Narratives of Revolution and (post)Colonialism: Race, Gender, and Human Rights

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This course is under review for 2021. Course registration will open to accepted students once courses are confirmed.

Course Description

The objective of this course is to have students develop their critical-thinking skills orally and in written form and to engage with questions of race, gender, and human rights through readings and screenings of postcolonial narratives. Students will partake in discussions of colonialism in Africa, and engage with a diverse canonical corpus comprised of film, theory, and literature. Historical, literary, philosophical, and political questions will be raised in class in order to prepare students for an array of discussion-based courses in college.

The objective of this class is to introduce students to postcolonial literature through written and filmed narratives in order to discuss broad themes pertaining to race, gender, human rights, and identity. Readings and screenings, comprised of well-known works, have been chosen to display a variety of theoretical, literary, and cinematographic perspectives. We will read Albert Camus’ The Stranger, Kamel Daoud’s The Meursault Investigation - written in response to Camus 71 years after the publication of The Stranger - and excerpts from Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth, as well as watch Gillo Pontecorvo’s The Battle of Algiers. Materials will be available in English translation and with English subtitles, and examined in chronological order. For each work read and watched, students will be asked to write a reaction piece 1-2 pages in length where they clearly state an argument and cite examples from the text/film that they are analyzing.

The themes addressed in these works include violence and the justification of its use, gender roles and the place of women in society, patriotism, identity and its construction, revolution, and human rights violations. Throughout the course, students will see how the four works are in conversation with one another, building daily on what they have read and seen. Every class will include an open discussion where students are welcome to voice opinions, reactions, and criticism of the works read and watched. Students will also be asked to bring their reaction pieces to class and to share their thoughts and opinions with their classmates. Consequently, students will stimulate in-depth study of the material and discuss timely questions that are of interest and importance to them. In class, I will provide historical and political contextualization for the works read and supplement discussion with relevant information. Moreover, we will push our analyses beyond literature and film and see how they inform questions concerning human rights, politics, race, and gender.

In this course, students will develop and refine their critical-thinking skills by engaging with their peers in daily discussion of a variety of written and filmed materials. Students will learn how to articulate an argument in written form by composing four reaction pieces. Finally, students will familiarize themselves with the style of discussion-based courses in college. By completing this course successfully, students will have developed broadly applicable tools to discuss colonialism, gender, race, and human rights.

Prerequisites: There are no specific prerequisites for this class, simply a love of reading!

Course Information

  • Course Code: CEEL0914
  • Length: 2 weeks

Program Information

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Brown’s Pre-College Program in the liberal arts and sciences, offering over 200 non-credit courses, one- to four-weeks long, taught on Brown’s campus. For students completing grades 9-12 by June 2021.

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