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Unit information: Postcolonial Imaginings in 2016/17

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Unit name Postcolonial Imaginings
Unit code ENGL39025
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Krishnan
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of English
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This unit aims to introduce students to some of the richness, diversity and range of postcolonial literatures published in English over the last fifty years. As an enormous body of work, spanning continents, languages and time periods, postcolonial literatures has emerged as one of the fastest growing subfields of literary study in recent years. In this unit, we will read a sample of the texts which make up this body of work, covering a variety of geographies and historical eras. The unit's aims are: to read and critically assess a selection of postcolonial writing, and to become familiar with critical and theoretical approaches to the postcolonial; to consider these questions: what is the postcolonial? Is colonialism really ‘post’? Does the idea of the postcolonial efface the legacies of violence brought by colonialism? Who counts as postcolonial?

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will have

(1) developed a detailed knowledge and critical understanding of a range of postcolonial literature of the last fifty years;

(2) in-depth knowledge of some of the literary and historical contexts in which this literature was produced;

(3) demonstrated the ability to analyse and evaluate differing critical accounts of the primary literature;

(4) demonstrated the ability to identify and evaluate pertinent evidence in order to present a cogent argument;

(5) strengthened their skills in argumentation and academic writing.

Teaching details

1 x 2 hour seminar per week.

Assessment Details

  • 1 essay of 2,000 words (40%)
  • 1 essay of 3,000 words (60%)

Both summative elements will assess ILOs 1-5.

Reading and References

  • Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart (1958)
  • Homi K. Bhabha, The Location of Culture (Routledge, 1994)
  • V.S. Naipaul, A House for Mr Biswas (1961)
  • Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things (1997)
  • Salman Rushdie, Midnight's Children (1981)
  • Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths and Helen Tiffin (eds), The Post-Colonial Studies Reader (Routledge, 1995)