English 610 Special Topics

Allen Carey-Webb

Fall 1994

Colonialism, Literature,

and the

Making of National Subjects

Drawing on recent social, political, and literary theory this seminar will explore ways in which national identity is constructed and transformed. Particular attention will be paid to the role of literature and its institutions in colonial, anticolonial, and postcolonial contexts.

During the first six class meetings we will develop a theoretical/textual background from which independent student projects will emerge. The remaining nine sections will be student directed, with students assuming principal responsibility for topic, reading, and assignment selection, and for leadership of discussion/class activities (see the list of possible topics). Assignments will include either a major project (minimum 20 pages) or two significant essays (minimum 10 pages each), regular 1-2 page "think pieces" exploring the readings, and responsibility for leading a seminar meeting. Attendance, careful reading, and participation are assumed (poor attendance may lead to dropping the grade or failing the seminar). Although the professor has responsibility for evaluation and grading, all assignments will also be self-evaluated and self-graded. The final grade will be weighted something like 50% written project, 25% participation/"think pieces", 25% seminar leading.

Required Texts:

Menchú, Rigoberta and Elizabeth Burgos-Debray. I, Rigoberta Menchú (1983)

Fanon, Frantz. Wretched of the Earth (1961)

Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (1983)

Said, Edward. Culture and Imperialism (1993)

Ousmane, Sembene. Xala (1976)


et al. depending on topics/texts chosen by students

Outline of Reading


Introduction: Colonialism and Resistance

Partial Definitions: Cultural Studies/Literary Studies, Colonialism, Nation-State, Post-structuralism

Discussion of I, Rigoberta Menchú


Marxism, Literature, Colonialism I

Marx, Karl and Engels. "The Communist Manifesto" (1848)

Marx, Karl. Letter on Ireland (1870)

Trotsky, Leon. "The Formalist School of Poetry and Marxism" (Literature and Revolution 1924)

Macaulay, Thomas B. "Minute on Indian Education" 1835

Viswanathan, Gauri. "Currying Favor: The Politics of British Educational and Cultural Policy in India, 1813-1854" (Social Text F 1988)

Hawkes, Terrance. "Swisser-Swater: making a man of English letters" (Alternative Shakespeares, 1985)


Anticolonial Nationalism

Fanon, Frantz. Wretched of the Earth (esp. "On Violence," "National Culture," "Pitfalls of National Culture")

Lenin, Vladimir. On the National Liberation Movement


Marxism, Literature, Colonialism II

Althusser, Louis. "Ideology and Ideological State Apparatus" Lenin and Philosophy

Foucault, Michel. "Panopticism" Discipline and Punish (1977)

Said, Edward. "Introduction" and "Chapter One: Overlapping Territories, Intertwined Histories" and "The Native Under Control" (Culture and Imperialism, 1993)


Constructions of Nationhood

from Gellner, Ernest. Nations and Nationalism (1983)

Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities (1983)


Nationalisms and Sexualities

from Mosse, George. Nationalism and Sexuality

Jayawardena, Kumari. "Introduction" Feminism and Nationalism in the Third World

Chatterjee, Partha. "The Nationalist Resolution of the Women's Question" (Recasting Women: Essays in Indian Colonial History, 1989)

Franco, Jean. "On Killing Nuns, Priests, Women, and Children" (Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture)

Pratt, Mary Louise. "Women, Literature, and the National Brotherhood" (Women, Culture, and Politics in Latin America 1990)

Parker, Andrew et al "Introduction" (Nationalisms and Sexualities 1992)

Sedgewick, Eve Kososky. "Nationalisms and Sexualities in the Age of Wilde" (Nationalisms and Sexualities 1992)


Nationalism and Third World Literature

Hsun, Lu. "Diary of a Madman"

Sembene, Ouseman. Xala

Jameson, Frederick. "Third World Literature in the Era of Multinational Capital" (1987)

Said, Edward. "Themes of Resistance Culture" and "Collaboration, Independence, and Liberation" (Culture and Imperialism 1993)

Ahmad, Aijaz from "In Theory: Nations, Classes, and Literatures" (1992)

Chatterjee, Partha. from Nationalism and the Third World: A Derivative Discourse (1987)

Open Topic Sessions/Presentation of Projects










Open Topic Possibilities

Foucault and the Nation

Foucault, Michel. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison 1979.

Marxism and Nationalism

Blaut, James: The National Question

Towards A Post-National Pedagogy?

Freire, Paulo. Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1974)

from Giroux, Henry. Border Pedagogy (1992)

Shakespeare and the Nation

Cohen, Walter. Drama of a Nation (1988)

Greenblat, Stephen. Shakespearean Negotiations (1988)

Breight, Curt. "Treason Doth Never Prosper" Shakespeare Quarterly (1990)

McEachern, Claire. "Henry V and the Paradox of the Body Politic" Shakespeare Quarterly (1994)

Neil, Michel. "Broken English and Broken Irish" Shakespeare Quarterly (1994)

The Novel and the Nation

Bakhtin. Discourse and the Novel.

Brennan, Timothy. from Salman Rushdie and the Third World

Conrad and the Nation

Conrad, Joseph. Nostromo

19th Century American Nationalism

James Fennimore Cooper? Willa Cather? Slotkin, Regeneration Through Violence. "Birth of a Nation" Native American literature of resistance? Lauter, Paul. "Literature of America in a Comparative Perspective"?

Women and the State

Gordimer, Nadine. Burgher's Daughter? Head, Besse. A Question of Power ? Other novel? Poetry? Mackinnon, Catherine. Toward a Feminist Theory of the State? Ecofeminism?

African American Nationalism

Douglass on the 4th of July?, Chestnut?, Wright?, Ellison? Black Aesthetics? Houston Baker, The Journey Back?

Nationalism and Language

Ngugi, Decolonizing the Mind,, Herder? Fanon?...

Literature and Resistance

Harlow, Barbara. Resistance Literature

Testimonial, Literature, and the Nation

from Beverley, John, Against Literature

from Carey-Webb, Teaching and Testimony

Literary Theory and the Writing Workshop

Postcolonial African National Fictions

Couple of novels by Sembene, Ngugi, Armah, Achebe. Essays by Appiah, Lazarus, etc.

Latin American Fiction and the Nation

Fuentes, Carlos. The Death of Artemio Cruz, Marquez, Autumn of the Patriarch, Castellanos. Balun Canan etc. Essays by Rama on Transculturation/Lettered City, or Paz, Labyrinth of Solitude, Jean Franco, Plotting Women

Indian Nationhood in Indian English Writing

Rushdie, Salman. Midnight's Children, essays from Imaginary Homelands. Brennan, Timothy: Salman Rushdie and the Third World... Narayan, Rao, Markandaya?

Postmodernism/Migrancy and the Nation

Literature such as The Joy Luck Club, Jasmine, or Barrio Boy

Theory such as Homi Bhabha, "DissimiNation:Time, narrative and the margins of the modern nation," or Gloria Anzuldua Borderlands?

Post-Communist Nationalism


Arab Nationalism

T.E. Lawrence, The Seven Pillars of Wisdom / Antonius, The Arab Awakening ?

Television and the Nation in a Global Context

Public Culture (1993 5.3) Television and the Third World, Video Night in Katmandu, "Cannibal Tours" ??

Sports and the Nation


Saturday Morning Cartoons and the Nation

Ariel Dorfman, The Empires's Old Clothes , "Transformers" and "GI Joe"

The Gulf War and the Nation?

Said, Edward. "Freedom from Domination in the Future" (Culture and Imperialism. 1993)


[Western Michigan University] WMU English Department [WMU English Education]

Created by: careywebb@wmich.edu

Revised Date: 1/98