English and Film Studies

ENGL 221 A1: Reading Politics: Class and Ideology

J. Rak

In this course, we look at two of the most important concepts for thinking how ideas about ourselves are grounded in the world: class and ideology. Theories of class and cultural materialism will be connected to how class as a category has structured the production and consumption of literature and culture, and how ideology as an attendant concept can be used to understand writing and other forms of cultural expression. We begin with the work of Karl Marx on class, and explore how other philosophers and literary critics—including Leo Althusser, Michel Foucault, Raymond Williams, Gilles Deleuze, Angela Davis, Barbara Ehrenreich, György Lukács, Stuart Hall and Antonio Gramsci--have taken up, expanded on and in some cases challenged Marxism.