Critical Theory

Romance Studies participates in a longstanding tradition at Cornell of scholarship that bridges literary theory and criticism with philosophical approaches to literature, language and culture. At the heart of this intersection are diverse methods –ranging from critical theory and psychoanalysis to the philosophy of language and deconstruction, from poetics and intermediality to post-structuralism– for interrogating the social, ideological and historical structures at play in the production of literary works as well as investigating the relation between meaning production, critical analysis and subject formation.

This field of inquiry is concerned principally with questions related to practices of reading and critical modes of interpretation that allow for new insights into power, subjectivities, race, gender, the politics of representation, visuality, memory, the writing of history, and new ways to explore the relation between technological and literary innovation. Through a vast array of methodological and theoretical approaches, scholars working in this area seek a deeper understanding of the ways in which literature, in relation to different concepts, registers, genres, and media, makes meaning possible.