Literature and Colonialism
General Catalog Course Title:
The Modern Period
Terms Offered:
Fall 2016
Spring 2014
Fall 2013
Spring 2013
Spring 2010

In this course we will read a number of literary texts set in colonized territories, largely though not entirely under French domination.  Dating from the turn of the twentieth century to the period of widespread decolonization a half-century later, these texts represent a variety of forms and genres (adventure novels, autobiographical fiction, philosophical novels, political denunciation and/or satire) and emerge out of a number of different cultural situations and geographic locations (including Southeast Asia, North Africa, and sub-Saharan Africa).  Some of the authors to be considered are firmly enshrined in the canon of modern European literature, while others write as colonized subjects engaging with European histories of exoticist representation.  In our discussions, we will consider the historical specificity of each text while remaining open to insights made possible by reading comparatively.  In other words, our goal will not be to synthesize a monolithic theory of literature and colonialism but rather to analyze individual texts while attempting to be attentive to common textual strategies, formal elements, and practices of representing colonial space, dynamics of power, and variously configured articulations of domination and resistance, civilization and savagery, modernity and tradition.  Readings will include: Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, AndrĂ© Malraux, The Royal Way, Albert Camus, The Stranger, Marguerite Duras, A Sea of Troubles, Ferdinand Oyono, Houseboy, Cheikh Hamidou Kane, Ambiguous Adventure, Assia Djebar, Children of the New World.

For more detailed information about classes, please visit the UC Berkeley Online Schedule of Classes.