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Literatures of Empire
ENGL 313
Spring 2024
Section: 01  

This seminar will reexamine the literary and cultural history of Britain by tracing the emergence of "English literature" from the same transatlantic crucible as the racial categories of Enlightenment empire. Through readings from English literature's early origins in the Anglo-American transatlantic to its consolidation during the apex of the British empire, we will look at how the genres most frequently associated with liberal individualism (novels, lyric poetry) run parallel to the emergence of visual and rhetorical categories for imagining the boundaries and limits of the human and the individual. We'll focus on the techniques of literary form--and literary study--that helped construct and make sense of empire. Over the course of the semester, we will consider how the conceptual crises and contradictions in the production of British imperial power through the tangled nexus of capitalism, colonialism, and slavery spurred on new genres (the historical novel, the colonial anti-bildungsroman, the imperial gothic), and how novelists wrestled with the period's key categories of race, gender, class, sexuality, and nationality. Along the way, we'll trace how an archive of imperial writings have been taken up by anti- and decolonial theorists and writers.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA ENGL
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (ENGL)
Past Enrollment Probability: 90% or above

Last Updated on APR-16-2024
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