Figurations of the Postcolonial in Contemporary American Literature
( A postkoloniális alakzatai a kortárs amerikai irodalomban) in autumn 2017
, Fri 11:00–12:30
seminar, 30 h/term; strong prereq: FLI11-101
description & set texts
What is postcolonialism? What kind of literature is the staggering body of writing that we call postcolonial? How do we, at this point of juncture, in the 21st century, read European colonialism and its aftermath with an eye on first and second (and third) modernity? How can we make sense of and react with prudence and responsibility to major contemporary concerns issuing from our postcolonial world, such as climate change, poverty, food injustice, forced migration, racialization and racism – only to name a few? To sensitize ourselves to these burning concerns, we will explore major processes and terms of postcoloniality as conveyed by postcolonial scholarship and zoom in on American (African American, Haitian-American and white woman) writers with a variety of postcolonial experiences in their ouevre, reading their respective narratives for fun and guidance. The course is a seminar, relying, as always, on class discussions.
Schedule of Classes
2017.09.15 Orientation. Introduction
09.22 No class (conference)
09.29 American Colonization, Ecology and the Promised Land
Reading:Toni Morrison, A Mercy (2008): Chs 1-6
10.06 Toni Morrison continued: A Mercy: Chs 7-12
White Patriarchy, Race and Marriage in Ante- and Post-bellum Louisiana
Reading: Kate Chopin, Desirée’s Baby (1893)
10.20 Racism, Class, Sexuality and Gender.
Reading: Nella Larsen, Passing (1929)
10.27 Race, Trauma, and Black American (Male) Bildung
Reading: Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man (1952): Prologue and Ch 1
11.17 Rape, Trauma, and Haitian-American (Female) Bildung
Reading: Edwidge Danticat, Breath, Eyes, Memory (1994):
11.24 Danticat cont.: Part 2
12.01 Post-Civil Rights Racial Puzzle:
Reading: Toni Morrison, Recitatif
12.08 The Colonial Other in US/American Translation: Screening of
M Butterfly (Hwang 1988/Cronenberg 1993)
12.15 Class Discussion of M Butterfly
requirements & assessment
Oral presentation with handout (1-2 page summary of presentation with bibliography distributed to instructor + all participants), short in-class response papers (with no short notice to check your reading for the day), home essay (due midnight, Dec 23, to be sent to my email address: federmayer.evaĹTgmail.com; length and format: 5-6 pages, double spaced (check MLA formatting and Style Guide: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/06/), active class participation.
Attendance: to obtain your grade, please make sure you miss no more than 3 seminars.
Oral presentation, class activity, response papers: 50% + home essay: 50% of the grade