ENGL 223 A1: Reading Politics: Empire and the Postcolonial

T. Tomsky

This course introduces students to the field of postcolonial studies and its critical response to the political phenomenon of imperialism. How and in what ways do literary texts reproduce and sustain imperial ideas? How do they challenge imperialism? And, most of all, what is the relationship between these representations and the real world? Guided by these questions, this course invites students to consider the relationship between culture and imperialism, introducing key concepts developed by postcolonial critics seeking to explain the ways in which texts help manufacture political consent. Next we will turn to postcolonial reflections upon empire, across disparate regions, to explore, analyze, and compare the way postcolonial writers and intellectuals consider anticolonial strategies of resistance as well as account for empire’s unresolved legacies.

Select Texts
J.M. Coetzee, Waiting for the Barbarians
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
Jamaica Kincaid, A Small Place
Rudyard Kipling, “The Man Who Would be King”

Theory: Selections from Achebe, Cesaire, Fanon, CLR James, JanMohamed, Lazarus,
Mbembe, McClintock, Nixon, Orwell, Said, Spivak, and Stoler