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SEMINAR 1 pm

WEEKLY QUESTIONS

Week Unit Thursday, 12-1 pm Thursday, 1-2 pm  
1 Introduction to the Term - -  
2 Unit 1   Vandana  
3 Unit 1   Chloe Peratikou  
4 Unit 2   Mia Loates/Bethany Bingle/Anna McDonagh  
5 Unit 2   Allaya Rasul/Helena Buckley  
7 Unit 3   James Schofield/Sapna Popatia  
8 Unit 3   Sineen Rahman/Nina Machado  
9 Unit 4   Haleema Ali/Alex Bird  
10 Unit 4   Nikhita Shaunak/Daeun Kim  

WEEK 10

NIKHITA

  1. Smith focuses on the relationship between literature and activism; how does this relationship change over time and through different nations; can the means of instigating activism through literature be sustained over time and over nations ? How do history and culture affect this, if at all?
  2. What is the relationship between the reader and literary Markets? How does this differ from the relationship to the writer and literary markets? To what extent are literally markets used as means for writers, and why? What is the relationship between literary markets and culture?
  3. Casanova talks about the relationship of world Literature, politics and history, can these things exist independently of each other and does doing so strip World literature of its association with instigating social change, does this then strip world literature of its merit. Does' world literature' only have merit because of its relation to 'world' politics and history?

NINA

1. Within 'Literature as a World', Casanova mentions that the world of literature is a 'sort of marketplace'. In the same way, Brouillette speaks of the global literary marketplace where the author is a product of varying conditions. Are these markets similar in any way or do they differentiate in the way they function?
2. Following this question, can either marketplace and its values be seen in 'A Small Place'? Are there any aspects that may resonate with the effects the natives' experience from a foreign intrusion and their tourism?
DAEUN
  1. How does a text become a classic? What are the standards for a text to be considered a classic?
  2. Is it possible to conceive literature itself as a world?
  3. Are we able to find the conceptual means with which to oppose the central postulate of internal, text-based literary criticism—the split between text and world?

WEEK 9

HALIMA

  1. The concept of cultural industries, or creative industries, embraces industries that combine the creation, production, and commercialization of creative content, which can have the form of a good or a service. With this in mind, discuss the issues that surround culture industry.
  2. Following on from the concept of culture industry, how does or how does this not resonate with Jamaica Kinkaid's, 'A Small Place'

ALEX

1. Does a prestigious text start as a popular one? Consider the ideas presented in "The Culture Industry", must it exist separately for the market? What is the role of bestsellers in the creation of a prestigious text? Does a lack of prestige and monetary success make a text less valuable and does this focus on bestsellers become exclusionary of certain groups?
2. Why is the market regarded so negatively by academics, despite its economic benefits to prestigious media? Do you think academia considers itself removed from the market? Consider Kincaid's description of how tourists are regarded, how can the damage done by these tourists be reconciled with the economic benefits they present?

WEEK 8

Sineen and Nina: NO SUBMISSION

WEEK 7

JAMES

1. Is it important whose story is true in this film? What effect does the epilogue (The Woodcutter, The Priest and The Commoner’s conversation at the end) have on the rest of the film? What does it suggest about the writer’s motivations in writing this story?

2. How do Bourdieu and Williams’ concepts of culture each relate to the film? Does the Commoner’s rant about the selfishness of mankind mirror Bourdieu’s point about capitalist society being “(economically) self-interested”?

SAPNA

1. William comments on how the term ‘culture which already expressed human process, was distinguished from and often preferred to the alternative term “civilization.” Why do you think the term ‘civilisation’ is preferred over the term ‘culture’?

2. How does the form of capital relate to the study of literature, in other words is Literature more embodied, objectified or institutionalised form of cultural capital.? Does this impact, the way in which we view and read specific cultural texts?

WEEK 5

HELENA

  1. Should institutions focus their literature departments on texts from their own country, and have a separate department for “world literatures”? Given what we know about the inclusivity of the term “world literatures”, is this even possible?
  2. With the history behind the creation of English literature as a discipline, should it be removed altogether from universities? What would it then be replaced with? Is it possible to have a department for every culture present in literature?
  3. If so much of the British education reform in India tried to appear as a positive movement, how can we be sure that any educational reform that occurs in society today does not have political motivations also?

ALLAYA

  1. a) Some British military officers have said that incorporating European literature in Indian studies would ‘increase the natives capacity for evil’, as it could ‘elevate their intellects’ and ‘engender a spirit of disaffection towards the British Government’. Discuss the implications of involving Western literature on India’s curriculum. b) Now discuss the implications of not involving Western literature on India’s curriculum. ​

  1. ‘On the Abolition of the English Department’ puts forward that African Literature should be at the centre of literature studies in African countries because ‘it is better to study representative works which mirror the society we are in rather than study a few isolated classics’. Do you believe that our own curriculum mirrors the society we are in? If your answer is no - how can a more accurate ‘mirror’ be achieved within the curriculum?

  1. What do you think of when the term "literary excellence" is used? Does it suggest ideas of exclusion or prejudice? Do you associate the term with a certain culture?

WEEK 4

MIA, BETHANY, ANNA

1. In ‘the state of the discipline’, Price argues that “reading means something different to literary critics…than to historians.” How do you think the way we define reading impacts our critique of a text?

2. In ‘the race for theory’, Christian criticises what she sees as an overreliance on theory in literary studies, arguing that students “become subordinated to one primary thrust”. What might be some of the issues of using literary theory? In particular, how might these relate to questions of representation and alienation?

3. How fair do you agree that literacy’s impact on social hierarchy as suggested by Price has changed and developed over time?

4. Christian refers to language “that unmasked the power relations of their world”. With this in mind, how does Nagra use language in ‘look we have coming to Dover!’

WEEK 3

CHLOE

WEEK 2

VANDANA

1. What does Borges’ The Library of Babel say about myth and myth making - are the librarians godly figures or, alternatively, have they been cast down into the ‘universe’ of the library by a yet higher power?

2. If the combination of characters is infinite, is there an infinite number of books, or does this mean that there may as well be zero coherent books, as they are buried within meaningless combinations of characters?

3. Are the boundaries of literature, like the boundaries of the Library of Babel, unable to be defined - or is there a limit to what literature can be? Can literature be defined as being fictional, or perhaps as being not fact?

4. Can literature be defined by its intentional manipulation of language - a ‘linguistic violence’ - or would this be reductive? Is this distinction between literary language and ‘normal’ language an illusion?

5. Is literature inherently literary or is its status as literature dependent on its reader - and if literature is defined as literature by its readers, then who exactly is it who has the right/power to endow a piece of writing with literary status?