Contemporary Caribbean Literature
Course Online: Synchronous Format
The Caribbean has been an explosive site of cultural crossings and economic exploitation, but much of its complex history gets smoothed over by depictions of the region as a tropical paradise. This course explores how contemporary Caribbean literature looks beyond these idealized representations to reveal the social, political, and economic realities of the region––from the oppressive colonial plantations of the past to the punishing economic inequalities and periods of civil unrest of the present. We will study predominantly anglophone Caribbean novels, poetry, drama, and film from the past sixty years in order to consider how contemporary writers from the region and members of the diaspora portray these histories. Reading works by canonical writers such as Jamaica Kincaid and Derek Walcott as well as emergent voices like Margaret Cezair-Thompson and Maisy Card, we will focus on key issues such as the lingering shadow of colonialism, neocolonialism and its effects on island economies, diaspora and identity formation, and the modern tourism industry. Literary texts will be paired with excerpts from theorists on postcolonialism, ecocriticism, and international political economy. Other authors and filmmakers will include Stephanie Black, Michelle Cliff, Frantz Fanon, Édouard Glissant, Natasha Gordon, Sidney Mintz, and V. S. Naipaul. Literature and theory will encompass the islands of Antigua, Barbados, Jamaica, Martinique (francophone), Saint Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago. This course fulfills Sectors 1, 2, and 6 of the English Major Core.