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ENGLISH 3V03 Global Anglophone Lit & Film (C01)

Academic Year: Winter 2019

Term: Winter

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Nadine Attewell


Office: Chester New Hall 311

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 24492

Office Hours: Wednesdays 11:30-1:30pm

Course Objectives:


What comes after empire? In this course, we will reflect on the implications of living in a world shaped by empire through readings of fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction by contemporary writers with ties to Zimbabwe, Kenya, Pakistan, Vietnam, and Sri Lanka. In the process, we will engage with important debates in postcolonial and diaspora studies, including as these touch on histories of revolution, decolonization, nationalism, democratization, genocide, migration, displacement, climate change, gender and sexuality, war, and globalization, as well as the history of literary production itself.  


This course will

― introduce you to some of the amazing writing being produced by African and Asian (diasporic)

    writers in a variety of locations around the world;

― involve you in conversations about some of the most urgent and high-stakes social, political,

    and cultural issues of our time;

― help you to develop your confidence in working with scholarship and cultural production to

    think about phenomena in the world;

― foster your skills of close analysis and critical thinking;

― give you the opportunity to improve your skills of analysis and communication, by offering

    guidance in the art of composing effective essays and other kinds of writing, as well as

    substantive feedback on assignments;

― and challenge you to exercise curiosity about the world you inhabit; to ask questions about

     what you don’t know, as well as about what (you think) you do; and to listen.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Required Texts

Five texts are available for purchase at the campus store or through any online retailer:

1) NoViolet Bulawayo, We Need New Names (2013)

2) Shailja Patel, Migritude (2008)

3) Mohsin Hamid, Exit West (2017)

4) Kim Thúy, Ru (2009/2012)

5) Shyam Selvadurai, The Hungry Ghosts (2013)

Select theoretical readings will be available online through Avenue to Learn.

If cost is an issue, please get in touch with the teaching team, and we will arrange alternatives.


Method of Assessment:

Grade Breakdown

Attendance and engagement: 15%

Lecture notes: 5%

Very short papers (2 @ 10%; 2 @ 15%): 50%

Long essay (3000 words): 30%

Course Requirements

1. General expectations: this class requires that you engage in rigorous forms of critical inquiry. That is, it’s about asking and attempting to answer interesting questions raised by different kinds of texts. Some of these texts may challenge what you know (or think you know) about yourself, others, and the world in general; others may affirm and fuel you in your struggles. As teachers, our job is to assist you to engage productively with course texts and conversations, which may sometimes leave you feeling excited, confused, unsettled, uncomfortable, inspired, angry, sad, or all of the above. Whatever you’re feeling and thinking, please don’t hesitate to reach out with questions, concerns, or requests for help.

It is important that you try to attend all lectures and tutorials: conversations with a trusted group of interlocutors are a crucial component of critical inquiry, and require investments of time, energy, generosity, and attention. In other words, you should always be prepared to participate, both in lectures (which begin the week of January 7) and in tutorials (which begin the week of January 14). Class is the place to raise comprehension questions, as well as to demonstrate and develop your critical thinking and speaking abilities. Commit to reading the assigned texts by the date listed with care, attention, and engagement. Bring the readings to class. Take notes! Scribble and doodle in the margins! If you are anxious about speaking in public, prepare something, however brief, to say, and/or get in touch with us for assistance and alternatives. Attendance and engagement are together worth 15% of your final grade.

2. Lecture notes: as a way to facilitate your engagement and comprehension in lecture, and to generate an archive of course notes for those requiring them, once during the semester, you will be responsible for assembling a readable, point-form record of the weekly lecture. Although these notes are worth 5% of your final mark, they will not be graded. I will dock marks only if your notes seem skimpy or inaccurate. Otherwise, you will receive full marks. Your notes must be uploaded to A2L by 6 pm on the Friday following your assigned lecture.

3. Very short papers (2 @ 10%; 2 @ 15%): over the course of the semester, you will write four Very Short Papers (or VSPs), with your top two efforts weighted most heavily. The VSP is a formal analytical exercise of around 300 words that is designed to help you strengthen your skills of writing critically about literary texts. Each of the VSP assignments will allow you to work on different skills of writing and literary analysis: 1) making arguments about literary texts; 2) theorizing from the ground up, through close readings of literary texts; 3) working with scholarly arguments and concepts; and 4) bringing literary texts into conversation with existing theoretical concepts. Please see the instructions uploaded to A2L for more details about each VSP.  

5. Long essay: in addition to the VSPs, you will be required to write a longer essay (of approximately 3000 words, or 7-8 pages) for submission at the end of the semester. You will have the option of either developing one of your VSPs into a full-length essay, or pursuing a topic of your own devising (in consultation with me). The essay is worth 30% of your final mark; more information will be forthcoming in lecture and on A2L.



Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Late work: assignments are due in lecture during the weeks indicated. Late assignments will be penalized two percentage points per day (weekends count as a day) except where other arrangements have been made. Students are expected to retain a copy of each essay they submit. Please check the detailed late policy posted on the course website for more information.

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

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 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 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:

Schedule of Readings and Assignments

January 9                     Noor Khan, “EAST: A Relationship” [A2L]

                                   Robert Young, “What is the Postcolonial?” [A2L]                                  

January 16                   NoViolet Bulawayo, We Need New Names (up to and including “For Real”)

                                   Binyavanga Wainaina, “How to Write About Africa” [A2L]

                                   Sarah Brouillette, “On the African Literary Hustle” [A2L]

January 23                   No Violet Bulawayo, We Need New Names (complete)

                                   VSP 1 due in lecture

January 30                   Shailja Patel, Migritude (“Migritude” and “Shadow Book”)                   

February 6                   Shailja Patel, Migritude (complete)

                                   Stuart Hall, “Cultural Identity and Diaspora” [A2L]

                                   VSP 2 due in lecture

February 13                 Shyam Selvadurai, The Hungry Ghosts (Parts 1 and 2)

February 20                 Reading Week          

February 27                 Shyam Selvadurai, The Hungry Ghosts (complete)

                                  Gayatri Gopinath, “Impossible Desires” [A2L]

                                    VSP 3 due in lecture          

March 6                       Mohsin Hamid, Exit West (Sections 1 – 6 inclusive)

March 13                     Mohsin Hamid, Exit West (complete)            

                                   VSP 4 due in lecture                                                          

March 20                     Kim Thúy, Ru

                                  Yến Lê Espiritu, “Toward a Critical Refugee Study”         [A2L]                                                          

March 27                     Kim Thúy, Ru                            

April 3                         Neel Ahuja, “Race, Human Security, and the Climate Refugee” [A2L]

                                  Kathy Jetnil-Kijin̄er, “Dear Matafele Peinam” [A2L]

                                  Long essay due