Postcolonial Literature
HON 10297
MW 3:45-5:00 pm.
JHN 60
Office: 205D, SFH
Office Hours: W 12:00-2:00 and By Appointment
Email: OR use this Contact Form
For questions about assigned reading: Reading Questions

Postcolonial literature is a field of literary studies that deals with the literature produced by the writers who belong to the regions that were once part of European colonial empires. This course will introduce you to the postcolonial aspects of global literature. This course will also introduce you to the early and current debates of postcolonialism as a field of study and possibilities of the field in the future. We will pay special attention to the current state of capitalism and neoliberal globalization and the artistic and critical responses being offered in resistance.
We will read some texts from Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean not simply as crystallized versions of the cultures that they attempt to represent, but also use them as points of departure into a study of the larger power structures within which these texts are produced. In doing so we will also question our own place and privileged location in the United States.

The course is divided over two consecutive semesters: In Fall 2009 we will focus primarily on the theoretical aspects of the course along with some literary texts; the Spring 2010 semester will deal mostly with literary texts using the theoretical knowledge mastered during the fall semester.
Required Texts
Edward Said. Orientalism.
Qurratulain Hyder. River of Fire.
Ngugi wa Thiong’o. Devil on the Cross.
Naguib Mahfouz. Children of the Alley.
George Lamming. In the Castle of My Skin.
  1. Ngugi–From the Garden of Languages, the Nectar of Art: An Interview with Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o.
  2. Ngugi–Standing our Ground.
  3. “Qurratulain Hyder’s River of Fire: The Novel and the Politics of Writing Beyond the Nation-State.”
  4. Mahfouz–Time and Memory.
  5. Lamming–Minting the Face of Empire: Coinage and the Shadow King in George Lamming’s In The Castle of My Skin.

Course Policies and Requirements



You are expected to come prepared for class: This involves reading the assigned texts, listening carefully to your peers, and contributing your views in a collegiate and stimulating way. Attendance is mandatory.

Distribution of Points:
Mid-Term                           200 Points
Online Journal Responses  200 Points.
Participation                      100 Points
Final Exam                         200 Points
Term Paper                        300 Points
Total                                   1000 Points 

Response Journals:
Every week you will post your response to the readings on the discussion thread provided under Discussion Forum on the course website. To be able to do this you must create a user name on the course website;  you will share this user name with me for me to be able to keep a record of your postings. Your response must at least be 500 words.

During the first week you will choose a particular text for a group presentation. Your presentation will then fall in the week in which your chosen text is scheduled for class discussion. I expect a 30-40 minutes FORMAL PRESENTATION using the insights provided by the secondary readings. You must also turn in a 3-5 page written brief of your presentation with a detailed list of your scholarly sources.  Following are some, but not all, questions you may consider:
  • What does the text say about gender, race, ethnicity, class, nation, or power and what are your views about it?
  • Did you agree or disagree with the text’s politics? why?
  • What is the text critiquing?
  • How can we relate this text to contemporary realities?
  • Does this text raise the question of justice? If so, how and for whom?
  • Does the text provide a politics for a better future?
Mid-Term Exam (Questions)
 The Mid-term will be an in-class essay exam administered in the eighth week.
General rules about essay exams–Courtesy, Jenny Caneen-Raja. 
Class Participation:
As this course is based on a discussion format, your thoughtful participation is essential to the success of the class. I encourage collegiate, open, and thought-provoking class discussions. Remember, we are all here to learn, so let us share our ideas and knowledge to make this class into a dynamic learning experience.
Final exam:
The final exam will be a two part, essay exam. Part 1 will comprise a take home exam while Part 2 will be in-class. A detailed study guide will be provided a week prior to the exam.
Term Paper: (Writing Strategies)
The final term paper will be due on the last day of class. The paper (10-12 pages should have a clearly defined thesis and a coherent argument. I would encourage you to choose your topic early and do extensive research. I will be available to assist during all stages of your research and composition process.  
You are expected to attend the class regularly. You will be in the danger of failing the course if you miss more than FOUR class sessions.
Cheating and Plagiarism:
(Excerpt from the University’s Administrative policy and procedures regarding student cheating and plagiarism. Excerpted from University Policy Register #3342-3-07)
Registration Requirement:
Follow this link to read the University Policy on registration requirements.

University Policy 3342-3-01.3 requires that students with disabilities be provided reasonable accommodations to ensure their equal access to course content. If you have a documented disability and require accommodations, please contact the instructor at the beginning of the semester to make arrangements for necessary classroom adjustments. Please note, you must first verify your eligibility for these through Student Accessibility Services (contact 330-672-3391 or visit for more information on registration procedures).

Grading Scale:
A 960-1000
A- 900-959
B+ 860-899
B 830-859
B- 800-829
C+ 760-799
C 739-759
C- 700-729
D+ 660-699
D 630-659
D- 600-629
F Less than 600 Points

Weekly Schedule
Week 1

Week 2 and 3

Discussion: Said

Video: On Orientalism.



HO 3

Week 4 & 5




HO 1 & 2

Week 6

Discussion: Ngugi HO 1 & 2



Week 7

Discussion: Ngugi



HO 4

Week 8

Mid Term

Discussion: Mahfouz HO 4.



Week 9

Discussion: Mahfouz


Lamming, HO5

Week 11
Discussion: Lamming and HO5

Week 12

Discussion: Lamming

Week 13 & 14

 Concluding discussions and Final Paper workshops.