LANG 2058 Race in Literature

Credit Points 10

Coordinator Christopher Peterson Opens in new window

Description This subject explores a selection of modern literary works that focus on racial difference. Readings will facilitate students learning on how notions of race have shifted over time, giving particular attention to how mixed-race people challenge racial categorisation. Readings may include one or more national literatures, such as American or Australian literature.

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 3068


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

Learning Outcomes

After successful completion of this subject, students will be able to: 

  1. Discuss representations of race in literature;
  2. Analyse critically the interaction between literary texts and shifting definitions of race in a culture;
  3. Relate texts to the historical contexts from which literary and cultural texts emerge;
  4. Critically analyse the intersection of the concepts of race, sexuality and gender; and
  5. Construct analytical oral and written arguments.

Subject Content

The national literature or literatures studied in this subject will vary from year to year depending on the subject coordinator's area of expertise.  Topics studied will address some of the following areas: 

  1. 19th and 20th century authors and race: exploration of how their literary production reflects their views on slavery, race, and animality. 
  2. The problem of racial "authenticity"; investigation of how people of mixed-race identity problematise the black/white division; legal prohibitions on miscegenation. 
  3. Cultural and theoretical concepts such as: “the tragic mulatto,” “the half-caste,” “passing for white,” “double consciousness” (Du Bois), “racial melancholia” (Cheng); and the one-drop rule.


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
Participation Semester Duration 10 N Individual
Short Answer 500 words 20 N Individual
Essay 1,000 words 30 N Individual
Essay 1,500 words 40 N Individual

Teaching Periods

Spring (2024)

Bankstown City


Subject Contact Christopher Peterson Opens in new window

View timetable Opens in new window

Parramatta - Victoria Rd


Subject Contact Christopher Peterson Opens in new window

View timetable Opens in new window