Graduate Seminar on Transnational Literatures
The semester divides into three parts. We begin with a survey of the work of some of the most influential theorists of nationality, transnationality, and cultural production over the past thirty years––Benedict Anderson, Etienne Balibar, Ngugi wa Thiong’ o, Pascale Casanova, Paul Gilroy, and Immanuel Wallerstein, among others. Such terms as “transnationality,” “postcoloniality,” “globalization,” “world literature,” and “national culture” will be investigated to ascertain the theoretical and methodological implications, if any, that each term might have for comparative literature. State racialization processes in both the “metropole” and the “periphery” will be studied in relation to literary production. Part Two applies the theories studied in Part One to a selected number of novels, poems, short stories, plays, (and memoirs). Part Three of the course is reserved for the study of student-suggested texts, particularly those works relating to student research interests that have transnational components or themes.
By investigating the relationship between cultural production and the nation-state, the seminar aims to make students more cognizant not only of nationalist discourses that flow from and through various literatures, but also of counter discourses that transcend the confines of the nation-state.