Summer Term 2006

Prof. Martina Ghosh-Schellhorn:
VL: Transcultural Writing: The Caribbean
Wed 11–13
Building C 5.3, room: U 10

Tutorial: Christiane Charon
Wed 13-14
Building C 5.3, room: E 20

"No people there in the true sense of the word", Oxford historian Froude declared in 1888 when dealing with the Caribbean in his influential The English in the West Indies or The Bow of Ulysses. This lecture series will question generalizations like Froude's by examining the vibrant literature of a region of the world where colonial expansion first initiated a cultural tabula rasa before creating the plantation culture sustained by slave labour from Africa and, for slightly less than a century after 1834, indentured labourers from India. Today, these islands are magnets for voluntary and short-term, rather than enforced, sojourns in the form of a booming tourist trade, with some economies additionally fuelled by the oil industry.
In our chronological look at Caribbean literatures, our main focus will be on questions such as: How have these creolized cultures chosen to represent themselves in their literature, what kind of Englishes are used in communicating the concerns of these cultures, and what kind of readership do Caribbean writers (of whom the most famous are the Nobel Prize winners Derek Walcott and V.S. Naipaul) address?
The mandatory tutorial is designed to augment comprehension of the topics and texts presented in the lecture. For important details please consult the Course Folder in the Dept. Library well in advance of the first session.

Participation: Regular attendance of both lecture series and tutorial; active participation in the tutorial; end of term written test.

Tutorial: Check the notice-board and Current Courses

Prof. Martina Ghosh-Schellhorn:
HS: Intermediality and Intertextuality in a Transcultural Context: Pride and Prejudice
Thu 10–12
Building C 5.3, room 120

Tutorial: Christian Buschke
Thu 12–13
Building C 5.3, room U 10

Jane Austen first published her social comedy Pride and Prejudice in 1813. A century later it had become a classic, and the narrative was filmed countless times. Slightly less than a century later the story was re-filmed, with a significant difference. Its setting and characters were no longer English, its social comedy no longer dependent on class distinction or concepts of gentility.
Can reasons be found for the continuing popularity of the thorny romance between a headstrong young woman and an easily biased but highly eligible bachelor? What considerations have played a role when transposing the novel to celluloid? In what kind of a relationship does the transcultural version of the narrative stand to Austen's novel, and to the world it depicts? These are some of the questions this seminar will be addressing.

Text: Pride and Prejudice. London: Penguin Classics, 1996.

Participation: Regular attendance of both the seminar sessions and the tutorial; thorough acquaintance with the novel and the films in the course of the seminar; individual research on a relevant topic of your choice for a short oral presentation, followed by a term paper (15-20 pages in MLA format).

Tutorial: Check the notice-board and Current Courses for details.

Prof. Martina Ghosh-Schellhorn:
HS: Cities of the Mind: Bombay
Thu 14–16
Building C 5.3, room 120

Tutorial: Nadine Lauer
Wed 10–11
Building C 5.3, room U 10

Part of Catherine of Braganza's marriage gift to Charles II, the seven islands on the west coast of India rapidly became what is known as Bombay, now re-named Mumbai. How do writers and film makers deal with a city of Indian and global records: the first Indian railway lines departed from the largest railway station in Asia; the "Manchester of the East" Bombay was the centre of the textile industry after the American Civil War; India's most important harbour, it is also India's largest and most densely populated city; with the largest prostitution business in India, it is the next AIDS capital of the world, while Mumbai proper it already the most densely populated city on the globe. A city of contrasts, it has its unique brand of religious fundamentalism as also of literature by the most oppressed of Hindu society, the Dalits. It sells dreams in the form of cinema tickets and is the centre of the world's largest film industry.
Among the texts we will be looking at more closely in engaging with the phenomenon of "Bombay/Mumbai" are Salman Rushdie's The Moor's Last Sigh, V.S. Naipaul's account of his meetings with some typical Mumbaikars in India: A Million Mutinies Now, and Suketu Mehta's descriptions in Maximum City of his return to the city. These will be complemented by the following films: Shree 420, Salaam Bombay, and Bombay.

Participation: Regular attendance of both the seminar sessions and the tutorial; thorough acquaintance with the texts in the course of the seminar; individual research on a relevant topic of your choice for a short  oral presentation, followed by a term paper (15-20 pages in MLA format).

Tutorial: Check the notice-board and Current Courses for details.

Prof. Martina Ghosh-Schellhorn:
Kolloquium: Studying TAS
Wed 15:30-17:00
Building C 5.3, room 120

All students intending to take their final examinations in TAS are strongly advised to attend this colloquium. It provides a forum for the treatment of issues relevant to

a) preparation for the oral and written examinations
b) to academic work in progress (e.g. the writing of M.A. theses/Staatsexamensarbeiten)
c) application of TAS theories to selected texts
d) ongoing analysis of contemporary critical issues in this field of study.

Please sign up for the colloquium by sending an e-mail no later than 15 April 2006 to: 

Dr. Katrin Berndt:
PS: Transcultural London
Tue 9-11
Building C 5.2, 4th floor, room Ü 1

This seminar is designed to provide an introduction to the literary representations of different cultures' interaction and their transpositions within what was once the 'imperial centre': London. The British capital is characterized by ethnic diversity, linguistic heterogenity, and cultural variety – thus emphasizing both the legacy of Britain's colonial past, and the prospect of its cosmopolitan future. The seminar will look at the history of immigration, and discuss three novels by anglophone authors who either have a migrant family background, or have been immigrants themselves: Hanif Kureishi's The Buddha of Suburbia (1990), Buchi Emecheta's Kehinde (1998), and Zadie Smith's White Teeth (2000). Our analysis intends to examine aspects of cultural change such as the transformation of ethnic loyalties, linguistic varieties, and the challenging of preconceived notions of race, gender, and the nation. Eventually, we will have explored the literary means by which an 'imperial centre' has become a 'transcultural metropolis'.

Participants are recommended to read the primary texts listed below before the sessions start.

Hanif Kureishi. The Buddha of Suburbia. London: Faber & Faber, 1999.
Buchi Emecheta. Kehinde. Oxford: Heinemann, 1994.
Zadie Smith. White Teeth. London: Penguin, 2001.

Accreditation: Regular attendance, active participation in class, oral presentation (10 mins) and term paper (10-12 pages in MLA format)

Dr. Soenke Zehle:
PS: Passions for the Real: Documentary Film Between Reality TV and Ambient Narrative
Tue 11-13
Building C 5.4, CIP Pool, room 1.01

Sorious Samura, an acclaimed Sierra Leonean documentary filmmaker now living in London, has taken it upon himself to 'represent the innocents' in his work. His documentaries, characterized by a unique reality-tv style and a maximization of authorial intervention, are regularly featured on CNN International, and Samura has become an important voice in the debate over how issues related to 'Africa' more generally are represented in the media. Through a critical exploration of his work, we will approach key issues in contemporary documentary film, visual education, and transcultural literary and media studies. Grade options: benoteter/unbenoteter Schein in LW. See <> for more information.

Dr. Soenke Zehle:
PS: The Harlem Renaissance
Tue 14-16
Building C 5.4, CIP Pool, room 1.01

In the 1920s, African-American literature, art, music, dance, and social commentary flourished in Harlem, NYC, and redefined African-American expression across the world. We will explore this cultural movement, which became known as the Harlem Renaissance, with a particular emphasis on its diasporic dimensions. See for more information. Grade options: benoteter/unbenoteter Schein in LW. Please purchase the following title:
David Levering Lewis, ed., The Portable Harlem Renaissance Reader. New York: Penguin 1995, ISBN 0140170367.

Christian Buschke, BA MPhil:
PS: India and the Raj
Thu 13-15
Building C 5.3, room U 10

Over the course of this Proseminar, we will look at the historical development of the British Empire in India, namely the so-called ‘Raj’. Firstly, the focus will centre on the historical facts, beginning with the Mughals and the East India Company, and ending with Independence cum Dominion Status and Partition in 1947. Then we will look at the political, economic and social impact which British colonial rule had on the Indian subcontinent, in more detail. Finally, we will cast a glance at the way in which representations of India and the colonial experience were rendered in British and ‘Anglo-Indian’ literature of the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. [The unmarked credit, or Schein, will require regular attendance and active participation as well as one presentation. The marked credit will, in addition to the above, require handing in a paper concerning the presentation topic or another topic of choice].