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2011/12 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ENGL3209 Fighting the Literary War for the African Nation. The Drama and Novels of Liberation in Three African States.

20 creditsClass Size: 20


Module manager: Professor Jane Plastow

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2011/12

Module replaces


This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module assesses the literature relating to three major conflicts in Africa in the latter part of the 20th century.The struggles discussed are notably different. The Nigeria texts discuss a civil war, the Zimbabwean, a struggle for freedom from white colonial rule and the Ethiopia/Eritrean a struggle against African imperialism.Most of the writers were intimately involved in the wars they fictionalise and many texts have autobiographical elements. Carefully selected secondary reading will help students understand the contexts of the satruggles discussed.


The module will introduce students to literature relating to some of Africa’s most bitter wars of the latter half of the 20th century, and will enable them to analyse the contributions of literature to understanding African conflicts.

Students will see the different possibilities for influence embodied in plays scripts and novels and will learn about how writing has often been seen as key means for understanding and critiquing African conflicts.

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 work as part of a team;
- 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.


The module will look at the theatre and novels produced in three African nations in response to war and post-war situations, and will attempt to analyse the views and significance of literary contributions to these wars.

Nigeria. These texts all relate to Nigeria's most traumatic war, the Biafra conflict of 1967-1970 in which part of the nation sought to secede. This conflict is still controversial and has had a major influence on literature and politics subsequently.

- Chinua Achebe. A Man of the People. 1966. Novel
- Wole Soyinka. Madmen and Specialists. 1970 Play
- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Half of a Yellow Sun. 2006. Novel
- Zimbabwe. These texts relate to the struggle for Zimbabwean liberation from white rule, achieved in 1980, and its aftermath.
- Andrew Whaley. The Rise and Shine of Comrade Fiasco. 1986. Play
- Bruce Moore-King. White Man Black War. 1988. Novel.
- Tsitsi Dangerembga. Nervous Conditions. 1988. Novel
- Ethiopia/Eritrea. These books discuss the end of imperial rule in Ethiopia and the struggle for Eritrean independence.
- Alemseged Tesfai. Two Weeks in the Trenches. 2003. Memoire and plays.
- Esaias Tseggai, Aster. In Three Eritrean plays. 2005. Play
- Ryscard Kapuscinski. The Emperor. 1978. Novel.

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 (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
Essay2,250 words50.00
Essay2,250 words50.00
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: 07/03/2012


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