Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

White Teeth

August 13th, 2009 · 3 Comments

Since it was only optional and I’m guessing we won’t discuss it as a group in London, I thought I’d start a thread on Zadie Smith’s White Teeth. I just finished it yesterday, and I thought it was incredible. I’d say that Salaam Brick Lane probably gave me a much better idea of the diversity of immigrant experiences in London, but White Teeth addresses themes integral to all immigration with such well developed characters and a clever tone and format. Among the themes I thought most relevant to our London course are the malleability of identity (in a place as full of possibility and diversity as London), the differing eastern and western attitudes toward history (especially as it relates to Samad and his relationship with Archie), as well as the primacy of history (trying to run away from it or trying to hold onto it) in the lives of recent immigrants.

Did anyone else like White Teeth as much as I did? What else did you think was interesting or relevant? For those who read one of the other optional novels: have other writers drawn on these same themes when writing about immigrants in London?

Tags: Uncategorized

London preparations

June 19th, 2009 · 2 Comments

Wow, what a busy couple of weeks. But what a joy it has been reading and, in some cases, re-reading good literature. My days have been filled mostly with trying to arrange for various events in London, get our home ready for our departure, finish up my duties on campus, and learn about my new duties in Norwich. But my evenings have frequently found me curled up in bed with Virginia Woolf, Buchi Emecheta, and Zadie Smith. I don’t think my wife minds sharing her bed with these women! 😉 I love ending the day reading a good novel, and I have not been disappointed with my selections so far. I hope that students enjoy these readings and find them as useful to understanding some parts of London as I have. I’m sure that you all will tell me eventually whether you like my selections or not.

Tags: Professor Qualls · readings


June 13th, 2009 · 1 Comment

For anyone interested in racial politics in England today, i started reading “There Ain’t No Black in the Union Jack” by Paul Gilroy, it was recommended to me by Professor Ball (history department) and so far it’s pretty good stuff!

=] Flow

Tags: readings