Hearts of Darkness
This course will explore various depictions of the colonial encounter: Polish, English, Nigerian, Guyanese, Trinidadian, German, Cuban, American...We will ask how different writers understand the origins of empire, when those origins are often very different from them in space and time. How do drastically different cultures reckon with one another, and what kind of power dynamics shape their meetings? We will also analyze the effects that different writing styles have on the subject: the pageantry and poetry of Shakespeare and Césaire, the modernist experimentation of Conrad, the neo-realism of Achebe and Naipaul, the surrealism of Harris and Carpentier, and postmodern film techniques. These discussions will serve as a through line to students’ semester-long development as both critical readers and academic writers.