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Unit information: Postcolonial Literature in 2015/16

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Unit name Postcolonial Literature
Unit code ENGL21012
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Gareth Griffith
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of English
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This unit will introduce students to something of the range, depth, and continuing development of postcolonial writing in the past fifty years. There will be opportunities to read fiction, non-fiction prose and poetry, and to consider recent and current postcolonial theory and criticism.


This unit will aim to give students a broad introduction to postcolonial writing drawn from the last fifty years. Students will be asked to read a range of creative, critical, and theoretical works, and to place them in a wider historical context. Through this work, students will also have an opportunity to consider broader developments in contemporary writing.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students will have had opportunities to read a wide range of works taken from across the past fifty years, which illustrate various aspects of postcolonial creative and critical writing or thought. Students will have been encouraged to place these works in the context of contemporary writing more widely and in their historical context.

Teaching Information

The unit will normally be taught in ten three-hour seminars, which will utilise a range of teaching methods including lectures by the tutor(s), formal and informal presentations by students, and small group discussion.

Assessment Information

Students will be required to undertake two assignments. The first will be a formative presentation of approximately 10 minutes, in which students will be asked to engage with a particular text or a topic with a relatively defined scope. The second will be a summative essay of 2,800 to 4,000 words and will normally involve a wider range of texts and/or approaches to postcolonial literature. The unit mark will comprise the mark for the summative essay.

Reading and References

  • J.M. Coetzee, Disgrace (Secker and Warburg, 1999)
  • Jamaica Kincaid, A Small Place (Virago, 1988)
  • Ngugi wa Thiong'o, A Grain of Wheat (Heinemann, 1968)
  • Salman Rushdie, The Moor's Last Sigh (Cape, 1995)
  • Amos Tutuola, The Palm-Wine Drinkard (Faber & Faber, 1952)
  • Derek Walcott, Collected Poems 1948-1984 (Faber & Faber, 1992)