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Postcolonial Literatures in English EN3100

This course will primarily examine the range of literature produced since 1947 in the regions of the world formerly under British rule.

Students may study literature from the former ‘white Dominions’ such as Australia and Canada, as well as literature from Asia, Africa and the Caribbean and work produced by the various diasporas of Commonwealth origin within contemporary western societies such as Britain.

Themes to be explored include: representations of ‘the metropolitan centre’ and ‘the periphery’; postcolonial interactions with the metropolitan centre through British colonial novels; disillusion with independence; problems of identity and cultural identification; exile and diaspora; neo-colonialism; the role of the intellectual and the artist; the subversion of western literary form; the usages of the English language; problems and opportunities of the postcolonial woman.

Learning outcomes

If you complete the course successfully, you should:

  • Possess a coherent knowledge and a critical understanding of postcolonial literature and its key historical, cultural and theoretical developments
  • Be able to compare, discuss and explain interconnections and functions of postcolonial literature and its contexts, including comparative and interdisciplinary issues
  • Be able to critically evaluate arguments and assumptions about postcolonial literature, texts, and modes of interpretation
  • Be able to communicate arguments effectively and show a degree of independent thinking in so doing     

Essential reading

Main texts

Among authors whose work may be studied are:

  • Achebe
  • Ngugi
  • Soyinka
  • Narayan
  • Desai
  • Aidoo
  • Harris
  • Brathwaite
  • Collins
  • Philips
  • Atwood
  • Hulme
  • Head
  • Naipaul
  • Mo
  • Rushdie
  • Lovelace
  • Emecheta