Introduction to European Critical Theory

Subject EURO40001 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 4 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 25-Jul-2016 to 23-Oct-2016
Assessment Period End 18-Nov-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 05-Aug-2016
Census Date 31-Aug-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 23-Sep-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 24 hours - 1 x 2 hour seminar per week
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours


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

Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


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, Derrida, Foucault, Benjamin, Kristeva, Spivak.

Learning Outcomes:

Students who successfully complete this subject should:

  • have learned how to read theoretical writing;
  • have learned how any particular theoretical orientation allows us to ask questions that we would not ask otherwise;
  • 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;
  • have learned how to engage in such analyses and to evaluate their outcomes.

Written work totalling 5000 words:

  • A 3500-word essay [70%] (due one week after the end of semester)
  • 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)

Hurdle requirement: Students must attend a minimum of 75% of tutorials in order to pass this subject. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Note: Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per working day. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked.

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:

Students who successfully complete this subject should:

  • be able to apply certain methods of criticism on literary texts taken from a range of genres;
  • be able to elaborate their own research project, applying literary criticism to a work of their choice.
Links to further information:
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: French
Graduate Certificate in Arts (Advanced) - French
Graduate Certificate in Arts (Advanced) - German
Graduate Certificate in Arts (Advanced) - Italian
Graduate Diploma in Arts (Advanced) - French
Graduate Diploma in Arts (Advanced) - German
Graduate Diploma in Arts (Advanced) - Italian
PC-ARTS French
PC-ARTS German
PC-ARTS Italian
PD-ARTS French
PD-ARTS German
PD-ARTS Italian
Spanish and Latin American Studies

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