This graduate seminar focuses on how institutions produce fiction and how fiction represents institutions. Beginning by reading theories of institutions, the course identifies the key fictions that institutions depend upon—fictions of futurity, inclusion, agency, and enclosure—as we consider the promises and pitfalls of institutions as a mode of social and political organization. It then studies specific institutions: marriage, the university and the prison. In each unit, we will read Victorian literature and Victorian theories of institutions as well as contemporary literary theory and criticism covering authors like Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, and Virginia Woolf and theorists like Sara Ahmed, Roderick Ferguson, Fred Moten and Stefano Harney.
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