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Unit information: Postcolonial Environments in 2021/22

Unit name Postcolonial Environments
Unit code ENGL30122
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Kirk Sides
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of English
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This unit aims to introduce students to the field of postcolonial writing through a discussion of key literary texts and how they have represented issues such as colonialism, decolonization, diaspora and postcolonial, transnational networks. We will discuss literary works from across the ‘Global South,’ paying specific attention to how this geographical and ideological designation came into formation. Our main area of focus will be on how postcolonial writing has dealt with questions of land, landscape, ecology and the environment. Reading a diverse groups of texts from a variety of postcolonial spaces the unit aims to map the role of the environment in the development of postcolonial writing over the last half a century. The unit will look at the relationship between postcolonial writing and discourses surrounding land redistribution, national culture, colonial resource extraction and ‘petrofiction’, as well as turns to Afrofuturism, science fiction, postcolonial utopias and dystopias, environmental apocalypse and the Anthropocene. The unit will ask where do we locate the post-colony? What kinds of spaces are considered post-colonial? How do postcolonial environments shape our understanding of the globe as well as the future of the planet?

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate knowledge of postcolonial literatures from the mid-twentieth century until today.
  2. articulate knowledge and make evaluations of historical processes of colonization, decolonization and how these bare on postcolonial spaces.
  3. demonstrate knowledge of debates within postcolonial writing related to questions of environmentalism, ecology, and land more generally.
  4. demonstrate skills in textual analysis, argumentation, close textual analysis, and critical interpretation appropriate to level H/6 using evidence from primary texts and secondary sources

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.

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.

Assessment Information

1 x 3500 word essay (100%) [ILOs 1-4]


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. ENGL30122).

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.