CLIT1010: Ways of Thinking About Culture and Society

Fall 2023 | 6 Credits | Prof. Daniel Vukovich

This course introduces ways of thinking about culture and society in an international frame. “Culture” and “society” are familiar yet difficult terms. The main purpose of this class is to arrive at a sense of why each of them represents something important, something that speaks to everyday, real life and not just the dominant accounts of what is going on. It will introduce students to some of the key terms, techniques, and interpretive strategies that enable them to think about culture and society in complex ways. Thinking in this sense means being familiar with a range of concepts, issues, and “isms” and being able to relate them to other texts and problems. But to think is also to read. Thus we will also study the ways of reading in its broadest and narrowest senses – how we make sense of texts and problems and do “readings” of them. To do this we must place texts into their contexts and analyze them rhetorically. This includes the ability to do “practical criticism” or “close reading” – to make advanced sense of the words on the page, or what people actually say and do.

Texts from China and elsewhere will illustrate these ways of thinking. These range from literary, popular, and historical texts to visual ones like film and architecture as well as the practices of everyday life. The common emphasis is on the ways of thinking that can then be carried over into later classes in Comparative Literature.

Note: Students who want to major or minor in Comparative Literature are required to take CLIT1001 or CLIT1008 or CLIT1009 or CLIT1010.

Assessment: 100% coursework.