ENGL749K - Studies in Twentieth-Century Literature; Material Witnesses: Transnational and Transmedia Literature

This course focuses on literature produced between 2000-2014 and scholarship produced between 2006-2014. It reflects the most recent thinking about narrative engagement with transnationalism and new technologies. The novelists we shall examine contrast the real, material environment with the virtual world of new technologies that have transformed global relations, focusing on “transmedia” texts – i.e., texts that respond to a visual medium (or media)--in art, painting, photography, performance, the news, and the archive. We will compare the narrative innovations of authors selected from the following: Maxine Hong Kingston, Julie Otsuka, Edwidge Danticat, Kazuo Ishiguro, Junot Diaz, Monique Truong, Susan Choi, Jhumpa Lahiri, Natasha Trethewey, Teju Cole, Chang Rae-Lee, J.M. Coetzee,and Dinaw Mengestu (partial list). Our major questions: “Where do aesthetics, politics, and ethics intersect?” What roles do memory,commemoration, and trauma play in testimony – i.e., in becoming a “MaterialWitness?” We’ll also discuss the “nuts and bolts” of publication protocols, with the aim of helping you draft a publishable research paper (though publishability does not factor into your grade for the term).Requirements: oral presentations;possible quizzes and/or test; one research paper (15-18 pp.).