English, 2013 curriculum - Free topic 16: Cultural Encounters in Local and Global Contexts: Engagement Across Borders

Course content

In this course we will look at a selection of literary texts and their representation of the issues at stake when non-Western cultures come into contact with the West across a colonial, postcolonial, or global divide that invariably generates instability and hybridity. The result is typically estrangement and loss, but this ‘predicament’ may also lead to new insights, empowerment, circumvention, or what the theorist Homi Bhabha has called a ‘superior cultural intelligence’. At the beginning of the course, we will discuss theoretical texts about cultural encounters, notably Mary Louise Pratt’s ideas of the ‘contact zone’, asymmetrical relations of power and transculturation. Following this, we will explore literary narratives, set in either historical, contemporary and/or future time as examples of what Pratt has called ‘the arts of the contact zone’ played out in encounters between Western cultural agents and those of (formerly) colonised territories.

Classes, with particular emphasis on reading primary and secondary texts, oral discussion and developing proficiency in English.

Provisional reading list:  Rudy Wiebe, A Discovery of Strangers (1995); Patricia Grace, Potiki (1986); Chimamanda Adichie, Americanah (2013); Amitav Ghosh, The Calcutta Chromosome (1995); Rana Dasgupta, Tokyo Cancelled (2005); Mary Louise Pratt, ‘Arts of the Contact Zone,’ Ways of Reading, ed. David Bartholomae and Anthony Petroksky (1999) along with a selection of other theoretical and critical texts that will all be uploaded to ABSALON.  

This course only leads to exams Free Topic 1A + 1B, Free Topic 2A + 2B and Free Topic 3A + 3B.

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • Preparation
  • 176,75
  • English
  • 204,75