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EN904 Problems and Modes in Postcolonial Literature

Problems and Modes in Postcolonial Literature

Module Tutor: Rashmi Varma

Course Description:
This course will provide you with a critical introduction to postcolonial literary studies as a field of academic inquiry and as cultural critique. What is postcolonial literature and does it cohere as a field of study or as a canon of texts? How does it relate to comparative literature frameworks and the emerging new field of world literature? How does post-colonialism relate to anti-colonialism? How do the national, trans-national and global spheres of culture and economy influence the production and reception of this literature? These and other questions of genre, nationalism, development and globalization, gender, caste and class will be key to our discussions in this module.

Your responsibilities:
--Read the assigned material on a timely basis;
--Prepare weekly questions;
--Actively participate in class discussion;
--Prepare class presentation;
--Attend all seminars

Seminar Schedule:

Week One: Introduction to Postcolonial Literary Studies

Week Two: Postcolonial Modernity

Salman Rushdie, Shame

Benedict Anderson, “Introduction” and “Cultural Roots” from Imagined Communities (1983)

Neil Lazarus, “The Politics of Postcolonial Modernism” (2005)

Week Three: Nation and Narration

Rushdie, Shame

Fredric Jameson, “Third World Literature in the Era of Multinational Capitalism” (1987)

Aijaz Ahmad, “Jameson’s Rhetoric of Otherness and the ‘National Allegory’ (1992) (PDF Document)

Week Four: Fictions of Development

Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Petals of Blood

Frantz Fanon, “On National Culture”, in The Wretched of the Earth (1961)

Fanon, "On National Culture"

Week Five: Performing Power

Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Petals of Blood

Achille Mbembe, “Of Commandement” in On the Postcolony (2001)

Week Six: Nation and its Others

Mahasweta Devi, Imaginary Maps (1995)

Week Seven: New Imperialisms I

Jamaica Kincaid, A Small Place (1988)

Glissant, selections from Caribbean Discourse (1981)

Week Eight: Gender, nation, history

Assia Djebar, Fantasia

Selections from Subaltern Studies

Week Nine: Cosmopolitanisms, old and new

Amitav Ghosh, In An Antique Land

Immanuel Wallerstein, “The National and the Universal: Can there be such a thing as World Culture”, in Geopolitics and Geoculture: Essays on the Changing World-System (1991)

Week Ten: New Imperialisms II

Patrick Chamoiseau, Texaco

Mike Davis, from The Planet of Slums (2004)

David Harvey, “Accumulation by Dispossession” in The New Imperialism (2003)