Graduate Course Description

350:598 - Encountering the Other in World Lit

Course No: 350:598
Index # 14998
Distribution Requirement: A5, C
Time: Thursday - 10:20 a.m.
Location: MU 207

Encountering the Other in World Lit

Mukti 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, Pheng Cheah, David Damrosch, Jeanne-Marie Jackson, and Yogita Goyal, discussed alongside canonical writers that have acquired popular global audiences, including Chinua Achebe, J.M. Coetzee, Elena Ferrante, Han Kang, and Yaa Gyasi.

Selected Readings:

Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart
Elena Ferrante, Days of Abandonment
Han Kang, The Vegetarian
Yaa Gyasi, Homegoing
NoViolet Bulawayo, We Need New Names
Ishmael Beah, A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier
Aravind Adiga, The White Tiger
Tendai Huchu, The Maestro, The Magistrate, and the Mathematician
Colson Whitehead, The Underground Railroad