LANG 3066 Postcolonial Literatures: Partition, Dependence and Exile

Credit Points 10

Legacy Code 102434

Coordinator Ben Etherington Opens in new window

Description This subject introduces the postcolonial literatures that emerged in the wake of decolonisation in the second half of the twentieth century. We will read literary works from across the postcolonial world, including from the Middle East, South and South-East Asia, Africa, the Caribbean and Australia, and look at the way in which writers contended simultaneously with the legacy of the colonial system and major historical crises that emerged in the wake of its collapse. We will trace the emergence of the postcolonial reality as writers registered the impact of partition, separatism, persistent dependency, and the large-scale movements of people to the first world, whether as migrants or refugees. Alongside the literature, we will read major works of postcolonial theory: one of the most influential intellectual movements in recent history.

School Humanities & Comm Arts

Discipline Literature

Student Contribution Band HECS Band 1 10cp

Check your fees via the Fees page.

Level Undergraduate Level 3 subject

Restrictions Successful completion of 60 credit points of study in currently enrolled program.

Assumed Knowledge

A basic knowledge of literary forms, techniques, and styles (as acquired in core subjects for the English major) is desirable as the subject focuses on specific aspects of literary writing.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:
  1. critically read a range of key postcolonial literary and theoretical works;
  2. compare literary writing from different regions and perceive broader trends and divergences between them;
  3. critically read and contrast different modes of literary writing;
  4. identify theoretical and historical problems peculiar to the field of postcolonial literature, and deploy critical approaches best suited to addressing those problems;
  5. articulate sustained critical arguments, whether in essays or tutorial discussions, focused by a reflective understanding of the relationship between literature, history and politics;
  6. identify and understand the impact of postcolonialism on the contemporary world

Subject Content

Postcolonialism was arguably the most vital cultural movement of the second half of the twentieth century, catalysing fundamental shifts in literary cultures, thinking across humanities disciplines and public discourse writ large. Students will encounter literary works and ideas that have shaped the world around them, and will be able to bring these ideas to bear on their studies in any number of other areas. The subject will encompass the following concerns:
1.Postcolonial partition and separatism, and their impact on literary practice;
2.Neo-colonialism and neo-imperialism, and their impact on literary practice;
3.Postcolonial displacement, migration, exile and their impact on literary practice;
4.The work of Edward Said and other major postcolonial theorists;
5. 'Orientalism' and the question of representation and power;
6.Postcolonial feminism;
7.The historical reasons for the confluence of postcolonial and post-structural theory;
8.Dependency and world-systems theories and their implications for literary interpretation;
9.Subaltem theory and its implications for literary interpretation;
10.Theories of diaspora, exile and refuge and their implications for literary interpretation;
11.Postcolonial writers and works from South and South-East Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, the Middle East and Australia.


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
Quizzes - online through vUWS 10 minutes each 15 N Individual
Short Essay 1,000 words 25 N Individual
Essay Plan 500 words 10 N Individual
Essay 2,500 words 50 N Individual

Prescribed Texts

  • �ePostcolonial Literatures: Partition, Dependence and Exile�f Subject Reader (NB: Reader may include extracts from texts listed below under �eAdditional Readings�f)
  • Edward Said, Orientalism (Penguin Modern Classics, edition with 2003 preface).