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Novelizing the World: English in Strange Accents

ENGL 002.401
crosslisted as: COML 002
MW 3:30-5:00 pm
fulfills requirements:
Sector 1: Theory and Poetics of the Standard Major
Sector 6: 20th Century Literature of the Standard Major


This seminar studies the diversity and planetary reach of the English language in the 20th century, through novels, newspapers and audio-clips from Africa, the Carribean, Wales, South Asia and New Zealand. Between freedom-struggles, bad marriages, fake mystics, exploding mangoes and sports-commentary, we will ask how English has found colour and second homes across the world, and how it has sustained or undone legacies of colonial dominance. We will also reflect, more broadly, on language itself, and on its historical and philosophical relation to political power and the need for belonging. Possible readings: Ken Saro-Wiwa, Jamaica Kincaid, Salman Rushdie, Keri Hulme, J.M Coetzee, Chinua Achebe, V.S Naipaul and Arundathi Roy. This is a ‘critical speaking’ seminar that requires, and offers training in, oral presentation, besides two short essays and a peek at some archives.