Mar 31, 2023  
Catalogue 2022-2023 
Catalogue 2022-2023 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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ENGL 370 - Transnational Literature

1 unit(s)
This course focuses on literary works and cultural networks that cross the borders of the nation-state. Such border-crossings raise questions concerning vexed phenomena such as globalization, exile, diaspora, and migration-forced and voluntary. Collectively, these phenomena deeply influence the development of transnational cultural identities and practices. Specific topics studied in the course vary from year to year and may include global cities and cosmopolitanisms; the black Atlantic; border theory; the discourses of travel and tourism; global economy and trade; or international terrorism and war. 

Lost in Transition. In “Beyond Human Rights,” Giorgio Agamben asks us to cease inscribing naked human life within the sovereignty of the nation-state. Following Hannah Arendt, he argues for “the condition of the countryless refugees” as the “paradigm of a new historical consciousness”: “Inasmuch as the refugee, an apparently marginal figure, unhinges the old trinity of state-nation-territory, it deserves instead to be regarded the central figure of our political history.” The refugee has been, perhaps, the central marginal figure of our literary history as well. We will read various modern novels that traverse the great topoi of migrant experience: waiting and boredom, bureaucracy, transit, border-crossing, exile, settlement, assimilation, mimicry, and desire. Texts will include: Anna Seghers’s Transit, Adolfo Bioy Casares’s The Invention of Morel, Tayeb Salih’s Season of Migration to the North, lê thi diem thúy’s The Gangster We Are All Looking For, Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West, Amitava Kumar’s Immigrant, Montana, Julia Otsuka’s The Buddha in the Attic. Heesok Chang.

This course satisfies the REGS requirement for the English major.

One 2-hour period.

Not offered in 2022/23.

Course Format: CLS

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