ENG 228: Re-Placing Great Britain

Re-Placing Great Britain: Alternative Narratives of National Identity
Dr. Comorau / Spring 2014 / MWF 1:10-2
nacomora@owu.edu / Sturges 304/ x3580

Course Introduction:
We tend to think of the British Empire as a force expanding outward from Great Britain. However, even as the empire expanded, and especially after it began its decline, people from throughout the empire have come to England for home, work, and education. This class will consider how black British and postcolonial writers imagine the space of England as a postcolonial space. We will read narratives that reconsider the nature of empire, reimagine the city of London, and reconceive British identity. Historical context will be vitally important to everything we read, but we must remember that this is imaginative literature is not a substitute for nor a supplement to history, but a concurrent narrative of its own.

Alternative Anthem, John Agard
Red Velvet, Lolita Chakrabarti
The Methuen Book of Plays by Black British Writers, Ed. Goddard
The Buddha of Suburbia, Hanif Kureishi
Mi Revalueshanary Fren, Linton Kwesi Johnson
A Small Island, Andrea Levy
Incomparable World, S.I. Martin
A Distant Shore, Caryl Phillips
Writing Black Britain, 1948-1998, James Procter
Films on reserve in Beeghly (East is East; My Son the Fanatic; Dirty, Pretty Things)

Class Schedule
M 13 Jan       Course Introduction
W 15 Jan        Writing Black Britain, pp. 1-23
F   17 Jan        A Small Island, prologue-chapter 8

M 20 Jan       A Small Island, ch. 9-17
W 22 Jan       A Small Island, ch. 18-26
F   24 Jan        A Small Island, ch. 27-37

M 27 Jan       A Small Island, ch. 38-50
W 29 Jan       A Small Island, ch. 51-59; “How Many Women Were on the Empire Windrush”                                   (Bb)
F 31 Jan         Writing Black Britain, Selvon “El Dorado West I,” pp. 30-4; Lamming,                               “Journey to an Expectation,” pp. 57-60; James, “Africans and Afro                                Caribbeans,” pp. 60-3; Hinds, “Busman’s Blues,” pp. 40-5

M 3 Feb         Writing Black Britain, pp. 54-7, 63-93
W 5 Feb         Incomparable World, pp 1-85
F   7 Feb        Incomparable World, pp 86-140

M 10 Feb       Incomparable World, pp. pp 141-213; “S.I. Martin’s Incomparable World and                           the Possibilities for Black British Historical Fiction” (Bb)                   
W 12 Feb       Red Velvet      
F   14 Feb       No class. Dr. Comorau will be at a conference.

M 17 Feb       Writing Black Britain, Part Two Intro, pp. 95-97; Naipaul “Living in Earl’s                                Court,” pp. 113-21 Dhondy, “Iqbal Café,” pp. 121-32; Gilroy “Black Teacher,”                         pp. 132-139
W 19 Feb       Writing Black Britain, poetry pp. 98-112; Enoch Powell’s “Rivers of Blood”                              speech (bb)
F 21 Feb         Buddha of Suburbia, pp. 3-77

M 24 Feb        Buddha of Suburbia, pp. 78-143
W 26 Feb       Buddha of Suburbia, pp 144- 218
F 28 Feb         Buddha of Suburbia, pp. 219-284

M 3 Mar         screen East is East, dir. Damien O’Donnell (Beeghly reserve)
W 5 Mar         “Welcome Back, Jacko” from Methuen anthology
F 7 Mar                      ***Midterm exam***

***Spring break***

M 17 Mar       Writing Black Britain, pp. 149-67, 170-77
W 19 Mar       Mi Revalueshanary Fren; pp. 1-19
F 21 Mar        Mi Revalueshanary Fren; pp. 20-51

M 24 Mar       Mi Revalueshanary Fren; pp. 52-77
W 26 Mar       Mi Revalueshanary Fren; pp. 81-103; “Linton Kwesi Johnson’s Dub Poetry and the Poetic Aesthetics of Carnival” (BB)
F 28 Mar       No class. Dr. Comorau will be at a conference.

M 31 Mar       “Sing Yer Heart out Fer the Lads” from Methuen anthology
W 2 Apr         My Son, The Fanatic, dir Udayan Prasad
F 4   Apr         Writing Black Britain, pp. 193-196, 200-222, and 259-261

M 7 Apr          Writing Black Britain, pp. 265-299
W 9 Apr          Alternative Anthem, pp. 1-23
F 11 Apr        Alternative Anthem, pp. 24-32; 51-62

M 14 Apr       Alternative Anthem, pp. 63-72; 121-132
W 16 Apr       Alternative Anthem, pp. 133-159
F 18 Apr        Dirty, Pretty Things, dir Stephen Frears (Screen at Beeghly)

M 21 Apr        A Distant Shore, pp. 1-63
W 23 Apr       A Distant Shore, pp. 67-138
F 25 Apr        A Distant Shore, pp. 138-193

M 28 Apr        A Distant Shore, pp. 193-277
W 30 Apr       “Gone Too Far” from Drama Anthology

W 7 May        Final Exam 1:30 pm

13 May-24 May: Travel to Manchester, Liverpool, and London for an amazing learning experience

Reading Journal: Each student will post to the group reading journal once per week. Each of you will be assigned one day per week to write a reading journal. You will write a minimum of 400 words in response to the reading scheduled for that class period. The purpose of the reading journal is to respond to one or more aspects of the text(s) that you find interesting. You may focus on one scene or character or poem or you may write about broad themes. It would be a great idea to pose questions to the class to consider for discussion.

Reading journals are due at 8 pm the night before class, so that everyone has a chance to read them before class. (So Monday’s journals are due Sunday night by 8pm and Wednesday’s journals are due Tuesday night by 8 pm.) Late journals will not be accepted.

Since we will not have journal entries to begin with on Fridays, everyone should come prepared with something to say about the text(s) we read.

Papers: You will write two short (4-6 page) papers throughout the course of the semester. I’ll post a basic paper assignment sheet on Blackboard closer to the paper due dates. Additionally, I’ve posted guidelines for paper formatting and academic integrity to Blackboard. Please be sure to consult both of these documents.

Midterm and Final: You will take both a midterm and a final exam in this course. The midterm will take place Friday, March 7th and the final will be held in our classroom on Wednesday, May 7th at 1:30 pm.

Participation: Active participation is vital to this class. We have a small group, so I need to hear all of your voices. I expect each of you to come to each class meeting with a copy of the text we’re discussing, have all of your electronics turned off and stowed, and be prepared to engage your classmates in discussion. I will post the participation rubric that will be used to determine your grade on Blackboard.

Grading breakdown:

Papers 15% each
Reading journal 20%
Final Exam 20%
Midterm 15%
Participation 15%

Course policies:
Electronics: I want our classroom to be a place in which we all engage with each other in discussion. That means we make eye contact when we speak and listen, we look at our books or notes for passages and ideas, and we focus on the work at hand for the fifty minutes of class. We cannot create this environment with people looking at their laptop screens, phones, tablets, or other electronic devices. Everything needs to be put away and turned off at all times unless we decide to take devices out for learning purposes. This rule applies to all students in all class meetings. Using electronics will negatively affect your participation grades.

Late work: Late reading journals will not be accepted. Late papers will lose one letter grade for each day they are late. Each student will be given one free 48-hour extension to use on any one paper, which means you may turn in any one paper up to two days late without penalty. The extension can’t be spread out amongst different papers, used on homework or any other assignment, or bargained for anything else. I offer this to help students out; please don’t try to use this benefit as leverage or in any way other than which it is intended.

.25-unit Travel Component: For our travel-learning course you have all been required to sing up for a .25-unit travel course. There will be a number of activities and assignments that you’ll complete while we travel. You’ll receive your assignments before we go; take notes and write responses while we’re there, and turn in a portfolio of polished work upon our return.