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2023/24 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ENGL3680 Postcolonial London

20 creditsClass Size: 22

School of English

Module manager: Professor John McLeod

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

Pre-requisite qualifications

Please note: this module is restricted to Level 3 students on BA programmes with English and visiting students.

This module is not approved as a discovery module


Focusing on London, this module explores how writers have represented the consequences of establishing new communities at the old imperial centre from 1950 to the present and have contributed to the cultural, social and concrete transformation of the city as well as the identitarian and political composition of its citizens.

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.


'In the swift journey between Tooting Bec and Balham, we re-lived the passages from India to Britain, or India to the Caribbean to Britain, the long journeys of a previous century across unknown seas ...' (The Intended). As David Dabydeen's narrator here suggests, London has been transformed both demographically and imaginatively as a consequence of the migration and settlement of those from once-colonised countries to the old colonial capital particularly since the 1950s. Focusing on the cultural transformation of London in recent decades, this module aims to explore how writers have represented the consequences of establishing vibrant new communities and cultures at the old imperial centre.

Our module pays close attention to the ways that London has been re-created in recent literature and film. We consider exciting new narrative formulations of the capital, revisions of national identity by migrant cultures, the growth and critique of race and racism, migration and settlement, the racialisation of space, 'new ethnicities' and 'illegal' immigrants, generational and gender differences amongst postcolonial Londoners, and the power of youth and pop cultures. In sum, on this module we explore together the vexed and exhilarating cultural transformation of Britain's capital from colonial centre to postcolonial world city.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Film Screenings11.001.00
Private study hours185.00
Total Contact hours15.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Teaching will be through 10 x 1-hour seminars, 4 x 1-hour lectures and 1 hour of film screenings.

Private Study: Seminar preparation, reading, essay writing.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

- Seminar contribution.
- Feedback on 1st assessed assignment.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1,700 words (including quotations and footnotes)33.30
Essay2,750 words (including quotations and footnotes)66.70
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: 03/05/2023


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