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SUMMER SESSION I

HUM 001. "Midnight's Children at (Nearly) 35" (2 units)
CRN 53663 | Nicole Kenley | TR 12:10-1:50P | 1150 Hart

Note: HUM 001 can be repeated one time for credit if topic differs.

Course Description: Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children remains both relevant and popular almost 35 years after its publication in 1980. The novel’s description of India’s independence and partition gets to the heart of how nations come into being, and it was recently named the Best of the Booker for the second time in the prize’s history. The novel’s vast scope includes international forces (globalization and geopolitics), theoretical schools (postcolonialism and postmodernism), religious tensions (Islam and Hinduism), literary genres (magical realism and bildungsroman), popular culture (a fixation on film and a recent 2012 film adaptation), and more. This course seeks to examine these aspects of the novel with an eye toward how they inform our understandings of culture, nation, and citizenship in the present day.

In addition to reading Midnight's Children, we will screen the 2012 film version in class and read a short selection of nonfiction articles about contemporary Indian politics and culture. We will investigate the storied life of the novel's author, Sir Salman Rushdie, from the fatwa demanding his execution to his ongoing Twitter usage. Additionally, Kristen Waha of the Comparative Literature department will provide a guest lecture on Bollywood films and the novel.

Students in Humanities 1 will also complete a project for the course which will allow them to respond creatively to the novel. The project will be developed by the students in collaboration with the instructor, and might take the form of a short video, a poem, an artwork accompanying text, a piece of music, a short story, or an additional proposed medium. Students will accompany their piece with a short essay explaining its relationship to the novel and a brief presentation to the class at the end of the course.

In addition to the project, students will be graded on a midterm examination and class participation. There is no final exam for the course.

Prerequisite: None.

GE credit (Old): None.
GE credit (New): Arts & Humanities.

Format: Lecture - 2 hours.

Textbook:

  • Salman Rushdie, Midnight's Children [25 Anniversary Edition] (Random House, 2006)

About the Instructor: Nicole Kenley is a Ph.D. candidate in the English Department.