HENA01104U English - Elective 2: Theme in Postcolonial Studies B: Postcolonial Childhoods

Volume 2014/2015

Childhood is about the adventure of getting bigger and more powerful and taking on more and more responsibility in the world. Empire is about … pretty much the same things, only on a somewhat different scale. In a postcolonial context, this analogy offers a rich field for exploration. Investigating works that revolve around child focalisers and/or child narrators, this course will explore the cultures of childhood portrayed in a range of contemporary Anglophone narratives from Egypt to Pakistan and Nigeria.

While sharing some of the disenfranchisement of adult subalterns, children are supposed to grow out of their dependency and acquire agency. Their presence elicits a specific politics of representation involving explanations, simplifications and stereotyping. They may be invisible, not taken seriously. Their voices are a force waiting to be developed. What they lack in experience they make up for in imagination. The portrayal of child figures may be invested with nostalgia for the past. Rather than see the child as somebody waiting to be educated, we will locate the significance of the child protagonist in a specific creativity that offers a unique perspective on the complexities of colonialism, decolonisation, migration, transculturality and power relations.

Texts examined will include Diana Evans, 26a (2005); Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things (1997), Bapsi Sidhwa, Icecandy Man (1988) and Penelope Lively, Oleander, Jacaranda (1994).

This course may both be taken in tandem with or independently from ‘Introduction to Postcolonial Studies’.

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 42
  • Preparation
  • 162,75
  • Total
  • 204,75
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Criteria for exam assesment