Seminar In Comparative Literature: PostColonial-PostModern

This course will focus on the magic-realist postmodern depictions of the postcolonial and of postcoloniality in general. The arch novel that embodies this postmodern approach to postcoloniality is Salman Rushdie’s Satanic VersesSatanic Verses introduces students to the trickster figure and his functioning in postcolonial literatures: What does he grow into knowing? What is his sense of identity? Nation and nationality? I would like to take this theme into Asian and Pacific literatures via the myth of the “Monkey King.” We will read Kherdien’s contemporary Monkey: A Journey to the West and then move on to Timothy Mo’s Monkey King, Maxine Hong Kingston’s Trip-Master Monkey and Gerald Vizenor’s Griever. The last novel extends the scope to issues of indigeneity which we will also discuss through Keri Hulme”s Bone People. Such a course will give students a wide sweep of Asian and Pacific literatures through which they could explore, in their research papers, various topics—such as “the style of postmodern Literatures.” Do they have a particular experimental style. Does it mark postcoloniality? What is the role of magic-realism? We will write short reaction response essays to the BIG novels and one long seminar paper connecting all the novels to issues in the Asia Pacific region.

The paper should be at least 20 pages with the SLO of possible publication. I will urge you all to submit your papers to appropriate journals.