Reading & Composition
Elements of Island Literatures
One way we can think about an island: a territory of the imagination that cuts across linguistic, cultural, and historical boundaries, a fantasy land of conquest and domination, a place of punishment, and the site of new beginnings beyond the known. How many times have you been asked the classic “what to take to a deserted island” question? And then another way to think about islands: as real places, where real lives have met and continue to meet the opportunities and challenges of this particular geography. Furthermore, certain island histories are best understood beyond the idea of a lone island: through movements, flows, transits, multiplications, and migrations. In this course we will think together about what makes islands such a rich space for multiple (and oftentimes contradictory!) expressions. Through a selection (by no means exhaustive, by no means complete) of literature from the insular and diasporic Hispanic, Anglophone, and Francophone Caribbean, making necessary detours in early modern European texts, we will hone our analytical writing and research skills by focusing on how and why islands and their surrounding waters are productive spaces from which to think about our relationship to fundamental concepts such as nature, class, race, gender, space, time, history, language, and power. As an R and C course, this is a writing-intensive class that fulfills a University requirement. Expect to spend a considerable amount of time writing, rewriting, and writing some more! With consistent work and dedication, you will be surprised at how your writing evolves from the first day to the last.