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Unit information: Literatures of Enslavement in 2021/22

Unit name Literatures of Enslavement
Unit code ENGL30133
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
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 aims to introduce students to the rich and complex literature on slavery from 1600 to the present. Students will be encouraged to consider the different political and aesthetic strategies employed by writers at different historical moments to represent slavery and to ask critical questions about the construction of race and identity. Earlier parts of the unit will consider the relationship between slavery and different political ideas of liberty, the intersection of slave narratives with other 18th and 19th century literary forms, and examine paratexts and how different voices are presented and framed. In the latter part of the unit will students will consider the influence of postmodernism and critical theories of trauma, memory and gender in relation to neo-slave narratives, and the relationship of such literature to contemporary ideas about race and racism.

Intended Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Demonstrate advanced knowledge and understanding of key literary texts and authors of writing about slavery;
  2. Apply thorough understanding of a range of historical, cultural and intellectual contexts to readings of the literatures of slavery;
  3. Discriminate between and analyse different critical perspectives on literatures of slavery;
  4. Present and critically assess pertinent evidence to develop a cogent argument;
  5. Demonstrate skills in oral presentation and working in a group as appropriate to level H.

Teaching Information

Teaching will involve asynchronous and synchronous elements, including long- and short-form lectures, 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 group project (25%) [ILOs 1-5]
  • 1 x 2500 word portfolio (75%) [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. ENGL30133).

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.