History | Postcolonial Theory and Historiography
H680 | 27574 | Dodson


A portion of the above class reserved for majors
Above class open to graduates only

This class will serve as an introduction to the diverse body of
critical thought which has developed in the last several decades
surrounding issues of power, culture, discourse, and identity in the
colonial/postcolonial world.  As such, it should be of interest to
those graduate students in History, English, Cultural Studies,
Anthropology, and related disciplines, who are studying any variety
of colonial or imperial relationships, non-Western contexts, as well
as those interested in furthering their knowledge of critical
historical methodologies.

The semester’s class meetings are broken into two sections.  For the
first half of the semester we will read and discuss some of the
foundational texts and moments in the development of postcolonial
theory.  We will begin with a discussion of Edward Said’s 1978
text, "Orientalism," together with some critiques and more recent re-
evaluations of Said’s importance.  The principal issues which Said
raises, including the nature of representation, power relations
between groups, and possibilities for resistance to the dominant,
will then be discussed by reference to some of Said’s own pre-
cursors, including Michel Foucault, Antonio Gramsci, and Franz
Fanon.  More recent postcolonial scholarship will then be
considered, including the “linguistic turn” of Homi Bhabha, and the
Marxist-inspired Subaltern Studies Collective.

The readings during the second half of the class will be driven by
the interests of graduate students themselves.  For example, we may
wish to spend this time discussing issues as diverse as the
influence of anthropological theory upon history writing; theorising
the use of visual media in critical theory; issues of gender and
sexuality; negotiating travel writing as a historical source; the
idea of globalization and its relationship to imperialism; and so
forth.

Students will be evaluated equally upon the basis of short weekly
reaction papers, participation, and a final essay.