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Introduction to Contemporary Literature

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Introduction to Contemporary Literature

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Introduction to Contemporary Literature

  1. 1. Copyright © 2017 W. W. Norton & Company Contemporary World Literature Volume F
  2. 2. Resistance and Rebellion This era of history is marked by resistance movements that reacted to harsh governmental systems or policies that restricted human rights. The 1968 student rebellions in Prague, Paris, and Mexico City, and elsewhere served as an ignition of the spark for people’s movements to protest the Vietnam War in the United States, to call for the destruction of the Berlin Wall and all that it symbolized to East and West Germany and around the world, to undo apartheid policies that legislated segregation in South Africa, and to rebel against the communist ruling of the People’s Republic of China, a rebellion that ended with a massacre in Tiananmen Square. Nelson Mandela
  3. 3. Globalization, Migration, and Cultural Hybridity The years since World War II have been an era of globalization in investment, knowledge, politics and culture. The political upheavals of the twentieth century created millions of refugees and entrenched conflicts. Today the world is one of increased migration, in which the movements of people have created dialogue—and often conflict—over cultural hybridity. Syrian refugees
  4. 4. Epidemics • New epidemics, particularly AIDS, ravaged populations in the West and broadly in Africa. In Europe and North America, AIDS first affected mostly homosexuals. • The decimation of gay communities by the disease led to more militant forms of activism, which built on anti- discrimination efforts dating back to the Stonewall uprising in the United States and other activist movements around the world. • UNAIDS reports that in 2016, almost 37 million people were living with HIV. Its goal is to end the epidemic by 2030 through education and other prevention methods. AIDS awareness billboard in Africa
  5. 5. Gay Rights around the World Patrons of the Stonewall, a popular gay bar in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City, and their supporters resisted arrest in June 1969, marking a watershed moment in the world’s global gay rights movements. Another result of the gay rights movement was the introduction of same-sex marriage legislation in countries around the world. Homosexual writers have more voice within global literatures, though many authors are still persecuted or are in danger. LGBT community members and allies rallying at a pride parade in Madurai, 2017
  6. 6. Feminisms and Feminist Activism • Feminist activism and thought affected much of the twentieth century. From gains in women’s suffrage to workplace rights to reproductive freedoms, feminists taught the world about issues of gender inequity implicit in laws, households, and educational settings. • In the 1980s, many feminists began to see the importance of intersectionality, a term coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw. Further, many feminists began to talk more about the intersections of gender, race, and class oppression and worked toward ending all oppression—not just the oppression of white women, a critique of many Second Wave feminists. • More current feminist practice considers the challenges of rigid gender norms on all people, especially on those in the transgender community. • The Women’s March in 2017 is emblematic of new thinking about gender and the ways feminists approach resistance to oppression. intersectional feminist icons Gloria Steinem and Maya Angelou marching together
  7. 7. Characteristics of Contemporary Literature (some, one, or all these elements might be found in contemporary literature-difficult period to label) 1. Emphasis on an even more accurate picture of society. 2. Nationalism- possible emphasis on country, loyalty, etc. 3. Possible ambiguity in theme, contents, character, and plot. 4. More experimental use of dialogue. Possible play with language, inclusion of dialects, more profane usage, etc. 5. Ambiguous chronology; time sequence disconnected or vague. 6. Prevalence of multicultural themes-awareness of different ethnic, sexual, and cultural identities. 7. Increasing specific historical reference.
  8. 8. Diverse Voices • With the cultural hybridity that attends the movement of peoples and the sharing of information, nostalgia for tradition and the past is heightened. • Writers are conscious of having an audience beyond their nation or region and even beyond their language. • Diverse literatures chronicle a variety of experiences and create empathy and connection. • The twenty-first century began with reminders of the interconnectedness of a global society linked by industrial capitalism and communications technology but divided by institutions such as religion or politics. • While war, poverty, oppression, and poverty are events that divide us, world literatures that share diverse experiences can unite us through the experience of reading.
  9. 9. Magical Realism Magical realism draws on the realist tradition of the historical novel and the nightmarish worlds of writers like Kafka. Writers including Marquéz, Fuentes, Allende, Morrison, and Rushdie combine realistic historical narration with fanciful folktales. These works have the greatest impact in zones of uneven economic development, where educated writers have incorporated the folk wisdom of their rural, sometimes illiterate communities.
  10. 10. Postmodernism • Texts question the boundary between fiction and history • Distortions of historical reality • Unreliable narrators
  11. 11. This concludes the Lecture PowerPoint presentation for The Norton Anthology of World Literature