Postmodernism and Postcoloniality (EN4205)

Semester II, 2000-2001

Lecturer: Associate Professors Ban Kah Choon and Rajeev S. Patke, Department of English Language and Literature , National University of Singapore

Course Description

This module addresses the cultural and literary intersections between the postmodern and the postcolonial. The two themes will be studied for the often contradictory, and always plural ways in which they characterize the cultures of contemporaneity. Several kinds of tension and overlap between the two will be examined: their resistance to the monologic meta-narratives of modernism and realism (in the arts), and orientalism (in cultural anthropology), colonialism and racism (in geopolitical history), fundamentalism and nativism (in terms of collective identity) and patriarchy (in gender relations); their celebration of dialogic marginality and intertexuality; their recuperation of the mixed modes of hybridity, parody, fantasy and allegory; their convergence and collision over poststructuralist themes; and their self-definition through the nomadic, the diasporic, and the exile.



Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea (rpt. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1966)

Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude (tr. 1970, rpt. Penguin, [1967] 1972)

Salman Rushdie, Shame (rpt. New York: Vintage, [1983] 1995)

J. M. Coetzee, Foe (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1986)

Pramoedya Anant Toer, House of Glass (tr. Max Lane, New York: Penguin, 1997)

Arthur Yap, the space of city trees (London: Skoob Books, 2000)

Gopal Baratham, The City of Forgetting: The Collected Stories (Singapore: Times Books International, 2001)


Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths & Helen Tiffin (eds) The Post-Colonial Studies Reader (London & New York: Routledge, 1995)

Elleke Boehmer Colonial and Postcolonial Literature (Oxford & New York: OUP, 1995)

Diana Brydon (ed), Postcolonialism: Critical concepts in literary and cultural studies (London & New York: Routledge, 2000), 5 vols.

Thomas Docherty (ed) Postmodernism: A Reader (New York: Columbia University Press, 1993)

Jean François Lyotard The Postmodern Condition (1979, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984)

Padmini Mongia (ed) Contemporary Postcolonial Theory: A Reader (London: Arnold, 1996)

Bart Moore-Gilbert, Postcolonial Theory: Contexts, Practices, Politics (London: Verso, 1997)

Secondary Reading: Articles

Ahmed, Aijaz. 'Jameson's Rhetoric of Otherness & the "National Allegory"', Social Text 17 (Fall 1987).

Bhabha, Homi. '"Race", Time & the Revision of Modernity', The Oxford Literary Review, 13 (1991): 193-219.

During, Simon. 'Postmodernism or Postcolonialism?', Landfall, 39: 3 (Sept. 1985): 366-80.

During Simon, "Postcolonialism and globalisatiuon: a dialectical relation after all?" Postcolonial Studies 1: 1 (1998): 31-47.

Jameson, Fredric. 'Third World Literature in the Era of Multinational Corporations', Social Text 15 (Fall 1986): 65-88.

Jameson, Fredric. 'Third World Literary & Cultural Criticism', South Atlantic Quarterly, 87: 1 (1988).

Kwame, A. A., 'Is the Post- in Postmodernism the Post- in Postcolonial?', Critical Inquiry 17 (Win. 1991): 336-57.

Moore-Gilbert, Bart, "Postcolonialism: between nationalitarianism and globalisation? A response to Simon During", Postcolonial Studies 1:1 (1998): 49-65.

Mukherjee, Arun P., 'Whose Post-Colonialism and Whose Postmodernism?', World Literature Written in English, 30: 2 (1990): 1-9.

Sangari, Kum Kum. 'The Politics of the Possible', Cultural Critique, 7 (Fall 1987): 157-86

Tiffin, Helen. 'Post-colonialism, Post-modernism & the Rehabilitation of Post-colonial History', Journal of Commonwealth Literature, 23: 1 (1988): 169-81.


Lectures/Seminars Mondays: 1-4 pm

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Last Modified 15 February 2002