COMP 358
Impossible India: Modern South Asian Literature in English Fall 2014
Division I Exploring Diversity Initiative
Cross-listed ENGL 358 / COMP 358 / ASST 358
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

Since the late nineteenth century, the English language in India has belonged not just to the British conquerors, but also to the artists and writers, the poets and politicians of South Asia. From Rabindranath Tagore’s mystical poetry to Viaks Swarup’s novel that inspired Slumdog Millionaire, the styles and aesthetics of Indian English are as vast as the peninsula itself, and the literature that has emerged from this diverse region has utterly reshaped contemporary global culture. “Impossible India” will introduce students to modern South Asian literature written in English. We will aim to discover how the writing of the so-called subcontinent has effected massive literary and theoretical transformations far beyond its boundaries in literary institutions around the globe. With an attention to shifting codes of ethnicity, race, religion, and other forms of identity within India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, as well as in the African, Caribbean, and American diasporas, the course is organized around the question of what makes South Asian literature South Asian, especially when we consider the South Asian novel in English. Major topics of discussion will include caste, gender, nationalism, globalization, cosmopolitanism, crime, and hybridity. Additionally, we will take up select contemporary criticism on subaltern studies, postcolonialism, and narratology. This class will be of interest to students curious about global perspectives on race and ethnicity, postcolonialism, the contemporary novel in English, and comparative literature. Authors will include Anand, Naipaul, Narayan, Suleri, Rushdie, Roy, Lahiri, as well as select works of poetry, film, and visual art. In engaging deeply with the diverse literary traditions that fuel contemporary writing in South Asia, this course will participate in the college’s Exploring Diversity Initiative.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 25
Expected: 25
Class#: 1626
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: one seminar paper of 10-12 pages and one provocation paper of 3-4 pages and a presentation
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis; not available for the Gaudino option
Prerequisites: a 100-level ENGL course, or a score of 5 on the AP English Literature exam, or a score of 6 or 7 on the Higher Level IB English exam
Enrollment Preferences: English Majors
Unit Notes: meets Division 1 requirement if registration is under ENGL or COMP; meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under ASST
Distributions: Division I Exploring Diversity Initiative
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
ENGL 358 Division I COMP 358 Division I ASST 358 Division II
Attributes: ASAM Core Courses
ASAM Related Courses
ENGL Literary Histories C

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