Course Requirements

Below are listed the courses required for all students enrolled in the Program in Poetics & Theory; other classes may count towards the Certificate, at the discretion of the Program Director. For more information, please see the Certificate Program page. If you intend to count these classes toward the Certificate, make sure to register for them under their Poetics and Theory course numbers (POET-GA). (For specific upcoming course offerings, scroll down.)

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Proseminar in Poetics and the Origins of Literary Theory (POET-GA 2001)

Introduces students to the most important developments in the Western history of theorizing literature, its production, and its interpretation. Since many courses at NYU survey twentieth-century literary theory, this course offers some historical background: it brings into conjunction pre- and post-eighteenth-century traditions that rarely come into contact in the curriculum and are unlikely to be taught in one course. Issues include the definition of literary genres, differences in registers of style, the relation of pleasure to morality, of the practical to the aesthetic, and the transformation of these issues in post-Kantian theories of interpretation.

4 points

Poetics and Theory Seminar (POET-GA 2002)

One course every year is identified as the Poetics and Theory Seminar, which is meant for students who are already at an advanced stage in their research.

4 points

Upcoming Courses

Fall 2016
Literature and Philosophy (POET-GA 2912)

☐  disseminar | professor avital ronell

Disseminar calls up a deep reflection on what we think we are doing when we enter a classroom. The work entails a thoroughgoing investigation of the implications, framing systems, proving grounds, conceptual pre-sups and pre-nups of the pedagogical scene. Themes and topoi include: the predicament of the student body under duress or in ecstatic openness; pedagogy and essential perversion; the masochistic disposition of learning; the myth of teachability; the question of sexual harassment and the historicity of the job market. The Disseminar seeks to shed light on the emergence of trigger warnings since the time Socrates disavowed his pupils. Readings include Derrida’s “University in the Eyes of its Pupils” and “The University without Condition;” critical theory articulated by Barbara Johnson and Paul de Man; texts on masochism, sadism, and Oedipedagogy; Heidegger’s Rektoratsrede; Freud’s case studies; short prose on testing to failure in Kafka and Walser; Nietzsche’s ambivalent love affairs with his teachers Schopenhauer, Wagner, and Lou; Alfred Hitchcock on the breakdown of the pedagogical relation.

The painstaking preparation of the course materials is imperative. Read all assigned texts at least twice. Ruminate thoroughly.

Participation in all sessions is encouraged. If ill, let us know and stay away so as not to infect others. Return swiftly upon recovery.

Enrolled pupils will submit a 15-page research paper at the end of term. The writing should reflect keen insight, the ability to read closely, and a firm grasp of the reflections, concepts and logical snafus developed and discussed.

For answers to possible questions, turn to course TA Mr. Dominik Zechner:


Questions about Poetics and Theory courses?  Contact us.

The Program in Poetics and Theory  ∙  Department of Comparative Literature  ∙  New York University  ∙  19 University Place, Rm. 303  ∙  New York, NY 10003