English 138

Studies in World Literature in English: Postcolonial Ecologies

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Fall 2022 Banerjee, Sukanya
TuTh 8-9:30 Wheeler 222

Book List

Conrad, Joseph: The Heart of Darkness; Ghosh, Amitav: The Hungry Tide; Habila, Helon: Oil on Water; Kincaid, Jamaica: A Small Place; Tamashita, Karen Yei: Through the Arc of the Rainforest


Colonialism is about subjugating people. What that entails, however, is the domination over land and ecosystems. Beginning with Joseph Conrad’s The Heart of Darkness, a paradigmatic text that outlines colonial expropriation, we will use the term “postcolonial” in two senses—to denote the aftermath of colonialism as well as a critical term borne of histories of colonialism—to query the highly vexed relation between colonialism and ecology as it is narrativized in literatures of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Studying (mainly) novels written on and from various geographic locations (from the Amazonian rainforest to the estuarine Sunderbans delta), we will consider what role literary form plays/can play in articulating an ecological sensibility and vice versa. We will also pay special attention to the role of the nonhuman in subtending or unsettling the colonial framework.

Course assignments will include short assignments and a final paper. Readings include the texts listed above and materials on bCourses.

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