Fall 2024


3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

CompLit 171: Counter-Imperialism and Asian-African Literatures

Annette Lienau

The first Asia-Africa conference of newly independent states (held in Indonesia, in 1955) was once hailed by contemporary observers as an event as significant as the European renaissance in global importance.
It inspired a sequence of initiatives in pursuit of new forms of cultural exchange and political brokering unmediated by former colonial centers.  This course explores how this historic transition towards a decolonized future was anticipated, envisioned, and critiqued in literary form.  Moving through a range of texts and historical documents that mark this transition, the course invites you to engage with the comparative legacies of African and Asian independence movements and solidarity initiatives as they rose to international circuits of recognition, with implications for enduring cultural debates across the Global South.
Readings for the course will include Richard Wright’s The Color Curtain, an iconic account of the first Asian-African conference of independent states, on the cultural commonalities and uneven temporalities of African-Asian independence movements; theoretical texts on the cultural ambiguities of anti-colonial nationalisms (such as Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth and Black Skin, White Masks); and literary texts that include revolutionary and counter-imperial poetry and prose works. Course assignments will include three analytical papers. (All required texts will be available in English.)

In Person