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Course Details

Spring 2012-2013
ENG 417 / COM 423 / AFS 416 (LA)   No Pass/D/Fail

Topics in Postcolonial Literature - Postcolonial Cities

Simon E. Gikandi

Addresses the literature of several cities that have been central in shaping the modern imagination: Bombay, Cairo, Lagos, and Johannesburg. It will explore how the emergence of these global cities has transformed the meaning of urban landscapes and their representation in literature. The course will also examine how migrant writers from Africa and the Caribbean have transformed old cities such as London and New York. How does the city shape the form of writing? How does language itself transform the meaning of the urban experience? How does this literature challenge some of the leading theories on space and modern identity?

Sample reading list:
Zadie Smith, N-W
Joseph O'Neil, Netherland
Alaa Al Aswany, The Yacoubian Building
Samuel Selvon, The Lonely Londoners
Phaswane Mpe, Welcome to Our Hillbrow
Ivan Vladislavic, Portrait with Keys
See instructor for complete list

Reading/Writing assignments:
150-200 pages of reading per week, oral presentations, short response papers, midterm paper, and one research paper.

Requirements/Grading:
Paper in Lieu of Mid Term - 25%
Papers - 15%
Oral Presentation(s) - 15%
Term Paper(s) - 35%
Class/Precept Participation - 10%

Other Requirements:
Not Open to Freshmen.

Other information:
We will focus primarily on novels and films on select global cities, but students will be encouraged to undertake independent readings on other cities that might interest them. In addition to the primary readings, we will draw from some of the dominant theories on writing in the city from literature, sociology, and architecture. Department Distribution: Theory/Criticism and Diasporas

Schedule/Classroom assignment:

Class numberSectionTimeDaysRoomEnrollmentStatus
41237 S01 3:00 pm - 4:20 pm M W   Jones Hall   113   Enrolled:5 Limit:15