English 173

The Language and Literature of Films: Postcolonial Film

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Spring 2019 JanMohamed, Abdul R.
MWF 10-11 54 Barrows

Book List

Conrad, Joseph: Heart of Darkness

Other Readings and Media

Films to be screened will be chosen from the following:               

Battle of Algiers (Director: Gillo Pontecorvo, Italy/USA) Release Date: 1967

The Mission (Director: Roland Joffe, UK) RD: 1986                            

Mangal Pandey (Director: Ketan Mehta, India) RD: 2005

Burn!  (Director: Gillo Pontecorv, (Italy) RD: 1970

Lawrence of Arabia (Director: David Lean (UK) RD: 1962

Moolaade  (Director: Ouseman Sembene, Senegal) RD: 2004

Apocalypse Now (Director: Francis Ford Coppola, USA) RD:  1979

Chocolat (Director: Claire Denis, France) RD: 1969

Mississippi Masala (Director: Mira Nair, USA/India) RD: 1991

A Dry White Season (DirectorEuzhan Palcy, USA/Martinique) RD: 1989

The Reluctant Fundamentalist (Director: Mira Nair, USA/India) RD: 2012

The Constant Gardener  (Director: Fernando Meirelles, UK) RD: 2005

Rangoon (Director: Vishal Bhardwaj, India) RD: 2017

The Sand Pebbles (Director: Robert Wise, U.S.) RD: 1966


This course will examine a series of films that focus on the nature and structure of Western colonialism and (post)colonialism.  We will study the different forms of colonialism, as depicted from various perspectives, as well as the social, political, economic, and aesthetic valences that constitute the long history of colonialism. In this course I am particularly interested in films that critique the (post)colonial enterprises and structures rather than films that just happen to be located in (post)colonial settings.  Among such films, the vast majority are films directed and produced from a Western (Euro-American) perspective; unfortunately, the vast majority of the non-Western films are less interested in such critiques and more preoccupied with depicting other aspects of non-Western cultural preoccupations.  Nevertheless, the course will incorporate films that are non-Western critiques of colonialism, such as Moolaade, Mangel Pandey, Rangoon, etc.

Course requirement:  Final course grade will be based on one group report, one paper, and a final exam – see details below:

1). Each student is required to post a brief comment about each film on the discussion page on bCourses.  These comments will be graded P/NP. 

2). A group (of about 4 people, depending on class size) will be required to present a research repor­t on any aspect of postcolonial cinema not covered in the course.  We will discuss the constitution of the groups, the possible topics, and the nature of the reports early in the first week of classes.  Reports will constitute 25% of the final grade.

3). One paper (about 2400 words) on one of the topics to be assigned.  The paper will constitute 40% of the final grade.

4). A final exam (in class on the designated exam day/time), which will constitute 35% of the final grade.

N.B. consistent failure to post regular comments on the films will count against your final grade.

Texts:  In addition to the Joseph Conrad novel, Heart of Darkness, texts will consist of articles posted on bCourses (under files) and the films listed above.

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