English 250

Research Seminar: Everyday Postcoloniality

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
3 Spring 2012 Premnath, Gautam
Premnath, Gautam
Thurs. 3:30-6:30 102 Barrows

Book List

Armah, A: The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born; Chaudhuri, A: Freedom Song; Chowdhury, S: Patna Roughcut; Cole, T: Open City; Danticat, E: The Dew Breaker; Dasgupta, R: Solo; Djebar, A: Women of Algiers in Their Apartments; Ekwensi, C: People of the City; Mpe, P: Welcome to Our Hillbrow; Munif, A: Cities of Salt; Tyrewala, A: No God in Sight


One of the defining preoccupations of literary realism is the precise, penetrating depiction of everyday life. This course will consider how this ambition is pursued in the context of postcolonial writing. Our primary reading will be a series of fictional texts by African, Caribbean, Middle Eastern, and South Asian writers, with an emphasis upon very recent work. These will be supplemented by extensive readings in criticism, cultural and social theory, and reportage. We will examine the emergence of the everyday as a distinct conceptual category, highlighting its mobilization in prominent twentieth-century critiques of modernity. We will consider its status as an aesthetic object, identifying formal strategies for the representation of everyday life. Throughout we will consider the specific stakes of the everyday for postcolonial writers and in postcolonial societies. In the process, the everyday will offer us a crucial analytical vantage point for tracing the vicissitudes of postcolonial modernity itself.

The announced booklist for the course is tentative and subject to change. The bSpace reader for the course will feature work by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Susan Buck-Morss, Partha Chatterjee, Teju Cole, E. Valentine Daniel, Veena Das, Guy Debord, Mahasweta Devi, Frantz Fanon, Amitav Ghosh, Stuart Hall, Peter Hitchcock, Ranjana Khanna, Arun Kolatkar, Henri Lefebvre, Achille Mbembe, Gyanendra Pandey, Ato Quayson, and others.

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