Course Detail

195:338: Caribbean Pluralities and Indo-Caribbean Literature

This is an introduction to the Anglophone Caribbean (the national/international split in identities and its troubled histories of indenture and slavery that separate into ethnic and racial differences) primarily through the literature and partly, through the musical form of the calypso, which has had an integral influence on the literary form of the region. We look at what is the larger Anglophone Caribbean and what are some of the ways in which that identity has coalesced in the last century; we proceed to examine the notion of slavery and indenture and how the Indian appears in the Caribbean and the contemporary 20th and 21st-century struggles of the Indo-Caribbean to claim that hyphenated identity. The literature of the 20th century of this region goes repeatedly back to its origins in slavery and indenture in order to make sense of contemporary ethnic and political struggles (e.g., the race riots between Indo-Caribbeans and Afro-Caribbeans in Guyana) and we trace the creation of the contemporary diasporic identity of the Indo-Caribbean through these textual, artistic and historical struggles in the works of Naipaul, Selvon, Walcott, Mootoo and a host of other writers; we also examine the origins of the calypso, its Afro-Caribbean roots, and in the insertion of Chutney-Soca into this form to further hybridize the already diverse musical form. This range of musical form is reflected and adapted in several short stories of the region and we study the intertextuality of this emerging Indo-Caribbean identity in music and literature. Cross-listing 01:013:335 and 01:595:335

Required Texts:
Course packet (uploaded on Sakai): contains essays, short stories, videos of calypsos and artwork from
Naipaul, A House for Mr. Biswas
Mootoo, Shani, Cereus Blooms at Night
Selvon, An Island is a World

Course Requirements:

To pass this course, students must complete all required papers, examinations, presentations, and in-class
assignments. Students must also follow the attendance requirements. Please contact me at your earliest
convenience if there is a problem with either the assignments or the attendance—exceptions can always be
made at my discretion.

The assignments will be 100 points each but they will be averaged as follows:

  • Paper # 1 20%
  • Prospectus& Annotated Bibliography 5%
  • Paper # 2 30%
  • Reading Responses 25%
  • Attendance and Participation 20%