From Colony to Postcolony: The Literature of Empire and its Aftermath

Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Programs for Teachers
Newberry Teachers' Consortium

In recent years the study of European colonialism has become a central component of the way one understands and explains the modern world, its globalized economic markets and ethnically diverse citizenry. And yet the tortuous history of decolonization that is linked with these phenomena-the demise of the European empires that had their zenith in the late-19th and early-20th century-is rarely discussed in an interdisciplinary manner.  This seminar will give a broad overview of three interrelated topics in order to set a context for postcolonial literature (or third- world literature, as it was called until recently): (1) Narrating European Empires (Joseph Conrad, Rudyard Kipling); (2) Anticolonial Nationalism and Decolonization (Gandhi, Aimé Césaire, Frantz Fanon); (3) Postcolonial Fiction (J.M. Coetzee, Derek Walcott, Salman Rushdie). Our readings will be limited to the customary length (and may include a short selection from the critic and scholar Edward Said), but participants are encouraged tailor the seminar discussion to authors of interest.

Seminar led by Sunil Agnani, University of Illinois at Chicago