Going Dark

This site was only for our class, so it will now go dark.  I hope you will follow me at my blog kupoco.  Also, I hope you will listen to the podcast I do with Dr. Morris, Inside254.  If I can be of any help to you, please let me know.  Thanks for a great semester!


Week Thirteen: Globalization

I am not as sunny as Thomas Friedman about the benefits of the world being “flat.”  I struggle with seeing “globalization” as a boon to people in “emerging nations” (what would a poco scholar do without quotation marks?).  As a post-colonial scholar, I often regard the spread of capitalism as a new kind of colonization, one in the name of capital building (for the few) instead of in the name of nation building.  In my mind, the global marketplace carries a high price.  A few years ago a hundred workers–mostly women–died in a garment factory fire in Bangladesh.  Earlier in my academic career, I devoured the work of Arundhati Roy as a way to reconcile my anxieties about contributing to a system that I also found deplorable.  In summary, her basic response is to accept culpability and move to make the world more just anyway.  Part of me feels like it was a terrible oversight not to include her work in the syllabus, so if I can leave with you some suggestions, pick up her novel The God of Small Things or one of her essay collections.

Though much of our reading this semester has dealt with the issues globalization forces–language, identity–the final readings deal more explicitly with the idea.  The definitions will give you some vocabulary to help you think about the Dirlik essay and the Rushdie stories.  For your final blog post, please discuss the readings and end with a discussion of the course in general.  What do you look at differently now (if anything)?  In what direction would you like your reading to go?  Do you need suggestions? (And for some films suggestions, I would offer OsamaThe TerroristA SeparationBrick LaneThe Namesake, and My Beautiful Laundrette, just to start).

The final week of classes you should dedicate to working on your final papers/project.  I would like them by May 8 , 11 PM on D2L so that I have time to grade them (I would suggest you also post them to your blog for your readers!).  If you are unable to submit your paper by that date, let me know ASAP.  I look at these papers as the opportunity for publication, conference presentations or teaching, and I see them as the beginning of a conversation that I hope will continue.

I hope that you have found the blog format to be useful to you as you create a body of written work, a foundation for your academic careers.  I would love to see some of you continue to use your blog when you have something to say.  I will continue to “follow” you, and I know seeing a new blog post in my mailbox will make me happy.  I have enjoyed getting to know each of you in the virtual world.  I was worried that I wouldn’t get a sense of your personalities, of your human-ness, but you did a great job of conveying not only your ideas but your personalities.  I thank you for your commitment to the course and to the subject matter.  You engaged openly and critically.  You honed your writing skills.  You kept me on my toes.  I thank you for all of those things.

I leave you with one last TED talk (stupid embed code isn’t working, so click here).  When I previewed them this summer and built the syllabus, I didn’t believe the semester would fly by as it did.  I credit you for making the semester a fulfilling endeavor.

Before we leave Africa behind, some thoughts

I do want to draw your attention to two interesting non-fiction-ish reads, “How Not To Write About Africa” and “How To Write About Africa.”  They both make me smile, and, of course, think.  And if you want to read something with a “happy ending,” I humbly submit to you Adichie’s short story “The Headstrong Historian” that continues the story line of Things Fall Apart.  I love this story.  I love the work it does.  The last three paragraphs are perhaps some of the most beautiful and uplifting sentences written.

The semester is starting to come to a close, so continue to think about your final projects.  I want them to be useful to you. Some of you have been in touch about final papers. I would like to hear from you if you want to talk through some ideas!

I want to return to South Africa.  I want all of you to want to go to there someday, or somewhere.  Africa isn’t just animals and sadness and poverty.  It is a place filled with humans with needs, desires, and ambition.  It is a place of beauty and art.  And good food and wine.  It is a place I hope to explore with Matt and Ev sooner than later.

Week Ten: Critical Studies of TFA

I saved this piece from Granta–one of my favorite publications– in case you could use a few minutes of humor when it comes to thinking about “Africa.”  I hope you enjoy this piece as much as I do.  Also, I suggest you check out this group’s very cool efforts to disrupt the essential narrative of “Africa.”


This week you are reading four critical essays on TFA:

Articles beginning on 159 and 209 and two other critical pieces from the collection at the back of the critical edition to read.

Your blog post should talk about the four pieces.  I would like to see an INFORMATIVE abstract of your two chosen pieces.  Writing an academic abstract is a valuable skill–you can often use them when teaching or can sometimes publish them.  Distilling a piece into 250 words is a great academic challenge!


TV Appearance, Round Two: What Grade Would You Give Donald Trump?

Reflections on Gender and Postcolonial Issues

17015246_1385968204776460_894156521_o S/O to Steph–current student–for taking screen shots!

Business Matters was kind enough to ask me back, this time to evaluate the first month of President Trump’s administration.

I brought my same concerns about representing gender studies, but at least this time I knew what to expect, knew that I would survive the taping.

This time I didn’t want to come off as a bully.  As the most formally educated person on the show, I try very hard to honor everyone’s experience and education.  But sometimes, I get caught up in wanting to make my point.  Instead of worrying about being shrill, I worried about being mean.

The “other side” of the panel was two businessmen.  I honestly wanted to hear what they are seeing that I am not:  how Trump will help their businesses.  I know this is a blindspot in my understanding.

But they missed their opportunity.  They immediately…

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