This course will consider issues in historiography, particularly the use of literature as history. Filling
in the gaps in the so-called conventional historiography, literature provides what institutional libraries,
judicial/criminal proceedings, church records, civil registry, and state archives fail to preserve. More
important, it has the capacity to represent the fine curves of a political landscape, the nuances of
cultural connotations, the minute features in social relations, and the complexity of human emotions.
The colonial experience is precisely a context that calls for such “sensitive” historical inquiries due to
the cultural gap between our Western intellectual tradition and the colonized people’s particular
schemes of culture. The fact that most written records from the colonial period were produced by and
speak from the point of view of “power” further complicates historical reconstruction of the experience.
In this course we will read novels and short story written by colonial agents and colonized persons, and
attempt to catch glimpses on its “micro sites” as diverse and intimate as domestic order, sexual
exchange, gossip, humor, paranoia, and melancholia.
Message to those taking this Course:
Students will be required to write short (2 page, single-spaced) reflections on the readings in alternate
weeks and participate in class discussion. There will be no final exam.
- Exam （ 0% ）
- Reports （ 30% ）
- Attendance （ 40% ）
- Participation in class discussion （ 30% ）