CLIT2045: Colonialism/postcolonialism

Spring 2022 | 6 credits | Dr. Daniel VUKOVICH

This course introduces the history, culture, and politics of modern colonialism and its aftermaths, including de-colonization. We’ll read literature and film primarily, with some historical/primary documents and a healthy dose of “theory” or creative non-fiction.

This is a reading intensive class; it will be challenging if also fascinating. It will also be a historical—we need to immerse ourselves in history, howsoever partially, in order to understand what happened where, and to whom. And as always, you will write for your assignments. All of these readings and viewings together will represent the massive subjects of imperialism and colonialism as well as de-colonization. Most of these texts and theories stem from South Asian, Middle Eastern, and African contexts. These were the chief areas dominated by full or ‘total’ colonialism.

But our part of the world was also deeply impacted by imperialism and colonialism: of course Hong Kong itself, but also China and “Asia” more broadly. So we will also bravely engage the different contexts of mainland China (formerly described by Mao Zedong as “semi-colonial”) and of tiny but very significant Hong Kong (the U.K’s “pearl of the Orient”). In short, what I want us to see, or re-learn as needed, is that Hong Kong and China and perhaps the entire modern world  — including the West — were unmade, remade, and transformed  by the forces and effects of modern colonialism.