This course is a self-reflexive one: we will be reading and writing about texts that think about reading and writing. What historical, political, and cultural assumptions are at play in both the production and reception of texts? What texts should we be reading, and how? And for that matter, what is a “text,” anyway? There is no one answer to any of these questions, and how we answer them often depends on other matters: assumptions about what makes for good criticism, historical conditions of production, as well as our basic material circumstances as embodied selves. “Theory” can sometimes seem abstract to the point of being obscurantist, but while these judgments might be valid, they are themselves rooted in specific theoretical positions. To that end, one of the main objectives of this course will be to practice reading, writing, and speaking the idiom of theory, both in order to grow as critics and to enter into dialogue with others.