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2023/24 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ENGL2065 Postcolonial Literature

20 creditsClass Size: 48

School of English

Module manager: Sam Durrant

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

This module is mutually exclusive with

ENGL2090Modern Literature

Module replaces

ENGL3025 - Postcolonial Literature

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Some of the most exciting and challenging contemporary literature in English emerges out of the experience of colonisation and decolonisation in regions once part of the British Empire, such as India, Africa, the Caribbean, and Australasia. This module invites you to explore how postcolonial literature—and the critical debates accompanying it--engage, directly or indirectly, with the multiple legacies of colonialism, including genocide, racism, nationalism, trauma, national and international inequity, migration, civil war and environmental devastation.


Postcolonial Literature aims to foster an understanding of the legacies of British imperialism as they are articulated in literary and theoretical texts from across the world. The module aims not only to better understand the experience of the colonised but also to produce a reflective understanding of Britain’s implication in past and present forms of domination. Through lectures, small-group seminar discussion, online discussion boards and written assignments, the module will enable you to reach a nuanced understanding of the decolonising work that postcolonial literature performs as it contests cultural memories, rearticulates identities and imagines diverse forms of liberation.

Learning outcomes
On successful completion of the module, you should be able to:
1. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of a range of postcolonial literary texts
2. Interpret these texts within a variety of colonial and postcolonial contexts.
3. Understand and engage with debates surrounding the legacies of empire and the work of decolonisation.
4. Articulate their understanding in dialogue with their peers and in carefully argued academic essays.


This module explores how writers in nations that were once part of the British Empire have written about the past, and what this history now means for us all in our postcolonial, ever more globalised world. The module focuses on the literature of both indigenous peoples and the settlers who stole their lands; those who fashioned new postcolonial nation states and those who migrated to others; and those who continue to suffer and contest the inequities of globalisation.

The module is divided into three overlapping sections: Settlers and Indigenous Peoples; Nations and Diasporas; Globalization and New World Orders. The module tracks the story of empire, from first contact, colonisation and decolonisation, through to neo-imperialism and contemporary ‘decolonial’ forms of resistance. It also explores some of the most powerful literature there is today, examining some of the ways in which contemporary writers from across the world have adopted, adapted and transformed the traditions of 'English' literature.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours170.00
Total Contact hours30.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Weekly dialogue in small-group seminars including discussion of weekly discussion board posts; opportunities for one to one meetings in tutors’ weekly support hours; opportunities to meet with departmental Writing Mentors; individual written feedback on mid-semester assignment

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
EssayAnalysis of key term in postcolonial theory (1 x 1000 words)25.00
EssayComparative essay (1 x 2500 words)75.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Students are expected to contribute 100 words per week to an online discussion board, in response to one of the questions posed for that week. This is not assessed, but is merely a structured way to encourage good seminar preparation

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 13/03/2023


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