ENG 7340: Women at Risk–South Asian Women’s Writing
Instructor: Alpana Sharma
Wright State University
Required Primary Reading:
Shashi Deshpande, The Dark Holds No Terrors (India)
Anuradha Roy, An Atlas of Impossible Longing (India)
Githa Hariharan, In Times of Siege (India)
Manju Kapur, Home (India)
Farah Ghuznavi, ed. Lifelines: New Writing from Bangladesh (Bangladesh)
Kamila Shamsie, Kartography (Pakistan)
V. Ganeshananthan, Love Marriage (Sri Lanka)
Required Secondary Reading (to be added to throughout the semester):
Chaudhuri, Maitrayee, ed. Feminism in India. New Delhi: Kali for Women, 2004. (Excerpts)
Deshpande, Shashi. Writing from the Margin and Other Essays. New Delhi: Penguin Books, 2003. (Excerpts)
Mohanty, Chandra T. Feminism without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity. Durham: Duke University Press, 2003. (Excerpts)
Nair, Sridevi. “Transnationalism and Women of Color Courses: Diversity, Curricula, and New Pedagogies Of ‘Race.’” Feminist Teacher 24.1-2 (2014): 1-17.
Spivak, Gayatri C. “Three Women’s Texts and a Critique of Imperialism.” “Race,” Writing, and Difference. Spec. Issue of Critical Inquiry 12.1 (Autumn 1985): 243- 261.
About the Course:
When it comes to gender, South Asia is at a ruptural moment in its modern history. What has brought its dominant modes of being to crisis is the subcontinent’s rapid modernization due to global economic forces; at the same time, while globalization has entailed sweeping changes in centuries-old cultural mores and attitudes and brought women into the public sphere, correspondingly there has been a powerful push-back to women’s self-empowerment from patriarchal, conservative, and fundamentalist quarters. Hence, South Asian women’s writing embodies a certain kind of risk as it dramatizes new forms of empowerment in a cultural context that appears to deny the value of female empowerment. The objective of this course is to introduce students to modern Anglophone South Asian women’s writing as a powerful and risky medium of self-expression. It invites students to think critically about the cultural context(s) that produces themes, styles, and forms that are specific to South Asian women’s experience of their changed and changing worlds. What forms of empowerment do these writers’ works take? Which literary forms and styles do they find useful to convey their ideas? How do their interests converge and diverge? Which feminist methodologies best help us to understand what is at stake in contemporary South Asian women’s literature? How does answering this question help us to disentangle the imperatives and aims of South Asian feminism from those of canonical Western feminism?
Attendance and participation; weekly journal; class presentation; research paper, 16-18 pages.