2009 Spring EL 3069
Worlding Fiction
DING Naifei
Friday, 1-4pm A108
Office: A-204

“At times of great social transition (where the final turns of feudalism into capitalism wreak havoc with individual lives, shape psychic structures, alter the very body’s meaning) people will think things that they do not yet know about, write what they cannot yet think.” (Carolyn Steedman, Past Tenses, 1992: 2)

“We do not world the world empire of world literature, we would de-world and estrange its will to domination and subsumption.” (Rob Wilson, “Worlding as Future Tactic,” The Worlding Project, 2007: 212)

We will read six works of fiction in English published in the UK and the USA spanning the nineteenth through the twenty-first centuries. In the (Taiwan) context of a course entitled “World Literature in English” we will consider the extent and forms of representations of “the world” in these dominant and emergent UK and USA fictions. “Worlding” these fictions entails examining how each constructs the worlds it envisions, with what characters these places are peopled, how some of these figures serve to mediate elsewheres, and how storytelling narrates time, space and feeling into economic, political, and historical relations. Selected critical texts will help us explore local fictional articulations of gender, class, race and sexuality and how these are embedded in layered world historical contexts.

Texts: Jane Eyre, Wide Sargasso Sea, Annie John, and Lucy are available at Bookman Books, Taipei (ask at the front desk for these books under my name or call 02-2368-7226). The course reader will be available at Gaoguan by the first week of class. There will be a quiz on Jane Eyre chapters I to XXVI the first day of class (2/27). Added enrollment will depend on first-day class attendance and results of the first quiz. Quizzes thereafter will not be announced and will be held the first quarter hour of class. We will decide together on how best to purchase Stone Butch Blues and Fun Home at the start of the semester. News and announcements will be posted on the course website each Wednesday.

6-8 Pop quizzes on weekly reading assignments (30%)
Group oral presentation (20%)
Mid-term exam (20%)
Final exam (30%)

Class Schedule

2.27 Intro + Quiz (Jane Eyre, Chapters I-XXVI)
1. Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre
2. Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea
3. Adrienne Rich, “Jane Eyre: The Temptations of a Motherless Woman” (in the Norton edition of Jane Eyre)
4. Gayatri Spivak, “Three Women’s Texts and a Critique of Imperialism” (in the Norton edition of Jane Eyre)
5. Sue Thomas, “A Place-to-Be-From” in The Worlding of Jean Rhys (London: Greenwood, 1999), pp. 155-189
4.03 (holiday),
5.08 – mid-term
6. Jamaica Kincaid, Annie John
7. Jamaica Kincaid, Lucy
8. Raymond Smith, “Hierarchy and the Dual Marriage System in West Indian Society” in The Matrifocal Family: Power, Pluralism, and Politics (New York: Routledge, 1996), pp. 59-80
9. Carolyn Steedman, “Landscape for a Good Woman” and “History and Autobiography: different pasts” in Past Tenses: Essays on writing, autobiography and history (London: Rivers Oram Press, 1992), pp. 20-50
5.29 (holiday),
10. Leslie Feinberg, Stone Butch Blues
11. Gayle Rubin, “Thinking Sex: Notes for a Radical Theory of the Politics of Sexuality,” in Abelove, Barale, Halperin, et al, (Eds), The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader (1992)
12. Alison Bechdel, Fun Home
6.26 final exam

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