English 2600 from Lee Ann Mortensen
Quiz Questions 8-11


Please use quick examples from any text to very quickly answer these questions (do not write essays in response):

  1. Deconstructive Criticism:
    1. What is “deconstruction” as Tyson defines and practices it (or as she defines it based on Derrida’s theories)?  Pick a particular binary opposition (i.e. good/evil, masculine/feminine, conservative/liberal) from a text and deconstruct it at a second and third level (flip the binary, then show the supplement, the excess that shows the problem of having a hierarchical binary at all—sometimes this is called the text’s “undecidability” or its conflictedness based on “natural” ideologies).


    1. What does it mean to say something is “out of play?”  Show examples of something that seems to be “out of play” in any text, then use deconstruction to show how it can’t be out of play.


  2. New Historicism and Cultural Criticism:
    1. In what main way does Cultural Criticism differ from New Historicism according to Tyson?  How is it then mostly similar?  Show an example of a cultural critique/deconstruction of ideologies or power relations with a popular culture text.


    1. Discuss this and show an example of form and history shaping and shaped by each other. You can think of a quote from Montrose’s essay “Professing the Renaissance” where he more precisely renames New Historicism “Cultural Poetics”, and says, “This project reorients the axis of inter-textuality, substituting for the diachronic text of an autonomous literary history the synchronic text of a cultural system…[it is] a conviction that formal and historical concerns are not opposed but rather are inseparable” (17). 


  3. Gay, Lesbian, and Queer Criticism:
    1. What are the primary differences between (the main projects of) Lesbian, Gay, and Queer theories according to Tyson?  Show an example of reading through one set of these lenses with any text.


    1. Judith Butler is a key Queer Theory/third wave feminism theorist who says the foregrounding of performance of gender/sexuality is an important political tool.  Perhaps the following quote from Gender Trouble will help you explore one small example: “…the new possibilities for gender that contest the rigid codes of hierarchical binarisms [are only possible] within the practices of repetitive signifying [and within that] a subversion of identity becomes possible.  The injunction to be a given gender produces necessary failures . . .” (185).


  4. Post-Colonial and African American Criticism:
    1. What are the main similarities and the main differences between Post-colonial and African American Criticism?  Chose one of these lenses, then look at the representations of cultural/racial difference/ideology in your text (or in a text).


    1. In Jagose’s Queer Theory text, she states that third wave feminist “Denise Riley problematizes feminism’s insistence on ‘women’ as a unified, stable and coherent category [so too] Henry Louis Gates [an African American theorist] denaturalizes ‘race’” (77).  Discuss this and show an example from your text (or a text).