This is some of the most exciting and entertaining literature produced in recent times. Three of the authors studied--Wole Soyinka, Derek Walcott, and Nadine Gordimer--have won the Nobel Prize for Literature, and another--Salman Rushdie--is one of the most admired (and controversial) writers working today. However these writers are not normally included in the regular English curriculum.
The course is aimed at the general student who wishes to read some interesting literature and gain some perspectives different from those we are usually exposed to. African and Caribbean ideas on race often differ in various ways from those typical of African-American writers, for instance. Jamaicans and Indians had very different colonial experiences, and very different responses to it. Many of the writers are not particularly concerned with the impact of colonialism on their cultures, which is one reason that this course does not bear the more common "Postcolonial" label.
Each author and work is treated individually, with no attempt to impose a particular political point of view. Students are encouraged to try to understand a wide variety of cultural perspectives. To assist them, we present film clips and movies which provide background information and images illustrating the cultures in which these works were produced.
The course is conducted primarily as a discussion class. Students use detailed study guides provided by the instructor which explain obscure references and point out themes and techniques which should be noted. Working with these notes outside of class, students are able to come to class prepared to discuss the works with some insight. No particularly advanced skills are needed except an enthusiasm for reading and a willingness to discuss and ask questions in a small-class format. There are no prerequisites for the course.
There are three short papers required, and a series of brief daily writing assignments based on the study guides, but there are no exams or research paper. Attendance and participation are required.
This is a "G" course, which means it can be used for the General Education Requirement in Humanities, or for the requirement in Intercultural Studies, or both. Students simply seeking an interesting elective are also very welcome.
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