Literature & Empire

In this course we will explore the
relationship between literature and empires during the modern period,
especially as a way of understanding the relationship between literature and
history. The bulk of the semester will be taken up with literature about the
British empire in Africa and India. But is the US an empire? We will end the
semester with three books which allow us to explore this question. The final
text of the semester will look specifically at 9/11 and its aftermath. While
most of the texts are novels, we will also read a play and a few poems, thus
allowing us to engage different kinds of literature.

Since this is an introductory course
in the study of literature, we will explore various tools, terms and techniques
of literary analysis such as close reading and character analysis. This is a
writing-intensive course and so we will spend time during class engaging
questions of composition. Required reading not listed below will be available
to download and print via Laulima or else distributed as photocopies in class.

Course Requirements

  • Attendance
    and participation
  • Two 7-page
  • Informal
    writing assignments
  • Two exams

Required Texts (available at Revolution Books, 2626
King Street)

  • Chinua Achebe,
    Things Fall Apart
  • Wole Soyinka,
    Death and the King’s Horseman
  • Chimamanda
    Ngozi Adichie, Half of a Yellow Sun
  • Rudyard
    Kipling, Kim
  • Anita Desai, Clear Light of Day
  • Leslie Marmon
    Silko, Ceremony
  • Barbara
    Kingsolver, Poisonwood Bible
  • Joseph
    O’Neill, Netherland