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Place, Space and the Postcolonial

G41.2900.001 Spring 2008 Thur 1:00-3:00 19 Univ Pl 229

prof. Jini Kim Watson 19 university pl. rm 526, tel: 212.998.8843 office hours: wed 3:30-5pm email: [email protected]

course description

Metropole, colony, nation, home, diaspora, journey and slum: since the beginning of the field and Said's discussion of "Imaginative Geography and its Representations" in Orientalism, the tropes of place and space have been at the core of postcolonial analysis. Beginning with Fanon's famous analysis of the Manichean colonial city in Wretched of Earth (1961) and ending with Mike Davis' Planet of Slums (2005), this course will examine configurations of space and place in both fiction and theory drawing from postcolonial studies and beyond. Our aim will be to understand both the psychic and material transformations involved in several processes, including: colonial and postcolonial urbanization, national division, migration and globalization. To this end, we will read and watch narratives dealing with cities, borders, partitions and journeys, and engage with theoretical works from the fields of literary theory, geography and urban studies. Narrative texts will likely draw from: Taleb Salih, Abd al Rahman Al Munif, Bapsi Sidwha, Hwang Sok-yong, Hou Hsiao Hsien and Suketu Mehta. Theoretical readings may include: Frantz Fanon, Edward C. Casey, Henri Lefebvre, Anthony King, Akhil Gupta and James Ferguson, Rada Ivekovic, Zeynep Celik and Mike Davis.

Abdelrahman Munif. Cities of Salt. Bapsi Sidwha. Cracking India. Hwang Sok-yong. The Guest. V. S. Naipaul. The Enigma of Arrival. Suketu Mehta. Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found. Mike Davis. Planet of Slums. Edward S. Casey. The Fate of Place: A Philosophical History. Coursepack. Available from Unique Copy, Greene St.

required texts available from NYU bookstore

recommended texts

Henri Lefebvre. The Production of Space.


course requirements

· attendance and participation All participants in the seminar are expected to do all readings, carefully and critically, and come to class prepared for active discussion and collaboration. As this is a graduate seminar, you will be expected to regularly offer your critical insights and substantially help shape the direction of the course. More than two absences will result in a lowered grade. · response papers (two) - 2 x 10% This class is about developing a critical vocabulary, or conceptual toolbox, of theories related to space and postcolonial studies, as well as hone close reading and textual skills. To this end, you will choose two readings--one theoretical and one literary/cinematic--and submit a one-page response to each (due dates on reading schedule). You will work closely with each text and provide a brief, careful exegesis of one of its main aspects, arguments or techniques. · class presentation - 20% You will present (10 minutes) on one of the class readings during the semester. With the aim of developing your teaching skills, your presentation is less the reading aloud of a research paper and more an opportunity to teach the text to your classmates: how can we frame our reading of the text? What questions/issues are most relevant for our purposes? Ideally, the focus will be on critical assessment (rather than nitpicking) and the questions in your presentation will form the basis of the day's discussion. You are required to bring in a handout with a) your main points; b) one or two passages which we can look further at in class; and c) relevant questions for the class (no more than three). You may bring in additional texts or visual aids to help. · final paper - 60% The final paper (15-20pp) will build on work in the class but demonstrate research beyond the syllabus. You may choose to: a) use one or more theoretical works to examine a fictional text either from the syllabus or from your own research (please check with me first); or b) write a sustained critical analysis of a clearly-defined theoretical issue or problem.


course schedule

Week 1: Jan 24 · INTRODUCTION Extracts from Raymond Williams. "The New Metropolis." The Country and the City. Frantz Fanon. Extracts from Wretched of the Earth. Week 2: Jan 31 · THEORY 1: PLACE & THE GEOGRAPHY OF IMPERIALISM Edward Said. "Imaginative Geography and its Representations." Orientalism. 49-72. (coursepack) Edward S. Casey. Extracts from The Fate of Place. Martin Heidegger. "Building, Dwelling, Thinking." (cp) Week 3: Feb 7 · THEORY 2: THE PRODUCTION OF SPACE Henri Lefebvre. The Production of Space. Week 4: Feb 14 · COLONIAL URBANISM 1 Anthony D. King. Colonial Urban Development. Chs. 1, 2, 3 & 11. (handout) Manuel Castells. "Urbanism, Development and Dependence." (cp) Abdelrahman Munif. Cities of Salt. Week 5: Feb 21 · COLONIAL URBANISM 2 Zeynep Celik. Urban Forms and Colonial Confrontations. Introduction & Ch. 2. (cp) Abdelrahman Munif. Cities of Salt.

**First response paper due in class

Week 6: Feb 28 · DIVISIONS 1 Bapsi Sidwha. Cracking India. Rada Ivekovic. "Through Partition to the Nation." (cp). Week 7: Feb 27 · DIVISIONS 2 Hwang Sok-yong. The Guest. Paik Nak-chung. "Coloniality in South Korea and a South Korean Project for Overcoming Modernity." interventions 2.1 (2000): 73-86. (online) Week 8: Mar 6 · THEORY 3: POSTCOLONIAL SPACE & PLACE


Akhil Gupta and James Ferguson. "Beyond `Culture': Space, Identity, and the Politics of Difference." (cp) Homi K. Bhabha. "How Newness Enters the World: Postmodern Space, Postcolonial Times and the Trials of Cultural Translation." (cp) Aijaz Ahmad. "The Politics of Literary Postcoloniality." Race and Class 36.3 (1995): 1-20. (online) Week 9 SPRING BREAK ---------------- no class -----------------------

Week 10: Mar 27 · MIGRATION & DIASPORA 1 Film: Hou Hsiao-Hsien. Dust in the Wind. June Yip. "The Country and the City: Modernization and Changing Apprehensions of Space and Time." (cp) Week 11: Apr 3 · MIGRATION & DIASPORA 1 V. S. Naipaul. The Enigma of Arrival. Edward Said. "Reflections on Exile." (cp)

**Second response paper due in class

Week 12: Apr 10 · GLOBALIZATION/POSTCOLONIALISM 1 Bishop et al. "Perpetuating Cities: Excepting Globalization and the Southeast Asian Supplement." (cp) Rajeev S. Patke. "Benjamin's Arcades Project and the Postcolonial City." (cp) Walter Benjamin. "Paris, Capital of the Nineteenth Century." (cp) Leung Ping-kwan. Selected Poems from The City at the End of Time. Week 13: Apr 17 · GLOBALIZATION/POSTCOLONIALISM 2 Suketu Mehta. Maximum City. Arjun Appadurai. Extracts from Fear of Small Numbers. (handout) Week 14: Apr 24 ---------------- no class -----------------------

Week 15: May 1 · GLOBALIZATION/POSTCOLONIALISM 3 Mike Davis. Planet of Slums.

**Final paper due to my mailbox Wed May 7th, 5pm


selected further reading

Harvey, David. Spaces of Capital: Toward a Critical Geography. --------. The Urban Experience. Davis, Mike. City of Quartz: Excavating the Future of Los Angeles. Castells, Manual. The Urban Question: A Marxist Approach.



Lynch, Kevin. The Image of the City. Tuan, Yi-fu, et al. Space and Place: The Perspective of Experience. Rabinow, Paul. French Modern: Norms and Forms of the Social Environment. Vidler, Anthony. Warped Space.


Mumford, Lewis. The Culture of Cities. Jacobs, Jane. The Death and Life of Great American Cities. Office for Metropolitan Architecture. Small, Medium, Large, Extra-Large. Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Project on the City 1: Great Leap Forward. ---------. Project on the City 2: Guide to Shopping. Braziel, Jana Evans and Anita Mannur, Eds. Theorizing Diaspora. Mitchell, Timothy. Colonising Egypt. Yeoh, Brenda S. A. Contesting Space: Power Relations and the Urban Built Environment in Colonial Singapore. Prakash, Vikramaditya. Chandigarh's Le Corbusier: The Struggle for Modernity in Postcolonial India. Sassen, Saskia. The Global City: New York, London, Tokyo. Godlewska, Anne and Neil Smith, eds. Geography and Empire. Baucom, Ian. Out of Place.



Sassens, Saskia. Cities in a World Economy. King, Anthony D. Spaces of Global Cultures: Architecture, Urbanism, Identity.




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