Introduction to European Critical Theory

Subject EURO40001 (2012)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2012.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 4 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2012:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

On campus

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 2 hour seminar per week
Total Time Commitment:

2 contact hours/week, 8 additional hours/week. Total of 10 hours per week.


European Studies students wishing to enrol in this subject would normally have completed 37.5 points of second/third-year European Studies.



Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:


Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Prof Alison Lewis


Subject Overview:

This subject provides an introduction to the central topics and problems raised in European Critical Theory in the period from 1968-2000. It aims not merely to introduce the concepts, but to demonstrate how these concepts can be operationalised in methods of analysis. The topics to be considered will include, amongst others: the author, text/context/frame, formal methods and materialist/historical concerns, discourse, the reader, the subject deconstruction. Theorists contributing to our understanding of these topics will include: Barthes, Eco, Derrida, Foucault, Bakhtin, Benjamin, Kristeva, Spivak.


By the end of the subject, students will have learned how to read theoretical writing. They will have learned how any particular theoretical orientation allows us to ask questions that we would not ask otherwise. They will have learned that a 'theory' is not merely a set of ideas, but a technical instrument for analysing language-based cultural objects such as literature, and they will have learned how to engage in such analyses and to evaluate their outcomes.


Written work totalling 5000 words: 3500-word essay 70% (due one week after the end of semester), and brief presentations on key issues for discussion totalling 1500 words 30% (due at regular intervals during the semester with written versions due one week after presentation).

Prescribed Texts:
  • Materials supplied by the School in a course reader
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • apply certain methods of criticism on literary texts taken from a range of genres.
  • elaborate their own research project, applying literary criticism to a work of their choice.
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: French
Spanish and Latin American Studies
Spanish and Latin American Studies

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