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Lit 560 Ethnic Studies

Lit 560 Ethnic Studies

Elective | Teaching hours: 3 | ECTS: 6

Description


Ethnic Studies

Thinking the nation, (dis)locating postwar Englishness

 (Lit 560)

In this class we’ll look into how postwar Englishness imagines and re-configures itself in a context of global movement and exchange. Drawing on a body of established theories of nationhood, nationalism and cosmopolitanism, we’ll examine Britain’s responses to a climate of late-20C uncertainty caused by decolonisation, international (cold-war and war-on terror) politics and the processes of economic globalisation. What will frame our inquiries and our readings of literary and cultural texts (novels, films, documentaries, newspaper stories and more) is the suggestion that the dispersed ways in which Englishness is codified, experienced and written about in the late 20C and early 21C are articulated in terms of its global involvement with other cultures and races. They are ambivalent responses to perceived “external” threats (colonials, immigrants, terrorists, European allies etc) and are always powerfully inflected, to this day, through the nation’s colonial history. With the help of philosophers (Arendt, Balibar, Agamben, Brown), sociologists (Gilroy, Hall) and cultural and literary theorists (Bhabha, Ahmed, Brah), we’ll unpack and critically evaluate Britain’s postwar disavowal of its imperial past, the intense racialization and cultural diasporisation of the national collective, the culture of victimhood and the powerful expressions of English exceptionalism that have shaped the nation’s limits and self-image in its post-imperial phase. In our attempt to untangle England’s representational strategies of empowerment and survival, we’ll read crime stories and espionage literature, we’ll watch popular films and listen to refugee testimonies and radio broadcasts—and more in between.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this class, students will have

·         a clear understanding of the globalising forces that have impacted discourses of Englishness since WWII, and which are responsible for causing the tensions, ambivalences and possibilities that have shaped it to the present

·         a critical appreciation of the relationship between ethnicity, nation(alism), race and culture

·         an enhanced ability to read literature and culture in an interdisciplinary context with extended references to cultural theory, political philosophy, history and postcoloniality.

·         refined their abilities in critical thinking and analytical writing

Assessment

Students will be required to participate in class discussions and oral or written tasks, give presentations and write a research paper of around 4,000 words (around 13 pages) in a relevant area of their choice at the end of the semester. They will be expected to demonstrate ability to understand and critically evaluate key concepts in their readings of literary and other cultural texts.

1.         Class participation (taking part in class discussions,

coming to class prepared, not missing presentations

without good reason, engaging with the material)                             20%

2.         Portfolio (presentations, projects, reports)                                          30%

3.         Final essay                                                                                           50%


Teaching

SemesterGroupDayFromToRoomInstructor
Winter Wednesday10:00 13:00308 ðáô. Yiannopoulou Effie