Course Description:

This course is about works of literature - including some classical and medieval works - that have been censored and banned in various parts of the world. We will explore the global history of censorship and discuss how individual texts fit into that larger history by focusing on the political and cultural contexts of countries like the USA, Niger, Egypt India and China. Why have works of imaginative literature been banned throughout history? What is so powerful about literature to make people and governments fear it? What are the meanings that are constituted by this mode of erasure? How have these questions played out as specific historical moments in modern and contemporary world? The course will mostly focus on 20th and 21st century works of fiction, graphic novel, poetry, essay and film that have been censored or banned for reasons of political dissidence, obscenity and blasphemy, and look at the ways in which these categories intersect with questions of class, caste, race, religion and gender.

This course fulfills Core Curriculum goals AHo and CCD-1.

Sample Texts:

Miriam Tlali, Amandla
Son’allah Ibrahim, The Smell of it
Salman Rushdie, Satanic Verses
Taslima Nasreen, Lajja A Thousand and One Nights
Ahmad Naji, The Uses of Life
Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner
Azar Nafisi, Reading Lolita in Tehran