SLN: 86733
L&L 243
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"The Attack of the 63 Canoes of the Piratical Bangala"
From Henry M. Stanley, Through the Dark Continent, Vol. II (1878)

This course meets on Wednesday nights from 6-9. Readings are listed below on the syllabus. In addition to completing the weekly reading, submitting the writing assignments, and attending class regularly and participating in in-cass discussion, you are required to participate in asynchronous Blackboard discussions every week. .

Dan Bivona
Office: L&L 224
Office hours: Mondays and Wednesdays, 3-5 PM, and by appointment
Phone: 480-965-7752

In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the British Empire grew to encompass much of South Asia, significant portions of Southeast Asia, and a large portion of the African continent. Whether this happened through deliberate planning or through what one Cambridge don called "a fit of absence of mind," the fact remains that by the 1920s the British imperial domains covered a good fifth of the globe. In this course we will study how the Empire was represented in British fiction over a period from the 1840s through the 1920s. The writers we will discuss range widely in their views of the value of Empire -- some were harsh critics, some jingoistic celebrants of British imperial greatness, and some simply interested observers of what they saw as a tragic clash of cultures in which Britain found itself engaged. Although this is a discussion-based course, there will be some lectures on the historical background of imperial expansion supplemented by more general introductions to important background issues in British culture of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. You need not have studied nineteenth and twentieth century British literature previously. Assignments include 2 critical papers, 1 critical research paper, and regular participation in both Blackboard discussions and in-class discussions.

Assignment Where it can be found Due Date % of Final Grade
1st critical paper, 3-5 pages in length* Topics in the "Writing Assignments" area of Blackboard due in the Digital Drop Box on September 26, 11:59 PM 20%
2nd critical paper, 3-5 pages in length* Topics in the "Writing Assignments" area of Blackboard due in the Digital Drop Box on November 9, 11:59 PM 20%
3rd paper: critical research paper Topics in the "Writing Assignments" area of Blackboard due in the Digital Drop Box on December 5, 11:59 PM 35%
weekly contributions to class discussion, on Blackboard and in class; weekly quizzes on the reading "Discussion Board" area of Blackboard and in class throughout 25%
Total     100%

*You have the option to revise and resubmit one of the two critical papers for an additional grade. If you choose to do so, your first draft grade will count for 10% of your final grade and the revision grade will count for 10%. Revisions are due in the digital drop box on the final day of class, November 28.

The first two papers should be 3-5 pages in length. Topics can be found on Blackboard by following the "Writing Assignments" link. These papers are to be submitted to the digital drop box in Blackboard no later than 11:59.59 pm on the due date. Papers will be reduced a grade for every day they are late. Use MLA Format for citations.

A note on getting started: Effective note-taking on the novels is very important, because you will need to use your notes to find the evidence to support the claims you make in your papers. An effective literary thesis should assert something about the meaning of the work that is not obvious to everyone who has read it. Moreover, an effective literary thesis takes a stand on an issue of significant controversy over the meaning of the novel. The papers topics, which can be found on Blackboard in the "Assignments" area, will provide you with question prompts.

The final paper, a critical research paper, should be 10-12 pages in length. You should use at least three secondary sources. Again, topics will be found on the course Blackboard in the "Assignments" area.

Weekly contributions to online class discussion: These are mandatory in this class. Everyone is required to pose at least 6 questions to the group online over the course of the 16-week term. In addition, every student is required to respond at least once per week to other students' or my questions. You will be graded both on the frequency of your contributions and on the quality of them. The best strategy is to post at least 3 or 4 thoughtful responses and/or questions per week. Please be sure to make them thoughtful, paragraph-long responses, not quick, two-word responses, and be sure to observe the conventions of civil online discourse (no flaming or personal remarks about other students in the class). Questions may deal with the previous week's reading or with the upcoming week's reading. You may ask questions or make responses that relate current material to material introduced earlier in the course, but please do not pose questions about a novel that the rest of the class will not have read for two more weeks. Questions and responses should be posted no later than midnight MST on Tuesday of each week to be counted for that week.

Please note that all work done for this course must be your original work. If you make use of the insights of other writers, you must cite them in your papers using MLA citation format. Punishments for plagiarism can be very severe and may include a permanent grade of "failure with academic dishonesty" or suspension from the University. If you have any questions about what constitutes plagiarism, please ask me.

Author Title Edition
W. M. Thackeray

Vanity Fair

Oxford UP
H. Rider Haggard King Solomon's Mines Dover
Rudyard Kipling Kim Dover
Joseph Conrad Lord Jim Bantam
E. M. Forster Passage to India Harcourt

These books are currently available at the ASU Bookstore. Novels not listed above can be accessed through Google Books. Details TBA. These include the following novels:

R. M. Ballantyne, Coral Island
Flora Annie Steel, On the Face of the Waters

The Kipling short stories are accessible on the Web through the link below. The secondary reading can be found in the JSTOR database provided you go through the ASU Library's validation page.

Week Topic Reading/Assignments
Aug. 22

Introduction to the course
Topic: The Novel in the 18th and 19th Century

Aug. 29 Nabobs, the Indian Empire, and Domestic Fiction
  • Vanity Fair
  • Dyer, Gary R. "The Vanity Fair of Nineteenth-Century England: Commerce, Women, and the East in the Ladies' Bazaar." NCL 46.2 (Sept. 1991): 196-222 (JSTOR)
  • Lindner, Christoph. "Thackeray's Gourmand: Carnivals of Consumption in Vanity Fair." Modern Philology 99.4 (May 2002): 564-581. (JSTOR)
Sep. 5 cont.
  • Vanity Fair cont.
  • Litvak, Joseph. "Kiss me, Stupid: Sophistication, Sexuality, and 'Vanity Fair.'" Novel 29.2 (Winter 1996):223-242. (JSTOR)
Sep. 12 cont.
  • Vanity Fair cont.
Sep. 19 Evangelical Adventure
  • Coral Island
Sep. 26* The Body of Africa
  • King Solomon's Mines
  • Stott, Rebecca. "The Dark Continent: Africa as Female Body in Haggard's Adventure Fiction " Feminist Review 32 (Summer 1989): 69-89 (JSTOR)
  • Brantlinger, Patrick. "The Genealogy of the Myth of the Dark Continent." Critical Inquiry 12.1 (Autumn 1985): 166-203. (JSTOR)
  • Tangri, Daniel. "Pop Fiction and the Zimbabwe Controversy." History in Africa 17 (1990): 293-304. (JSTOR)
Oct. 3 Imperialism as Masquerade
  • Kim
  • Sen, Indrani. "Gendering (Anglo) India: Rudyard Kipling and the Construction of Women." Social Scientist 28.9/10 (Sep.-Oct. 2000): 12-32. (JSTOR)
  • St. John, Andrew. "'In the Year '57': Historiography, Power, and Politics in Kipling's Punjab." The Review of English Studies 51.201 (Feb. 2000): 62-79. (JSTOR)
  • Wegner, Phillip E. "'Life as He Would Have It': The Invention of India in Kipling's Kim." Cultural Critique 26 (Winter 1993-1994): 129-159. (JSTOR)
Oct. 10 Knowing India
  • Kim cont.
  • Marx, Edward. "How We Lost Kafiristan." Representations 67 (Summer 1999): 44-66. (JSTOR)
  • Richards, Thomas. "Archive and Utopia." Representations 37 (Winter 1992): 104-135. (JSTOR)
Oct. 17 Homosocial Love and Anti-Adventure
  • Lord Jim
  • Bivona, Daniel . "Inquisition as Behavioral Determination" (in the "Course Documents" area of Blackboard)
  • Israel, Nico. "Exile, Conrad, and La Différence Essentielle des Races." Novel 30.3 (Spring 1997): 361-380. (JSTOR)
  • Raval, Suresh. "Narrative and Authority in Lord Jim: Conrad's Art of Failure." ELH 48.2 (Summer 1981): 387-410. (JSTOR)
Oct. 24 Imperial Romance Undone
  • Lord Jim cont.
  • Bignami, Marialuisa. "Joseph Conrad, the Malay Archipelago, and the Decadent Hero." The Review of English Studies 38.150 (May 1987): 199-210. (JSTOR)
Oct. 31 Mutiny Tales
  • On the Face of the Waters
  • Formes, Malia P. "Beyond Complicity versus Resistance: Recent Work on Gender and European Imperialism." Journal of Social History 28.3 (Spring 1995): 629-641. (JSTOR)
Nov. 7 cont.
  • On the Face of the Waters cont.
  • George, Rosemary Marangoly. "Homes in the Empire, Empires in the Home." Cultural Critique 26 (Winter 1993-1994): 95-127. (JSTOR)
Nov. 9 *    
Nov. 14 The Memsahib as Imperial Problem
  • A Passage to India
  • Bailey, Quentin. "Heroes and Homosexuals: Education and Empire in E. M. Forster." Twentieth Century Literature 48.3 (Autumn 2002): 324-347. (JSTOR)
  • Parry, Benita. "Materiality and Mystification in A Passage to India." Novel 31.2 (Spring 1998): 174-194. (JSTOR)
Nov. 21 No class: Thanksgiving Holiday  
Nov. 28 Imperial Disorder
  • A Passage to India cont.
Dec. 5** Final papers due in Digital Drop Box
* Due dates of first two critical papers.
**Due date of final critical research paper.

The British Empire Timeline

Clickable Map of the British Empire