This course is an introduction to the study of colonial and postcolonial literatures. Although we will concentrate on close readings of novels and short stories, students will be required to do background reading for each class. These readings will provide a basic contextual framework for the literary texts that we discuss. Moving between text and context, and taking South Asia and Southeast Asia as our primary geographical terms of reference, we will study the works of Conrad, Kipling, Maugham, Rao, Rushdie, Pramoedya, Jhumpa Lahiri among others, and watch films by Satyajit Ray and Hou Hsiao-Hsien. We will also be reading selected excerpts from the writings of Nehru and Fanon. The broader questions we will consider are: the relationship (and difference) between commercial and territorial imperialisms; anti-colonial nationalism; the minority question in the post-nationalist state; the role played by the diaspora in mediating the relation between empires old and new; the relationship between empire and the workings of global capitalism. Requirements include an oral presentation, two papers and a final examination.