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2008/09 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ENGL32980 African Literature

20 creditsClass Size: 30


Module manager: Professor Jane Plastow

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2008/09

This module is not approved as an Elective


This module aims to introduce students who need have no previous knowledge of African writing to a representative range of post-colonial African literature. Students will come to understand something of how East, West and Southern Africa, writing has been affected by differing historical circumstances. Students will learn what strategies African writers have adopted to seek appropriate forms for their work and why audience reception is an important and vexed issue. Students will engage with why African writing is often holistic; bringing together the personal, political and spiritual; and will consider major themes such as leadership, modernity, gender, identity and the value put on individual and community.

Learning outcomes
Students will have developed:
the ability to use written and oral communication effectively;
the capacity to analyse and critically examine diverse forms of discourse;
the ability to manage quantities of complex information in a structured and systematic way;
the capacity for independent thought and judgement;
critical reasoning;
research skills, including the retrieval of information, the organisation of material and the evaluation of its importance;
IT skills;
efficient time management and organisation skills;
the ability to learn independently.

Skills outcomes
Skills for effective communication, oral and written.
Capacity to analyse and critically examine diverse forms of discourse.
Ability to acquire quantities of complex information of diverse kinds in a structured and systematic way.
Capacity for independent thought and judgement.
Critical reasoning.
Research skills, including information retrieval skills, the organisation of material, and the evaluation of its importance.
IT skills.
Time management and organisational skills.
Independent learning.


This module will cover the novel, plays and poetry although the emphasis is clearly on the novel. Material will be considered in its historical progression in order to point up changes in theme and form; on the basis of possible regional similarities across the continent; and on the basis of spiritual and political understandings which inform the writing. Some crucial concerns will include issues of otherness, women, language, identity, nationalism, holistic understandings and post-colonialism. Readings will be from across sub-Saharan Africa including limited amounts of Francophone and local language material in translation.

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours185.00
Total Contact hours15.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Teaching will be through weekly seminars (10 x 1 hour) plus up to 5 additional hours (content to be determined by the module tutor). The 5 additional hours may include lectures, plenary sessions, film showings, or the return of unassessed/assessed essays.

Private Study: Seminar preparation, reading, essay writing.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Contribution to seminars.

1st assessed essay (Week 7)

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1700 words33.30
Essay2750 words66.70
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 24/04/2008


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