Textual Analysis & Interpretation

Textual Analysis and Interpretation (TA) Course Guidelines


One five-credit course or equivalent. 


Courses that carry the TA GE designation have as their primary methodology the interpretation or analysis of texts. The aim of these courses is to develop higher-order reading skills and to train students how to read attentively, to think critically and analytically, to produce and evaluate interpretations, to assess evidence, and to deploy it effectively in their own work. These abilities are not only necessary for academic success, but also for full participation in civic life at every level.

Textual Analysis is the examination of how and whether a piece of writing or speaking achieves its aims, whether these are rhetorical and persuasive or aesthetic. Such courses should pay substantial attention not only to what information a poem, political speech, or scientific essay conveys, but to how it goes about doing so (by mobilizing particular metaphors, through plain speaking, via flowery language, by calling on scientific authority, or other mechanism). Please note that close reading leading to summary does not on its own constitute textual analysis.

Educational goals/outcomes

Students will:

  • Develop their high order reading skills, learning to read closely and attentively, to pay attention to detail, and to grasp the larger argument or fuller implications of a text.

  • Develop their ability to think independently, to understand and analyze the arguments of others, and to argue persuasively themselves.

  • Learn to assess  textual evidence.

  • Learn to  deploy textual evidence.

  • Develop their critical thinking and interpretive skills, learning to think rigorously and analytically as well as imaginatively and creatively about written texts.


1. What methodology or methodologies will be used to train students in textual analysis?

2. Please identify the assignments that will offer students the opportunity to meet the educational goal/outcomes of the TA GE.  Then explain how these assignments will train students to articulate how and whether a piece of writing or speaking achieves its aims, whether therse are rhetorical and persuasive or aesthetic.  Please do not refer reviewers to the syllabus.

3. Please describe how the students' satisfaction of the educational objective for the GE requirement will be assessed.