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Seminar: 3.02.121 S Science and Culture in Contemporary Postcolonial Fiction: Anil's Ghost and Helium - Details
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General information

Course name Seminar: 3.02.121 S Science and Culture in Contemporary Postcolonial Fiction: Anil's Ghost and Helium
Course number 3.02.121
Semester Sommersemester 2015
Current number of participants 10
expected number of participants 40
Home institute Institute of English and American Studies
Courses type Seminar in category Teaching
First date Tue., 14.04.2015 10:00 - 12:00, Room: A04 4-411
Lehrsprache englisch

Course location / Course dates

A04 4-411 Tue.. 10:00 - 12:00 (14x)

Fields of study


Is “science” a distinctive feature of the “progressive” and “enlightened” Western world? Do the structures and the established cultural images of scientific practice continue patterns of (neo)colonial domination which are little perceived and little discussed? Or does the scientific quest for knowledge follow a rationality which is independent of questions of culture and power? Our course will explore the relationship between postcolonialism, culture and science, in order to question culturally established perceptions in dialogue with literary representations of these issues. As our textual basis, we will analyse and discuss two outstanding recent novels which focus on scientists from India and Sri Lanka respectively, who were trained and educated in the west and who return in order to confront the consequences and conditions of the political violence which troubles their home countries. In addition, there will be short readings on theoretical and cultural frameworks made available via Stud.IP.
Ahead of the course, please purchase and read Michael Ondaatje, Anil’s Ghost [2000] (London: Vintage, 2011) and Jaspreet Singh, Helium [2013] (London: Bloomsbury, 2014).
Our course work will be arranged in two main sections. We will begin with a practical part preparing students for the critical discussion of the texts and the issues they raise. In this part, we will recapitulate the relevant analytical tools from the Basismodul in Literary and Cultural Studies and undertake a structural and thematic analysis of our texts. The second half of the semester will consist of student-led critical discussion that will include important secondary literature and work with the results, insights and questions reached in the first part.
The elements of active participation and seminar programme will be proposed for discussion in the first meeting. The preferred form of Prüfungsleistung is „Referat mit Ausarbeitung“ of about 10 pages. In case of high attendance numbers, alternatives may be discussed with the course leader.

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