Monday, November 11, 2013

L224 Introduction to World Literatures in English

Professor:  Vivian Halloran



30680          11:15A-12:05P   MW     BH 005

Discussion (DIS)

30681          11:15A-12:05P   F      JH 440

30682          12:20P-01:10P   F      BH 238


  Distribution Credit:  IUB GenEd A&H credit,  IUB GenEd World Culture credit,  COLL (CASE) Global Civ & Culture credit, and COLL (CASE) A&H Breadth of Inquiry credit

This course begins from the premise that literary works construct fictive worlds that correspond to, and vary from, the lived reality experienced by readers.  Taking genre considerations into account, we will embark upon a considered analysis of two general types of accounts of “worldliness”: immigrant tales and home-spun narratives. Although these perspectives are not mutually exclusive, the primary difference between these kinds of stories are the claims of ownership characters tend to make towards the specific geopolitical space (city, state,  province, country)  they find themselves inhabiting. Home-spun narratives are told from an insider’s perspective, while immigrant’s tales describe the in-between process of identifying difference and learning to fit in. However, neither of these vantage points are fixed or unchanging; on the contrary, the assigned works call into question the basic assumptions undergirding the insider/outsider, domestic/international binaries by forcing us to consider how, as a literary language, English can simultaneously render foreignness familiar, as well as make the everyday seem eerie and strange.


In this class, we will be using Twitter and Storify to identify and analyze current events taking place in the geopolitical regions where these narratives are set because they will influence our collective interpretation of the same. The individual sections will follow the template of World Literature Today e-newsletter to report their collective assessment of the texts we read during the semester; together, these “e-newsletters” will make up the review material for the exams.  Students will write two five-page, double spaced analytical essays and take exams over the material.

Assigned works:

Immigrant Tales:

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, That Thing Around Your Neck (stories; Nigeria)

Teju Cole, Open City: A Novel (novel; Nigeria)

Austin Clarke, There Are no Elders (stories; Barbados/Canada)

Junot Diaz, This is How You Lose Her (stories; Dominican Republic/US) *He will come to Bloomington April 8th, 2014.


Home-spun narratives:

Alice Munro, Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage: Stories (Canada)

Samrat Uphadhyay, Buddha’s Orphans (novel; Nepal/US) *He will speak to our class in person.

D. Bruno Starrs, That Blackfella Blood Sucka Dance! (novel; Australia) (Kindle edition)


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