Graduate Course Description

350:598 - Encountering the Other in World Literature

Course No:  350:598
Index # - 14886
Distribution Requirement:  A5, C
Tuesday - 10:20 a.m.
MU 207

Encountering the Other in World Literature

Mukti Lakhi Mangharam

World literature has often been theorized as a ‘window into the world.’ These textual windows - in translation or in English - are consumed by a global audience. But what are the stakes of gazing through that window to observe cultures and peoples different from ourselves? Is world literature bound to end up as an exploitative consuming of difference, or are there other ways of reading, other texts, other theorizations of world literature that can challenge the problematic implications of the institution of world literature today. Discussions will center on comparative modes of reading world literature, the inequities or potentialities of translation, and the politics of world literature anthologies. We will also consider theoretical frameworks that have both exacerbated modes of ‘Othering’ and/or demonstrated the potential to alleviate them, including the ‘postcolonial,’ ‘comparative literature,’ and ‘human rights literature and empathy.’ Texts will include theorists as diverse as the Warwick Research Collective, Rebecca Walkowitz, Pheng Cheah, and David Damrosch, discussed alongside canonical writers that have acquired popular global audiences, including Chinua Achebe, J.M. Coetzee, Junot Diaz, Amitav Ghosh, Elena Ferrante, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Han Kang, and Viet Thanh Nguyen.