Have a Question? Contact the Humanities Office or an Academic Unit


Academic Year: Fall/Winter 2014/2015

Term: 2

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Nadine Attewell

Email: attewen@mcmaster.ca

Office: Chester New Hall 311

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 24492

Office Hours: Thursday 12:30 p.m. - 2:20 in CNH 332

Course Objectives:

This course will enable you to


― analyze specific texts by early twentieth-century anglophone writers with attention to

            the contexts of their production, publication, and reception

― discuss a variety of modernist, colonial, anticolonial, and postcolonial projects

― reflect on the intersections between modernism, colonialism, and the politics of gender

            and sexuality

― reflect on the relationship between (aesthetic) form and politics

― strengthen your critical thinking and research skills

― develop your ideas about texts in both informal discussion situations and clear, well-

            argued, well-theorized, and well-supported essays

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:


Virginia Woolf, The Waves (Penguin; 978-0141182711)

Jean Rhys, Voyage in the Dark (Penguin; 9780141183954)

E. M. Forster, A Passage to India (Penguin; 9780141441160)

Raja Rao, Kanthapura (New Directions; 978-0811201681)

Monique Truong, The Book of Salt (Mariner; 978-0618446889)

Method of Assessment:

Discussion Question and Post-Seminar Response:     10%

Extramural Reading:                                                    10%

Discussion Starter Exercise:                                        20%

Research Proposal and Bibliography:                         15%

Research Essay (10 – 12 pages):                               30%

Attendance and Engagement:                                     15%

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

This is a self-reporting tool for undergraduate students to report absences DUE TO MINOR MEDICAL SITUATIONS that last up to 5 days and provides the ability to request accommodation for any missed academic work. Please note, this tool cannot be used during any final examination period. You may submit a maximum of 1 Academic Work Missed request per term. It is YOUR responsibility to follow up with your Instructor immediately (NORMALLY WITHIN TWO WORKING DAYS) regarding the nature of the accommodation. If you are absent for reasons other than medical reasons, for more than 5 days, or exceed 1 request per term, you MUST visit your Associate Dean's Office/Faculty Office). You may be required to provide supporting documentation. This form should be filled out immediately when you are about to return to class after your absence.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at www.mcmaster.ca/academicintegrity

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at mcmaster.ca/msaf/. If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail sas@mcmaster.ca. For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:

1/8                   Introductions


1/15                 Methods and Approaches: Postcolonial Theory and the Literature of Empire

                        Frantz Fanon, excerpts from The Wretched of the Earth (1963)

                        Mary Louise Pratt, “Criticism in the Contact Zone” (1992)

Edward Said, “Empire, Geography, and Culture” (1994)     

Leela Gandhi, “After Colonialism” (1998)                            

Elleke Boehmer, “Imperialism and Textuality” (2005)


1/22                 Empire and Popular Fiction at the Turn of the Century

                        Arthur Conan Doyle, The Sign of Four (1890)

                        Wm. Roger Louis, from The Oxford History of the British Empire (1999)


1/29                 Modernist (Counter)Narratives (I)

                        Virginia Woolf, The Waves (1930), to the end of the fourth italicized interlude

                        Edward Said, “A Note on Modernism” (1994)

                        Pericles Lewis, from The Cambridge Introduction to Modernism (2007)


2/5                   Modernist (Counter)Narratives (II)

                        Virginia Woolf, The Waves, complete

                        Jane Garrity, “Conquering New Worlds” (2003)


2/12                 Modernist (Counter)Narratives (III)

                        Jean Rhys, Voyage in the Dark (1934)

                        Antoinette Burton, from At the Heart of the Empire (1998)


2/19                 Reading Week


2/26                 “A world cut in two”? (I)

                        E. M. Forster, A Passage to India (1925), Parts 1 & 2

                        Rosemary Marangoly George, “Homes in the Empire” (1993 – 1994)                                 

3/5                   “A world cut in two”? (II)

                        E. M. Forster, A Passage to India, complete

                        Ian Baucom, “The Path from War to Friendship” (1999)


3/12                 “A world cut in two”? (III)

                        E. M. Forster, “The Other Boat” (post.)

                        Parminder Bakshi, “Homosexuality and Orientalism” (1990)

                        Leela Gandhi, from Affective Communities (2005)

                        Draft proposal due


3/19                 New Plots for New Times

                        Raja Rao, Kanthapura (1937)

3/19                 New Plots for New Times (cont’d)

                        Dilip Gaonkar, “On Alternative Modernities” (2001)


3/26                 Between Primitivism and Diaspora

                        Marc Allégret, dir., Zouzou (1934)

                        Anthea Kraut, “Between Primitivism and Diaspora” (2003)

                        Jennifer Boittin, from Colonial Metropolis (2010)

                        Revised proposal and annotated bibliography due


4/2                   Modernist Afterlives

                        Monique Truong, The Book of Salt (2004)