This course will survey the landscape of contemporary British fiction, focusing primarily on fiction published after 2000. In particular, it will think about the construction of British national identity and political sovereignty in the face of so-called “post-national” forces, including globalization, regionalism, devolution, the European Union, migration, and multiculturalism. How were these forces represented in fiction, usually written and published from the metropolitan (and cosmopolitan) center of London, and how do the institutions of world literature reinforce such post-national inflections in fiction? Given that the unexpected “Brexit” vote of 2016 revealed the populist rejection of some of these post-national orthodoxies, in what ways does the nation(-state) continue to function as a meaningful category of identification? How do competing regions—North vs. South, Scotland and Wales vs. England—invariably fragmented by different socioeconomic factors, affect these processes of national identification? The reading list is yet to be finalized, but is likely to include some of the following authors: Leila Aboulela, Monica Ali, Kiran Desai, Abdul Razak Gurnah, Kazuo Ishiguro, James Kelman, Andrea Levy, Alan Hollinghurst, Tom McCarthy, Ian McEwan, David Mitchell, Caryl Phillips, Ali Smith, Zadie Smith. Alongside these texts, we will read up on contemporary theories of nationalism, globalization and transnationalism, world literature, and state sovereignty.

M 1:00-3:30PM

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