Third World Literature

The Boston College is a private, coeducational Jesuit university with 8500 full-time undergraduates and 4000 graduate students. ‘Third World Literature’ is part of it.

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Kalpana Rahita Seshadri, Associate Professor, English Department, teaches courses in the critical philosophy of postcolonial studies, political and cultural theories of nationalism, and Anglophone literatures of India and Africa … She is the founding chair of the Postcolonial Studies seminar at Harvard’s Humanities Center, and the convenor of the Postcolonial Studies Discussion Group at the MLA. She was visiting fellow in Women’s Studies at SUNY Stony Brook in Spirng 2002, where she taught a graduate seminar on “Feminism and Universalism.” In Spring 1999, she co-taught with Professor Laura Frader (History, Northeastern University) a graduate seminar “Gender, Race, Class, and Colonialism” in the Graduate Women’s Studies Consortium at Radcliffe. (Homepage).

Books;
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Introduction: This course focuses on the problems of interpretation encountered in the first world classroom when reading novels and poetry from the so called third world, in this case Africa, India, and the Middle East. We shall work from two premises:

  • a) The artifacts of any given culture are embedded in their local context – social and political history, traditions, aesthetics, etc. – and thus are not transparent in their meaning or significance.
  • b) Secondly, we cannot recognize the humanity of the “other” – the culturally strange, the foreign, the alien – without examining ourselves and how we impose meaning on the incomprehensible.

We shall try to come to terms with these two factors by:

  • a) researching as much as we can of the local context – we shall use films and music to supplement our quest;
  • b) by performing the texts we shall we be reading in class as a means of reflecting about cultural gaps;
  • c) maintaining a consciousness journal.

Required Texts: … (full text).

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