Aug 26, 2019  
2018-2019 Academic Catalog 
2018-2019 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

ENG 395-01 - Advanced Special Topic: Piracy in Indian Ocean World

4 credits (Spring)
This course studies piracy as intimately related to colonial commerce, monarchial authority, and articulations of legitimate or unlawful trade. In the maritime world, South-East Asia maintained an informal economy of piracy that was a counterpoint to colonial trade in the 18th and 19th centuries in the Indian Ocean World.  In that period piracy signified a challenge to untrammeled mercantilism and can also be seen to be a challenge to the rise of intellectual property.  Describing Daniel Defoe’s understanding of piracy, Srinivas Aravamudan argues that Defoe’s was the first published use of the word ‘to pirate’ to mean appropriating the work or invention of another without authority. In an age, when appropriation of literary work was becoming an issue, piracy could be understood as describing intellectual property as much as it both challenged and was a parodic representation of mercantilism. This rich nexus of ideas of appropriation, theft, and interrogation of mercantile trade especially as deeply complicitous with colonialism is the lens through which we will read 18th and 19th century literature together with more recent fiction.  Readings for the course may include Daniel Defoe’s Captain Singleton, Walter Scott’s, The  Pirate, Lord Byron’s The Corsair, R. L. Stevenson’s, Treasure Island, Joseph Conrad, The Rover and The Malay Novels, (An Outcast of the  Islands and Almayer’s Folly), and Amitav Ghosh’s, Sea of Poppies. We will also read A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea (2010) by Richard Phillips with Stephan Talty. The film based on this book,  Captain Phillips, will also be part of our discussions. We will conclude with two contemporary books, Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal  Life of Henrietta Lacks and the novel, Autonomous by Annalee Newitz. N.B.: this course has been  designed and scheduled to be team-taught with Prof. Andrews’s ENG 395. Since both classes will convene together for approximately ten class sessions, we recommend that you leave open whichever seminar slot is not taken by the course you enrolled in (if MW, reserve TTH, and  vice-versa).  We have also designed these courses to complement each other but to be different enough in content and approach so as to leave open the possibility of enrolling in both courses simultaneously.

Prerequisite: ENG 224 ENG 225 ENG 226 , or ENG 229 .
Note: Plus-2 available.
Instructor: Kapila