Spring, 2000, Pin-chia Feng & Kate Liu
students: Chiao-Tung, Fu Jen
Final; Course Evaluation
picture adapted from Post_Imperial Web
|India & Pakistan|
|The Caribbean Area|
& Race Relations,
|Glossary of Terms|
|As English majors, we need to know
that "English" is not always British, and "American"--not
necessarily the U.S. How about English Literature? British
and U.S. literature? In the past, maybe, but now in the age of postcolonialism
-- definitely no.
English literatures are all the literatures written in English in 1.) the U.S. and U.K., and in 2.) the English-speaking countries in areas ranging from Africa, South Asia, South-East Asia, East Asia (e.g. Hong Kong), South Pacific area (e.g. Australia & New Zealand), the Caribbean area, to North America (e.g. Canada). (See Map.) To distinguish the latters from the formers, we call the latters -- world literatures written in English, or postcolonial (Third World) literature in English, or New English literatures.
Since world literatures written in English cover so many nations with their distinct national/racial cultures, it is hardly possible to generalize about them, not to mention teaching them all in one course. These literatures, however, do have common concerns, their nations having all experienced imperialism and colonization, and their peoples, immigration and frequently more than once. Among the common cercerns there are: influences of colonization, possibilities of decolonization and defining national identity, power relations (between the colonizer and the colonized, dominant group and minorities). These national literatures, moreover, are linked to each other by the large flows of immigrants of Chinese, African and/or Indian descent--what is called Chinese, African and Indian diasporas (離散族群).
To do a focused survey of world literatures in English, this course chooses literatures (short stories, novel excerpts and poems) in the Indian subcontinent (including Pakistan and India), the Caribbean area (including Trinidad, Barbados and Jamaica), and Canada, as well as those by diasporic/immigrant writers from these areas such as Salman Rushdie, Jean Rhys, Michael Ondaatje, V.S. Naipaul., etc. (See the black areas on Map.) Our central questions are:
How is national identity defined after the end of official colonization? Can traditional culture not be contaminated by colonial culture?
What gets involved in immigration? Identity crisis or cultural exchange/transformation, social mobility/climbing or different forms of racism?
As we move from Indian subcontinent to the Caribbean, and then to Canada, the diasporic writers (e.g. Indian-Caribbean, African-Caribbean, Indian-Caribbean-Canadian) will help connect the different regions. At the end, with discussion of Chinese-Canadian texts, we hope to come back to Taiwan and discuss local engagement in the issues we focus on in class; that is, (de-)colonization, national identity and migration.
Requirements and Grading Policy:
Active participation and designated response in class -- 10%
it possible to teach World Literature in English?
A: No, unless there is a focus in theme. No because World Literature in English includes so many regions and nations and culture, and the Yes is given under the condition that a proper theme is chosen to allow the teacher to set up a manageable context.
are you teaching "Indian Literature" when you are not an Indian, nor have
you been to India or know any Indian languages?
are you sure your interpretation of their culture (Indian, or Indian diasporic)
for Discussion & Group Report and possible texts to choose:
(to be updated as the class develops)
I: Cultural Identity & Representation of India or Indian/Pakistani
Feature Films: In Custody, Masala, Mississippe Masala, My Beautiful Laundrette, Fire
Documentaries: (more. . .)
Literature: Passage to India, Passage to Lahore, other chapters from Meatless Days, short stories by Rushdie & Narayan.
Group Report II:
Caribbean Disapora and Survival
Group Report III:
Issues related to Immigrants' (of Chinese Descent or Immigrants to Canada)
* Want to see the final exam questions of the course, '98? Go ahead!
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