A course that primarily surveys fiction, poetry, drama, film (in English) from postcolonial contexts, especially those of Africa, the Caribbean, and the Indian subcontinent. Authors discussed may include Rushdie, Narayan, Roy, Wolcott, Ngugi, Coetzee, and Achebe.
ENGL 379: Third World Literature
Tuesday & Thursday 2:30-3:45
Instructor: Alden Marte-Wood
This course surveys literature in English from the Global South—written by authors from Nigeria, Kenya, India, Vietnam, Antigua, and the Philippines. We will historicize this writing alongside the sweeping sociopolitical changes in what was once called the Third World. In order to think through shifting global dynamics, this course will introduce students to the most pressing issues and debates within postcolonial criticism. Students will engage with essential theoretical work on Orientalism, empire, subalternity, hybridity, nation-state formation, imagined communities, diaspora, subjugated knowledges, and necropolitics. We will begin our inquiry with colonial encounters and move on to examine the literature produced during the mid-century global movements for national liberation and decolonization. We will then trace the vestiges of colonial hegemony in our assessment of more recent literature emerging from the “shrinking of the world” via information technology and globalization. We end by analyzing new forms of neocolonial subjugation, like debt encumbrance, resource extraction, and labor outsourcing. By examining the long historical arc from the 1950s to the 1990s, we will attempt to answer the following questions: What are the connections between empire and English-language literature by non-western writers? What are the politics of language within anti-imperialist projects? What does it mean for the empire to write back? What are the political stakes in calling a literary archive Commonwealth, Third World, postcolonial, or Global Anglophone literature? Is all Third World literature national allegory? How has postcolonial theory moved through both poststructuralist and materialist phases in its development? What are the features of non-western feminisms? How have mass migrations radically redefined Anglophone writing? What does the “post” in postcolonial actually signify? Has the force of postcolonial criticism waned in our contemporary era of globalization?
This course satisfies the D1 requirement. It also counts toward the “Literature & Literary History” and “Culture & Social Change” areas of specialization.