English 395.401
Jim English
COML 395.401 Office: FBH 311
Fall 2009 Hours:  T 2-3, Th 1-2
W 2:00-5:00  FBH 222
jenglish <at>

The process called globalization has been going on for centuries, but the last few decades have witnessed a dramatically rapid emergence of new systems and technologies of global exchange.  Our task in this class will be to consider the ways these developments are affecting literature – reshaping both the internal form of literary works themselves and the larger system of literary marketing and consumption.  We will look at some of the more influential stories of the global that have been offered by contemporary English-language novelists: “world fictions” that seem to cut loose from any particular national literary tradition or framework in order to map their themes and characters onto a space of constant and often troubling transnational contact.  And we will put these narratives into the context of a literary world system that is establishing new genres, new readerships, new vehicles of distribution and promotion, new relations between print, film, television, and video.

Reading for the course will consist of the following novels, all available from the Penn Book Center:  J. M. Coetzee, Disgrace; William Gibson, Pattern Recognition; Jessica Hagedorn, Dogeaters; Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner; Salman Rushdie, The Satanic Verses; Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things; Ken Saro-Wiwa, Sozaboy; and Vikram Swarup, Q&A.  We will discuss the film adaptations of Hosseini's and Swarap's novels, which are available for individual or small-group screening at Rosengarten Reserves. Throughout the semester we will also be reading essays and excerpts from some of the major scholars and theorists of globalization, including economists, sociologists, and anthropologists as well as literary critics.  Some of these readings are collected in The Globalization Reader, ed. Lechner and Boli (at the Penn Book Center); others will be made available electronically or as handouts. Written work will include three one-hour exams and a 10-12 page term paper based on independent research and submitted in draft as well as final form.

50% of the final grade for this class will be based on the draft (25%) and final version (25%) of the research paper.  The exams will count 10% each.  The remaining 20% will be based on attendance, quality of participation, and miscellaneous assignments such as the bibliography and "findings."


9/9    Introduction and Group Workshop

    I.  Economics and Culture in the World System

9/16   Gibson, Pattern Recognition, pp. 1-206
          Wallerstein, "The Modern World System as a Capitalist World-Economy" (TGR)
          Sklair, "Sociology of the Global System" (TGR)
          Appadurai, "Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy" (TGR)

9/23    Gibson, Pattern Recognition (finish)    
           Korzeniewicz, "Commodity Chains and Marketing Strategies: Nike" (TGR)
           Jameson, "Fear and Loathing in Globalization" (Link)    

    II.  The Verses Affair and the "Clash of Civilizations"

9/30    Rushdie, Satanic Verses, parts I to IV
           Huntington, "Clash of Civilizations?" (TGR)
           Tibi, "Challenge of Fundamentalism" (TGR)
           The Satanic Verses Affair, BBC1, Part I and Part II (YouTube) [Parts 3-9 are optional]
                Findings:  Rushdie today (Jenny); Verses Affair today (Stephen K); Fatwas (Casey)

10/7    Rushdie, Satanic Verses, parts V to IX
             Handouts on the Verses Affair
                   EXAM # 1

    III.  Anglophone "World Fictions" in Print and on Screen

10/14    Hosseini, The Kite Runner
    Discussion of Term Papers

10/21   Forster, The Kite Runner (film)
            Cowen, "Why Hollywood Rules the World" (TGR)
            Casanova, "From Internationalism to Globalization" (handout)
                Findings: Hosseini today (Max); Production/Reception of the film (Trisha)
                The Hazara minority in Afghanistan (Dalglish)

10/28  Swarup, Q & A
            Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
            Tyrrell, "Bollywood vs Hollywood: Battle of the Dream Factories" (TGR)
                 Topic Paragraph and Bibliography due

    IV.  Resistant Form, Disruptive Literature

11/4    Saro-Wiwa, Sozaboy
            North, "Sozaboy: The Politics of Rotten English"
                    EXAM # 2

11/11   Hagedorn, Dogeaters

    V.  Cosmopolitan Ethics and the Politics of the Local

11/18      Coetzee, Disgrace
Findings:  Bryna on Higher Ed
                                  Zeke on Controversies

                    Draft of Research Papers due Friday 20th 8AM via email

11/25      Thanksgiving

12/2         Roy, The God of Small Things
                Esteva and Prakash "From Global to Local" (TGR)
                    EXAM # 3  

12/9        Porto Alegre Call for Mobilization (TGR)
                Giddens, Reith Lectures on "Globalization" and "Democracy"
                       Research Papers due Wed, December 16th, 5:00 PM via email
                                               [here is a helpful online guide to using quotations in your writing]
                                                   [and here is a guide to standard U Chicago endnote format]

Links to Findings:

Bryna Djuhar's finding re Higher Ed

English Studies in South African universities

Zeke Trautenberg on harrassment and controversy:
Penn Sexual Harassment Handbook

J.M. Coetzee's Move To Australia

Political Controversy Surrounding Coetzee's Disgrace

And a brief aside from the Harassment Handbook:

Can I compliment one of my students or coworkers?

Yes, as long as your compliments are free from sexual undertones. Compliments such as "Nice legs" or "You look really sexy in that outfit" can make your co-worker or student feel uncomfortable or threatened.

Casey McQuade's findings re Fatwas:

        For a definition of fatwa
        For an example of a modern fatwa
        For a short video of the fatwa-issuing cleric being interviewed
Dalglish Chew's findings re Hazaras:

       Minorities at Risk assessment
       US Government publication on ethnicities in Afghanistan

       Human Rights Watch report on massacres of Hazaras

Trish Martin's findings re Kite Runner the movie:

       Interview with Forster and Hosseini

       Interview with actors

       Article on making of the film

   General Notes:
    •    Majority of film shot in Kashgar, China due to danger
    •    Dialogue is primarily in Dari Persian
    •    Child actors are unknowns from Afghanistan
    •    Moved to UAE during movie release because of fear of backlash
    •    Critics point out that they were paid a very low salary