World Literature OpenCourseWare: MIT's Free Undergraduate World Literature Class

Published Feb 07, 2009

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In an era of widespread globalization, contact between cultures has produced a impressive canon of indigenous and international literature. In MIT's 'World Literatures: Contact Zone,' students read poetry and prose from the Caribbean, Africa and South Asia that explores social and cultural issues arising from international exploration and colonization. This free online OpenCourseWare is taught at the undergraduate level and is ideal for students interested in the fields of Literature, Anthropology or Political Science.

World Literatures: Contact Zone: Course Specifics

Degree Level Free Audio Video Downloads
Undergraduate Yes Yes No Yes

Lectures/Notes Study Materials Tests/Quizzes
Yes Yes No

World Literatures: Contact Zone: Course Description

From colonization to globalization, centuries of contact between diverse cultures has produced a body of literature that reflects the indigenous response to international influence. Many literary theorists refer to this unique artistic and intellectual space created by the mixing of cultures as the 'contact zone.' In MIT's 'World Literatures: Contact Zone' OpenCourseware, students read poetry and prose that addresses the social issues that can arise during these interactions. The course focuses on literature from from Africa, the Caribbean and South Asia. Texts covered in the course include Jamaica Kincaid's In History, Ngugi wa Thiong'o's The Language of African Literature, Nawal el Sa'adawi's Woman at Point Zero and J.M. Coetzee's Disgrace. These and other readings explore issues of gender, race and language in a globalized world. The undergraduate-level course materials guide students to analyze both the historical context of the readings, as well as their diverse literary ramifications. MIT Professor Alisa Braithwaite teaches the course.

A list of suggested readings and writing assignments are offered on the course website, as well as an MP3 recording of a recitation of a poem by Marlene NourbeSe Philip. If you'd like to explore international literature with this free online course, visit the world literature in the contact zone course page.

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