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Dissent: histories, theories and futures

ENGL 769.401

Dissent is a key word in our world today---from the Arab spring to the American fall, we have seen expressions of political disobedience and protest around the world. It is more urgent than ever to consider what dissent might mean, what shapes it has taken historically, what connection might exist between it  and literature, and what futures are possible.  We will read key critical and theoretical work alongside some powerful, tender and controversial writings and films (largely but not exclusively produced in  the postcolonial world), to inquire into the politics and poetics of governance and dissent.

Students are invited to make connections with other historical and geographical contexts, as explore the  different forms of dissent –individual, collective, urban, rural, nationalist, pan-nationalist,  religious, marxist, or feminist, to name but a few.  We will pay special attention to different performances of dissent at a popular, mass or individual level. We will think about the social and cultural channels through which dissent is expressed, spread or quelled, how it might morph, or become obsolete, or give rise to new forms of disobedience.

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