Learning outcomes of the course unit
The course aims to provide students with advanced knowledge of the main literary manifestations and forms from Romanticism to today that pertain to the critical and theoretical discourses of migration literature and postcolonial literatures. During the course, students will acquire:
- research and analytical skills applicable to the complex manifestations of Anglophone literature and culture from the Romantic period to the present day;
- the knowledge of theoretical notions, authors, works, movements and aesthetic ideas central to the literature in English from the nineteenth century to nowadays, with the support of an updated critical bibliography;
- the ability to contextualize and analyse complex texts in English from both a formal and a thematic-ideological perspective;
- the ability to outline research projects autonomously through the deployment of traditional and digital bibliographical resources;
- the ability to articulate critical judgments about complex literary and cultural phenomena based on textual close readings;
- communicative skills allowing them to formulate ideas and commentaries in English in a linguistic register and lexis appropriate to literary studies, as well as corresponding to the level of language proficiency expected for the year of the Laurea Magistrale attended by students;
- the autonomy to apply the skills developed during the course also to non-literary texts.
- Knowledge of spoken and written English equivalent to B2 (or C1, according to the first language chosen by students) level of CEFR;
- basic knowledge of literary genres;
- general knowledge of the literary history from the Romantics to today;
- general knowledge of the British history of colonialism and decolonization.
Course contents summary
The course examines thematic paths and theoretical discourses concerning the phenomena and concepts of migration, exile, diaspora and otherness in Anglophone literature from the late eighteenth century up to the present day. A central topic that the course will address will be the crossing of borders, both in the geographical and figurative sense, as a process that determines conflicts, but also intercultural meetings and contacts ("contact zones" and "third spaces", in the postcolonial theoretical discourse ), according to the changes generated by globalization and transnational policies. The first part of the course (6 hours) will focus on the presentation of the main theories concerning migration and postcolonial literatures, with particular reference to the theme of geo-cultural border crossing. The second part of the course (about 22 hours) will be devoted to the critical reading of a selection of texts representative of the themes of the course, from Romanticism to today (inter alia, texts by Thomas Pringle, David Greig, Salman Rushdie, Zadie Smith and Arundhati Roy). All the texts, in the original language, will be analyzed in relation to the historical and aesthetic context and pointing out their narratological (if dealing with fiction), stylistic, thematic and ideological characteristics. Finally, in the last part of the course (about 8 hours), with the support of critical tools provided by the teacher, students will present to the class a research proposal on one or more aspects of the course programme. This proposal will then be turned into a written essay to be handed in before the oral exam.
Texts to prepare the theoretical frame of the course, inter alia: Bhabha Homi K., “The Location of Culture” (1994); Russell King, John Connell and Paul White (eds), “Writing across worlds : literature and migration” (1995); Loomba Ania, “Colonialism/Postcolonialism” (1998); Walter D. Mignolo, “Local Histories/ Global Designs” (2000); Innes C. L., “The Cambridge introduction to postcolonial literatures in English” (2007); Hiddleston Jane, “Understanding Postcolonialism” (2009); Francoise Kral, “Critical Identities in Contemporary Anglophone Diasporic Literature” (2009); Park Sorensen Eli, “Postcolonial Studies and the Literary : Theory, Interpretation and the Novel” (2010); Mirjam Gebauer, Pia Schwarz Lausten (eds), “Migration and literature in contemporary Europe” (2010); Sten Pultz Moslund, “Migration literature and hybridity : the different speeds of transcultural change” (2010); Ramone Jenni, “Postcolonial Theories” (2011). All texts will be available in the Library of the Area di Lingue e Letterature Straniere or, when not present there, in pdf format, online on the University of Parma digital platform (Elly). The complete bibliographical references will be provided before the beginning of the course in the detailed syllabus.
During the lectures the professor will introduce the main aspects of the historical-cultural context, the selected authors and texts, using both the course bibliography and further textual or visual materials available for students in the Library of the Area di Lingue e Letterature Straniere (printed and digital materials), as well as on digital archives such as www.archive.org, and on the digital platform of the University of Parma (Elly). In this way, students will be encouraged to create their own individual study and research projects, to carry out original approaches to and autonomous analyses of the issues and problems raised by the professor during the course. The course will include seminar moments, in which the students will be asked to focus on specific aspects of deriving from a close readings of the texts included in the syllabus.
Assessment methods and criteria
The knowledge and skills acquired during the course will be assessed through a preliminary essay (for which a list of titles will be provided), and an oral exam, both in English. Both parts of the exam will evaluate the following skills that the student should achieve by the end of his/her learning process:
- English language oral skills equivalent to C1 level of the Common European Framework (or C2, according to the language students chose as first in their curriculum), implying the acquisition of the proper lexis for academic literary analyses;
- Specific, in-depth knowledge of writers, texts and contexts in the literary period covered by the course;
- Ability to give individual readings of texts, re-elaborating autonomously the contents of the course, carry out further research on the themes discussed in class, and elaborate personal, motivated opinions on them.
Both the essay topics and oral exam questions must evaluate the student’s acquired knowledge and skills in re-elaborating what he/she has learnt, and proposing individual interpretations. The assessment of the essay and oral exam will be based on the following criteria:
-failure: no knowledge acquired by the student; improper language, far from the C1/C2 level; no ability to re-elaborate the content of the course, propose individual readings, and articulate personal, motivated opinions;
-pass (18-23/30): minimum knowledge acquired by the student on the authors, texts and contexts discussed in class; on the whole proper language, close to C1/C2 level, in spite of some flaws; the student is sufficiently able to re-elaborate the content of the course, express convincing enough opinions, and produce acceptable interpretations of the texts;
-(fairly) good (24-27/30): (fairly) good level achieved in the above mentioned skills and acquired knowledge;
-very good and excellent (28-30/30): all the above mentioned criteria are fully met by the student, who has achieved from very good to excellent results