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Women Writers of Decolonial & De-imperial Worldmaking

Why we provide this syllabus and how it can be used

This syllabus-making project came to exist by seeking to reconstruct a pedagogic list of tangential literature by women writers who contributed to decolonial worldmaking yet whose works in the collective memory of decolonial history have been submerged. In order to contextualize the chosen women writers’ lived history and their work, we provide secondary texts as well.

The syllabus was created by collaborative investigations of the contribution of women writers to developing anti-imperial internationalisms and decolonial nationalisms approximately in the turn of the century to mid-twentieth century (although each regional temporality in relation to colonialism and imperialism varies). It identifies twelve weeks of literature created by women writers, including novels, short stories, poetry, or speeches, as part and parcel of their participation in shaping of worldmaking against poverty, hunger, and uprootedness, caused by various combinations of feudalism, imperialism, colonialism, patriarchy, comprador class, global capital, racism, militarism/wars, dogmatic religion, and bourgeoise ethics. 

We would like to also remind that this syllabus cannot be comprehensive in terms of all regions and nations not only because of limited weeks but also because of challenge in finding submerged writers and texts. We tentatively have chosen regions/nations that collaboration team members are relatively familiar with. In that vein, we did not include decolonial indigenous women writers’ works because the collaboration team is not comfortable to claim our familiarity with the domain without a member of indigenous studies scholar. Also, itself deserves a full syllabus because of vast regional coverage. Challenge of identifying relevant writer and text was the case even in the regions and local languages that we are relatively familiar with. We have had significant limitations of discovering texts as many of them are not readily available in the local languages for multiple reasons including suppression of communist/socialist writers and their works to the current moments. When literary texts are revitalized in local languages, they are hardly translated into English. Translation of world literature in the decolonial/deimperial worldmaking rubric for accessibility to different lingua has been challenging from Baku conference, AAWC conferences, and Lotus magazines where Russian, Spanish, and Arab have been tried out in addition to English. Although we selected decolonial women writers’ texts that are available in English temporarily, the choice of texts for dealt regions/nations can be changeable when more texts are available in English. Or, alternatively, this kind of syllabus can be made with literature available in local languages.