Class Profile: Postcolonial Literatures

Posted on Friday, February 26th, 2016 by Austin Gerth

The under-construction splash page of our under-construction site.

The under-construction splash page of our under-construction site.

This semester, as an extension of the research work I did this summer, I’m taking ENG 451 – Postcolonial Literatures. (I’ve alluded to the course — and the work I did helping to design one of its major projects — several times previously on this blog this year.)

There are probably some of you who don’t know what a “postcolonial literature” is. That’s okay: I’m going to tell you. “Postcolonial literatures” are, in a very reductive nutshell, the literary traditions of nations or groups of people who have been colonized; the “post” can refer to either “after gaining independence” or “after colonization begins”. Literary works that fall into this category tend to exhibit certain characteristics, like a preoccupation with struggles over both personal and national identity, or a questioning or even revisionist approach to historical material — presenting alternative points of view to the commonly accepted notions of how things occurred or what events mean.

In the course we read a number of works of literature from several different regions of the globe, and we discuss them in terms of postcolonial theory and their ramifications for understanding personal/political/societal issues in the world. On top of that reading and group discussion — which are both basically par for literature courses — we are also completing a major web design project in collaboration with the Technical Writing course that meets just downstairs from us in the business school. Our project, which I’ve written about previously, is to create a scholarly reference website providing contextual and interpretive information on the novel Star of the Sea, by the Irish author Joseph O’Connor. We started the really intensive phase of the project — that of researching and writing the content for the website — the week before break.

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About Austin Gerth


Austin Gerth

Writing & Philosophy

Connect with Austin Gerth

Twitter: @Austin_Gerth

Hello everyone! I’m Austin Gerth, class of 2016, from scenic Princeton, Minnesota. My hobbies include listening to and playing music, reading, watching movies, and thinking about things. I’m majoring in Writing. After college, I hope to be either some sort of writer or some sort of homeless (or both). I chose to come to Concordia mostly for the food, though it has a lot of other good qualities as well. Since coming to Concordia I’ve been to dorm room eggnog parties and late-night viral video productions; I’ve listened to a lot of Justin Timberlake and blindly taken a yoga class with no prior experience; I’ve participated in a heroically unproductive religion study group and fallen asleep in the campus center. On top of these things, I’ve also received a superlative education. If you like wind and pizza, you’ll like Fargo-Moorhead, and if you like corn-oriented humor, semi-gourmet cafeteria food, or late-night intellectual behavior, you’ll like Concordia. If you like all of the above, you’re probably already here and we’re probably already friends.