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Unit information: Decolonising Literature and Literary Studies in 2021/22

Unit name Decolonising Literature and Literary Studies
Unit code ENGL30111
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Kirk Sides
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of English
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This unit will examine the ways in which literary writing has intervened in - and been appropriated by - contesting forms of national(ist) discourse in a global context and the impact this has had on the study of English literature as a discipline. It examines the role of literature in decolonization by focusing specifically on the aesthetic function of literary writing and how artistic forms contribute to, develop from and contest socio-political discourses over the long twentieth century. Students will consider what it means to ‘decolonise’ literary studies through an examination of theories of global and/or world literature, transnationalism, whiteness, Englishness and Britishness. In so doing, the unit de-centres received notions of English Literature and encourages students to consider the alternative narratives which have shaped literary history, as well as to engage in a comprehensive reflection of what it means to study English at university.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of the unit, students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate advanced knowledge and understanding of the ways in which literature, as an aesthetic form, intervenes in, contests and participates in varying forms of socio-political discourse at national, transnational and global scales;
  2. apply thorough understanding of a range of historical, cultural and intellectual contexts to readings of literature and literary studies in the contexts of decolonization, globalization, world systems analysis and world literary theory;
  3. discriminate between and analyse different critical perspectives on this literature;
  4. present and critically assess pertinent evidence to develop a cogent argument;
  5. demonstrate advanced skills in close textual analysis, argumentation, and critical interpretation using evidence from primary texts and secondary sources.
  6. contribute to group tasks and discussions and demonstrate advanced skills in oral presentation.

Teaching details

Teaching will involve asynchronous and synchronous elements, including long- and short-form lectures, group discussion, research and writing activities, and peer dialogue. Students are expected to engage with the reading and participate fully with the weekly tasks and topics. Learning will be further supported through the opportunity for individual consultation.

Assessment Details

  • 1 x group project (25%) [ILOs 1-6]
  • 1 x 2000 word essay (75%) [ILOs 1-5]


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If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. ENGL30111).