MLLL 4970/5970 or ENGL 4970/5970
Special Topics in World Literature Today: Mohsin Hamid and Pakistani Anglophone Fiction
Dr. Amit Baishya, Department of English
2020 Puterbaugh fellow Mohsin Hamid (www.mohsinhamid.com) has been hailed as one of the most original voices in South Asian Anglophone fiction. This course though will not focus on his position in the trans-regional construct of South Asia, but rather on his location within the national domain of Pakistani Anglophone fiction. We will read Hamid’s four novels (Moth Smoke, Exit West, The Reluctant Fundamentalist and How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia) alongside major works of Pakistani Anglophone writing such as Salman Rushdie’s Shame, Mohammad Hanif’s Red Birds, Kamila Shamsie’s Kartography and Nadeem Aslam’s The Blind Man’s Garden. Over the course of eight weeks, we will read Hamid’s novels in tandem with those of his predecessors (Rushdie) and contemporaries (Shamsie, Hanif, Aslam) as we try to understand his position in the burgeoning oeuvre of Pakistani Anglophone fiction. While this course will be an introduction to his work, we will also discuss topics like nationalism, nation building, post-coloniality, diaspora and globalization, and the impact of the “war on terror” in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Mohsin Hamid will be visiting campus to take part in the Puterbaugh Festival (April 6–8). Students will be expected to attend most of the events of the festival, at which they will be given an assignment to interview Mr. Hamid or one of the visiting scholars one-on-one about their work. Other writing assignments include a few written responses to the novels discussed in class and a 10- to 12-page research paper at the end of the semester. Eight meetings will be held during the semester on Wednesday from 4.00-5.30. The dates when we will meet are: 01/22, 02/05, 02/19, 03/04, 03/25, 04/01, 04/15 and 04/29.
The deadline to apply for a Puterbaugh Scholarship, which provides a stipend to help pay for tuition and books for the course, is January 6, 2020. The application form can be found here.