9663 - The Politics of Representation and the Representation of Politics in the Modern Afro-Asian Novel - "To represent someone or even something has now become an endeavor as complex and as problematic as an asymptote, with consequences for certainty and decidability as fraught with difficulties as can be imagined." -Edward Said
Political readings of the African and Asian novel are not only possible but also possess much validity as politics is a central theme in most of these literary works. Yet political readings can differ widely from one another, ranging from the "naive mimetic" that reduces the text to a specific historical context or make that context become the frame of reference for understanding the text, to the more complex, but still reductive, readings of those texts as "national allegories." In this course, selected novels from Asia and Africa will be approached using different analytical methods in order to problematize some "modern" conceptions of the relationship between the aesthetic and the political-conceptions which emphasize the autonomy of both spheres from other social spheres and also from each other. This will lead to an attempt to understand the different modes of the institutionalization of literature both as a social and political project which leads to the development of different "kinds" of aesthetics that include a "political" or "social" aesthetic. The fictional texts, as well as the critical works referred to in the discussion of these texts, will serve as possible entry points to attempts to re-evaluate representation and discuss it as a possibility rather than a given. Not only do questions of the representation of the political in literary works assume an important position, but these will necessarily lead to positing the question of representation as politics.
Critical and Theoretical Texts:
- Timothy Brennan: "The national longing for form" in Homi K. Bhabha: Nation and Narration. 1990, pp. 44-70
- James Snead: "European pedigrees/African contagions" in Bhabha, 1990, pp 231-249.
- Patha Chaterjee: The Nation and Its Fragments. 1993
- Aijaz Ahmad: In Theory. 1992.
- Edward Said: Cuture and Imperialism.
- Terry Eagleton, Frederic Jameson, Edward Said: Nationalism, Colonialism, and Literature. 1990.
- Franz Fanon: Black Skin White Masks
- Madhava Prasad: "On the question of a theory of (Third World) literature" in: Social Text 30/31, 1992 pp. 57-83
- Anne McClintock: "The angel of progress: Pitfalls of the term 'post-colonialism'" in Social Text 30/31, 1992 pp. 84-98.
- Ella Shohat: "Notes on the 'Post-colonial'" in Social Text 30/31, 1992, pp. 99-113.
- Arof Dirlik: "The Post-colonial aura: Third world criticism in the age of global capitalism" in: Critical Inquiry, Winter 1994, pp. 328-56.
- Etienne Balibar, Emmanuel Wallerstein: Race, Nation, Class: Ambiguous Identities. 1991.
- Oyono, Ferdinand, Boy
- Saleh, Tayeb, Season of Migration to the North
- Toer, Pramoedya Ananta, This Earth of Mankind
- Okara, Gabriel, The Voice
- Armah, Ayi Kwei, Why Are We so Blest
- Ousmane, Sembene, Black Docker
- Ngugi Wa Thiong'o, Matigari
- al-Ghitani, Gamal, Matigari Zayni Barakat
- Rushdie, Salman, Shame
- Munif, Abdel Rahman, Cities of Salt
- Farah, Nuruddin, Maps
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