Introduction to World Literature in English

L224 — Spring 2019

Joan Pong Linton
Days and Times
9:30 - 10:45a TR
Course Description

Topic: “Hospitality: local cultures, global challenges”


Through our daily interactions, we experience cultural diversity within society and the world. Amidst such diversity, however, hospitality stands out as a universally shared value and an enduring theme in literature across the cultures. The works we read in this course are chosen because they: (1) explore the ways in which hospitality, beginning in the home, shapes one's values and relation to other people, to nature, and to the world; (2) track the breakdown of hospitality in the face of war and environmental challenges to co-existence; and (3) enable us to imagine the ways hospitality may hold the key to a sustainable future. We will begin by studying short stories and episodes from the western tradition of hospitality (and/or its breakdown), both to understand the role of hospitality in the ethics and politics of everyday life, and also to develop critical skills for literary analysis. This unit will provide grounding for units 2 and 3, which focus on hospitality as a social force within South Asian cultures.

Readings include several short stories or episodes from longer works; two novels (Amitav Ghosh's The Hungry Tide and Elliot Ackerman's Green On Blue), and several critical essays. In addition to active participation in class discussion and activities, students will be responsible for a number of responses to readings, a mid-term exam, and two short essays based on in-class thought experiments.