Postcolonial Ways of Being and Belonging in the World
155 | CCN: 31335
Instructor: Pheng Cheah
Thurs. 10:00am-1:00pm, Dwinelle 7415 ///
The formal dismantling of European colonial empires from the end of the Second World War onwards has led to drastic changes in political maps of the world. Yet, despite formal independence, very little seemed to have changed for the peoples in postcolonial nations around the world, especially the impoverished masses. The former colonial system was replaced by economic neocolonialism and the tripartite division of the globe into First, Second and Third Worlds, now succeeded by a newer division between the global North and South. From a political and cultural perspective, colonialism had undermined the ‘traditional’ sources of political solidarity and cultural belonging and many of these new nations were left searching for their identities in the postcolonial world. This course explores the struggle to find new ways of being and belonging by postcolonial peoples in contemporary globalization through a study of novels from and about postcolonial space that attempt to transform the world created by Northern political and economic hegemony. We will study novels from and about Africa, Asia and the Caribbean that explore the consequences of commercial and financial flows such as international tourism, humanitarian aid, foreign investment etc. for humane social development. Questions to be addressed include: what is the weight that colonial culture and literary traditions exert on postcolonial writers? How is the Bildungsroman deployed in order to imagine the new nation as a home? How do politically-committed postcolonial writers craft new figurations and stories of the being in the world of postcolonial peoples and migrants and how are the thematic concerns of their novels enabled by formal literary features? What is the role of narrative experimentation and the revival of the story form in imagining alternative ways of belonging in a hostile world?
Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Decolonising the Mind: The Politics of Language in African
Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition, 2nd edition (Chicago: University of Chicago
Michelle Cliff, No Telephone to Heaven (Plume, 1996)
V. S. Naipaul, A Way in the World (Vintage, 1995)
Nuruddin Farah, Gifts (Penguin, 2000)
Amitav Ghosh, The Hungry Tide (Mariner Books, 2006)
Timothy Mo, Renegade or Halo Halo (Paddleless Press, 2000)
Please purchase the novel by Timothy Mo on your own from Amazon. No book order has been made for it.