Course Instructor Days Times Room
ENGL3330 SANTESSO, ESRA TR 11:00 AM 0259


Many scholars argue that there is an inherent correlation between legal rights and literary forms: storytelling is an act of bearing witness to injustices, giving voice to the oppressed and the underprivileged, and raising ethical questions about the quality of human existence. Indeed, as some suggest, a globally recognized declaration of rights would not have been possible if it were not for literary narratives that dealt with issues such as right to life, freedom of thought and expression, and equality before the law. With this in mind, this course investigates the way in which literary studies have contributed to the understanding of human rights, and how the idea of "modern human"—with an emphasis on dignity, equality, liberty, and progress—has its origins in literature. An important goal of this course is to identify a set of literary traditions that give shape to human rights narratives. The readings will tentatively include: Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, Ngugi wa Thiong'o’s  A Grain of Wheat, Tsitsi Dangarembga’s Nervous Conditions, Marjane Satrapi’s The Complete Persepolis, Subhash Vyam’s Bhimayana: Experiences of Untouchability, Mohammed Hanif’s A Case of Exploding Mangoes,  Amitav Ghosh’s  The Hungry Tide, and Helen Fielding’s Cause Celeb.