ENGL 348
Postcolonial Theory and the World Literature Debates Spring 2015 Division I; Exploring Diversity Initiative; Writing-Intensive;
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When publishers, scholars, reviewers, and critics talk about the massive, beautiful, prismatic literary and cultural traditions outside of Western culture, they sometimes refer to them by their geographical provenance — African literature, say, or Sumerian art — or perhaps by their historical moment — Ottoman architecture, or postcolonial Indonesian poetry — but more and more, the catch-all category of World Literature has begun to hold sway in influential places, and is changing the shape of how we think, learn, and write about non-Western aesthetics, as well as how we participate in our “own” cultures in all their complexity. If we can imagine a kind of literature that truly goes under the headings of “World Literature,” or “Global Literature,” what can we possibly exclude? Doesn’t all literature belong to the world? What might we gain by using this term, and what might we lose? What histories are attached to the various names and classifications we assign to culture and how does cultural “othering” uphold or resist forms of economic, political, and military dominance? In this tutorial we will work carefully through the history and influential writings of postcolonialism as a particular challenge to hegemonic forms of representation, cultural production, and naming, starting with a close consideration of the writings of the movement’s founders and key commentators, including Aimé Césaire, Frantz Fanon, Edward Said, Gayatri Spivak, Robert J.C. Young, Gauri Viswanathan, and Sara Suleri, and consider their influence on later postcolonial writers and critics around the world. In the second half of the semester, we will turn our attention to the historical underpinnings and current firestorm of debates about World Literature, beginning with Goethe, Marx, Adorno, Frederic Jameson, Franco Moretti, and Pascale Casanova and shifting finally to critics of the ideas of World and Global Literature. This tutorial allows students a sustained engagement with the politics of cross-cultural aesthetics, the canon – debates and the culture wars, and the relationship between Western cultural institutions and non- Western art; as such, it is part of the Exploring Diversity Initiative.
The Class: Type: tutorial
Limit: 10
Expected: 10
Class#: 3662
Requirements/Evaluation: evaluation will be based on preparation of weekly reading and writing assignments and active engagement during tutorial sessions
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 Preference: students who have taken at least one course in non-Western cultures or in critical theory
Distributions: Division I; Exploring Diversity Initiative; Writing-Intensive;

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