E304 1963 BOSE
Literatures in English 1900 to Present

11:15a-12:30p TR (30) 3 cr.


This course will be organized around the topic of "Partition Plots," examining the phenomenon of territorial partition and its ongoing legacy of regional conflicts in South Asia, Ireland, and the Middle East. Implemented by the British government as an expedient political solution to demands for self-determination by natives in its colonies, partition completely altered the social landscape, almost overnight, by rendering members of majority populations into minorities and minority populations into majorities. In the process, large numbers of people were displaced from their homes, dispossessed of their property, and families were often divided. As Robert Schaeffer notes, "because political relations within divided states tended to become the subject of controversy between divided states, officials came to regard indigenous protest as synonomous with ‘foreign' meddling, and they began to treat minority populations as disloyal aliens who owed their allegiance to a foreign power." Consequently, members of minority populations were often discriminated against and prevented from being equal participants in civil society.

We will examine fiction, primarily novels, and films that represent the experiences of partition and of being a minority population living under military occupation. In other words, we will investigate the ways in which individuals continue to live, love, and struggle under extraordinary circumstances. While analyzing the formal, artistic features of these works, we will also situate them within their historical contexts. Our critical approach will combine post-colonial, feminist, and Marxist methods of analysis. A tentative list of readings includes Bapsi Sidhwa's Cracking India, Salman Rushdie's Shame, Bhisam Sahni's Tamas, Sahar Khalifeh's Wild Thorns, Edward Said's After the Last Sky, Etel Adnan's Sitt Marie Rose, Aly Renwick's Last Night Another Soldier, and Nell McCafferty's Peggy Deery. We will also view the following films and video: Garm Hawa (Hot Winds), The Women Next Door, and The Visit.

Students should expect to participate actively in class discussion, keep a group email journal, write a 5-6 page paper, and take a midterm and final exam.