Department of English

University of Toronto

ENG489H1F

ENG489H1F  L0101   R3-5
Postcolonial Theory Today
Professor Rijuta Mehta


Brief Description of Course: This course will introduce you to some key concepts and debates in and around the field of “Postcolonial Theory.” We will first engage with philosophies and memoirs from practitioners of resistance in South Asia, Africa, and the U.S., then move to theoretical debates about speech, silence, and the readability of resistance, and finally bring our insights to bear upon some responses to wartime colonialism in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria today.

Required Reading: Revolutionary Action and Philosophy:Mohandas K. Gandhi, Hind Swaraj (Indian Home Rule) (1909); Kalpana Dutt, selections from Chittagong Armoury Raiders: Reminiscences (1945);  Aimé Césaire, Discourse on Colonialism (1955); Frantz Fanon, “On Violence” from The Wretched of the Earth (1961); Malcolm X, selections from The Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley (1965); Angela Davis, “Reflections on the Black Woman’s Role in the Community of Slaves” (1971)

Theory and Aesthetic Practice:Edward Said, “Introduction” from Orientalism (1978); Mahasweta Devi, “Children” from Nairhite Megh (Storm Clouds in the Southwest Sky) (1978);  Homi Bhabha, “Sly Civility” (1985); Madhu Kishwar and Ruth Vanita, “The Burning of Roop Kanwar” (1987); Gayatri Spivak, “Can the Subaltern Speak?” (1988); Édouard Glissant, “The Open Boat” from The Poetics of Relation (1990); Saidiya Hartman, “The Time of Slavery” (2002); Thomas Keenan, “Mobilizing Shame” (2004); Omise’eke Natasha Tinsley, “Black Atlantic, Queer Atlantic” (2008); Jodi Byrd, “Cherokee Freedmen, Internal Colonialism, and the Racialization of Citizenship” (2011); Solmaz Sharif, selections from Look (2016); Alia Malek, selections from The Home That Was Our Country: A Memoir of Syria (2017)

First Three Authors/Texts: TBA.

Method of Instruction: Seminar discussion. 

Method of Evaluation: Oral presentation (15-20 minutes), midterm essay (4-6 pages), final essay (6-8 pages)

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