ENG 246 South Asian English Literatures

Ambreen Hai, W F 1:10 PM-2:30 PM

This course will explore the rich diversity of late 20th and 21stcentury literatures written in English and published internationally by award-winning writers of South Asian descent from Britain, the U.S., Canada, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh. Writers range from established celebrities (Rushdie, Naipaul, Kureishi, Arundhati Roy, Jhumpa Lahiri, Michael Ondaatje, Shyam Selvadurai, Amitav Ghosh) to promising new stars (Kiran Desai, Hari Kunzru, Meera Syal, Tahmima Anam, Monica Ali, Daniyal Mueenuddin). Among many questions, we will consider how writers craft new idioms and forms to address multiple audiences in global English, how they explore or foreground emergent concerns of postcolonial societies and diasporic, migrant, or transnational peoples in a rapidly globalizing but by no means equalizing world. Not recommended for first-years. 

(This course may be used to fulfill the new English major requirement under postcolonial literatures.) 

Probable Schedule 

Unit One: (Weeks 1-5) 

From Big to Small Things: Nation, War, Citizens 

Salman Rushdie, Midnight’s Children 

Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things 

Tahmima Anam, A Golden Age 

Unit Two: (Weeks 5-9) 

Diaspora, Desire, and Desi Transnationals 

V. S. Naipaul, A House for Mr. Biswas 

Hanif Kureishi, My Beautiful Laundrette (film) or Meera SyalAnita and Me (film) 

Deepa Mehta, Fire (film) 

Jhumpa Lahiri, The Interpreter of Maladies 

Unit Three: (Weeks 10-13) 

Retrospection, Return, Renewal? 

Amitav Ghosh, The Hungry Tide 

Michael Ondaatje, Running in the Family or Romesh Gunesekera, Reef 

Daniyal Mueenuddin, In Other Rooms, Other Wonders 

Course Requirements: Three formal papers (5-7 pages), four ungraded reading responses (1-2 pages) and active class participation, including one or two informal oral reports depending on the size of the class. Classes will alternate between lectures and discussion.