Course title: Modern British Novel and the British Empire
Instructor: Prof. Borislav Knežević
ECTS credits: 6
Semester: 7th and 9th
Enrollment requirements: Enrollment in the graduate programme
Course description: In this course we will read a selection of British modernist novels (Conrad, Joyce, Tagore). Our thematic focus will be on the literary uses of the British Empire, imperialism and colonialism in those novels. We will deal with characteristics of modernism as a period in literary history, and the ways in which the selected novels exemplify such characteristics. Much of our discussions will center on themes articulated by postcolonial criticism (the relationship between the metropole and the colony; going native; writing about imperial others; writing as an imperial other, construction of gender in colonial societies and discourses, etc.). The course will involve a good deal of reading in imperial history and postcolonial criticism.
Objectives: The course is designed to facilitate active student engagement with issues in literary interpretation and history, as well as to create a structured theoretical context for analytical writing on literary subjects. offers an introduction to some of the key texts of British modern novel, as well as into postcolonial studies as one of the most important types of contemporary literary study. Like other diploma level seminars, this one also focuses on improving the skills of analyzing literary texts.
Course requirements: The grade is based on a written essay at the end of term (5-6) pages, a mid-term quiz and a quiz at the end of term.
Week by week schedule:
1. week: Introduction to modernism. Periodization, status of the novel as a genre, the historical context of imperialism. Said’s concept of orientalism. McClintock and the question of postcolonial theory.
2. week: Kipling.
3. week: Kipling Cohn: representations of colonial authority. Conrad, and European imperialism in Africa.
4. week: Conrad. Achebe, and the issue of racism in literature.
5. week: Brantlinger, and the relationship between modernism and imperialism.
6. week: Joyce.
7. week: Mid-term quiz.
8. week: Joyce.
9. week: Joyce. Renan, and defining the nation.
10. week: Fanon, and the question of decolonization.
11 week: Tagore. The essay is due.
12 week: Tagore.
13 week: Nehru, and the question of development.
14 week. Second quiz.
15 week: Course summary.
A. Required reading:
Rudyard Kipling, Kim
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Rabindranath Tagore, The Home and the World
Chinua Achebe, “An Image of Africa.” Massachussets Review 18, 1997.
Patrick Brantlinger, The Rule of Darkness (excerpts). Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1990.
Frantz Fanon, “The Wretched of the Earth” from Omar Dahbour, The Nationalism Reader. Humanity Books, 1995.
Anne McClintock, “The Angel of Progress: Pitfalls of the Term ‘Post-colonialism’”.
Colonial Discourse and Post-colonial Theory. A Reader (ed. Patrick Williams, Laura Chrisman). New York: Columbia University Press, 1994.
Edward Said, “Introduction” to Orientalism, New York: Vintage Books, 1979.
Bernard S. Cohn, “Representing Authority in Colonial India”, from Eric Hobsbawm, The Invention of Tradition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993.
Ernest Renan, “What is a Nation?”, The NationalismReader.
Jawaharlal Nehru, “The Discovery of India”, The Nationalism Reader.
B. Optional reading:
Anthony Apiah, “Topologies of Nativism” Julie Rivkin, Michael Ryan, Literary Theory: An Anthology. London: Blackwell, 1998.
Carole Boyce Davies, “Migratory Subjectivities”. Literary Theory: An Anthology.
Fredric Jameson, “Modernism and Imperialism”, from Nationalism, Colonialism and Literature. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1990.