English | Special Studies in English & American Literature
L780 | 25275 | Bose
L780/C701 25275/27045 BOSE (#6)
Special Studies in English & American Literature
5:45p – 8:45p T
TOPIC: POST-COLONIAL STUDIES
By the twentieth century, over eighty per cent of the earth’s land
surface had been colonized. For the British, imperial expansion was
accompanied and consolidated by the spread of the English language
and the inculcation of British cultural values through education.
Colonial educational policies, however, became both politically and
culturally double-edged. At the political level, they would result
in the cultivation of a native clerical class to serve the Empire,
and, simultaneously, the dissemination of bourgeois democratic
ideals among the native, educated elite. Inspired by these ideals,
this elite would emerge as the leadership of anti-colonial
movements. At the cultural level, colonialism would have a profound
impact on English literature, introducing semantic systems and
epistemologies that have radically reshaped the novel.
This course will investigate the emergence and use of post-colonial
theory as a primary intellectual framework through which to analyze
colonial relationships and their political and cultural legacies. We
will begin by reading foundational texts in the field including
Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities, Frantz Fanon’s The
Wretched of the Earth, and Edward Said’s Orientalism. We will be
concerned with how these texts disclose the ideological and
discursive operations of Empire and anti-colonial nationalism. In
particular, we will ask what kind of relationship these works posit
between institutions and the intellectual.
Throughout the course, we will consider some of the seminal issues
which define the history of post-colonial studies, such as the role
of women in national liberation struggles, the ways that prison
serves as an alternative site of learning, the utility of dependency
theory for understanding global disparities of wealth, the status of
the subaltern and the challenges of archiving subaltern
consciousness, and the relationship between colonialism and
globalization. Near the end of the course, we will turn to the
institutionalization of post-colonial studies and question to what
extent it has been driven by identity politics and the structure of
The final section of the course will focus on how to translate the
concepts of post-colonial theory to an engagement with specific
literary works. In this unit, we will also consider how literature
offers an alternative form of knowledge to theory. Our literary
readings will represent a small sample of post-colonial fiction, but
will be drawn from a number of different contexts.
Students should expect to write weekly electronic journals, take an
active role in classroom discussion, and write a twenty-page seminar
paper. In addition, students will be required to attend one or two
lectures by visiting speakers outside of class.
Etel Adnan, Sitt Marie Rose (Lebanon)
Aijaz Ahmad, In Theory: Classes, Nations, Literatures.
Eqbal Ahmed, Confronting Empire.
Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origins
and Spread of
Manlio Argueta, One Day of Life (El Salvador)
Cynthia Enloe, The Curious Feminist: Searching for Women in a New
Age of Empire.
Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth (Richard Philcox’s
Harry Harootunian, The Empire’s New Clothes: Paradigm Lost, and
Khaled Hosseini, A Thousand Splendid Suns (Afghanistan)
Anne McClintock, Aamir Mufti, Ella Shohat editors, Dangerous
Nation, and Postcolonial Perspectives.
Michael Ondaatje, Anil’s Ghost (Sri Lanka)
Edward Said, Orientalism.
Bapsi Sidhwa, Cracking India (Pakistan/India)
Robert Young, Post-Colonialism: A Historical Introduction