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2017/18 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ENGL32980 African Literature

20 creditsClass Size: 30

School of English

Module manager: Professor Jane Plastow

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2017/18

This module is not approved as a discovery module


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 and plays - 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 material in translation.

Teaching methods

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

Private study

Seminar preparation, reading, essay writing.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

- Contribution to seminars.
- Feedback on first assessed essay.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1,700 words including quotations and footnotes33.30
Essay2,750 words including quotations and footnotes66.70
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: 26/04/2017


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