ENGL 264
Introduction to Global Literature & Film: Narrative, Aesthetics, & The Politics of Visual Culture Spring 2020
Division I Writing Skills Difference, Power, and Equity
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Class Details

One defining feature of Global Literature is that it addresses some aspect of globalization, whether it is the transnational flow of cultures, commodities, and capital, or an increased awareness of an interdependent world. But what do we “see” when we watch films or read books about places we’ve never been, events we’ve never lived through, or people we’ve never met? As Edward Said has noted, another defining feature of Global Literature is that it constructs “imaginative geographies,” fantasies of space that, in and through their circulation and consumption, come to define and limit what that space is and could potentially be. In this course, we will explore how such “imaginative geographies” unsettle the critical distinctions often drawn between the “aesthetics” of global literary texts that are non-mimetic and unrealistic and the “politics” of global literary texts that are more realistic in their representation of globalization. We will also pay close attention to what WJT Mitchell has called “watching seeing,” or the ways that global narratives draw attention to the pre-existing visual and perceptual frameworks that encourage us to read them one way or another. Whether we are reading texts about momentous global events like the Arab Spring or a 19th century slave insurrection off the coast of Chile, or texts that explore more quotidian experiences such as sadomasochism in a hotel on the coast of Japan or the burlesque banality of Palestinian life in Nazareth, our goal in this course will be to examine how textual incitements to “watching seeing” contest dominant fantasies about what a given place is and can be beyond the cartographic abstractions and violently policed borders of the globalizing world. Readings will include novels by Ahmed Naji and Yoko Ogawa, films by Elia Suleiman and Hou Hsiao-Hsien, poetry by Solmaz Sharif, as well as the architectures of occupation and resistance in contemporary Palestine and at the US/Mexico partition wall.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 19
Expected: 19
Class#: 4077
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: three papers and a series of writing assignments (including GLOW/Blog Posts) totaling 20 pages
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: first- and second-year students
Distributions: Division I Writing Skills Difference, Power, and Equity
WS Notes: Students will be required to complete a series of short writing assignments that will culminate in three formal papers: a close reading, a close reading that incorporates a peer-reviewed, secondary source, and a research paper developed through stages that will include a proposal, workshops, and editorial revision. Students will receive extensive feedback, written and oral, on their work, and there will be class time reserved for reviewing basic strategies for effective academic writing.
DPE Notes: This course examines the visual politics of global literature. That is, students will consider how conceptions of difference -of class, race, gender, ethnicity, and more - are produced, reproduced, and contested through narrative and aesthetics. This class will also examine the forms of dispossession, violence, and inequality generated by processes of globalization.
Attributes: ENGL 200-level Gateway Courses

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