What does it means to lay claim to the body, to occupy a territory of land, and to master language as a narrative system? In what ways do body, land, and language inform one another? This course will address questions such as these, and will investigate the ways in which these "bodies" are represented as occupied territories in 20th-century English, Irish, Indian, and American novels. This course is intended to provide an understanding of the politics of occupation through a comparative analysis of the literature produced in various colonial and postcolonial regions. Our focus on bodies and borders will help us illuminate the interlacings between bodies (especially the female body) and borders; it will also help us explore the implicit conversation between works of fiction, history, and critical theory. We will read novels by Edna O'Brien, Salman Rushdie, Arundati Roy, James Joyce, Jeanette Winterson, Martin Amis, and others; we will also examine theoretical writings on gender, colonialism, border politics, and the politics of identity.
Requirements include one short paper and one in-class oral presentation; the remainder of the writing for the course will be focused on the production of a 15-pp. seminar research paper, with assignments throughout the semester that are geared toward the final thesis project.