In the past four decades, the traditional study of national territories, their cultures, and literatures has been supplemented and challenged by concepts and phenomena such as the transnational, the diasporic, the global, and the cosmopolitan, as well as by new curricular categories such as world history, world politics, and world literature. This course will focus on world literature and will examine literary, historical, and theoretical texts to ask what is at stake in this new area. Topics will include, but are not limited to, the networks along which narratives circulate; the aesthetic and other standards that regulate the selection of plots and themes that appeal to the cultural gatekeepers; the politics of continued domination, subordination, and cultural imperialism; inclusion and exclusion; and margins, peripheries, and centers. There is as yet no single accepted theory, no consensus history, and no established canon or geography of world literature--all are evolving as literary scholars attempt to weave together elements of comparative and postcolonial literatures with the above-mentioned concepts into a new object of readerly experience and critical knowledge. We will use literary and theoretical texts to explore how world literature is being created.