Course Description

A survey of theories and methodologies in the interdisciplinary study of culture, the course examines how cultural practices are codified, disseminated, interpreted, and appropriated as texts across a range of human endeavors. It explores questions that relate to the production of culture, the social implications of theory, the use of critique, and the aesthetics of form. Organized around the most influential theoretical paradigms in cultural theory today, it encourages the student to appreciate the relevance of culture in forming human societies and in securing the survival of the planet.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the course, the student is expected to be able to do the following:

Expected Lasallian Graduate Attributes Learning Outcome
Creative and critical thinker Effective communicator and collaborator Write an interdisciplinary essay that draws on a range of critical concepts in literary and cultural theory;Discern the connection between and among the disciplines, for example, in an interdisciplinary essay.Practice interdisciplinary thinking in an applied study or project

Course Requirements:

  1. Attendance and Class Participation (15%)

You are required to attend all class sessions and participate fully in class discussions. (If you miss a class due to illness or other emergency, please be certain to obtain notes from a fellow classmate and check in with the instructor with any questions you may have.) You must be prepared to discuss the REQUIRED readings on the day indicated on the syllabus. All required readings are available in your course packet. Online materials need to be printed (see house rules on the use of gadgets). Attendance and class participation comprise 20% of your final grade.

You will be given ONE point for each of your attendance in class. This point will be reduced when you come in late in class (after the initial roll call). Students who have perfect attendance will be given FOUR incentive points to the total of their grade (which is equivalent to a .5 increase in their grades). Excused absences will not be given any point and does not qualify a student for a perfect attendance incentive.

Depending on the insight of your recitation, you are going to be given ONE to THREE points each time you contribute to class discussions in both lectures and group presentations (where you are not a member reporting). A recitation that critically interprets and interrogates ideas from our required readings and films, citing particular passages and pages from a text, is highly valued.

  • Seminar Presentation (5%)

Students will work in pairs to have a short seminar presentation on a topic under the rubric of “Literary and Cultural Studies” for the assigned theory modules in class. They would have to analyze a literary text or a cultural phenomenon and present their analysis in class in a short seminar type presentation (10-15 minutes), where they would be able to present an extended abstract (introduction, theoretical framework, proposed metholodology, initial discussion of analysis, etc.)

  • Short Writing Assignments (25%)

You will write five (5) short writing assignments, around 500 to 1,000 words throughout this course. These writing exercises will serve as your training in writing longer critical essays for this course and for your entire Literature program. They should display your critical engagement and analysis to the object of your research, which can be either or both literary and academic texts. You should be able to showcase clarity in your prose while also demonstrating the depth of your critical analysis within the constraint of the word limit. For this, you need to be able to: 1.) articulate your main argument; 2.) support by citing and analyzing the given texts, and 3.) document your sources properly.

  • Final Paper Proposal

A paper proposal is a one or two pages of plan for a longer final paper to be submitted at the end of the semester. It should be in the form of a sentence outline. It should provide details on what you plan to write for your final paper: a tentative main argument, an outline of preliminary supporting claims and analyses of both a critical concept from an academic text and a critical engagement of literary texts, list of works that the student plans to analyze, and a tentative bibliography.

  • Working Paper (10%)

Working papers are longer form of short writing assignments which you will submit for the writing workshop. It should be an expanded version of an earlier writing assignment, which should be about 1,500 to 2,000 words.

  • Workshop

You will participate in the workshop where you would receive constructive feedback to improve your working paper which you will expand as a final paper. You will also have a chance on giving constructive feedback to your classmates’ papers in your workshop group so that they can also improve their writing for the final paper.

  • Final Paper Draft (20%)

You are required to submit a 4,000 to 6,000-word essay (around twenty pages, double spaced) based on the approved paper proposal that he or she has earlier submitted. You must use secondary research materials to further examine the texts of the authors that they chose and the issues and problems that came out from the discussions. You must follow MLA style guide to document his or her sources. For information, consult the website:

  • Peer Review (5%)

You need to review and evaluate two of your classmates’ final paper drafts. You will be graded according to how critical and comprehensive your comments and suggestions are to your fellow authors’ work. You need to 1.) electronically edit and put comments on two final paper drafts by using Microsoft Word’s track changes function, 2.) fill out evaluation forms for your peer review.

  • Revised Final Paper (25%)

You should be able to revise the draft of your final paper according to suggestions and feedback coming from your instructor and your two classmates who will act as your blind peer reviewers. In cases where you do not wish to follow certain comments and feedbacks from your reviewers, you need to be able to respond sufficiently why you chose to disregard them.

  1. All writing assignments, final paper proposals, draft and revised versions of final paper should be submitted as docx. file on Turnitin. Peer reviews are submitted

Rubrics for Short Writing Assignments, Working Paper and Final Paper (First Draft and Revision)

Low Scores 1 or 2 Average Score 3 High Scores 4 or 5
1. Evidence of controlling purpose (central idea or argument)
Fails to establish the main argument or thesis statement of a critical concept. No clear point or purpose; no central argument to paper. Paper drifts substantially from initial purpose or controlling idea. The thesis argument of a critical concept is established initially, but inconsistently attended to. Paper shows some unity of purpose, though some material may not be well aligned. Establishes the main idea very clearly, and was consistenty explained all throughout the summary. The thesis statement of a critical concept governs development and organization of the text.
2. Engagement with the text
Does not connect well to the source text Does not show evidence of having understood the reading(s) that should inform the paper. Repeats or summarizes source text without analyzing or critiqueing. Shows evidence that materials were read and that those texts have shaped the students’s writing. Shows basic understanding and ability to engage the substance of the text(s). Goes beyond repetition or summary of source text(s). Shows clearly that the student read and understood the source text(s) that inform the critical summary. Summarizes key points or issues in the source text and then critically analyzes or synthesizes those ideas with the students’s own ideas. Extends the ideas of the source text in interesting ways.
3. Use of source material
It is often not clear whether information comes from the text vs. the student. In-text citations and end-of-text references are not formatted according to an appropriate style sheet. Source materials are cited, though not always consistently. It is generally clear when information comes from source text(s). Most in-text citations have appropriately formatted end-of-text references. Source materials are introduced, contextualized, and made relevant to the purpose of the paper. It is always clear when information, opinions, or facts come from a source as opposed to coming from the student. Source materials are conventionally documented according to academic style ( MLA).
4. Organization
Moves in unpredictable sequence. Lacks progression from start through middle to end. Paragraphs unpredictably structured. Some evidence of organization, with appropriate moves in the introduction and conclusion and some partitioning in the body. Most paragraphs have topic sentences with supporting details. Establishes clear pattern of development, so the critical summary feels organized and orderly from beginning to end. Uses effective generalization/ support patterning. Strong paragraphing.
5. Support
Moves from idea to idea without substantial development; lacks depth. Lacks support for arguments or claims. Achieves some depth and specificity of discussion. Provides specific detail in some places. Develops specific ideas in depth with strong and appropriate supporting examples, data, experiences.
6. Style
Lacks control over sentence structure; difficult to follow. Little control over sentence patterns of subordination and coordination. Requires the reader to backtrack to make sense. Uses wrong words and awkward phrasing. Style is competent, though not engaging or inventive. Shows reasonable command over phrasing and word choice. Some useful connections from sentence to sentence. Student clearly controls the pace, rhythm, and variety of sentences. Sentence style is smooth and efficient, with good use of subordination and coordination. Words are well chosen and phrasing is apt and precise. Sentences move smoothly from one to the next, with clear moves that open, develop, and close topics.
7. Convention
Many errors of punctuation, spelling, capitalization (mechanics). Many grammatical errors (agreement, tense, case, number, pronoun use). Some typical errors are in evidence, but overall, the writing is correct. Few, if any, errors of punctuation, spelling, capitalization (mechanics). Few if any grammatical errors (agreement, tense, case, number, pronoun use).

Grading System

Students will be graded according to the following:

  • Attendance/Participation   15%
  • Seminar Presentation        5%
  • Short Papers (5% each)     25%
  • Working Paper                10%
  • Final Paper First Draft      20%
  • Peer Review                   5%
  • Final Paper Revised         20%

Course Schedules

Date Topic, Readings and Requirements
May 21 Course Introduction and Orientation
May 23 From Literary to Cultural Studies
Easthope, A. “Constructing the Literary Object” in Literary into Cultural Studies.
Culler, J. “Literature and Cultural Studies” in Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction
Stuart Hall,” “Cultural Studies and its Theoretical Legacies,” The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, pp.1895-1910.

Download the readings here.
May 28, 30, June 4 and 6 Marxism
Concepts: Ideology, Commodity Fetishism, Alienation, Class, Culture, Popular Culture, Habitus  
Required Readings:
Felluga, Dino. “Modules on Marx, (On Ideology; On Capital; On Fetishism) ” Introductory Guide to Critical Theory.
Raymond Williams, “Class,” “Culture,” “Ideology,” “Popular,” Keywords, pp.51-59, 76-82, 126-130, 198-199.
Pierre Bourdieu, “Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste,” in The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, pp.1809-1814.
Short Story: N.V.M. Gonzales, “Bread of Salt”
Short Story: Chinua Achebe’s “Dead Man’s Path”
TV Series Episode: Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown (Episode: “Philippines”)  
Recommended Readings:
Terry Eagleton, Marxism and Literary Criticism  
“Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer,” “The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception”, The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, pp.1107-1127;
“Walter Benjamin,” “The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility,” The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, pp.1047-1071.

Download the readings here.
Submission of Critical Summaries 1 (Marxism): soft copy via Turnitin Due dates to be announced
June 11, 13, 18 and 20 Psychoanalysis
Concepts: Repression, displacement, neuroses, the structure of the psyche, Psychosexual development, Oedipal complex, desire, gaze, transference, trauma, The uncanny, return of the repressed, trauma, the abject  
Required Reading/s:
Celine Suprenant, “Freud and Psychoanalysis”
Felluga, Dino. “Modules on Freud,” (On the Unconscious; On Repression; On Neuroses; On Transference and Trauma; On Psychosexual Development); “Modules on Lacan,” (On Psychosexual Development; On the Structure of the Psyche; On Desire) and “Modules on Kristeva,” (On Psychosexual Development). Introductory Guide to Critical Theory.
Short Story: Lu Xun’s “Diary of a Madman” from Diary of a Madman and other stories
Short Story: Tim O’Brien’s “The Man I killed” from Things They Carry
Zizek’s Perverts’ Guide to Cinema (  
Recommended Readings
Sigmund Freud, “The Interpretation of Dreams,” “The Uncanny”, “Fetishism” in The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, pp.919-955.
Jacques Lacan, “The Mirror Stage as Formative of the Function of the as Revealed in Psychoanalytic Experience,” “From The Agency of the Letter in the Unconscious,” “The Signification of the Phallus”, The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, pp.1285-1312.
Julia Kristeva, “Revolution from the Poetic Language” The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, pp. 2169-2178.

Download the readings here.
Submission of Critical Summaries 2 (Psychoanalysis): soft copy via Turnitin Due dates to be announced
June 25 and 27 Deconstruction,
Concepts: difference, trace, binary opposition, logocentrism, aporia
Required Reading/s:
Lois Tyson, “Deconstructive criticism,” Critical Theory Today: A User Friendly Guide. New York: Routledge, 2006. 249-280.
Franz Kafka, “Before the Law,” “Imperial Message” and “The Penal Colony” Selected Stories by Franz Kafka  
Recommended Reading:
Jacques Derrida, “Of Grammatology” and “Dissemination” The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, pp. 1822-1876.

Download the readings here.
Submission of Critical Summaries 3 (Deconstruction): soft copy via Turnitin Due dates to be announced
July 2, 4, 9 and 11 Gender and Sexuality
Concepts: Essentialism, Constructionism, Patriarchy, Ecriture Feminine, LGBT, Queer, Gender Performativity
Required Reading/s:
Fiona Tolan, “Feminisms,” Literary Theory Theory and Criticism: An Oxford Guide, edited by Patricia Waugh, pp.319-338.
Short Story: Jamaica Kincaid’s “Girl”
Short Story: Gloria Naylor’s “The Two”
TV Show: RuPaul’s Drag Race, (selected episodes)  
Recommended Readings:
Toril Moi, Sexual/Textual Politics: Feminist Literary Theory
Judith Butler, “Gender Trouble,” The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, pp. 2488-2501.
Susan Sontag’s “Notes on Camp”

Download the readings here.
Submission of Critical Summaries 4 (Gender and Sexuality): soft copy via Turnitin Due dates to be announced
July 16, 18, 23 and 25 Colonialism
Concepts: Power, Colonial Discourse, Orientalism, The Other, Mimicry, Hybridity, Subaltern
Required Readings:
Ania Loomba, Colonialism/PostcolonialismNovel:
Eka Kurniawan’s Man Tiger
Poetry: Ocean Vuong’s Night Sky with Exit Wounds (selections)
Poetry: Ko Ko Thett’s The Burden of Being Burmese (selections)
Short Stories: Mia Alvar’s In the Country: Stories (selections)  
Recommended Readings:
Edward Said, “Orientalism” The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, pp. 1991-2011.
Homi Bhaba, “Of mimicry and men: The ambivalence of colonial discourse” Location of Culture
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, “Can the Subaltern Speak” in The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, pp. 2197-2207

Download the readings here.
Submission of Critical Summaries 5 (Colonialism): soft copy via Turnitin Final Paper Proposal and Working Drafts Submission Due dates to be announced
July 30 and August 1, 2019 Workshop of Working Drafts for Final Paper
August 6 and 8, 2019 No Classes: Revision
August 13 and 15, 2019 Submission of Final Paper First Draft and Peer Review
August 18 onwards Submission of Revised Final Paper Finals Week

Class policies:

  1. On excessive absences

You are required to attend all class sessions, come to class on time (seeing quizzes are conducted right at the start of the meeting, 9:15am sharp) and actively participate in discussions. You must come to class prepared, bringing the assigned readings at hand on the day as indicated in the course syllabus. He/she must be ready to talk about the class material/s and engage with the instructor and classmates.  You are only allowed 5 unexcused absences. You will automatically be given 0.0 for your grade if you got 6 unexcused absences. Excused absences are not given points for attendance (obviously!), and it only gives you privileged to make up for the graded activities that you missed and being excused for.

  • The use of electronic gadget/s in class

Once the instructor calls the class into order, you should put away your gadgets immediately. You CANNOT use your gadgets inside the classroom. Any number of things will happen to your gadget/s (laptop, tablet, smartphone, etc.) once the instructor sees it during class session: 1.) it will be confiscated; 2.) the instructor can read and share to the whole class what he can find on your gadget/s; 3.) the instructor can use your gadget in front of the class (explore your social media, respond to the messages you are receiving, etc.; 4.) it will be delivered to Student Disciplinary Transformation Office (SDTO) which you can claim by 5pm on the day.

  • On plagiarism

Take note that all written outputs are submitted on Turnitin. This shows how much your instructor demands intellectual rigor and originality for you as English majors. Plagiarism is a serious offence in this course and at the University. Presenting ideas, words and works of another person/s as if it is one’s own or presenting them without observing proper citation constitutes plagiarism. Any student who commits such act is liable to disciplinary action: automatic 0.0 in this course and/or a case at SDTO.

  • On proper documentation of sources

This course follows the MLA guideline in documenting sources in all the writing requirements. For information, consult the website:

  • On late and/or non-submission of course work:

You must complete ALL requirements to pass this course. This means that you need to garner 70% of all the requirements in the course (attendance and class participation, quizzes, critical summaries, teaching module and teaching demo). Late submission of any of these requirements will only be accepted under exceptional circumstances, and is subject to deduction in marking. If you have a good reason to request for an extension, you must email the instructor a week in advance

This syllabus is subject to change. Please note any alterations made by the instructor immediately.