ENGL 2**: The Modern African Novel
Theme: Perspectives on Nigeria
This course examines various narratives of Nigerian culture from voices that are sometimes overshadowed by the ubiquity of Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. The aim of this course is not only to encounter various texts from Nigeria but also to examine them in context. The assigned readings are meant to provide insight into the social, political, and economic forces that shape Nigerian literature. This course will also treat modern Nigerian literature in the wider context of postcolonial theory. Short, in-class, reading/writing assignments will give students practice applying different concepts from postcolonial theory.
- Gain literacy in the language, tropes, devices, allegories, and other salient features of Nigerian literature through novels, memoirs, literary criticism, and other forms of media.
- Increased critical awareness of how the colonial legacy influences the culture and politics of Nigeria
- Provide an overview of important concepts in postcolonial theory
- Exposure to underrepresented narratives and perspectives of Nigeria
- Flora Nwapa, Efuru
- Written in response to Things Fall Apart, Efuru offers a feminist counterpoint to Achebe’s Okonkwo. Of particular interest to our class are the differences in how narratives of oppression are expressed in these two texts. We will read Efuru in conjunction with chapters from Stratton’s Contemporary African Literature and the Politics of Gender
- Noo Saro-Wiwa, Looking for Transwonderland: Travels in Nigeria
- Scholar, poet, and political activist Ken Saro-Wiwa has been called the “Martin Luther King” of Nigeria. The target of much of his criticism was the corrupt relationship between Nigerian political elites and the oil industry. He was assassinated in a coordinated effort between Shell Oil Company and the Nigerian government. In her memoir, his daughter gives an account of these events from her perspective as a child growing up in England and as an adult straddling conflicting identities.
- Florence Stratton, Contemporary African Literature and the Politics of Gender
- Chapter Two: The Mother Africa Trope
- Chapter Four: Flora Nwapa and the Female Novel of Development
- Ashutosh Singh “Spivak and Western Feminism.”
- G’ebinyo Ogbowei and Ibiere Bell-Gam, “Sozaboy: Language and a Disordered World”
- Ken Saro-Wiwa, “The Language of African Literature: A Writer’s Testimony”
Tues: The Mother Africa Trope, Intro to Ch.12 Efuru
Thurs: Ch. 13-end Efuru
Tues: Flora Nwapa and the Female Novel of Development
Thurs: Spivak and Western Feminism
Tues: Transwonderland 1-3, The language of African Literature
Thurs: Transwonderland 4-6, Language and a Disordered World
Tues: Transwonderland 7-12