CMLIT 446: Postcolonial Literature and Culture

CMLIT 446: Postcolonial Literature and Culture


Tembi Charles

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Fall 2024

This course examines environmental aspects of postcolonial literature and culture. Through reading novels, stories, and poetry originating primarily from regions of the globe colonized by Europeans in the 15th–20th centuries, we will explore how the environment features in literature imagined and written in the aftermath of colonial conquest. We will ground our conversations about these texts in the historical facts of colonialism and the horrific acts of violence, exploitation, and destruction that were perpetrated in its name. Yet we will also be attentive to the stories and mythologies, cultural values and practices, and ways of knowledge, feeling, and belief among colonized peoples that still survive today from precolonial times, or which arose as an antidote to, and source of resistance against, the ravages of colonialism—particularly those in which the environment plays a central role. Students will also have a chance to encounter the precolonial environment of Pennsylvania and reflect on their own relationship to the state’s ecology via periodic experiential learning modules throughout the semester. No prerequisites; counts toward the Comparative Literature major and the World Literature minor.


Arts and Humanities