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Thinking Diasporically: Postcolonialism and Migration

Semester and Year SP 2018
Course Number IDSEM-UG1951
Section 001
Instructor Duncan Yoon
Days M
Time 6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Units 4
Level U
Requirement   HUM, GLOBAL



This seminar maps postcolonial African literature and film through its representation of migration and diaspora. Readings explore how diasporic figures interrogate communal boundaries, which have served as structures of meaning in postcolonial worlds. We will examine narratives that engage with histories of migration, trauma, exile, and stranger-hood. We will focus on figures that productively blur the boundaries between center and periphery. This course uses literature as an interdisciplinary point of departure to explore sociological accounts of the diasporas depicted in the fictional text. We will also benefit from New York City’s rich history of diaspora by visiting sites such as Little Senegal in Central Harlem and the Ghanaian community in the Bronx’s Concourse Village. These readings will broach questions of genre, aesthetics, and migration: What is the difference between postcolonial and diasporic writing, if any? What is the relationship between stranger-hood and exile? And finally, how can “thinking diasporically” provide a model for critical thought? Possible readings include  The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano , Sembène Ousmane’s,  The Black Docker,  Chinua Achebe’s  No Longer at Ease  and   Aimé Césaire’s  Notebook of a Return to the Native Land . Others include Teju Cole’s  Every Day is for the Thief , Nadifa Mohamed’s  Black Mamba Boy , Zadie Smith’s  White Teeth , Fatou Dioume’s  The Belly of the Atlantic , and NoViolet Bulawayo’s  We Need New Names . Films include  Touki Bouki  by Djibril Diop Mambéty,  Black Girl  by Sembène Ousmane,  No Fear, No Die  by Claire Denis, and  La Pirogue  by Moussa Touré.


All Syllabi

Course Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)