Stephen Bailey, “Beyond Empire”

The genesis of “Beyond Empire” comes from a personal place. As a first-generation American of Trinidadian immigrants, who came to the US amidst Trinidad’s independence from the UK, Stephen Bailey finds that it is imperative to trace these stories. The central questions of the course ask, “What is it to move beyond empire? How do people understand themselves in a new context? How do you reacquire or reinvent yourself?” What underlies the curriculum is the belief that through investing in the literary worlds of other cultures, students can be world scholars and compassionate readers.

Stephen emphasizes reading a breadth of literary styles like poetry, fiction, non-fiction, etc. to think critically about how language is used. With challenging material from authors and playwrights like Tayeb Salih and Lynn Nottage, Stephen asks for courage from both his students and himself; the courage to ask hard questions and to listen to different voices and opinions. “That is where true inquiry begins!”

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