It can be argued that the world became “modern” when Europeans shifted the focus for their mercantile world from traversing the Mediterranean Sea to crossing the Atlantic Ocean, a shift which makes the Trans-Atlantic slave trade and its legacies of imperialism and colonialism which followed, foundational to the creation of the ‘modern’ world.
This course will consider the ways in major texts of English literature, such as Shakespeare’s Tempest (1610) Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe (1719) Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park (1814) , Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, (1847) or Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness (1899) have been interpreted, revised, re-written and filmed, in an ongoing debate over the ways in which notions of race and ethnicity come to encode the ideas of what is modern, civilized and cultured, and what is not, in the course of the centuries. The class will consider texts in conversation selected from groupings such as: William Shakespeare: The Tempest (1610) /Aime Cesaire: A Tempest (1969)/ Margaret Atwood: Hagseed (2016)
Joseph Conrad: Heart of Darkness (1899)/ Francis Ford Coppola (director) Apocalypse Now (1979)/ Nicholas Roeg (director) Heart of Darkness (1993)
Daniel Defoe: Robinson Crusoe (1719)/ Derek Walcott: Pantomime (1978)/ J.M Coetzee Foe (1986)
Jane Austen: Mansfield Park (1814)/ Patricia Roezema (director) Mansfield Park (1999)/ Tim Luscombe: Mansfield Park (Play adaptation) (2013)
Charlotte Bronte: Jane Eyre (1847) / Jean Rhys: Wide Sargasso Sea (1966)/ Cary Fukunaga (director) Jane Eyre (2011)
Field WorkCountry: India
Date: October 26, 2017
Students will tour the Portuguese, Jewish and British colonial establishments to understand the complexity of the many different migrations and diasporas, as they are visible through the built environment of Cochin and to give the historical background to Rushdie’s The Moors Last Sigh, as a pivotal text of a course looking at trade and the transformation of ideas between early modern Europe and the world in which we now live.
1. Think through the implications of historical processes such as trade relations, imperial conquest and colonial rule.
2. Be open to recognizing the legacies of different forms of cultural contact in the built environment.
3. Appreciate the ways in which literature lives through lending itself to interpretation and debate and supports or interrogates the society which supports it.