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Postcolonial Literature

Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur via NPTEL

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Overview

This course on Postcolonial literature will explore colonialism and anti-colonial resistance through the cultural legacies and literary imprints that they leave. It will also be an introduction to the specialised field of postcolonial studies which started emerging during the 1980s and ever since then has come to occupy a significant position within the various humanities departments across the world. It is hoped that this course will enable students to competently navigate the complex maze of theoretical terms and concepts that characterise postcolonial studies and savour the wonderful variety and richness of the literature that is today classified under the rubric of postcolonialism.

Syllabus

Week 1:
1. Introduction: What is postcolonialism?
2. Commonwealth Literature  
3. Colonial Discourse Analysis: Michel Foucault 
4. Colonial Discourse Analysis: Edward Said  
5. Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness

Week 2
1. Colonialism: The African Perspective
2. Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart (I)
3. Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart (II)
4. Decolonisation and the Discourse of Nationalism: The Context of India
5. Sonnets of Henry Derozio

Week 3
1. Raja Rao’s Kanthapura (I)
2. Raja Rao’s Kanthapura (II)
3. Critics of Nationalism: Rabindranath Tagore and Frantz Fanon
4. Homi Bhabha and the concept of cultural hybridity
5. Selected Caribbean poetry

Week 4
1. Diasporic literature: Selections from Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies
2. Gayatri Spivak: Answering the question “Can the Subaltern Speak?”
3. Mahasweta Devi Pterodactyl I
4. Mahasweta Devi Pterodactyl II
5. Conclusion: Postcolonial Futures

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