ENGL379L - Post-9/11 Fiction and Film
Syllabus:
Section(s):
101 - Tan, Kathy-Ann

This seminar seeks to investigate the recent occurrence of post-9/11 fiction and film. A glance at the list of recent bestsellers confirms the suspicion that people want to read about the threat of terrorism and how the world struggles to cope with it today. In the course of the seminar, we will ask how each novel or film seeks to deal with the impact of 9/11 and represent it within a wider socio-political discourse that includes political rhetoric charged with Bush’s “War on Terror”. In questioning the dichotomies of East/West, Christian/Muslim, good/evil, and in negotiating the difficult terrain of exploring human prejudices and confronting urgent contemporary political issues, we will look at how these novels unsettle some of the apparent certainties surrounding post-9/11 discourses on terror/ism. A selection of primary texts will include H.M. Naqvi’s Home Boy, Jay McInerney’s The Good Life, Lynne Sharon Schwartz’s The Writing on the Wall, Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Don Delillo’s Falling Man, and the graphic novel by Art Spiegelman, In the Shadow of No Towers. We will also look at some theoretical writings on 9/11 and terrorism by Gayatri Spivak, Jean Baudrillard and Slavoj Zizek among others, examining the impact of the attacks on American national identity. Assignments will include a short group presentation, a research paper, an oral mid-term and a final exam.

Repeatable to 9 credits if content differs.

Prerequisites: 

Two lower-level English courses, at least one in literature; or permission of department.