Contemporary Literature and Globalization

English 504 Spring 2011 Classroom: White 4281 Time: 11:00 – 11:50 am, MWF Dr. Colin Gillis [email protected] Office: 7195c Office Hours: M, W 9:00 – 1...
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English 504 Spring 2011 Classroom: White 4281 Time: 11:00 – 11:50 am, MWF

Dr. Colin Gillis [email protected] Office: 7195c Office Hours: M, W 9:00 – 10:00 am or by appointment

Contemporary Literature and Globalization COURSE DESCRIPTION What can literature tell us about globalization? How has globalization affected the production, circulation, and reception of literary texts? And what role does literature play in the processes of social, economic, and cultural integration that have come to define our present era? This course will study the evolving relationship between literature and globalization through a consideration of several major literary texts published in the last two decades. Our discussions will be organized around five broad theoretical issues: the status of English as a global language; cosmopolitanism; migration, displacement, and return; the distribution of texts in a global literary marketplace; and the place of literature in an age of new media. This course will be run as a seminar with the majority of class time devoted to discussion. Occasionally, there will be short lectures, providing background on authors, texts, and relevant historical phenomena. Careful preparation, regular attendance, and active participation are vital for your success in this class. REQUIRED TEXTS Agha Shahad Ali, The Half-Inch Himalayas David Edgar, Pentecost* Aleksandar Hemon, Nowhere Man Tom Leonard, Nora’s Place and Other Poems 1965 -1995 (audio recording)** David Malouf, Remembering Babylon Phaswane Mpe, Welcome to Our Hillbrow Michael Ondaatje, Anil’s Ghost Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things Marjane Satrapi, The Complete Persepolis Additional readings will be posted to the course website on [email protected] All texts are available at Rainbow Bookstore (426 W. Gilman St.). *Pentecost is recommended, not required. Since this title is now out of print, the full text will be posted to [email protected] A limited number of texts are available at Rainbow. **NB: This is the album of recorded poetry, not the book. It is available online through and other online mp3 vendors. 1

FILMS: In addition to our regular reading assignments, we will watch three films. Each film will be screened a few days before it is to be discussed in class. If you cannot attend any of these screenings, you must watch the film on your own. Copies of the films are on three-hour reserve at College Library. There will be a brief quiz about the film on the day we are to discuss it. The World (2004), dir. Jia Zhangke Trainspotting (1996), dir. Danny Boyle Persepolis (2007), dir. Marjane Satrapi

7:00 pm, January 31 7:00 pm, February 28 7:00 pm, April 25

COURSE EVALUATION Close reading paper (3-4 pp.) Research paper (10-12 pp.) Final paper proposal Annotated bibliography Group presentation (10 mins.) and write-up (3 pp.) Participation

15% 30% 5% 10% 15% 20%

All grades will be calculated on a 100-point scale: A 93-100 AB 88-92 B 83-87 BC 78-82 C 71-77 D 65-70 F 0-64 REQUIREMENTS AND POLICIES 1.) Regular, attentive reading. You must keep up with the reading assignments as outlined in the schedule, and you must read them before the date on which they are assigned. Readings posted on [email protected] are not optional. Periodically, there will be quizzes to test whether you have done the reading. Your score on these quizzes will affect your participation grade. 2.) Prompt attendance. Attendance will be taken at the beginning of every class meeting, and the attendance policy will be strictly enforced. Your participation grade will be calculated on a 100-point scale. Students begin the semester with 100 points. They are allowed up to four absences. Any subsequent absences will reduce your participation grade by 5 points. In other words, if, over the course of the semester, you miss 5 classes, your participation grade will automatically be lowered by 5 points to 95. The only exception to the attendance policy is for religious observance, medical emergency (e.g., serious illness or hospitalization), and family 2

tragedy. If you are going to miss class for religious reasons, you must notify me within the first three weeks of the semester. Tardiness will also result in a lower participation grade. 3.) All written work should be typed, double-spaced, in a reasonable font with standard margins. Please submit papers electronically, in Word or PDF format, by posting them to the drop box in the course website on [email protected] 4.) Be sure to cite sources correctly and to include a Works Cited section in your written assignments. The website has information on source citation. Academic misconduct will not be tolerated. Plagiarism will result in failure of the course. 5.) The McBurney Disability Resource Center (263-2741) provides resources for students with disabilities. You will need to provide documentation of disability to them in order to receive official university services and accommodations. Students who wish to request any accommodations on the basis of disability should schedule an office appointment with me within the first three weeks of the semester. Please schedule this office appointment via email. To maintain the confidentiality of your request, please do not approach me before or after class to discuss your accommodation needs. 6.) Feel free to email with questions and comments about the course. I am always happy to meet with you in person. My office hours are the best time to do so. It is usually a good idea to request a meeting in advance via email. PRESENTATIONS Students are required to make a short (10 minute) presentation in groups of two. Each student in a group must speak during the presentation. He or she must also submit a bibliography (page lengthy will vary) and brief write-up (2-3 pp.). The write-up and bibliography will be due exactly one week after the presentation. A schedule with suggested topics will be distributed at the beginning of the semester. You may choose your own topic. However, all topics must be approved by the instructor at least fourteen days before the presentation. You must meet with me, during my office hours, to discuss your ideas for the presentation at least one week in advance. READING SCHEDULE An asterisk (*) indicates that the reading is available on [email protected] W 1/19

Introduction Handout with quotations by Noam Chomsky, Thomas Friedman, Karl Marx, Martin Wolf, and others “Globalization,” s.v., OED

Unit 1: Representing Globalization F 1/21 Read the syllabus in its entirety. David Malouf, Remembering Babylon, pp. 1-3 3

Agha Shahid Ali, “The Country Without a Post Office”* Manfred B. Steger, Globalization: A Very Short Introduction, pp. 1-37, 98-135* “Globalization,” s.v., New Keywords: A Revised Vocabulary of Culture* M 1/24

Remembering Babylon, pp. 3-43 Globalization: A Very Short Introduction, pp. 38-57* “Market” and “Capitalism,” s.v., New Keywords* “Capitalism,” s.v., The Oxford Companion to the Politics of the World*

W 1/26

Remembering Babylon, pp. 44-102 Globalization: A Very Short Introduction, pp. 58-70* “Nation,” s.v., New Keywords* “Cosmopolitanism,” s.v., Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy* “Nationalism,” s.v., The Oxford Companion to the Politics of the World*

F 1/28

Remembering Babylon, pp. 103-55 Globalization: A Very Short Introduction, pp. 71-83* “Culture,” “Diaspora,” and “Heritage,” s.v., New Keywords* In-class screening: I’m British But… (Gurinder Chadha, 1989)

M 1/31

Remembering Babylon, pp. 156-200 Globalization: A Very Short Introduction, pp. 84-97* “Environment / Ecology” and “Nature,” s.v., New Keywords* “Ecology,” s.v., OED* Screening: The World (2004), dir. Jia Zhangke Monday, January 31, 7:00 pm, location TBD The film is 139 minutes long.

W 2/2

Discussion of The World “An Interview with Jia Zhangke”*

Unit 2: Citizens of the World F 2/4 Michael Ondaatje, Anil’s Ghost, pp. 1-32 Martha C. Nussbaum, “Patriotism and Cosmopolitanism”*


M 2/7

Anil’s Ghost, pp. 33-93 Gertrude Himmelfarb, “The Illusions of Cosmopolitanism”* Michael W. McConnell, “Don‟t Neglect Little Platoons”* Elaine Scarry, “The Difficulty of Imagining Other People”*

W 2/9

Anil’s Ghost, pp. 94-157

F 2/11

Anil’s Ghost, pp. 158-231

M 2/14

Anil’s Ghost, pp. 232-307 Michael Ondaatje, selections from Handwriting* Close reading paper due by midnight.

W 2/16

David Edgar, Pentecost, Act I*

F 2/18

Pentecost, Act II*

M 2/21

Continue discussion of Pentecost

Unit 3: Global English W 2/23 David Crystal, English as a Global Language, pp. 1-28* Louise Bennett, “Colonization in Reverse”* Linton Kwesi Johnson, “Inglan is a Bitch” and excerpt from Mi Revalueshanary Fren* F 2/25

Tom Leonard, Nora’s Place and Other Poems (audio recording), “Ghostie Men,” and “To be or Not to Be”* [Listen to the recording alongside the texts of the poems, which will be posted to [email protected]]

M 2/28

Leonard, “Unrelated Incidents,” “Situations Theoretical and Contemporary,” “Poetry, Schools, Place,” “BBC News 1982,” “Sourscenes from Scottish Literary Life,” “What I Hate about the News,” and “A Letter on Being Asked to Contribute to an Anthology”* Screening: Trainspotting (1996), dir. Danny Boyle Monday, February 28, 7:00 pm, location TBD The film is 94 minutes. 5

W 3/2

Welsh, “Kicking” (in Trainspotting) and “A Soft Touch”* “A Trainspotting Glossary”* Discussion of Trainspotting (film)

F 3/4

Continue discussion of Trainspotting Junot Díaz, “Ysrael,” “Fiesta, 1980,” and “No Face”* Research paper proposal due by midnight.

M 3/7

Díaz, “How to Date a Browngirl, Blackgirl, Whitegirl, or Halfie” and “Negocios”*

W 3/9

Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things, pp. 1-83

F 3/11

The God of Small Things, pp. 84-147

March 12-20 spring recess M 3/21

The God of Small Things, pp. 148-216 Roy, “The Ladies Have Feelings, So…Shall We Leave it to the Experts?”*

W 3/23

The God of Small Things, pp. 216-72

Unit 4: Migration F 3/25 The God of Small Things, pp. 273-321 M 3/28

Agha Shahid Ali, The Half-Inch Himalayas, part 1

W 3/29

The Half-Inch Himalayas, part 2

F 4/1

No class today. Annotated bibliography due by midnight.

M 4/4

The Half-Inch Himalayas, parts 3-4

W 4/6

Phaswane Mpe, Welcome to Our Hillbrow, pp. 1-27 Mike Davis, “The Urban Climacteric”*

F 4/8

Welcome to Our Hillbrow, pp. 28-79 6

M 4/11

Welcome to Our Hillbrow, pp. 80-124

W 4/13

Aleksandar Hemon, Nowhere Man, pp. 1-72

Unit 5: Global Media F 4/15 Nowhere Man, pp. 73-127 Arjun Appadurai, “Here and Now” and “Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy”* M 4/18

Nowhere Man, pp. 128-59

W 4/20

Nowhere Man, pp. 160-242

F 4/22

Pascale Casanova, “From Internationalism to Globalization”* Graham Huggan, “Prizing „Otherness‟: A Brief History of the Booker”* André Schiffrin, “Market Censorship”*

M 4/25

Marjane Satrapi, The Complete Persepolis, pp. 1-153 Screening: Persepolis (2007), dir. Marjane Satrapi Monday, April 25, 7:00 pm, location TBD The film is 95 minutes.

W 4/27

The Complete Persepolis, pp. 154-341

F 4/29

Discussion of Persepolis (film)

M 5/2

Young Hae Chang Heavy Industries, “Dakota,” “Cunnilingus in North Korea,” and “Operation Nukorea” (

W 5/4

Jason Nelson, “Game, Game, Game, and Again Game,” “Game School” (, “Digital Poetry Introduction,” and “Digital Poetry-1: Games” ( Timothy Bissell, “Fallout” and “Grand Thefts”*


F 5/6

Conclusion and review Final paper due by midnight.


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