ARAB 320
Poetry of Indignation: Poetics and Transnational Liberation Fall 2024
Division I Writing Skills Difference, Power, and Equity
Cross-listed AFR 328 / COMP 335

Class Details

Poetry is usually associated with beautiful, metered, and charged language. However, beyond its poeticity, poetry has also functioned as a tool of liberation and transnational construction of identities and solidarities. States have national poets, and, in many countries, national anthems were written by famous poets. From Abu al-Qasim al-Shabbi and Claude McKay to Pablo Neruda, poetry has acted as a space for life, rebellion, resistance, revolution, and the defense of a common humanity that transcends the barriers of language and national aesthetics. This course draws on a variety of materials from the Caribbean to Africa and from the Middle East to India to conceptualize a “poetics of indignation” against slavery, social injustice, colonization, authoritarianism, capitalism, and globalization. The students in this course will read poets, such as Okot p’Bitek, Derek Walcott, Tsitsi Jaji, Mahmoud Darwish, and Pablo Neruda, among many other poets, to examine how poetics changed and shifted across times and geographic boundaries while retaining a commitment to indignation, rebellion, and anger at almost the same recurring oppressive forces.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 14
Expected: 14
Class#: 1327
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Two 5pp. midterm papers; a 1000-word reflection statement; weekly GLOW posts; one 10-minute presentation; active participation in the discussions in class.
Prerequisites: None
Enrollment Preferences: If the class is overenrolled, the students will submit a 200-word paragraph in which they explain how the course fits within their plan of study at Williams.
Distributions: Division I Writing Skills Difference, Power, and Equity
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
AFR 328 Division II COMP 335 Division I ARAB 320 Division I
WS Notes: The students in this course will receive intensive feedback on their writing. This includes writing two 5pp. papers as well as a 10pp. final paper. The students will submit weekly GLOW posts and a final reflection statement.
DPE Notes: The students will understand that poetry is a field in which power dynamics and imbalances of access to resources are reflected. They will also pay attention to who writes what and who publishes where in order to understand the imbrication of inequality within the institutions that produce, disseminate, and reward poets.

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