Globalizing Modernism (GGC)

In this 4000-level special topics course, students read both canonical modernist literature, like Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and Virginia Woolf’s The Waves, and modernist literature from India, South America, and the Caribbean. Raja Rao’s Kanthapura led us into a engaged discussions of Gandhi’s independence movement, while Pandey Bechan Sharma’s Chocolate and Other Writings on Male Homoeroticism offered a glimpse into the politics of India’s nascent queer culture. Delmira Agustini’s poetry brought us to Uruguay, where we explored how her poetics opened a space for feminist critique of patriarchal society. And through George Lamming’s The Emigrants, we discussed a modernist imagining of Caribbean immigration in a post-colonial world.

View the full reading schedule here.

The class culminated in students producing both a traditional research paper and a creative project, which we exhibited in the Fall18 CREATE Symposium on GGC’s campus. Scroll down to see some of the amazing projects they completed!

A short biography of Barbadian novelist George Lamming:

A punk-rock tribute to Virginia Woolf:

A painting inspired by Delmira Agustini’s poetry and cubism:

A t-shirt inspired by Virginia Woolf’s The Waves:

A painting inspired by Jean Rhys’s Good Morning, Midnight:


Essay 1

Creative Project

Essay 2

What My Students Say

“Modernist literature is tough reading, but that is part of what makes it interesting… I will forever wonder why April is cruelest month, and how snow can be forgetful.”

“Professor Fajardo is a really great professor. I have nothing but good things to say.”

“Taking this modernism class was very mind opening for me. I never realized the range of writing styles that exist within literature.”

“The course was great. I’m really glad I took it. I likely would have never become much interested in modernism, and now I look forward to reading other modernist novels and getting into some of the secondary literature. It’s tough going, to be sure, but most of the time the pay-off is pretty good.”

I have greatly enjoyed this class and the small intimate conversations we were able to have about the text we were covering. There was an excellent variety of female writers, which I greatly appreciated and the history lessons behind them kept me engaged and understanding of the historical context we were reading in. As well, I feel that I greatly benefitted from the reflection papers we were assigned. They were the perfect length to help me reflect my understanding while not being overwhelmed in having to stretch and fluff out my thoughts.

However, of all the assignment and reading we did, none was more engaging than the create project. I personally believe that I benefitted from that exercise the most and wish deeply it could have been the final project that ended the semester. I would have happily added in more pages and analysis if at the end of the day I was making a work of art that I loved and enjoyed making. My mind felt clearer to explore the book and its meanings in a way that didn’t force me to dig into the text, but encouraged me to dig into it. I would definitely say I was most able to engage with the text in this way.”