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CMLIT 102W: Global Literatures II

Christopher Winks

(Submission #20)

Course Description

Among the distinctive contributions of the always open and diversified field of Comparative Literature to a liberal education has been its emphasis on what has been called the "worlding" of literature, the various ways in which literature helps us to see and understand the world we live in and its multiple pasts, presents, and futures, and on the importance of textual analysis and translation as communicating vessels between languages and cultures. This course and its companion, Global Literatures I, aim to provide students with a greater awareness of the global cultural contexts in which literary works are created (which is intended to enhance rather than diminish consideration of the aesthetic qualities of these texts). The course draws its assigned readings from roughly the 16th century C.E. to the present day, focusing on the increasing complexity of transcultural encounters that, taken together, constitute the modern world.

This is intended to be a variable-topics course, and its instructor(s) will have broad leeway to shape its specific content and emphases in a given semester, while preserving a cross-cultural, comparative orientation that situates the selected texts in the wider world(s) of their marking. Sample topics could be: Representations of the Individual, Discoveries/Encounters/Conquests, The Literature of War, Love in the Modern World, The Literature of Exile, Representations of Death, The Modern Epic, etc.

Sample Topic:

Colonialism/Anti-Colonialism. One of the major struggles that shaped what we know as the "modern world" involved a conflict between the people and ideas that constituted the colonial project - the occupation, expropriation, and forced exploitation by European (and later United States) capitalism of entire peoples and regions of the globe in the name of "civilization" and "economic development" - and those who were subjected to this regime of control.

For all their failings in certain regards, anti-colonial struggles, which intensified during the post-World War II era in Africa and Asia, did succeed in changing the map and the way we look at the world now. Some say that we are now in a postcolonial order, and others that colonialism is still very much with us in new forms. In order to make sense of these debates, and the present global moment as a whole, it is useful to examine the literature that came out of colonialism and the resistance to it. Beginning with the Martiniquan poet Aimé Césaire's violent denunciation of the racism and dehumanization integral to the theory and practice of colonialism, this course juxtaposes representative (and frequently critical) literary writings by carriers of the colonial project with works by those brought up under colonialism and prepared to use its own weapons (including literary ones) to undermine and destroy it. Readings are drawn from the Caribbean, South Asia, Central and Eastern Africa, and the Maghreb (North Africa).


Area of Knowledge and Inquiry: Reading Literature (RL)
Context of Experience: World Cultures (WC)
Extended Requirement: Not Applicable

Additional Course information

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: English 110
Existing Course: Existing
Existing Course Number: Comparative Literature 102W
Course Anticipated to be offered: Every Semester
Other (if specified): 
Number of Sections: 6-10
Number of Seats: 25


[Justification, Materials, Assessment, Administration (DOC)]   [Syllabus/Syllabi (DOC)]  

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