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Unit information: Black British Literature in 2021/22

Unit name Black British Literature
Unit code ENGL20041
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Josie Gill
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of English
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This unit explores the writing of black Britons from 1948 to the present day. Considering novels, poetry, plays, song lyrics and essays, we examine how writers have addressed a range of topics including: the experience of immigration; race riots; the politics of Blackness; identity and ancestry; multiculturalism; the post-racial; and the legacy of Empire. We will explore how black writing has challenged conceptions of Britishness and British literature by considering the following questions: What is ‘Black British Writing’? Is this a useful or valid way to categorise the work of black writers? How has writing by black Britons been received by the literary establishment? How have black writers represented the experience of migration? What aesthetic and linguistic strategies have black writers used to resist racist stereotypes?

Students will be given the opportunity to submit a draft or outline of their final, summative essay of up to 1,500 words and to receive feedback on this.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will have (1) developed a detailed knowledge of black British literature; (2) developed a critical understanding of the political, social and cultural contexts of this body of writing; (3) acquired an understanding of major critical approaches; (4) demonstrated their ability to analyse and compare black British writing from different historical periods and across genres; (5) strengthened their skills in academic writing, argumentation, and evaluation of evidence from primary texts and critical literature.

Teaching Information

Teaching will involve asynchronous and synchronous elements, including group discussion, research and writing activities, and peer dialogue. Students are expected to engage with the reading and participate fully with the weekly tasks and topics. Learning will be further supported through the opportunity for individual consultation.

Assessment Information

  • 1 x 3000 word essay (100%) [ILOs 1-5]


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. ENGL20041).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.