Course Instructor Days Times Room
ENGL4695 KASHYAP, ARUNI MW 10:10 AM 0136


Postcolonial literature refers to the literature of the countries that were previously colonised, especially by European nations. Since independence these new countries have produced some exciting body or work that has led to provocative and enduring discussions in academia.

 This course is designed to introduce you to the various aspects of this fascinating, yet highly contested field. To understand the themes and concerns of postcolonial literature, we will look closely at novels about the family. With short visits to introductory postcolonial theory, we will examine the relationship between family stories and the nation. We will discuss why writers repeatedly narrate the family saga, what are the different ways contemporary postcolonial writers have depicted the family—sometimes even spanning generations—in their novels? If the family is a lens to understand and critique the nation state, why do writers adopt this lens?

 During the semester we will read Indian writer Ashapurna Debi’s family saga The First Promise : dramatic and riveting, it depicts the life of the child bride Satya in rural Bengal when India was under British colonial rule. The Harmony Silk Factory by Malasyian author Tash Aw explores a secret in the family through three voices in a gripping Faulknerian novel. In The Golden Age we will see the bloody birth of a new nation called Bangladesh through the lens of Rehana, with the horrific Liberation War of 1971 as backdrop and in Half of a Yellow Sun, we will discuss the lives of twin sisters Olanna and Kainene during the Nigerian civil war, also known as the Biafran War. Eka Kurniawan’s humurous, magical novel will take us in a journey through the history of Indonesia from the Japanese occupation (1942) to the modern day through the eyes of a woman called Devi Ayu who returns from her grave. Finally, in Allende’s The House of the Spirits, four generations of women exorcist the ghosts of the Pinochet Dictatorship taking us in a magical journey through postcolonial Chile.



By the end of the semester, students would be able to :

·      frame arguments about novels and corroborate them with theoretical concepts.

·      identify and debate themes in postcolonial literature and understand a range of issues about colonialism.



1.     The First Promise (1964), by Ashapurna Devi

2.     Harmony Silk Factory (2005) by Tash Aw

3.     A Golden Age (2006), by Tahmima Anam

4.     Half of a Yellow Sun (2006) by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

5.     Beauty is a Wound (2002) by Eka Kurniawan

6.     The House of the Spirits, by Isbel Allende