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Michael Stoff, Director 305 East 23rd St, CLA 2.102, (G3600) Austin, TX 78712-1250 • 512-471-1442

Spring 2006

T C 357 • Modern Caribbean Cultures: Identity, Hybridity, and Resistance-W

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
42675 TTh
9:30 AM-11:00 AM
CRD 007A

Course Description

In this seminar we will investigate the literatures of the Caribbean, focusing on the questions of identity, race, hybridity, créolité, language, revolution and culture as they are negotiated in the post-colonial context. In our readings from diverse authors and nations, we will also study the colonial history of the Caribbean islands and the on-going complexities of each island's relationship with England, France, Spain, and the U.S. in the past as well as in the present. Writing from the space between North America and Europe, the Caribbean author occupies a unique position from which to reflect on the dueling forces of contemporary cultural hegemonies. In conjunction with the novels we will see several films (The Harder They Come; Sugar Cane Alley; Before Night Falls) and read criticism by C.L.R. James, Frantz Fanon, Edward Said, Edouard Glissant, and Gayatri Spivak as it relates to our themes.

About the Professor Alexandra Wettlaufer is an associate professor of French and Comparative Literature and specializes in the relationship between painting and literature in the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. She received her B.A. from Princeton and a Ph.D. from Columbia University. Her publications include Pen vs Paintbrush: Girodet, Balzac and the Myth of Pygmalion (St Martin's Press, 2001), In the Mind's Eye: The Visual Impulse in Prose (Rodopi, 2003) and articles on Baudelaire, Ruskin, Turner, George Sand, and Flora Tristan. She was awarded the President's Fellows Teaching Award in 2000.

Grading Policy

This course contains a substantial writing component. Each student will be expected to come to each class fully prepared to discuss the day's reading. Students will give brief presentations on the history of the islands each author is writing from or about (Trinidad, Antigua, Guadaloupe, Martinique, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Dominican Republic) and turn in a short (5-7 page) paper relating the text to some aspect of the presentation. During the course of the term, each student will select a Caribbean novel not included on our syllabus and write a final 15 page paper on it. The last week of class we will hold a mini-conference in which students present their work in brief oral exposés in preparation for the Senior Thesis Symposium. Class participation: 20% First presentation: 15% Short paper: 15% Second presentation: 25% Final paper: 25%


Anglophone Caribbean: V.S. Naipaul, The Middle Passage Caryl Phillips, The Atlantic Sound Jamaica Kincaid, Annie John
Francophone Caribbean: Aimé Césaire, Notebook of a Return to the Native Land & Discourse on Colonialism Edwidge Danticat, The Farming of Bones Patrick Chamoiseau, Solibo Magnificent
Hispanophone Caribbean: Rosario Ferré, The House on the Lagoon Julia Alvarez, In the Time of Butterflies Esmeralda Santiago, When I Was Puerto Rican
General: Eric Williams, From Columbus to Castro: The History of the Caribbean


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