English and Film Studies

ENGL 481 A1: Studies in Empire and the Postcolonial: Borders, Lines and Walls

L. Harrington

This course examines how borders are created in a postcolonial context, in post-conflict societies and in our globalized world. We will work with the framework of critical border studies, an interdisciplinary field that has emerged at the intersection of political geography, literary studies, gender, race and migration studies. Borders can take the form of concrete physical divisions as well as ideological and imaginary, though no less established, boundaries. We will explore the existence of such borders as they are represented in a variety of novels, short stories and poetry in addition to non-fiction, with the aim of interrogating the function and dysfunction of border aesthetics. In addition, we will seek to question how such borders are created, dismantled, reimagined and transgressed, and the role that migration, both forced and voluntary, plays in the eradication of borders and the development of global, transcultural or transnational communities. Our geographical and historical focus will include the partitions of India, Ireland and Palestine, Apartheid in South Africa, and the US-Mexico border.