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Course Details

Spring 2017-2018
ENG 573 / COM 573   Graded A-F, P/D/F, Audit

Problems in Literary Study - The Postcolonial Family Romance

Simon E. Gikandi

The goal of this course is to rethink the project of the novel in the colonial and postcolonial world by shifting emphasis from the mimetic model of desire to what Freud called the family romance, the search for alternative worlds in the social order. The course explores how the novel's historic concern with the relation between the individual and systems of the law, family, and sexuality was adopted and transformed by postcolonial writers as they consolidated, or challenged, the imagination of the colony and nation as symbolic systems for rehearsing fantasies of innocence amidst the violence that willed new subjects into being.

Sample reading list:
Rudyard Kipling, Kim
Ferdinand Oyono, Houseboy (Une vie de boy)
Alejo Carpentier, Explosion in a Cathedral (El Siglo de las Luces)
Jamaica Kincaid, Annie John
Nadine Gordimer, Burgher's Daughter
Tsitsi Dangarembga, Nervous Conditions

Oral Presentation(s) - 20%
Term Paper(s) - 80%

Other Requirements:
Open to Graduate Students Only.

Other information:
The novels are read in relation to theories of social forms that located the origins of the family in the world of the colonial other, including selections from Freud's Totem and Taboo and F. Engels' The Origin of the Family and critiques of the colonial family romance by P. Mannoni, F. Fanon, and Sylvia Wynters among others. The course concludes with a symposium in which the students engage leading theorists of the postcolonial family romance.

Schedule/Classroom assignment:

Class numberSectionTimeDaysRoomEnrollmentStatus
42190 S01 01:30:00 pm - 04:20:00 pm M   McCosh Hall   48   Enrolled:14 Limit:15