Spring 2012

Claudia Hoffmann

“Migration and Globalization in African Cinema”
Department of African Studies, Department of Film & Television
Recent filmmaking across the globe shapes and has been shaped by globalization processes in which exchange, borders, and flows of people and objects, including the films themselves, challenge commonly held notions of nation state, citizenship, and a global community. In this course we will explore how African filmmakers and their films take part in this globalized exchange and how they negotiate the necessity of telling African stories from within the continent and issues of financing and distribution. How do African filmmakers situate the role of Africa within an unequal global world order? How do they recreate issues of mobility and transcontinental movements by African nationals who wish to participate in the economic opportunities the Global North seems to offer? In addition, we will address the aesthetic, political, social, and cultural significance of African cinema in terms of storytelling, financing, modes of production, distribution, and audience reception in Africa and abroad. Filmmakers include Ousmane Sembène, Djibril Diop Mambéty, Jean-Marie Téno, Abderrahmane Sissako, and others.
Please note that this course will be taught on the graduate level and requires a significant amount of reading and preparation each week. While students who take this class for undergraduate credit will get modified written assignments, the requirements for preparation and participation are the same for all students.

Celina Hung

“Transoceanic Encounters: Interdisciplinary Studies of Chinese (Im)Migrant Networks”
Department of Asian Languages and Cultures, Department of Comparative Literature
The histories of Chinese emigration span numerous centuries, lands, and seas. Despite the variegated lived experiences, the facts that ideas like the rising China have gained ground among popular and academic conversations, and that the spread of such ideas would regenerate the nervous Exclusion-era imagination of an “Asiatic takeover,” suggest some persistent problems in overseas/diasporic Chinese studies. While the phenomenon of a global Chinese presence has taken on renewed importance, only limited efforts have been devoted to scrutinizing (im)migrant cultures beyond the re-iterations of ethno-national unison and cultural alien-ness associated with migrations at the turn and in the latter part of the twentieth century. The failure to address the centuries-long interethnic encounters, networks, and creolized affinities makes our current historical juncture a particularly urgent one for questioning the implication of a globalizing Chinese economy and the applicability of Chineseness to dissonant local articulations. Discussing historical, literary, visual, and theoretical texts, students in this seminar explore the intricate conditions facilitating the representations and (un)making of “Chinese” subjectivities in parts of Southeast Asia, North America, and the Caribbean region. 

Annette Damayanti Lienau

“Comparative Literature and Leftist Transnationalism”
Department of Comparative Literature
Exploration of variety of literary forms produced by leftist international writers. Invites students to consider whether a common ground exists for leftist literature in global terms, allowing us to move beyond the usual dichotomies through which postcolonial literatures are conventionally framed. Texts used to introduce and explore literature of British Fabianism, Russian beginnings and transnational reach of socialist-realism as a literary practice, American proletarian novel, mutual influence of Afro-African writers and authors of the Harlem Renaissance, and leftist prison literature. In addition to works of literature, introduction to idea of leftist, literary criticism as a way of reading, and includes key historical documents that contextualize the changing reception of literature in question–suggesting, in other words, how a literary text can also be read as a historical event.

S. Ani Mukherji

“South Asians in the Americas, 1838-present”
Department of History
While the first South Asians appeared in the Americas as early as the seventeenth century, substantial and sustained migration from India to the Western hemisphere began only in the mid-nineteenth century with the introduction of Indian indentured laborers to British colonies in the Caribbean.  Since that time, many South Asians have come to the Americas to pursue work, study, and a new life.  This course will examine the social, political, and cultural history of South Asians in the Americas—including the United States, the West Indies, and Canada—from the period of indenture to the present.  The study of multiple diasporic locations is intended to highlight the specificities and commonalities of different sites of ‘transplantation.’  Major themes of the course include race, ethnicity, diaspora, gender, religion, labor, and (im)migration.