"Humanity of Animals in Global Literature Cultures" - Freshman Seminar
- Evan M Mwangi
- Annenberg Hall G29 - MoWeFr 1:00PM - 1:50PM
Overview of classThe seminar explores the circulation of the image of non-human animals in Western and non-Western texts to appreciate and critique the different attitude towards minorities and the powerless in global literary art and films. We will focus on texts that have circulated across the globe and especially those that refer to other cultures using images of animals or using animal narrators and characters. Reading short fiction and non-fiction works by Balzac, Kafka, Anat Pick, Achebe, Narayan, Orwell, Carrie Rohman, Tolstoy, Ngugi, Kelly Oliver , Coetzee, Levinas, Darwin, and Descartes, we will assess if animals qua animals have any agency in the stories or if they only serve as stereotypical representations of human fears and interests. We will particularly critique the tendency of dominant categories to represent foreigners and racial and sexual minorities as wild animals to be tamed. Further, we will assess the appropriateness of comparing bad people with animals or criticizing human foibles by showing animals behaving better than humans. Our overall objective will be to discuss and write about the role of good and enjoyable literature in representing the interests of the powerless in society in a way that is appealing across cultural boundaries.
Evaluation MethodShort writing assignments, self-evaluation, peer critiques, class participation, oral discussions, and ungraded pop quizzes and 1-minute papers. Three 5-page essays.
Class NotesEvan Mwangi teaches World Literature in the English Department, focusing on the intersection of aesthetics, gender and nationalism in canonical and popular texts. He is also interested in narrative and literary theories.
Enrollment RequirementsEnrollment Requirements: Reserved for Freshmen and Sophomores
Current as of 03/20/14 10:52:52 AM