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2008/09 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ENGL3354 Founding Fictions: Writing in English from Pakistan

20 creditsClass Size: 10


Module manager: Dr Ananya Kabir

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2008/09

Pre-requisite qualifications

Grade B at 'A' Level in English Language or Literature or equivalent or an achieved mark of 56 or above in a Level 1 module in English.

PLEASE NOTE:- This module is restricted to Level 3 students.

This module is approved as an Elective

Module summary

In current media discourse, Pakistan can seem a remote, strange and frightening place, one devoid of culture and prone to violence and Islamic fundamentalism. This module will enable you correct these stereotypes by introducing you to fiction written in English by writers from Pakistan. Ranging from 1947, the year of Pakistan's birth as a nation, to the present day, these novels and short stories will allow you to enter this troubled but culturally rich and layered nation's history and politics from the uniquely illuminating perspective of fiction. Through close reading of the primary texts, and constant contextualisation against the local and global politics that formulate current perceptions of Pakistan, we shall explore the relationship between South Asian history, postcolonial nationalism, and Islamist identification.


This module introduces students to recent literary fiction written in English from Pakistan. It thus offers a unique opportunity for students to engage closely and critically with literary culture from a country that is often seen as distant and difficult to understand, and nevertheless one whose politics impact Britain in many significant ways. The module will develop students' close reading and critical analytical skills, and encourage them to unpack political rhetoric and media stereotypes through the study of literary texts. It will also allow students to think historically, critically and politically about identity, collective agency, nationalism and memory in South Asia in general and Pakistan in particular.

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.


On 14 August 1947, out of the struggle for independence from Britain and the Partition of British India, Pakistan was born: a nation that proclaimed hope, modernity, security and progress for the Indian subcontinent's Muslims. Sixty years on, a turbulent relationship with neighbouring India, the secession of East Pakistan in 1971, inter-ethnic conflict, military rule, the Islamisation of its borderlands, and the 'War on Terror' make that founding vision seem a chimera. Yet these same complications have resulted in an exciting new body of postcolonial fiction that, although overshadowed by the output from India, deserves closer attention on its own literary historical terms. This module introduces you to the best Pakistani writing in English. You will enter a world very different from images of Pakistan as a violent space of radical Islamism that threatens global stability. Through these finely-written texts, you will appreciate the complexities of postcolonial Islam and postcolonial nation-building, deconstruct stock rhetoric about 'the clash of civilisations' and learn to untangle the webs of colonial history and postcolonial geopolitics.

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: Reading, seminar preparation and essay writing.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Seminar contribution.
1st assessed essay and bibliography/book review.

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
Essay1,600 words30.00
Essay2,500 words60.00
Assignment400 word bibliography/book review10.00
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: 19/03/2010


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