Honors: African (American) & Oceanian Lit.


This course
will begin by developing a “post-colonial” framework—drawing on Albert Wendt’s
definition of post-coloniality as not just “after” colonialism, so much as
“around, through, out of, alongside, and against” it—within which to think
about and appreciate African (American) and Oceanian works of literature (in
English) in relationship to or alongside of each other. The course approaches
works of art as “acts” that are at once personal, communal, and participatory
within the broad and mobile project of decolonization, and/or within local,
regional, and national movements. Toward the end of appreciating what and how
the chosen texts perform, the course will, 1. review post-colonial and literary
theory relevant for both the study of African American and Pacific literatures,
and including discussions of the idea of regional or transnational approaches
to African American literature as “post-colonial” (the “black Atlantic” and the
“Brown Pacific”), 2. consider historical moments and arenas when
Africanist/post-colonial critiques are taken up by African American and Pacific
literary/political/social movements (such as anti-colonial literature in PNG,
Polynesian Panthers in Aotearoa), 3. discuss the influence of
Africanist/post-colonial critique on several Pacific authors (Haunani-Kay
Trask’s Fanonism, Albert Wendt’s post-coloniality), 4. read works of African
American literatures alongside works of Pacific literature in order to
appreciate influences and affinities among them, 5. discuss varieties of
registers in which African (American) arts have influenced or have affinities
with Pacific cultures. Students will do daily in-class writing, one five paper,
oral reports on terms and artistic moments and movements, and a semester
project. While the emphasis of the reading is on “literary” texts, students may
choose to work on other areas of expressive culture, including connections between
African American and Pacific dance and music.

TEXTS: Chinau Achebe, Things Fall Apart;
Alan Duff, Once Were Warriors; Sia
Figiel; Where ‘We’ Once Belonged;
Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye; Albert
Wendt, Leaves of the Banyan Tree;
Richard Wright, Native Son (or Corregidora, Gayle Jones)

TEXTS; excepts from W. E. B. Dubois, Souls
of Black Folk
; Frantz Fanon, Black
Skin, White Masks
& The Wretched
of the Earth
; Paul Gilroy’s The Black
; Haunani-Kay Trask’s From a
Native Daughter
(perhaps alongside Baldwin’s “Notes from a Native Son);
along with essays such as Albert Wendt’s, “Toward a New Oceania” and Toni
Morrison’s, “The Writer as Ancestor.”