Rhetoric of the Political Novel
156 | CCN: 42493
Instructor: Jerilyn Sambrooke
In this course, we will explore the political rhetoric of fanaticism by investigating various representations of fanaticism—and particularly religious 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. We will ask how the novels frame and articulate religious 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 theorists and philosophers who have reflected on religious fanaticism and the secular order that claims to contain and restrict such fanaticism. The course will situate and explore the contemporary rhetoric of religious fanaticism within a tradition of political and aesthetic thought. Possible novels include The Children Act (2014) by Ian McEwan, Gilead (2008) by Marilynne Robinson, Purple Hibiscus (2003) by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and A Complicated Kindness (2004) by Miriam Toews.
**** This course counts for the Public Discourse concentration.