Explores literary form and language in a wide range of cultures, introducing students to the global English literary tradition, comprising multiple lineages. Introduces students to poetry, narrative, drama, orality, media, digitality, and/or other genres drawn from diverse traditions, each locally historicized and contextualized.
Additional Information: Arts Sci Gen Ed: Distribution-Arts Humanities
“[A] genealogy of world literature leads to Orientalism”. So writes Aamir Mufti in his recent book Forget English! (2016). Taking Mufti’s cue, this course seeks to trace the constitution of the category of “world literature” back to what Raymond Schwab characterizes as Europe’s “Oriental Renaissance” of the 18th and 19th centuries. Via a series of close readings, we explore how it was in the Orientalist philologist Sir William Jones’s English-language translations of Arabic, Persian, and Sanskrit poetry and drama that the literary and cultural heritage of the “Orient” was rendered legible for European audiences of the time. How, we then ask, does contemporary world literature register and engage this history? Looking into a range of critical, theoretical, and literary articulations of this problematic, and focusing especially on the novel as the “first truly planetary form”, we develop a critical, decolonized methodology for reading “literature” in its global contexts. We put this approach into practice through a concluding analysis of Ahdaf Soueif’s novel The Map of Love.
Course assignments include: regular contributions to class discussions; a presentation; a midterm essay (2,000 words); a final essay (4-5,000 words); and three contributions to a class blog.
Taught by Karim Mattar.
The Novel and the Intimacies of Empire
It should be noted that the novel always includes in itself the activity of coming to know another’s world, a coming to knowledge whose process is represented in the novel.” So wrote Bakhtin in “Discourse in the Novel.” This class explores the novel as a form shaped by imperialism. The modern novel emerged amidst the expansion of the British empire, and from its inception through today has marked what scholar Lisa Lowe refers to as the intimacies of continents—intimacies of settler, cultural, and economic imperialisms. We will consider the novel as a site of intersection: not only of voices but also of ways of knowing and navigating the world. Authors may include Aphra Behn, Zora Neale Hurston, Carmen Boullosa, Amitav Ghosh, Tsitsi Dangarembga, and Mitiarjuk Nappaaluk.
Taught by Maria Windell.