Course Offered: Spring and Fall Semesters
An introductory survey of the "classical" literatures of Africa, the Middle East and South Asia, stretching from antiquity to about the beginning of the 19th century. It examines the critical areas of difference and similarity between the literary traditions of the three regions through the study of excerpts of sample "canonical" texts. It begins with an overview of the oral tradition and proceeds to demonstrate its enduring impact on the written word in its various genres across time and space. It also explores new literary formations that have arisen out of the historical interchange between people's of Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. In the process, students will also be exposed to the different kinds of scripts, both original and improvised, that have been used over the centuries in the written traditions of the societies of these interlocking regions of the world.
Learning objectives: by the end of the course students will be able to identify and explain the fundamental differences and similarities between the oral and written pre- 20th century traditions of Africa, the Middle East and South Asia especially in terms of how they are articulated in poetry and imaginative prose. They will also be familiar with the main theoretical issues in the study of literary hybridity and be able to relate them to specific texts studied in the course. Finally, they will be able to demonstrate how discourse analysis enables a researcher to reveal constructions of meaning and power relations not only within the text, but also in conjunction with social issues by applying the method to a specific text provided in class.
This is a required course for the AMESALL Major (Regional and Comparative Option) and the AMESALL Minor. This course also satisfies the SAS Core Curriculum Goals "Philosophical and Theoretical Issues" (AHo) and "Arts and Literatures" (AHp).