HUMA5801 Analysis and Interpretation in the Humanities

Credit
6 points
Offering
(see Timetable)
AvailabilityLocationMode
Not available in 2018UWA (Perth)Face to face
Content
This unit offers an introduction to key methodological issues in the humanities. Pivotal humanistic disciplines such as literary studies and history have continually confronted the problem as to whether the texts they interpret constitute data for objective analysis (e.g. the historical 'archive') or whether the interpreter themselves inevitably contributes to the 'meaning' of the literary text or historical document. Primarily focusing on interpretive debates in literary and cultural studies, the unit examines a range of approaches to interpretation and analysis in the humanities that have sought to differentiate humanistic methods from scientific inquiry. Students study and seek to historically contextualise important critical approaches to interpretation that have sought to define the relationship between interpreter and text and between a text and its author and social context, including hermeneutics, formalism, reader-reception theory, Marxism, structuralism and post-structuralism, feminism and queer studies, and postcolonial theory. Theorists to be studied might include Giambattista Vico, Wilhelm Dilthey, Ernst Cassirer, Hayden White, Jacques Derrida, Edward Said, Richard Rorty, Eve Sedgwick and Cathy Caruth.

Students develop and complete an intensive research project on their chosen theoretical area, and articulate and defend positions in literary and cultural theory. These forms of assessment equip students with advanced research and communication skills that have applicability across a diversity of professional careers.
Outcomes
Students are able to (1) understand the fundamental critical concepts and debates in contemporary critical theory; (2) learn the historical and social contexts of these concepts and debates, that is, how these concepts have been influenced by, and in turn informed, various important social movements in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries; (3) take informed and critical positions within these debates and situate these positions within the critical tradition; (4) apply theoretical strategies and insights into the interpretation of cultural texts; (5) express original arguments, together with research methodologies, approaches and findings, coherently and logically in oral and written formats; and (6) undertake and present research in groups efficiently and creatively, develop communication skills that benefit group discussion of critical theory and its applications.
Assessment
Typically this unit is assessed in the following ways: (1) interpretation exercise; (2) topic proposal and research project; and (3) tutorial participation. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Associate Professor Tanya Dalziell and Associate Professor Alison Bartlett
Unit rules
Advisable prior study:
for Social Research Methods students: ANTH4103 Knowing Social Realities: Theoretical Foundations; SOCS5003 Research Design and Resourcing; SOCS5005 Social Research Ethics
Contact hours
3 hours per teaching week
Texts

Learning Management System (LMS) or Course Materials Online (CMO) electronic availability of key texts likely

  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available at the University Co-operative Bookshop (from early January) and appropriate administrative offices for students to consult. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.