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. Just today over 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–this week’s 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 Rushdie, I’d like you to select two stories to read: one from the “East” section, the other from the “West.” 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 Osama, The Terrorist, A Separation, Brick Lane, The 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 December 11–via email–so that I have time to grade them. 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 or conference presentations, 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 and my first grad class a fulfilling endeavor.