Eastern Michigan University

Honors College

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LITR 202 Current Events in World Literature

"Literature 202 (F13) Current Events in World Literature will focus on the Middle East and the Subcontinent, more specifically on recent fiction from Iran, Pakistan, and India.  All three countries (at least should Iran achieve its goal) have nuclear capability (the nuclear “club” has only three or four other members), and hence the fiction emerging from these countries has implications for all inhabitants of the globe.  (Additionally, if East and West Pakistan were still one country, India and Pakistan with China would together constitute the three countries with the world’s largest populations.) The course will address the various sedimentations of the Mughal Empire, the British Empire, and the recent Islamic revolutions in Iran and Pakistan, all of which have contributed to a very complex social, political, and cultural context.  Why is ancient Persia now Iran?  How do the Partition Riots of 1947, when the Brits leave and India and Pakistan achieve their national independence, still affect the relations between India and Pakistan.  What are the lingering effects of the Pakistani Civil War of 1971, when East Pakistan splits off and becomes Bangladesh?  Despite all the historical sedimentation in the texts, however, the course focuses on novels published in the last six or seven years that provide a window on current tensions and concerns within these three countries.  What about the more recent American presence in the region?  We’ll have many serious discussions, but as the movie Kabul Express will demonstrate, many of these texts also display rich veins of humor. The reading list will include texts by such authors as Desai, Gupta, Hamid, Hanif, Khadivi, Noori, Shamsie, as well as two movies (Amu and Kabul Express) that will provide visual equivalents to some of the problems addressed in the novels"


-Paul Bruss, English Language and Literature, Winter 2013

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