Faculty of Arts


Reading Across Cultures


This postgraduate seminar offers an advanced introduction to the main traditions in theory. It provides the tools to engage with contemporary theorization by showing how theories originate, how they challenge and extend earlier theories, and how they can be used to read texts from around the world comparatively.

As we go we will map out the different positions and philosophical traditions that the term “theory” covers, but, at the same time, explore whether the very concept is an invention of English-speaking academia. Is the fact that modern theoreticians all challenge rationalistic Enlightenment-based philosophy truly sufficient to make them a coherent group? If not, what is theory exactly? In addition to situating the various theories in relation to each other we will be very interested in the purposes of theory and why it is so important, today more than ever.

The seminar will be very “hands-on,” with students considering the texts studied in relation to their own work and/or interests, whatever these happen to be. Although a syllabus will be offered and a number of key texts studied, students will be free to suggest readings for the course. The course therefore varies year to year depending on the students and their projects. 

Availability 2021

Semester 2


Lecturer(s) Associate Professor Tracy Adams


Readings will be accessible online

Recommended Reading



COMPLIT 705: 15.0 points

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