ENGLISH 630 - Special Topics
Section: 001 World Literature: Theory and Practice
Term: FA 2017
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
With permission of department.
May be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

What is world literature, and why are (some) people saying such bad things about it? These questions can be understood by asking two others. Is discussion of world literature a continuation of (post)colonial studies or a break from it? Are world literature and the scholarship it has inspired rationalizations of a heartless neoliberal global order, or instead are they antagonistic responses to it?

Yes. In other words, one purpose of this course is to determine the extent to which it’s possible to drive a wedge between a literature’s social preconditions, on one hand, and its nature and impact, on the other.

To that end, the work of the semester will be divided in two. In roughly the first half, we will get a sense of this predominantly 21st-century discourse—beginning, however, with a brief look at its antecedents (Goethe to Auerbach; Said and Spivak). We’ll then turn to selections from Pascal Casanova, Franco Moretti, David Damrosch, Emily Apter, Theo D’Haen, Alexander Beecroft, the Warwick Research Collective, Pheng Cheah, Aamir Mufti, and others. Students will provide brief reports or lead discussions, for both of which they will read more widely in the critic(s) under consideration than the class as a whole.

The second half of the course will be devoted to student research. The premise here is simple: every historical period of every literature (and, presumably, every other art form) can benefit from cross-regional study that connects it to cultures with which it is not ordinarily associated. Students will accordingly present their own work-in-progress, regardless of language or era, together with relevant short primary readings or other resources. It is worth emphasizing that the organization of the course around the question of world literature does not preclude—indeed positively requires—recourse to an array of other critical methods and theories.

The aim of the class, then, is to help students develop original lines of inquiry in their chosen areas of specialization. And this aim is pursued by the addition of new equipment to their critical tool kits, by the opportunity to try out those tools on their own material, and by the responses of the class as a whole to the partial drafts of each term paper.

ENGLISH 630 - Special Topics
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
Tu 4:00PM - 7:00PM
002 (SEM)
MW 2:30PM - 4:00PM
003 (SEM)
Tu 6:00PM - 9:00PM
004 (SEM)
M 4:00PM - 7:00PM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.

ISBN: 9781118407691
World Literature in Theory, Author: edited by David Damrosch., Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell 1. publ. 2014
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