This course will draw on a diverse and rich array of twenty and twenty-first century fiction written by women around the world. We will explore and compare their representations of love, sexuality, identity, and place, and as we do, we will examine the ways in which those representations are shaped by the pressures and conventions of culture and gender. Among the first questions we will ask: How meaningful a category is women’s fiction in a post-colonial age? What is lost, and what gained, by such a category? To what extent are our responses to that question conditioned by our own cultural biases? Following our exchange of theories, we will move rapidly to practical engagement, undertaking close study of literary works and equally close study of cultural and geographical realities onshore. Specific pointers given for fieldwork will require that we listen, ask questions, take notes, and bring back our observations to further our ongoing onboard discussion about women’s lives and literature.
Field WorkCountry: India
Day: 1 - Saturday, 27 February
The God of Small Things: An expedition into the landscape of a novel. This field lab will take us into the old port city of Cochin, in the region of Kerala, in which Andurhati Roy’s novel The God of Small Things is set. After time spent exploring the ancient port city of Cochin, including a visit to the synagogue in Mattancherry, we will enrich our understanding of the novel’s description of kathkali Dance Theater by attending a performance.
1. To deepen our understanding of the novel by exploring some of the strikingly different cultures to be found in Cochin