Postcolonial Literature and Theory (English 365, Northwestern University)

Instructor: Jillana Enteen
Office Address: 307 University Hall
Phone: 847/491-3433
Office hours: Tues/Thurs 2:30-3:30 and by appointment


Recently, postcolonial studies has become an entrenched field in universities around the world, particularly those in the US and UK. This course will undertake an assessment of the major theoretical formulations of the postcolonial, exploring what "postcolonial" means in terms of historical, geographical, linguistic and institutional contexts. In an attempt to understand "postcolonial conditions," we will survey postcolonial literature, theory and cultural work including websites, films and videos.





A bulletin board has been created on Blackboard to serve as a bulletin board and email server for this class. This way, you have a forum for discussion before and after class. Each week you should contribute one or two substantive comments to one of the threads on the bulletin board. You can respond to any thread or start a thread yourself. Each post must reflect what you have learned from and think about class readings. Substantive responses consist of a paragraph that takes into account previous posts and readings. Normally, a quote from the class reading should be included in your post. One time during the quarter, you will be required to start a thread. For this week, you should post a thought provoking discussion question that shows you have completed the reading and thought about the way the work responds to the goals of the class.

You may post more than once a week, but a minimum of 8 substantive responses, one each week, and one thread initiation is required to receive the 10% of your grade. I will monitor the bulletin board and delete any responses that I think you may consider "substantive," but I do not. You are also encouraged, however, to respond in a less formal manner to the posts of your virtual community. Check the discussion board often and try to engage with the issues and problems presented.


You will be expected to complete two reading responses of 3 pages each. A response should be an in-depth consideration of any one or two readings we have completed so far. It should have a thesis that is developed in the paper. The due date listed on the syllabus is the final date for each response. You may hand in a response to readings covered earlier at any date after the reading has been discussed in class. (I recommend you do a response paper to accompany your Presentation.)

Responses must also be posted to the website. They do not count towards your posting average.

Final Essay

The final essay, approximately 10 pages, should engage with some aspect covered in the course. Topics must be approved by me by 2/26. While it may not require any outside research, references should be documented in MLA format. See

Class Participation

I reserve the right to give pop quizzes at the beginning of the class. These will be very simple 5 question quizzes designed to assess how well you have prepared for the day's readings. In-class participation and evidence that you have prepared for class are the main factors that contribute to your Class Participation grade. Because this is a small class to be run in seminar format, I expect you to say something in EVERY class. If you are shy or don't understand a reading, come to class with a specific question written down so that you can present it for discussion.


You may have up to 2 absences without affecting your grade. Any more than 2 absences will hurt your final grade unless approved by me.

E-mail and listserv

You must regularly check your e-mail account enrolled in the Blackboard. Feel free to write to me at the address provided above (


Readings and assignments are to be completed by date indicated.

T 1/8 Introduction to course

Th 1/10 "Introduction to Postcolonial Studies"

Meet in Library PC Lab; First response due on floppy

T 1/15 Fanon (Reader 153 and 323 and copy); Said (Reader 87 and copy)

Th 1/17 Achebe (Reader 57); Bishop (Reader 71); Ahmad (Reader 77)

T 1/22 Kincaid (Reader 92); Brathwaite (Reader 202); Thiong'o (Reader 285)

Th 1/24 Farah, Maps Section 1

Fr 1/25 Response #1 Due (post and drop box)

Fri 1/25 or Mon 1/28 Screening: Chocolat

T 1/29 Spivak (Reader 24 and 269) Discuss Chocolat

Th 1/31 Trinh Minh-ha (Reader 215 and 264) Mohanty (Reader 259)

T 2/5 Hagedorn, Dogeaters

Th 2/7 Hagedorn, Dogeaters

T 2/12 Christian (Reader 457) Hall (Reader 223 and copy)

Th 2/14 Mehta, Karma Kola

Fr 2/15 Response #2 Due (post and drop box)

T 2/19 Mehta, Karma Kola

Th 2/21 Screening: Bhaji on the Beach

T 2/26 "Turning Color: A Conversation with Gurinder Chadha" (copy); Discuss Bhaji on the Beach; Present Final Essay topics

Th 2/28 McClintock (copy)

T 3/5 Bhabha (Reader 29 and 206)

Th 3/7 Screen and Discuss My Life as a Poster Final Essays Due

Main Overview for the Postcolonial Web Related Courses

Last modified 9 April 2002