AMS 391 • Orientalism and Imperialism
2:00 PM-3:30 PM
This course in "orientalism and imperialism" will be organized around a set of narratives and a selection of primary and historical documents that contributed to the ideological and political grounds for the European colonial project in the 19th and early 20th centuries, with particular reference to Africa and the Indian subcontinent. Since the publication of Edward Said's Orientalism in 1979, the controversial issues of orientalism and practices of imperialism have figured critically in determining the contemporary redefinitions of the fields of literary studies and the liberal arts. In our reading of a selection of canonical texts that underwrote the orientalist-imperialist endeavor, we will attempt to examine both the literary and documentary parameters of that epochal project.
Organizing Texts/Topics: Jules Verne. Around the World in 80 Days (the Imperial Wager) Henry M. Stanley. Autobiography (the Scramble for Africa) Rudyard Kipling. Kim (the Great Game) H. Rider Haggard. King Solomon's Mines (Raw Materials/Literary Gems) + Barbara Harlow and Mia Carter (eds). Imperialism and Orientalism: A Documentary Sourcebook. Readings, which include multiple layers of these assorted documents (bureaucratic/official, popular, personal, and literary, as well as illustrative), will be organized around strategic moments. These moments, attached to geographical loci and central to the redrawing of the map of empire, are further designated to counter standard historical models of colonialism, with their emphases on teleology and progress.