English and Film Studies

ENGL 430 B1: Studies in Theory: The Politics of Close Reading

K. Martin

This course aims to counter the ways in which 'close reading' has become a kind of unmarked or dehistoricized practice for many students. Why is close reading the default practice or the fallback approach? Where did this kind of reading come from, and what are its politics? By whom is it practiced (and for what purpose), and what kind of relationship(s) does it create with the text? We will aim to cultivate a more nuanced understanding of--and ability with--this practice by looking to the examples of scriptural exegesis, analyse du texte, Russian formalism, the New Criticism, deconstruction, and other ways in which the practice of close reading is renovated and/or challenged--for instance, within Indigenous literary criticism.