Modern Global Literatures – May 2016
Cultural Heritage 2, GLI, and CD4
Dr. Ernest Cole
Modern Global Literatures is a four-credit course that fulfills the Cultural Heritage 2 and Global Learning International (GLI) requirements of the General Education program. This course would focus on how former colonized societies from Sub-Saharan Africa to South Asia, the Caribbean and South America react to this discourse of colonization and their attempts at de-colonization and promoting their political and cultural independence. In the process, this form of literature would “write back to Empire” by addressing issues as destruction of indigenous cultures, representation of otherness, identity, alterity, and gender.
We would cover a considerable period of growth and development of Global Literatures from West Africa to India, Mexico and the Caribbean. Within this historical framework, we would trace the impact of westernization on the literature, and its reconfiguration of colonial perceptions of indigenous societies in the process of writing back to empire.
Completion of May Term 2016
On Friday 27 May, I brought the class English 234: Modern Global Literatures to a close. This was arguably the most engaging and thought-provoking class I have had in a long time. The level of class discussion and the intensity of engagement of critical issues was excellent.
From issues ranging from western configurations of otherness and indigenous response in China Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, stereotypical perceptions of illegal immigration in Luis Alberto Urrea’s The Devil’s Highway, the search for identity in Jamaica Kincaid’s Lucy, and the destruction of rural agricultural society by a capitalist economy in Kamala Makandaya’s Nectar in a Sieve, the class explored the authors’ thematic and stylistic preoccupations in these texts.
Given the condensed nature of the course, we focused more on the intensity of the gaze rather than breath of panorama to accomplish course objectives and learning outcomes.
Here is a group photo I took with my students:
From left to right: Zac, Matt, Kristoffer, Kory, Alexis, Ruth, Grace, Dana, Ashley, Anna, Dave, & Ernest.