Learning outcomes of the course unit
The course aims to provide students with historical-literary knowledge of and enable them to develop advanced critical-analytical skills in relation to 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;
- in-depth 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.
In addition, in line with the educational project of the Laurea Magistrale, the course aims to develop transversal skills of communication, engagement and problem-solving, in individual and group contexts, that is to help students acquire a varied and transferable skill-set applicable both to professional and non-professional situations.
- Knowledge of spoken and written English equivalent to at least B2 level of CEFR;
- basic knowledge of literary genres;
- general knowledge of the literary history from the Romantics to today;
- familiarity with the language of literary criticism and theory;
- general knowledge of the British history of colonialism and decolonization.
Course contents summary
"On, Across and Beyond Borders: Hybridity and Migration in Anglophone Literatures from the Romantics to the Present".
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 rest of the course will be devoted to the close and critical reading of a selection of texts (by Thomas Pringle, David Greig, Brian Friel, Monica Ali and J. M. Coetzee) representative of the themes of the course. The text will be first introduced by the teacher and then discussed by the students. The implication is that students must read each primary text before the class dedicated to it. In some cases, on a voluntary basis, students might be asked to give short presentations on the texts or the central themes of the course. All the texts, in the original language, will be analyzed in relation to the historical and aesthetic context and pointing out their narratological or poetic, stylistic, thematic and ideological characteristics.
The extended and detailed program, with specific bibliographic references, will be provided at the beginning of the course in February. The list of primary texts will be provided much earlier, so that students can start reading them before the course starts.
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); Braidotti Rosi e Gilroy Paul, eds, "Conflicting Humanities". All texts will be available in the Library of the Universtiy of Parma (V.le San Michele 9), or in pdf format online on the University of Modena digital platform (Dolly). Complete bibliographical references will be provided before the beginning of the course in the detailed syllabus.
In the lectures the professor will introduce the main aspects of the framework historical-cultural context, the selected authors and texts, using both the course bibliography and further textual or visual materials available in the Library of the University of Parma (V.le San Michele), as well as on the digital platform of the University of Modena (Dolly). In this way, students will be encouraged to create their own individual study and research projects, to adopt original approaches and carry out autonomous analyses of the issues and problems raised by the professor during the course. At the same time, in accordance with the educational project of the Laurea Magistrale, the course will include seminar moments, in which students will be asked to focus on specific aspects deriving from a close reading of the texts included in the syllabus. They will be constantly encouraged to participate in class discussions of texts and related theoretical aspects through questions asked by the professor, team work and research to be carried out autonomously and then reported during a class session.
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:
- oral and written skills in English equivalent at least to C1 level of the Common European Framework, 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 are aimed at evaluating 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 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 at least C1 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.