Seminar on Literary Theory: The Tools for Critical Thinking

The Department of English Language & Literature, Saleem Campus, conducted a seminar on “Literary Theory: The Tools for Critical Thinking” on 23 May 2024, under the supervision of Dr Nailah Riaz, Head Department of English Language and Literature, Saleem Campus. Chief guest speaker Dr Qasim Shafiq, Associate Professor, Head Department of English Language and Literature, TUF, Amin Campus, discussed the critical role of literature and theory by differentiating between theory and literature. The seminar aimed at engaging students with theoretical frameworks to promote their intellectual growth and stimulate curiosity as many literary theories address issues of power, identity, and society, which deepens our understanding of contemporary social and cultural issues. Understanding theories helped to see the world through different lenses, fostering empathy and cultural awareness.

In response to the audience, Dr Qasim qualified their statements through references from renowned writers and books including Louis Montrose’s Poetic And Politics Of Culture 1997, W. R. Goodman’s History Of English Literature 1965, Nagugi Wa Theong’s Decolonizing Of African Minds 1986. Monitoring the knowledge of the listeners, guest speaker asked them to elaborate on what they understood by theory. The students referred to theory as a lens and a perspective that is used to analyze society. The speaker explained the difference between literary criticism and literary theory. As far as theory is concerned, the speaker shed light on the limitations (denotative meaning) of New Criticism as compared to other theories. Furthermore, the seminar dealt with Theory before Theory, Common Sense Theory, Humanism, Liberal Humanism, Structuralism, Post-Structuralism, Deconstruction, Marxist Criticism, and Postcolonial Criticism.

This seminar provided a robust understanding and comprehensive exploration of various literary theories and their application in critical analysis. Understanding various literary theories enabled the students to analyze texts more deeply and from multiple perspectives, leading to richer interpretations and insights. The seminar honed their ability to question and critique texts, arguments, and assumptions, fostering a more nuanced and sophisticated approach to literature. Learning to apply literary theory provided a structured framework for constructing arguments and analyses. Exposure to different theoretical approaches broadened their understanding of literature beyond traditional interpretations, enabling them to appreciate diverse viewpoints. Gaining familiarity with various critical theories enhanced their research skills, particularly in finding, evaluating, and synthesizing scholarly sources.

Related Post