This course explores readings which both (re)produce and resist postcolonial fictions – the idea, for example, that colonialism is indeed “over” or “post” or the ways in which postcolonialism can also involve uncomfortable turns back to empire. Reading a range of literary works will help us characterize the ways in which writers continue to write empire; how they understand and characterize the processes of decolonization; and the ways in which colonization and empire continue to haunt the discourses of nation and multiculturalism. At the same time, we will thicken our inquiry into these texts and the areas of the world they bring to our attention by reading selections from theoretical and historical texts that will help us complicate issues brought up by the literature like: the psychology of colonization and settlement; the aesthetics of imperialism; the trauma of decolonization; the imagination of the Other and the articulation of viable nationalisms.
This course aims to familiarize students with literary/cultural and critical postcolonial texts and appropriate critical approaches. The course will help students develop a critical understanding of the key definitions of postcolonialisms. Students will be able to situate the relevance of and apply these definitions to literary texts and genres. Through discussion and writing, students will be encouraged to test their assumptions of the postcolonialism against the literature they are reading.
3 hours a week. In order to explore the critical and cultural framework of these examples of postcolonial literature, the session may consist of group and class discussion, mini-lectures, writing workshops, student-led presentations and other discussion-based activities. This course is discussion-based and can be reading intensive, so, to facilitate reading and preparation for class discussion, students may sometimes be provided with reading guides or questions. Students are encouraged to plan ahead – do not leave reading up to the last minute! As class meets only once a week, attendance is mandatory.
100% by coursework
Participation (includes attendance, class and group discussion, student-led presentations) 25%
A short, close-reading paper 25%
A short research portfolio 20%
A research paper 30%
- Guo, Xiaolu. Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers. Vintage, 2007.
- Shoneyin, Lola. The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives. Profile, 2013.
- Hamid, Mohsin. The Reluctant Fundamentalist. Penguin 2007.
- Tan, Shaun. The Arrival. Hodder, 2006.
A selection of essays and excerpts from secondary, critical sources will be made available by the instructor on Moodle.