The Modern Period
Literature & Colonialism
In this course we will read a number of literary texts set in colonized territories. Dating primarily from the turn of the twentieth century to the period of widespread decolonization a half-century later, these texts represent a variety of forms and genres and emerge out of a number of different cultural situations and geographic locations. Some of the authors to be considered are firmly enshrined in the canon of modern European literature, while others write as colonized or postcolonial subjects engaging with European histories of exoticist representation. In our discussions, we will consider the historical specificity of each text while remaining open to insights made possible by reading comparatively. In other words, our goal will not be to synthesize a monolithic theory of literature and colonialism but rather to analyze individual texts while attempting to be attentive to common textual strategies, formal elements, and practices of representing colonial space, dynamics of power, and variously configured articulations of domination and resistance.