White Teeth: A Postcolonial Novel by Zadie Smith

Eugene Lang College Lib Arts: Eugene Lang

Liberal Arts
Undergraduate Course
Degree Students
Postcolonial Novel Zadie Smith
Spring 2024
Taught By: Basuli Deb
Section: A

CRN: 15061

Credits: 4

Born to a Jamaican mother and an English father in 1975, Zadie Smith published her first novel, White Teeth, in 2000, to immediate critical acclaim, winning the Commonwealth Writers' Prize. Our course examines this postcolonial novel that focuses on Britain's relationship with immigrants from the Commonwealth in the context of British imperial history. Despite this focus on identity in the novel that launched her career, at the 14th Hay Cartagena festival in Colombia Zadie Smith insisted that novelists had a duty to be free, and that “identity is a huge pain in the arse.” In an essay in her collection, Feel Free, she shares how as a mixed-race teenager growing up on a London housing estate she had despised Joni Mitchell: “The reason for hating Joni Mitchell was that I didn’t listen to classical or ‘white’ music.” She adds: “Then I had an epiphany, and suddenly realised that her voice was beautiful. It’s a responsibility to be as open as you possibly can to the world as an aesthetic object.” Harnessing the tension that results in examining Smith’s postcolonial novel in the context of her anti-identitarian creative philosophy of openness, this course will examine Zadie Smith’s politics in White Teeth—a story of hybridity, of an unlikely friendship set against London's racial and cultural tapestry. We will use Smith’s interviews, talks, and shorter essays, as well as literary criticism, media criticism, history, and film to examine Zadie Smith as a novelist.

After the first week of the semester, permission of the instructor will be required in order to register for this course.
This course fulfills the Single Author/Text requirement in Literary Studies.

College: Eugene Lang College Lib Arts (LC)

Department: Eugene Lang (LANG)

Campus: New York City (GV)

Course Format: Seminar (R)

Modality: In-Person

Max Enrollment: 18

Add/Drop Deadline: February 4, 2024 (Sunday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: April 16, 2024 (Tuesday)

Seats Available: Yes

Status: Closed*

* Status information is updated every few minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 3:44pm EDT 7/12/2024

Meeting Info:
Days: Tuesday, Thursday
Times: 4:00pm - 5:40pm
Building: Eugene Lang 65 W11th
Room: 261
Date Range: 1/23/2024 - 5/9/2024