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Dr. Susan Sage Heinzelman, Director 2505 University Avenue, A4900, Burdine Hall 536, Austin Texas 78712 • 512-471-5765

Spring 2009

WGS 340 • Women Writers in South Asian Dias-W

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
47885 TTh
11:00 AM-12:30 PM
BUR 228

Course Description

In narrating the distance between her 10-year-old narrator and the map, the silver star, and the image of a woman in a sari that represent her parents' homeland, Jhumpa Lahiri constructs a multifaceted image of the South Asian diaspora, one inflected by age, gender, generation, and nationality. In this course, we will critically engage this and other images and narratives of the South Asian diaspora through the work of South Asian women writers and artists living in North America.

Through our discussions of contemporary novels, stories, essays, and films, we will explore a number of questions: What is the South Asian diaspora, and what does it mean to write as a woman from that complex location? How do gender, nationality, and location impact the ways in which writers and artists imagine the world as their own communities? The ways they define notions of home and belonging? To what extent is diaspora an abstract concept, and to what extent is it a material condition for South Asian women in North America? What possibilities are enabled and foreclosed by living and writing in the diaspora -in terms of culture, politics, desire, and forms of community and exchange? How are writers and artists imagining diaspora in relation to globalization and transnational flow of people, commodities, and ideas? In addressing these questions, we will consider the usefulness and limitations of "diaspora"; how race, class, ethnicity, and nationality play into conceptions of home and community; exile and migration, particularly with respect to the forms of violence that force people to leave one home and the politics of immigration in the US; nationalism, sexualities, and queer diasporas; and relationships between memory and popular culture.


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