Colonial and Postcolonial Literature
In this lecture-discussion class we will study a series of thematically connected novels by some of the twentieth-century’s most important writers from Britain and the global south. This version of the course will also include some novels and films by Caribbean and Native American writers. Class discussions will critically examine the following oppositions: “Englishness” (or “Frenchness”) and otherness, civilization and barbarism, power and knowledge, the metropolis and the periphery, and writing and orality. The course will appeal to students with an interest in questions of race and gender and the relationship between literature and politics, as well as students who simply want to read a set of compelling books and expand their literary horizons. Books are likely to include: Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness; E.M. Forster, Passage to India; Doris Lessing, The Grass is Singing; Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea; Graham Greene, The Quiet American; Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart or Arrow of God; Sembene Ousmane, God’s Bits of Wood; Michelle Cliff, No Telephone to Heaven, Louise Erdrich, Tracks, and J.M. Coetzee, Waiting for the Barbarians. Films may include: Aguirre: The Wrath of God, Black and White in Color, Sugar Cane Alley, The Battle of Algiers, Even the Rain, The Constant Gardener, and/or the film version of Waiting for the Barbarians. Students will also be encouraged to see the film versions of the novels included in the course. Writing requirements: a mid-term and final paper of around 8-10 pages in length.