Professor: Stacey Balkan
Institution: Florida Atlantic University
Course Number: ENG6934.001
Postcolonial Environments are places where the social and environmental legacy of colonial occupation finds artistic expression in literatures that antagonize conventional approaches to “nature” or “wilderness.” As a study of Postcolonial Environments, this seminar will explore the imbricated chronologies of aesthetics, landscape ideology and historical trauma. We will examine the colonial origins of modern development, or “improvement,” as the material basis of the pastoral, the picturesque, and the sublime paying particular attention to the forced removal of local communities through parliamentary enclosure or corporate mandate. Writers interested in the “land question,” from Aimé Césaire to Ranajit Guha to Jamaica Kincaid to Arundhati Roy to Rob Nixon, will serve as our guides as we explore the lasting impact of colonial-era systems of land tenure on postcolonial states. Among the many questions animating the course, we shall ask: how do we bring together the historically polarized and polarizing discussions around Postcolonialism and Environmentalism? Furthermore, how, in an era marked by cataclysmic shifts in our global climate can we begin to think collectively about the fate of our species without eschewing the long history of combined and uneven development that has rendered postcolonial states more vulnerable to the exigencies of climate change? In addition to the theoretical readings outlined above, we will read fiction and poetry from Mahasweta Devi, Amitav Ghosh, Ken Saro-Wiwa, Ursula Leguin, Pablo Neruda, Chris Abani, Muriel Rukeyser, Indra Sinha and others.
Full Syllabus: ASLE_Syllabi_PostcolonialEnvBalkan