Skip to main content

Full text of "Postcolonial Literature in English"

See other formats

ENGL 3355: Postcolonìal Literature in English 

Instructor: Dr. Penny Ingram Semester: Fall 2009 

Office 410 Carlisle Class Time: T/R 1 1:00-12:20 

Office Hours: T: 1-3; R: 9:30-10:45 Classroom: PH 210 

and by appointment 
Office Phone: 2-7259 
Email: pingram @ 


This course will introduce students to a burgeoning field in literary studies: postcolonial 
literature and theory. We will begin with a study of the centrai tenets of postcolonial 
theory and then proceed to a sampling of literary texts that foreground a number of these 
issues. Postcolonial literature is literature produced by formerly colonized nations, 
including India, Pakistan, the West Indies, various countries in Africa, Australia, New 
Zealand, Canada, and others. Such literature is concerned with the way colonial subjects 
are produced in and by Empire. Postcolonial literature can be a tool by which the 
colonized subject "writes back" to Empire, engaging with themes like identity, belonging, 
exile, place, language, sovereignty, and hybridity. The course will explore the pervasive 
artistic, psychological, and politicai impact of colonization through a reading of both 
literary texts and criticai essays. 


By the end of the course you will have: 

• become an acute reader of literary and cultural texts with an understanding of the 
social, politicai, and cultural implications at work in the production of texts. 

• developed a capacity for criticai thinking. You will be equipped with the tools to 
perform criticai analysis of literature, culture, and history. 

• understood the role that literature plays in the construction of cultural norms, the 
maintenance of cultural hegemony, and the production and contestation of ideologies 
of the center. 


ENGL 3355 is a discussion course. Your attendance and participation are essential to 
your success in it. 
Assignments policy: 

Papers are due at the beginning of class. Paper assignments (not reader response papers) 
should be typed, doublé spaced, stapled, and have your name and the course number in 
the top left hand corner of the first page. Late papers will be penalized by 3 points each 
day they are late. A doctor's note will not excuse a late paper. I expect you to have 
done the reading/writing assignment on the day scheduled on the syllabus. 


I will take roU every day. During the semester you are permitted FOUR absences. I do 
not distinguish between excused and unexcused absences, so use your time wisely. 

Ingram, ENGL 3355 

Doctor's visits, surgeries, meetings with advisors, sports trips, etc ali will be taken from 
your absence total. You do not need to provide me with documentation for your absence. 
Each absence after the fourth one will result in a 2 point penalty off your final 
grade. Only in exceptional cases will I accept documentation excusing you after the 
fourth absence. If you are absent from class you are responsible for getting notes from a 
classmate, completing the work you have missed, and for being on schedule when you 
return. If you are sick for the day of your group presentation you MUST CONTACT 
do so will result in a zero for that assignment. 


You must arrive to class on time. Tardiness to class may result in your being counted as 

Classroom/email etiquette: 

I expect each member of the class to behave respectfuUy towards each other and towards 
me. Some of you may find the material we will discuss in class to be controversial, but 
not everyone will share your opinion. Please be mindful of this fact during discussions 
and in email correspondence. 


Plagiarism is the unacknowledged borrowing of another person's work and passing it off 
as your own. It includes direct lifting of another' s words or ideas as well as 
PARAPHRASING another' s words or ideas. Please complete the online tutorial offered 
by the library: «» This tutorial will teach you 
when you need to cite a source and how to do it correctly. Plagiarism is a serious offense 
and carries serious consequences, including failure and/or expulsion from the University. 
Faculty members are required to report incidences of plagiarism and cheating to Student 
Judicial Affair s. 

Accommodations for Students with Disabili ties: 

Students who need accommodations are asked to arrange a meeting during office hours 
the first week of classes, or earlier if accommodations are needed immediately. Please 
bring a copy of ali relevant paperwork to the meeting. If you do not have a notification 
for accommodations but need accommodations, make an appointment with the Office of 
Students with Disabilities, 102 University Hall, 2-3364. 

Student Support Services Available: The University of Texas at Arlington has 
established a variety of programs to help students meet the challenges of college life. 
Support to students includes advising, counseling, mentoring, tutoring, supplemental 
instruction, and writing assistance. For a complete list of academic support services, visit 
the Academic Assistance resource page of the Office of Student Success Programs, . To help students address personal, 
academic and career concerns, individuai counseling is also available. For more 
Information, students are encouraged to contact Counseling Services at (817) 272-3671 or visit a counselor in 216 Davis Hall. 

Ingram, ENGL 3355 

Electronic Communication Policy: The University of Texas at Arlington has adopted 
the University "MavMail" address as the sole officiai means of communication with 
students. MavMail is used to remind students of important deadlines, advertise events and 
activities, and permit the University to conduct officiai transactions exclusively by 
electronic means. For example, important Information concerning registration, financial 
aid, payment of bills, and graduation are now sent to students through the MavMail 
system. AH students are assigned a MavMail account. Students are responsible for 
checking their MavMail regularly. Information about activating and using MavMail is 
available at . There is no additional charge to students for 
using this account, and it remains active even after they graduate from UT Arlington. 

REQUIRED TEXTS (in order they are to be read): 

These are available at the bookstore. I expect you to bring the appropriate text to each 
class. If you cannot find the text at one of the locai bookstores you should buy it from an 
online vendor, such as Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Everybody MUST bave tbeir 
books by week 2 of class. Failure to bring the appropriate text to class may result in 
an absence. 

Dangarembga, Nervous Condìtìons 
Fanon, Wretched ofthe Earth 
Coetzee, Poe 

Kureishi, The Buddha ofSuburbìa 
Grenville, The Secret River 
Duff, Once Were Warriors 

WebCT readings 

Leela Gandhi, "Postcolonialism and the new humanities" 

Macaulay's "Minute on Indian Education" 

Said, "Orientalism" 

Cesaire, A Tempest (short excerpt) 

Shakespeare, The Tempest (short excerpt) 

Fanon, "The Negro and Language" 

Ngugi "The Language of African Literature" 

Lowe, "Travel Narratives and Orientalism" 

Vigo, "Limoge, Our Women, and Other Colonial Metaphors" 

Your Grader This is a discussion course and requires active and consistent participation 
from ali members of the class. The breakdown of your final grade is as foUows. 

• Paper #1 (6-8 pages) 20% Due 9/24 

• Midterm Exam 20% 10/6 

• Response Papers 15% 

• Final Paper (7-10 pages) 25 % Due 12/3 

• Group presentation 20% 

Ingram, ENGL 3355 


The format for you presentation is fairly open. You and your group should 
introduce a topic that is related to things we've talked about in class (see below 
for suggestions). The presentation should last between 50 and 60 minutes 
(depending on the number in your group) and should involve each member of the 
group equally (approximately 10 mins each). 

ReQuirements for the presentation 

• You must meet as a group at least a week before your assignment. After 
this meeting, you should discuss your topic with me. 

• You should band in a report detailing the content of the presentation 
on the day it is due with a cover sheet signed by each member of the 
group, attesting to equal participation. Please ensure that this is one 
document, conceived by the whole group, not four separate reports of each 

• You should attempt to make an argument. What does the research 
you've done contribute to our discussion? What conclusions can be 

• You should bave discussion questions for the class. 

• You will be graded individually, BUT I will be looking for equal 
participation from ali members. If one person does ali the work, the 
presentation will suffer. You will be graded on the content of the 
presentation, your ability to involve the class in discussion, and your 
ability to work together as a group. The use of multimedia sources is 

Suggested topics for presentations 

• Examine the postcolonial history of a country or a people not covered in 
our syllabus. Eg. Native Americans, Carribean natives or creoles, Irish or 
Canadian peoples, other African countries, etc. 

• Examine representations of the Other in cultural and popular discourse, ie. 
music, movies, news, etc. 


• You are required to complete nine of these throughout the semester. It 
is up to you which weeks you will write a response. 

• These should be typed, single-spaced and one page. 

• They will be coUected on the first day a new text (novel, video, article) 
is discussed. I will not accept response papers on texts that we have 
already begun to talk about in class. When responding to an article, the 
first paragraph should summarize the main argument of the article. 
The rest of the paper should analyze the implications of the argument. 

• When writing on a novel or film, you may pick any aspect of the text 
that relates to issues we've been discussing in class. You should 
demonstrate that you have read the whole assignment. Do not 

Ingram, ENGL 3355 

comment on the first few pages only. This is a formai piece of 

writing. It is NOT a journal or diary entry. Do not just explain why 

you do or don't like the novel/film, or do or don't under stand the 


No late papers, except in the case of documented illness, will be 

accepted. If you cannot make it to class you should email me your 

response paper. 

Tentative Assignment Schedule (subject to change) 

Readings are due on the date recorded and should therefore be completed BEFORE the 
corresponding class day. Though we might devote more than one class period to 
discussion of the readings you should COMPLETE the reading by the date noted below. 
Readings may change at my discretion. 




Introduction to syllabus. In-class viewing of Gandhi 


Gandhi continued. 


Gandhi discussion. 

Leela Gandhi,"Postcolonialism and the new humanities" (WebCT) 

Macaulay, "Minute on Indian education handout." (WebCT) 


Said, "Orientalism" (WebCT) 


Cesaire and Shakespeare "Tempest" excerpts (WebCT) 
Fanon, "The Negro and Language" (WebCT) 


Ngugi "The Language of African Literature" (WebCT) 


Dangarembga, Nervous Conditions chs 1-5, pp 1-76. 


Nervous Conditions chs 5-8, pp.77-149 


Nervous Conditions chs 8-end, pp. 149-204 


Student Presentation 
Paper One Due 

T 9/29 

Vigo, "Limoge, Gur Women, and Other Colonial Metaphors" 


Lowe, "Travel Narratives and Orientalism" (WebCT) 


Midterm Exam 

Ingram, ENGL 3355 

TI 0/6 


Campion, The Piano (This film is available through Netflix or 
Blockbuster and must be viewed outside of class) 

T 10/13 

Coetzee, Poe pp.5-72 

R 10/15 

Coetzee, Foe pp.72- end 

T 10/20 

Student Presentation 

R 10/22 

Kureishi, Buddha of Suburbìa, pp. 3-90 

T 10/27 

Kureishi, Buddha of Suburbìa, pp. 90-181 

R 10/29 

Kureishi, Buddha of Suburbìa, pp. 182-284 


The Secret Rìver Paris 1-3 (pp. 3-123) 


The Secret Rìver Faris 3-4 (pp. 125-185) 

T 11/10 

The Secret Rìver Paris 4-6 (pp. 189-271) 

R 11/12 

The Secret Rìver Part 6 (pp.275-334) 

T 11/17 

Student Presentation 

R 11/19 

Fanon, "On Violence," The Wretched ofthe Earth pp. 1-62 

T 11/24 

Once Were Warrìors pp 1-107. 

R 11/26 

No Class—Thanksgiving 

TI 2/1 

Once Were Warrìors pp. 108- 192 


Student Presentation 
Final Paper Due