Intro. to Literary Study
This course is an introduction to the study of literature in an international context. It offers training both in the close reading of literary texts and in the analysis of cultural and ethnic differences. Readings are grouped under five headings: 1) "The Canon, East and West" (we compare the formation of the European canon, exemplified by Shakespeare's *The Tempest*, to that of the Chinese, based on Confucian writings); 2) "An Oral Tradition, from Africa to America (we analyze the connections between a medieval Mali epic and a recent novel by the Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe and trace the influence of African traditions on American blues literature and music; 3) "Postcolonial Tensions" (here the focus is on the clash of cultures under and after colonialism; we read Forster's *Passage to India*, view a film about Pakistanis in London called "My Beautiful Laundrette," and discuss Kingston's novel, *The Woman Warrior*, about the transition between life in traditional Chinese culture and in Chinese-American society; 4) "Exhibiting Cultures" involves a visit to the University Museum and reading about the politics of ethnographic display; 5) the final section of the course addresses the current debate about the values and goals of "Multiculturalism."
Lectures are given twice a week by the professors in charge, with occasional presentations by specialist guest faculty. Section meetings are once a week. Two-page papers are due every two weeks. There is a mid-term and a final exam.