ENGL 352
Separation: An Introduction to Postcolonial Literature Spring 2023
Division I Difference, Power, and Equity
Cross-listed COMP 350 / ENGL 352

Class Details

Few themes in the history of human societies have produced as much writing as that of separation–from a lover, from one’s homeland, from God(s). In the past two centuries, this theme has been essential to representing experiences of exile and migration in the wake of the colonially mediated transition to world capitalism. In this course, we will take up the theme of separation as a privileged point of entry into postcolonial literature and towards understanding the multiple meanings of “postcoloniality.” We will encounter examples in which this theme shapes critical thought and helps imagine new modes of existence, as well as those in which the grief of separation shades into such overpowering melancholy that writing becomes impossible. We will also look at what the preoccupation with separation can tell us about the ways human beings relate to human and non-human objects, and how they make and experience history. To think through these issues, we will read nineteenth- and twentieth-century works dealing with experiences of love, ecstasy, migrancy, exile, and slavery, composed in diverse geographical, socio-political, and linguistic contexts. We will read works (novels, poems, memoirs, essays) from South Asia, the Middle East, the American continents, and Europe, many composed in English, and others translated into English (from Hindi, Urdu, Persian, French, Arabic, and German).
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 25
Expected: 25
Class#: 3953
Grading: yes pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Weekly journals, mid-term paper (6-page), conference, final paper (15-page)
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, then sophomores considering the major
Distributions: Division I Difference, Power, and Equity
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
COMP 350 Division I ENGL 352 Division I
DPE Notes: This course examines how the political impact of colonization upon both "colonizer" and "colonized" gets expressed in literary productions of the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries. It explores the way these literary works understand the axes of social identity that shape oppression and inequity--coloniality, race, caste, gender--as constitutive of the unevenly developing world of capitalism. The concepts upon which the course focuses are essential to contemporary social critique.
Attributes: ENGL Literary Histories C

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