Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

Introduction to Postcolonial Literature

ENGL 093.401
instructor(s):
MWF 1

The disintegration of European empires was of crucial political and cultural significance in the twentieth century, and its consequences continue to reverberate in innumerable ways throughout contemporary culture.  In this course we will study the work of writers from former British colonies including southern Africa, South Asia, and the Caribbean. Their works tell stories rooted in local experience and history, revise imperial narratives, challenge assumptions about identity and otherness, and scrutinize the politics of language.  Authors from southern Africa (J.M. Coetzee, Tsitsi Dangarembga), South Asia (Salman Rushdie, Arundhati Roy), and the Caribbean (Jean Rhys, Jamaica Kincaid) will be among those whose work we'll discuss.  We will also read some theoretical essays (by, for example, Edward Said, Franz Fanon, Benedict Anderson, and Paul Gilroy), investigate the lively contemporary debates within the diverse and contentious field known as postcolonial studies, and discuss the implications of an increasingly globalized social order.  Requirements include lively class participation, an in-class presentation, two papers (6-8 pages), and a final exam.