The Anglophone Postcolonial English course is contributing more than just dead British guys to the English department.
The course will study famous authors from countries like India, Africa, Ireland and parts of the Caribbean, with authors like Chinua Achebe, Merle Hodge, Earl Lovelace and James Joyce, among others.
English 496 PC is an experimental class that the department hopes will help enrich and develop the newer field of 20th century literature. The course will be offered next semester, and will be taught by Dr. Beth Wightman.
“It is an opportunity to look at other literary work from people that have been marginalized,” said Wightman.
Students will get a chance to explore Achebe’s writing. Achebe is a Nigerian author who is considered to be one of the world’s most acclaimed writers. His novel “Things Fall Apart” has sold more than 10 million copies around the world and has been translated into 50 languages.
Then there is Lovelace and Hodge, who are both from Trinidad and are acclaimed writers in their own right. James Joyce, who wrote “Ulysses,” is widely considered one of the most influential writers of the 20th century.
Liana Manukyan, who just applied for the English Masters program, said the course “sounds really cool.”
Manukyan, whose concentration is rhetoric and composition, said it would be interesting to see during the course how literature has been influenced and shaped.
English majors would have to take six units of lower division literature courses or three units of lower division literature and English 365. Graduate students can also take this course as one of their electives.
“English majors can get credit for either the 20th century literature requirement or the literatures of cultural diversity requirement. But the course is open to students of all majors,” Wightman said.
She said that 20th century literature is one of the fastest growing fields, and that the department has been working on further developing the area of study.
Wightman began talks in the spring to bring this course to CSUN and said that “new and experimental courses are approved by the department, the college, the Educational Policies Committee and the Graduate Studies Committee.”
The process takes about a semester and a half.
Concerns were stirred up in the Pan-African Studies department about the English course overlapping with their courses.
“As part of the process, the home department consults with other departments about possible conflicts,” Wightman said.
English department chair George Uba said the course is not so much an overlap but a complement to other disciplines.
However, Pan-African Studies department chair Dr. Tom Spencer-Walters said the new English course directly overlaps with PAS 344, literature of the Caribbean and African experience.
Spencer-Walters said that English 496 PC “takes away from our courses,” and said that among their concerns is trying to figure out if students in the Pan-African Studies program can benefit from the course as well.
“That will be their call,” Uba said in response to other departments offering credit to their students for English 496 PC.
“We OK’d it because right now it is an experimental course,” Spencer-Walters said, adding that if later the English department decides to make it part of the curriculum they will have to further discuss the issue.
That scenario could become reality, as Wightman said they hope to possibly make the course available as a general education class.