Colonialism and Postcolonialism

Discipline: Special Topics in Literature
Instructor: Gatrell
Credits: 3
Day: A
Start: 0800
End: 0915
Field Work: Day 2 - Sunday, 23 November | Barbados
Prerequisites: None, though a college-level Literature class would be advantageous Download Syllabus

The age of national empires is perhaps past, but its consequences are very much with us still, as a relatively brief observation of many of the places visited this semester will confirm. This is a course that introduces you (primarily) to writing about colonies, about different approaches to colonialisation, about the experiences of living in a colony, about the struggles within colonies for independence, and about how people deal with having once been a colony, and with having once been a colonial power.  Other media— music, photography, film, dress, food and architecture—also form a significant element in the class. Most countries we will visit on the voyage have been a colony at one time or another, and most of those in Europe have sustained empires of some sort, so there is plenty of material to consider.

Field Work

Country: Barbados
Day: 2 - Sunday, 23 November

Students will have the opportunity to experience at first hand the impact of British colonial rule on the architecture and culture of the capital of Barbados through a systematic examination of the UNESCO world heritage site in Bridgetown, to exchange ideas with a specialist in the Cultural Studies Department at the University of the West Indies, and to visit a characteristic plantation house. Academic Objectives: After almost a whole voyage of considering in class the impact of the colonial past on a wide range of cultures and societies both present and past, and individually experiencing elements of that impact in all the ports we have visited, at last there is the opportunity to work as a group to understand in detail what colonialism has meant in Barbados, and what is its legacy.