associated with electricity  and internal combustion o Postmodernism­ (present time) global consumer capitalism, associated with  advertising and digital communications Two cultures: traditional vs. modern culture: Everyday Use  Root seeking o name changes: o hair and dress: o to what extent is it a story about cultures in conflict  dominant white culture vs. black subculture  political ideological cultures  Dee represents the modern culture and Maggie represents the old culture  agrarian vs. industrial  tensions between "old" and "new" cultures  another theme: representation of a variety of culture and subcultures in tension and  conflict  Critical opinion: neither Dee nor her mother nor her sister is wholly wrong


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