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EN374 - Global City Literature: Image, Theory, Text



Module Tutors:

Dr. Ross Forman (T1 and T3) (H539)

Dr. Rashmi Varma (T2 and T3) (H540)

Format: One-and-a-half-hour seminar weekly

Seminars: Monday 11:30 - 1:00pm; 2:00 - 3:30pm

Assessment: Two 5,000-word essays.

This module is a Pathway Approved Option for the World and Comparative Literature and North American Pathways. It is also a Distributional Requirement option for the English Pathway and an Option for the other pathways.

Description: The module will introduce students to a range of literary, visual, and theoretical material on the contemporary global city. Using an interdisciplinary approach, the module will enable students to understand the material and historical processes that underpin the global city, and to analyse the ways in which writers, film-makers, artists and theorists respond to those processes in their work. It will also faciliate a comparative reading of the geographically dispersed but structurally inter-connected spaces of both cities and literatures.

Syllabus: The syllabus will consist of readings organised under six broad thematic categories: 1) the making of the global city--in the shadow of slavery and colonialism; 2) colonialism and neo-imperialism; 3) nationalism and postcolonial resistance and accumulation; 4) migration and neo-liberalism; 5) spaces of post-apartheid imaginaries; 6) globalization and the new imperialism.

Term 1:

This term's readings will focus on two intertwined themes, conflict and movement. It will include short stories, films, and longer fiction.

Term 1:

Please buy the following works:

Adrian Tomine, New York Drawings

Omar Robert Hamilton, The City Always Wins (Faber and Faber, 2017)

Nora Okja Keller, Fox Girl

Alan Hollinghurst, The Line of Beauty

Alecky Blythe, Little Revolution (Nick Herne Books, 2014)

Guo Xiaolu, I Am China (Vintage, 2015)

Kevin Kwan, Crazy Rich Asians

Sharlene Teo, Ponti

Term 2:


Rohinton Mistry, A Fine Balance (Faber and Faber, 2006)

Vikram Chandra, Love and Longing in Bombay (Faber and Faber, 2007)

Katherine Boo, Behind the Beautiful Forevers (Portobello Books, 2013)

Samira Khan, Shilpa Ranade and Shilpa Phadke, Why Loiter? Women and Risk on Mumbai Streets (Penguin Books, 2011)

African Cities

Assia Djebar, Women of Algiers in their Apartment (The University of Virginia Press, 1999)

Chris Abani, Graceland (Picador, 2005)

Ivan Vlasdilavic, A Portrait in Keys (Random House, 2004)

The library will be making the critical and secondary readings available to you through Talis Aspire. You can also access most of these readings through Encore, the library's catalogue system.


SYLABUS FOR TERM 1 (Dr Ross Forman)

Articles, short stories, and other secondary readings will be available via Talis Aspire.

Week 1: Introduction

Required Reading:

Adrian Tomine, New York Drawings

Jean Rhys, "Let Them Call It Jazz" in The Collected Short Stories (Penguin, 2017)

Shani Mootoo, "Out on Main Street" in Out on Main Street (Press Gang, 1993)

Weena Poon, "Lions in Winter" in Lions in Winter (Salt Publishing, 2003)

Week 2: Theorizing the City: Art and Architecture

Required Reading:

Timothy Brennan, "Cosmo-Theory"

Ien Ang, "Claiming Chinatown: Asian Australians, Public Art and the Making of Urban Culture" in Journal of Australian Studies 41.3 (2017)

Aihwa Ong, "Worlding Cities, or the Art of Being Global" in Worlding Cities (1-26)

Rem Koolhaas, "Junkspace" in October

Mike Davis, "The Urban Climacteric" in Planet of Slums

Miguel Kanai, "Buenos Aires Beyond (Homo)sexualized Urban Entrepreneurialism: Queer Geographies of Tango" Antipode: A Radical Journal of Geography 47.3 (2015): 652-670

Week 3: Resurgence and Revolutions

Required Reading/Viewing:

Omar Robert Hamilton, The City Always Wins

Required Secondary Reading:

Talal Asad, "Fear and the Ruptured State: Reflections on Egypt after Mubarak," Social Research 79.2 (2012): 271-298

Week 4: War and Aftermath in the City

Required Reading:

Nora Okja Keller, Fox Girl

Required Critical Reading:

Grace M. Cho, "Diaspora of Camptown: The Forgotten War's Monstrous Family"

Week 5: Film, Identity and the City

Required Viewing:

Central Station (Central do Brasil), dir. Walter Salles

City of God (Cidade de deus), dir. Fernando Meirelles and Katja Lund

A Fantastic Woman (Una mujer fantástica), dir. Sebastián Lelio

Required Critical Reading:

Lúcia Nagib, "The Centre, the Zero, and the Empty Utopia" in Brazil on Screen: Cinema Novo, New Cinema, Utopia 54-81. Please read the chapter on City of God, "An Interrupted Utopia," 99-114 instead.

Week 6: Reading Week
Week 7:

Required Reading and Viewing:

Alan Hollinghurst, The Line of Beauty

Young Soul Rebels, dir. Isaac Julien

Required Critical Reading:

Didier Eribon and Arthur Tang, "Haunted Lives: AIDS and the Future of Our Past." Qui Parle: Critical Humanities and Social Sciences 18.2 (2010): 309-321

Week 8: The London Riots

Required Reading:

Alecky Blythe, Little Revolution

Required Critical Readings:

David Lammy, "Shameless: The Spectre of the Underclass" in Out of the Ashes: Britain After the Riots, 51-73

Jeremy Till, "The Broken Middle: The Space of the London Riots," Cities 34 (2013): 71-74

Gareth Middleton, "'I found the truth in Foot Locker':London 2011, Urban Culture, and the Post-Political City" Antipode 48.3 (2016): 705-723

Week 9:

Required Reading:

Guo Xiaolu, I Am China

Required Critical Reading:

Emily Apter, "Checkpoints and Sovereign Borders" in Against World Literature: On the Politics of Untranslatability"

Week 10:

Required Reading:

Choice of:

Sharlene Teo, Ponti
Kevin Kwan, Crazy Rich Asians




Barnard, Rita. "Fictions of the Global." Novel: A Forum on Fiction 42.2 (2009): 207-215.

Benedicto, Bobby. "The Haunting of Gay Manila: Global Space-Time and the Specter of Kabaklaan." GLQ 14.2-3 (2008): 317-338.

Chen, Mel Y. Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering, and Queer Affect. Durham: Duke UP, 2012.

Chiu, Monica. Drawing New Color Lines: Transnational Asian American Graphic Narratives. Hong Kong: Hong Kong UP, 2015.

Daivs, Mike. Planet of Slums. London: Verso, 2006.

Hudson, Renee. "Renee Hudson, "Guerrilla Conversions in Jessica Hagedorn and José Rizal: The Queer Future of National Romance." MFS: Modern Fiction Studies 62.2 (2016): 330-349.

Junot Díaz and the Decolonial Imagination. Ed. Monica Hanna, Jennifer Harford Vargas, José David Saldívar. Durham: Duke UP, 2016.

Koolhaas, Rem. "Junkspace." October 100 (2002): 175-190.

Krishnan, Madhu. "Postcoloniality, Spatiality and Cosmopolitanism in the Open City." Textual Practice 29.4 (2015): 675-696.

Manalansan, Martin F., IV. Global Divas: Filipino Gay Men in the Diaspora. Durham: Duke UP, 2003.

Mendoza, Victor. "A Queer Nomadology of Jessica Hagedorn's Dogeaters." American Literature 77.4 (2005): 815-845.

Transurbanism. Ed. Joken Bruer and Arjen Mulder. Rotterdam: V2, 2002.

Vargas, Jennifer Harford. "Dictating a Zafa: The Power of Narrative Form in Junot Diaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao." MELUS: Multi-Ethnic Literature of the US 39.3 (2014): 8-30.

Vermeulen, Pieter. "Flights of Memory: Teju Cole's Open City and the Limits of Aesthetic Cosmopolitanism." Journal of Modern Literature 37.1 (2013): 40-57.

Worlding Cities: Asian Experiments and the Art of Being Global. Ed. Ananya Roy and Aihwa Ong. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.

Worlding Multiculturalisms. Ed. Daniel P. S. Goh. New York: Routledge, 2015.


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