Growing Up Funny-nation and identity in South Asian Writing
It is a curious fact that some of the most compelling fiction about and by South Asians features the coming of age of a child protagonist. This body of writing appropriates and reshapes the classic European Bildungsroman, but it also uses narrative traditions from South Asia in order to tell the story of the postcolonial nation, and to chart the contours of contemporary South Asian identity and sexuality. In this course, we will read novels, short stories and plays--some well known and others less so, some now considered 'classics' and others very recent, produced from within the Indian subcontinent as well as from the West. All of these speak of the excitement and trauma of growing up 'Indian'. Through them, we will discuss key features of the political and social upheavals of the Indian subcontinent, as well as the dynamics of the family, gender relations, sexual identities and cultural belonging. The course will probably include the work of Rudyard Kipling, Salman Rushdie, Attiya Hossein, Bapsi Sidhwa, Amitav Ghosh, Mahasweta Devi, Hanif Kureishi, Anjana Appachana, Arundhati Roy, Meera Sayal, Sara Suleri, Shyam Selvadurai, and Mahesh Dattani.