• Course Number: ENGL 231
  • Prerequisites:

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  • Quarter: Spring 2024

This seminar will pursue theoretical, methodological, and critical questions prompted by Edward W. Said’s elaboration of “the voyage in” during the era of high imperialism — that is, the movement of “Third World” students, scholars and intellectuals from Africa, Asia, and the Americas into Europe during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries — as constitutive of rather than peripheral to European culture and history (Said, “The Voyage In and the Emergence of Opposition” Culture and Imperialism).

Our attention will be on “voyages in” by multiple subaltern subjects, with varying degrees of volition, during the early modern/ colonial period (sixteenth to eighteenth centuries). Our scope covers the emerging and established empires of “the greater Western world,” including the Ottoman (Turkish), Habsburg (Spanish), and English. Further intersections will involve Renaissance Italian city states, the Safavid (Persian) empire, the Powhatan confederacy (Tsenacommacah), and more. We will focus on salient transcultural lives with transtemporal resonances, from Leo Africanus/ al-Hasan ibn Muhammad al-Wezzan to Pocahontas/ Matoaka. Other case studies address abducted African women transported to England and Asian women who travelled there with their English husbands. We will read Shakespearean tragedy and comedy in relation to these historical figures, along with literary works by Ben Jonson, John Dryden and Aphra Behn. Contemporary works that refigure these historical lives, such as Amin Maalouf’s Léon L’Africain and Caroline Randall Williams’s Lucy Negro, Redux, will be integral to our discussion. Engaging historical, literary, and visual sources, the seminar will support transcultural and transtemporal projects for students who focus on the early modern period or who focus on later periods.


  • Schedule & Location
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