** Date of Class Commencement: Wednesday, 6 September, 18.30-21:00**
This compulsory core course will combine an introduction to literature with an introduction to cross-cultural theory as a foundation for students’ learning throughout the MA in English Studies programme. Through a wide selection of readings, we will study literary texts, from Shakespeare’s The Tempest to Rivers Solomon’s The Deep, in dialogue with theoretical and critical arguments ranging from colonial discourse to decolonial ecology. The dialogue will introduce key concepts and debates about topics such as cultural identity, difference and diversity; discourse and heteroglossia; Orientalism and mimicry; transculturation; gender, language and subalternity; globalization, migration and cosmopolitanism; diaspora and memory; ecology and the legacy of slavery; and related issues. The course will be organized in a series of lectures and workshop discussions and will also offer students guidance and feedback in the development of academic writing and presentation skills. In keeping with the dialogic design of the course, part of the assessment will involve a reflection on an exploration of a cross-cultural event, exhibition, performance or production outside the School and the programme.
After this Introduction you will have an overview of what issues we understand as constitutive of cross-cultural studies in English, and you will have encountered a number of relevant literary texts and theoretical approaches to the field, which you will have opportunities to revisit and discuss in more detail in the various MA electives that accompany and follow this Introduction.
After active participation in the course, students should be able to
- Understand key concepts in cross-cultural theory and recognize their relevance in discussions of diverse literary texts;
- Examine and discuss a selection of literary texts and cultural productions from a cross-cultural perspective based on relevant research and analysis;
- Construct and express their own critical arguments on topical issues in cross-cultural studies while engaging with the viewpoints of others;
- Demonstrate an appreciation and awareness of cultural diversity in literary and cultural productions and their relationship with relevant histories and traditions;
- Write effective argumentative essays and communicate their ideas clearly in class and online forums while adhering to ethical standards of academic conduct.
We will meet for 2.5 contact hours per week on Wednesdays from 6.30-9.00pm. Formal lectures and discussions will be supplemented by smaller tutorial group presentations and discussions. Lectures will introduce concepts and relevant contexts and orient readings and discussion. Group discussions will be led by students and explore critical topics and questions with reference to the weekly readings.
Short Writing Assignment 20%
External Project Reflection 20%
Final Essay 40%
Reading will be part of your daily routine during this course and will be fundamental to your success. Weekly readings will consist of at least one literary text (including a film) and one critical or theoretical text. Literary readings will include two longer texts, i.e. William Shakespeare’s play The Tempest and Rivers Solomon’s novella The Deep (2019). Shorter readings will include fiction and nonfiction by Olaudah Equiano, Rudyard Kipling, Joseph Conrad, Jean Rhys, Maxine Hong Kingston, Julie Otsuka, Jhumpa Lahiri, Rana Dasgupta, Mati Diop, and Viet Thanh Nguyen. Theoretical and critical readings will include texts by Arjun Appadurai, Mikhail Bakhtin, Homi Bhabha, Malcom Ferdinand, Paul Gilroy, Wendy Griswold, Toni Morrison, Mary Louise Pratt, Edward Said, and Gayatri Spivak.
Most readings will be available on Moodle.
Students should read Shakespeare’s The Tempest before the start of the semester. A good online edition is available at the Folger Library at https://shakespeare.folger.edu/shakespeares-works/the-tempest/.