Intro to Lit: Literary History (Decolonization)

Course sub-title–Age of Decolonization.

colonialism transformed the world utterly and is in fact one of the
foundational historical processes of the contemporary world. At the beginning
of the Second World War, the major modern European empires (for example, the
British and the French) were still largely intact. But in a thirty-year period
following the end of the war, these empires were dismantled. This course
explores literary depictions from this Age of Decolonization, as some historian
call it. In a variety of genres (fiction, drama, poetry), it explores the ways
in which colonized people represented and contested colonial exploitation,
articulated identities, and grappled with emerging postcolonial problems. The
course, which focuses mostly on Africa and South Asia, will engage important
movements and issues of the period such as revolution, the status of women, interpretations
of history, and processes of modernization. 

The course will be
concerned with demonstrating strategies of literary analysis in relationship to
history. How does a text relate to a context? How do writers respond to the
pressing issues of their times? What happens to historical material when it
enters a literary work? Such questions will be approached through lectures,
discussions and close analyses of texts. Student work will include formal
written assignments, structured activities such as debates, and regular
web-based activities. This course satisfies the W Focus requirement.
Thus the semester will be concerned not only with the exploration of literary
issues but also the writing process.

Required Texts:

·Raja Rao, Kanthapura

·R. K. Narayan, The Guide

·Anita Desai, Clear Light of Day

·Girish Karnad, Three Plays

·Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart

·Wole Soyinka, Death and the King’s Horseman

·Buchi Emecheta, Joys of Motherhood

·Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Purple Hibiscus

·Course Packet

Assignments and Class Work:
·Course work will consist of two exams (mid-term
and final);

·two essays of seven pages each;

·and other less formal assignments.

The exams and essays—each of equal
weightage—will constitute 80% of the grade. The remaining 20% will be based on
the in-class and web-based assignments, class participation and attendance.