Winter 2016-2017


Sonali Thakkar

This course reads works of postcolonial literature and theory in order to consider the entanglements of the figures of “women” and “natives” in colonial as well as postcolonial discourse. We will discuss topics such as the persistent feminization of the profane, degraded, and contagious bodies of colonized natives; representations of women as both the keepers and the victims of “authentic” native culture; the status (symbolic and otherwise) of women in anti-colonial resistance and insurgency; and the psychic pathologies (particularly nervous conditions of anxiety, hysteria, and madness) that appear repeatedly in these works as states to which women and/as natives are especially susceptible. And we will ask whether a theoretical concept such as écriture feminine, which identifies forms of literary production that register the specific traces of female difference, is meaningful in the context of embodied experience that is raced as well as gendered. (B, H)