LANG 2033 Literature and Decolonisation

Credit Points 10

Legacy Code 102572

Coordinator Ben Etherington Opens in new window

Description Do you know why nearly a hundred new nations were founded between 1945 and 1970? Have you ever wondered who Mahatma Gandhi or Ho Chi Minh were? Why would you challenge authority 'non-violently'? How do you write creatively in a language that has been imposed through colonial conquest? These are all questions connected to decolonisation: the explosive process by which the great modern European empires were dissolved and scores of new nations were formed - from Indonesia to Algeria, India to Nigeria, Jamaica to Vietnam. With this process came a surge of creative energy, as formerly colonised peoples set out to produce new ways of writing and thinking. We will read classic anti-colonial politicians like Gandhi and Frantz Fanon and writers from different decolonising regions including India, Africa, South-East Asia, the Caribbean, the Middle East and Australia.

School Humanities & Comm Arts

Discipline Literature

Student Contribution Band HECS Band 1 10cp

Check your fees via the Fees page.

Level Undergraduate Level 2 subject

Equivalent Subjects LANG 3064 - Literatures of Decolonisation


Successful completion of 40 credit points of study in currently enrolled program.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

  1. critically read and discuss a range of key works of anti-colonial literature including political and literary texts
  2. compare literary writing from different regions and consider broader trends and divergences
  3. critically read and contrast different kinds of literary writing
  4. understand theoretical and historical problems peculiar to the field of postcolonial and world literatures
  5. deploy critical approaches best suited to addressing those problems
  6. articulate sustained critical argument, whether in essays or tutorial discussions, between literature, history and politics
  7. discuss literatures from a range of cultures and language varieties.

Subject Content

The subject is divided into three modules. Each will focus on a region or thematic concern from the period of decolonisation. In each case, political texts will be read alongside literary works. Subjects, themes and questions considered will include:
- The emergence of new literary communities in decolonisation
- The emergence of new literary materials in decolonisation
- Conceptualising decolonisation and postcolonialism
- nation, nationalism and The people
- literature, utopia and revolution
- Anti-colonial polemic
- Gandhi and the 'Gandhism'
- Negritude and pan-Africanism
- language and violence
- new vernacular and creole languages
- white settler literatures and decolonisation
- rhetorical comparison of political and literary texts


The following table summarises the standard assessment tasks for this subject. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated, where there is a difference your Learning Guide takes precedence.

Type Length Percent Threshold Individual/Group Task
Essay 1,000 words 25 N Individual
Participation ongoing 10 N Individual
Essay 2,000 words 50 N Individual
Quiz 3 x 10 minutes 15 N Individual

Prescribed Texts

  • Subject Reader (this will include all set articles, political essays and shorter literary texts for the subject). Depending on the specific iteration of the subject one or more of the following books may also be prescribed -
  • Aime Cesaire, Notebook of a Return to My Native Land, trans. Mireille Rosello and Annie Pritchard (Newcastle: Bloodaxe Books, 1995).
  • Raja Rao, Kanthapura (New York: New Directions, 1967).
  • Edward Kamau Brathwaite, The Arrivants: A New World Trilogy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988).
  • Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart (New York: Anchor, 1994) OR Arrow of God (New York: Anchor, 1989).
  • Pramoedya Ananta Toer, This Earth of Mankind, trans. Max Lane (New York: Penguin Books, 1996).