English R1B

Reading and Composition: After Empires

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
7 Fall 2017 Choi, Jeehyun
MW 5-6:30 279 Dwinelle

Book List

Achebe, Chinua: Things Fall Apart; Aidoo, Ama Ata: Our Sister Killjoy; Diaz, Junot: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao; Hagedorn, Jessica: Dogeaters; Hamid, Mohsin: The Reluctant Fundamentalist; Nguyen, Viet Thanh: The Sympathizer: A Novel; Okada, John: No-No Boy


In this course, we will investigate how literature and literary criticism from the 1950s to today has responded to various forms of imperialism, focusing on how the concerns of "postcolonial" texts change according to temporal and spatial locations. Overview questions that will guide our readings include: What constitutes an empire, and what is its relation to literature and culture? How has postcolonial literature used language and form to resist imperialist initiatives and to represent colonial experiences? What can literature tell us about how colonialism intersects with gender, race, nation, and class? We will read literary texts as well as critical and historical works that explore the ongoing aftermaths of the British, Japanese, and U.S. empires. In particular, the course will tend to a number of texts that evoke the question of American empire and concern the implications of reading—or failing to read—the United States as an imperial power.

As we explore literatures of various parts of the world and their historical contexts, we will develop your fluency in college-level academic writing and refine your research skills. This is a writing-intensive course, and accordingly, we will use our class discussions as platforms to hone your skills in generating original research questions and crafting compelling arguments. You will outline, draft, revise, and workshop papers throughout the course of the semester, producing a substantial research paper at the end of the semester according to your own interests.

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