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South African Literature

ENGL 572.301
instructor(s):
R 9-12

This course will introduce graduate students an emergent literature and to such authors as J.M. Coetzee, Nadine Gordimer, Athol Fugard, Andre Brink, Mongane Wally Serote, Bloke Modisane, Ezekiel Mphahlele, and Bessie Head.  The concerns raised by this literature are by no means parochial, and the materials should be compelling to anyone interested in theorizing the relationship between contemporary literature and politics.  The course will therefore have a fairly substantial critical and theoretical component and will be organized thematically, to cover such issues as:  exploration and the colonial mind;  the ideology of the pastoral;  the (white) obsession with sex across the color bar;  autobiography and identity;  torture and the ethics of narrative;  the "political uncanny;"  "resistance literature;" etc.  We will also consider representations of the struggle against apartheid in American films, the appropriateness of the term "postcolonial" in the South African context, and, in conclusion, the prospects for a post-Apartheid literature and culture.  Texts may include _The Narrative of Jacobus Coetzee_, _Blame Me on History_, _The Conservationist_, _July's People_, _Something Out There_, _Boesman and Lena_, _The Bloodknot_, _The Life and Times of Michael K._, _The Grass is Singing_, _Dry White Season_, _The Collector of Treasures_, _Waiting for the Barbarians_, _Hajji Musa and the Hindu Fire Walker_, _You Can't Get Lost in Cape Town_, plus selected poetry.  Films may include _Woza Albert!_, _Boesman and Lena_(starring Fugard and Yvonne Bryceland), _Mapantsula_, _A People's Poet_ (on Mzwake
Mbuli), _Cry Freedom_, _Dry White Season_, _Country and City Lovers_, etc.  Criticism by Marx, Adorno, Foucault, Fanon, Grotowski, Freud, Coetzee, Scarry, etc.  Students should try to read Alistair Sparkes's _The Mind of South Africa_ for background.