English 395.301
Jim English
Spring 2011
Office: FBH 311
Thurs 1:30-4:30
Hours:  T 2-3, W 1-2
BENN 406
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 at Sansom and 34th Street:  J. M. Coetzee, Disgrace; Juno Diaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao; William Gibson, Pattern Recognition; 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 10-14 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."


1/13    Introduction and Group Workshop

    I.  Economics and Culture in the World System

1/20   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)
                Findings:  Gibson's career

1/27    Gibson, Pattern Recognition (finish)    
           Korzeniewicz, "Commodity Chains and Marketing Strategies: Nike" (TGR)
           Jameson, "Fear and Loathing in Globalization" (Link)    
                 Findings:  Global brands

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

2/3    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:  The Fatwa; Rushdie today; Verses Affair today

2/10    Rushdie, Satanic Verses, parts V to IX
             Handouts on the Verses Affair
                   EXAM # 1

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

2/17    Hosseini, The Kite Runner
    Discussion of Research Papers
                        [Research Paper Guidelines]

2/24     Forster, The Kite Runner (film)
            Cowen, "Why Hollywood Rules the World" (TGR)
            Casanova, "From Internationalism to Globalization" (handout)    

3/3       Swarup, Q & A
            Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
            Tyrrell, "Bollywood vs Hollywood: Battle of the Dream Factories" (TGR)
                 Topic Paragraph and Bibliography due Friday 3/4, 8AM via email

    IV.  Minority Literatures and Anglophonic Form

3/17      Saro-Wiwa, Sozaboy
             North, "Sozaboy: The Politics of Rotten English"
                    EXAM # 2

3/24       Diaz, Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
                Findings:  Junot Diaz; Post-Trujillo Dominica
                    Draft of Research Papers due Monday 3/28,  8AM via email

    V.  Cosmopolitan Ethics and the Politics of the Local

3/31          Coetzee, Disgrace
Findings: Higher Education in South Africa; Controversy re Coezee

4/7         Roy, The God of Small Things 
                Esteva and Prakash "From Global to Local" (TGR)

4/14      Roy, The God of Small Things 
                    EXAM # 3 


4/21    Porto Alegre Call for Mobilization (TGR)
                Giddens, Reith Lectures on "Globalization" and "Democracy"
                       Research Papers due Friday 4/29, 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]