156 | CCN: 51824

Rhetoric of the Political Novel

Fanaticism and the Contemporary Novel

Instructor: Jerilyn Sambrooke

TuWTh 2-430P, 215 DWINELLE

4 Units

In this course, we will explore the political rhetoric of fanaticism by investigating various representations of fanaticism in contemporary Anglophone fiction. We will read a selection of recent novels with an attentiveness not only to aesthetic but also to philosophical, political, and theoretical concerns. The course will feature novels such as The Children Act (2014) by Ian McEwan, The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2007) by Mohsin Hamid, and Purple Hibiscus (2003) by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. We will ask how the novels frame and articulate fanaticism—in legal, political, theological, and/or historical terms—and what is at stake in such choices. The course will engage writers and theorists from a range of geographical, religious, and political backgrounds, and much of our discussion will have a comparative focus. We will read various theorists and philosophers (John Locke, G. Hegel, Michel Foucault, Wendy Brown, Ranajit Guha) in order to ask how the fanatic has been variously theorized in relation to the political community. The course will situate and explore the contemporary rhetoric of fanaticism within a tradition of political and aesthetic thought.