Spring 2023 Undergraduate English Courses

358:361 Twentieth Century Global Literature

01  TH1   CAC  05407   MANGHARAM   FH-A2


Thinking Beyond the Human

The twentieth (and twenty first centuries) have been characterized by dehumanizing events, including the upheavals of racial segregation and apartheid, colonialism, decolonization, terrorism, and human rights abuses. It is not surprising, then, that one of the central philosophical concerns of our time has been an interrogation of what it means to be 'human,' through bodies of knowledge broadly referred to as 'humanisms,' which have been used to dehumanize countless people while simultaneously allowing others to lay claim to human rights. In this course we examine how cultures across the world, in the West and non-West, have investigated the human condition, and sought to organize their social, material, and cultural worlds through rejections or consolidations of different humanisms. The world texts that we will read or watch in this class all take the human condition as their central concern, arriving at very different answers to questions such as: How is the human defined? Are there basic rights and freedoms to which all humans are entitled? Do these rights change depending on the race, class, gender, or nationality of the person involved? Does the category of the human need to be expanded to include the animal? Texts taught will include Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things, Joseph Sacco's Palestine, Elie Wiesel’s Night, Amitav Ghosh’s The Hungry Tide and J.M. Coetzee’s The Lives of Animals