Skip to main content

Unit information: Francophone African Literature in 2021/22

Unit name Francophone African Literature
Unit code FREN20069
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Ruth Bush
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of French
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

The unit will introduce students to major francophone African writers of the past eighty years. Students will study a selection of literary texts, from negritude poetry of the 1930s, to novels responding to decolonization and its aftermath, and the recent flourishing of what has been termed "Afropolitan" or "Afropean" writing in French.

Students will consider literary responses to the complex legacies of colonialism and the ongoing effects of globalization in sub-Saharan Africa. They will develop and question their ability to engage with diverse fictional representations of an often mis-represented continent. Areas of enquiry will include: the relationship between oral and written narratives, literature's role in political activism, the decolonization of the French language.

This unit therefore aims to:

  • introduce students to a significant range of African writing through a selection of major themes and texts.
  • facilitate students' engagement with representations of sub-Sahara Africa and develop their ability to question and challenge stereotypes through close textual analysis and contextual understanding.
  • develop skills of critical thinking, close-reading, groupwork, and independent research.

Intended Learning Outcomes

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

  1. demonstrate knowledge of the complex relationship between literary texts and political/historical contexts in sub-Saharan Africa.
  2. think critically about and employ key terms such as authenticity, colonization, decolonization, nation, postcolonial.
  3. appraise and deploy different critical approaches to reading African literature and the theoretical debates surrounding these approaches.
  4. develop groupwork skills and work collaboratively.
  5. evaluate and analyse relevant material from a significant body of primary and secondary source materials at a high level.
  6. respond to questions or problems orally and in written form by presenting their independent judgements in an appropriate style and at a high level of complexity.

Teaching Information

Teaching will be delivered through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous sessions, including group seminar-style discussion and self-directed exercises

Formative tasks students are expected to complete include: 10 minute group presentation, testing ILOs 3-6

Assessment Information

Formative assessments where completion is required to award credit:

10-minute group presentation, testing ILOs 3-6

Summative assessments:

1 x 2000-word essay, testing ILOs 1-3; 5-6 (50%)

1 x 2000-word essay, testing ILOs 1-3; 5-6 (50%)


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. FREN20069).

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.