English 27 (Semester I, 1997-1998) Postcolonial and Post-Imperial Literature in English Since 1980

Autobiography and Fiction in Africa, Australia, the Indian Subcontinent, and New Zealand

George P. Landow, Professor of English and Art History, Brown University

The class meets 2:30-3:50 PM, Tuesday and Thursday in Horace-Mann B8 and has an occasional World Wide Web lab in 265 CIT Wed. 8:00-9:30 PM. Professor Landow's office hours (209 Horace-Mann) Tuesday and Thursday, 1-2:15, and Wednesday 3-4.


Class meetings take the form of student-directed discussions interspersed with brief discussions by the instructor of postcolonial theory, political and social contexts, and other contextual and methodological information. To make this kind of discussion-centered course work, members of the class must do the reading and be willing to contribute frequently to the ongoing conversations that constitute class meetings. Therefore, all members of the class are expected to (a) complete the reading by the first session devoted to a particular work, (b) make themselves acquainted with relevant critical and contextual materials on the course website, and (3) have submitted via e-mail a detailed reading question by 5 PM of the Monday before a work is discussed; in weeks when the discussion of new work begins on a Thursday, the reading question or questions should arrive on Wednesday.

The writing requirments for the course include a substantial midterm take-home assignment consisting of multiple brief essays and a similar final term paper. Both of these exercises are intended to encourage students to demonstrate the depth and breadth of their reading. Before you write your essays please check out my suggestions for improving your writing

Reading Assignments

Weeks 1 & 2 (Tuesday, 2 September, through Tuesday, 9 September). Wole Soyinka's Aké: The Years of Childhood, 1981. (Nigeria). Explore the sections of the Postcolonial Web on Nigeria, Soyinka, and postcolonial theory.

Week 3 (Thursday, 11 September through 18 September) Ken SaroWiwa, A Forest of Flowers, 1986. (Nigeria).

Week 4 (23 through 25 September) Chinua Achebe, Anthills of the Savannah, 1987. Soyinka, selected poems. (Nigeria)

Week 5 (Tuesday, 30 September, through Thursday, 2 October). Buchi Emecheta, The Joys of Motherhood, 1979. (Nigeria).

Week 6 (7 through 9 October) Yvonne Vera, Nehanda, 1993. (Zimbabwe)

Week 7 (14 through 16 October). Chenjarai Hove, Bones, 1988. (Zimbabwe)

Midterm essays due 3:30PM Monday, 20 October. [Follow to see last Spring's assignment.]

Week 8 (21 through 23 October). Graham Swift, Waterland, 1983. (UK)

Week 9 (28 through 30 October). Salman Rushdie, Shame, 1983. (India and Pakistan)

Week 10 (4 through 6 November). Sara Suleri, Meatless Days, 1989).(Pakistan)

Week 11 (11 through 13 November). Anita Desai, In Custody, 1984. (India)

Weeks 12 & 13 (18 through 25 November). Peter Carey, Oscar and Lucinda, 1988. (Australia)

Week 14 (2 through 4 December). Kazuo Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day, 1989. (UK; born Japan)

Week 15 (9 through 11 December). Alan Duff, Once Were Warriors, 1990. (New Zealand)

[Final Exam Period: 12-20 December]