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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Ramya Sreenivasan
SISSA 490
Seattle Campus

Special Topics

Topics vary.

Class description

SISSA 490 / ENG 440 - Colonialism, nationalism and the emergence of the novel in South Asia and Africa Description Novels in English by authors of South Asian origin or nationality have attracted a great deal of international attention recently. In different South Asian languages, the first generation of novels emerged towards the end of the nineteenth century. Writers on the subcontinent began engaging with issues of nationhood and the formation of national literatures. This course explores a range of South Asian novels, from early experiments in the form, to current, post-modern instances, as they engage with issues of nationhood. The novels selected here were written in English, Bengali and Hindi / Urdu. (We will read the latter texts in English translations.) In the course of reading these texts, we will seek to understand the evolution of the novel in South Asia, and its continuing engagement with the history and politics of the nation. In early seminar sessions, we will also acquaint ourselves with the historical events being retold in the novels, and with the historical context in which these novels emerged. This course will thus explore the relationship between the novel and its multiple histories. We will also seek to understand the evolution of the novel in colonized contexts, and its continuing engagement with the history and politics of the nation. For literary and historical comparison, the course will conclude by focusing on a novel from Africa that engages with similar issues.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Requirements No prior knowledge of South Asia or Africa is required for enrolment in this seminar course. However, a substantial amount of reading will be required each week (one novel plus at least one essay providing literary/historical context). Since this is a seminar-based course, class discussion will be a vital component of the final grade, in addition to written assignments. Texts Rabindranath Tagore, The Home and the World trans. Surendranath Tagore (Penguin Twentieth Century Classics, 1996) Munshi Premchand, Nirmala, trans. Alok Rai (Oxford University Press, 2001). Ismat Chugtai, The Crooked Line, trans. Tahira Naqvi (Kali for Women, 1995). Kalki R. Krishnamurti, Ponniyin Selvan, trans. C.V. Karthik Narayan (Macmillan India, 1999). Raja Rao, Kanthapura (edition currently in print). Bapsi Sidhwa, The Ice-Candy Man (Milkweed Editions, 1991). Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart, introd. Kwame Anthony Appiah (Knopf, 1992).

Additional readings - see course pack.

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Marjorie J Mc Kinley
Date: 12/10/2002