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Introduction to Caribbean Literature

ENGL 093.401

"Babylon must Burn!" This slogan was often heard in the Caribbean in the 60's and 70's. It expressed the rage of the Caribbean underclass through the mystical language of Rastafarianism. This resistant cry was not new to the Region, however. Resistance has a long history in the Caribbean. The Caribbean, after all, came into being through European Conquest. As a consequence, resistance would become central to the formation of political, cultural and aesthetic identities. This course explores the origin, history and legacy of resistance in the Anglophone Caribbean (or the West Indies as some prefer to refer to it). We will begin by talking about the complex history and culture of the region. Then we will move into a chronological survey of the literature. If Caribbean cultural production must engage with a politics of resistance, is it interminably defined by the conqueror? What happens to "authentic" Caribbean Cultural production? Does such a thing exist? What happens when the conqueror has (ostensibly) departed? Along the way we will look at other expressive forms like roots reggae music, dub poetry, Ska and perhaps some calypso. There will be a short paper, a longer research paper and a take-home final.

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