Summer 2011 Courses

English 583: Special Topics in World Literature: Imaging India Literature and Film Since the 1920s (elective)

MW 9:30 - 11:18
6/20/2011 - 8/22/2011
Denney Hall 250
Prof. Jani

Indians and non-Indians have long participated in imagining India, portraying it as everything from an exotic, spiritual paradise to model for peaceful protest and pluralistic democracy, to a hell on earth, filled with oppression and violence. In this course, we will examine how 20th century literature and film by and/or about Indians provided a basis for these representations,reimagining the subcontinent in terms of gender, race, ethnicity, and religion in the process of serving the social and political interests of particular groups and classes. In the process, the course will delve beyond the Orientalist and nationalist representations of India that dominated the 20th century and introduce students to a multiplicity of perspectives that have developed since the 1920s.

Writers I'm considering: Adiga, Chughtai, Faiz, Gandhi, Ghosh, Rushdie, and Roy. Films I'm considering: Gandhi, Gunga Din, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Bombay and SlumdogMillionaire.

Requirements: dedicated reading and participation, several short papers and a final project.


English 592: Postcolonial Women Writers (elective)

MW 1:30 - 3:18
6/20/2011 - 8/22/2011
Denney Hall 214
Prof. Jani

After all the talk about globalization and diversity, our 21st century world burdens us with myths about non-Western women, often the same ones that proliferated in centuries past. These myths—about the alleged passivity, traditionalism, and exoticism of such women—proliferate especially in times of war, when there is direct application of that old narrative of "white men rescuing brown women from brown men" (to quote theorist Gayatri Spivak). Clearly, the global citizen of today, especially if s/he stands for democracy and equality, needs to be much better educated.

Postcolonial women's writing in English—where "postcolonial" stands for writing from formerly and currently colonized spaces—offers a unique view of the complexities of postcolonial life that go far beyond the Western/non-Western divide. Critical of both Western and non-Western knowledge and tradition yet informed by each, the novels, short stories, and essays we will read in this course interrogate a variety of discourses about gender, whether imperialist, nationalist, religious, or Western-feminist. Crucial to this project, as we shall see, are the writers' diverseaesthetic strategies in representing the interior lives of women, producing new models of postcolonial subjectivity and gender identity.

Students interested in the intersections of literature and culture with history, politics, and society, as well as a rigorous engagement with complex writing and theory, are encouraged to take this course.

Writers I am considering include: Ama Ata Aidoo, Ismat Chughtai, Tsitsi Dangarembga, Egwidge Danticat, Kiran Desai, Nadine Gordimer, Rokeya Sakhawat Hussain, Jamaica Kincaid,Taslima Nasreen, Arundhati Roy, Kamila Shamsie.

Course requirements: engaged participation in reading and class discussion, several short papers, a final research paper.


History 781: Studies in Women's History - Crossing Borders: Immigration, Race, and Gender (graduate course)

Summer 2011 (1st half – June 20-July 22)
Tuesdays and Fridays 2:30 - 4:48
Prof. J. Wu

This graduate level course will explore the themes of immigration, race, and gender in U.S. History. While traditional scholars have tended to focus on individuals of European descent in the field of immigration history, African Americans in conceptions of race, and native-born white women in discussions of gender, this class will examine scholarship that expands and complicates the categories of ethnicity, race, and gender.

The course primarily will introduce you to the new scholarship on immigration. Through weekly readings and discussions, we will explore the following questions: How did the experiences of European immigrants compare with those who trace their ancestry to Africa, Asia, Latin America, or even indigenous peoples of the United States? How did im/migrants conceive of themselves and how were they perceived in terms of their ethnicity, nationality, and racial identities? In what ways did gender define the migration and racialization processes? In turn, how did migration and ethnic/racial formation alter conceptions of gender? Finally, what is the significance ofim/migration for conceptualizing national identity, and how might transnational, diasporic or imperialist frameworks change the way we understand im/migration?