Postcolonial Images of Africa and South Asia: Identity, Gender, Empire - CP652

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2018-19
Canterbury Autumn
View Timetable
6 15 (7.5) DR P March-Russell







This is a module about the intersection of colonial power relations, anti-colonialism, postcolonialism, feminism, and identity politics in literature from 1940 to 2010 which interrogates the influence of imperialism on a sense of self. It considers the writing of a number of women and men from Algeria, Morocco, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, India and Sri Lanka in a range of genres from the Francophone and Anglophone traditions (short story, essay, novel, autobiography). In light of the complex relationship between coloniser and colonised, we consider the political activism of many of these writers, as well as the ways in which their politics are articulated in their writing, whether fiction or non-fiction. We also examine to what extent this literature is representative of other postcolonial concerns such as nationhood and national consciousness, hybridity and assimilation, and exile and alienation within the larger context of cultural theory. Particularly significant is our interrogation of the violence inscribed in both the colonial system and the colonised's fight for independence as seen from the psychoanalytical perspectives of Frantz Fanon in Black Skin, White Masks (1952), A Dying Colonialism (1959), The Wretched of the Earth (1961).

Studying the primary and secondary texts in English, we bring awareness to the reading scene of the translation process as an important development in the transnational study of comparative literature in our global world. In so doing, we acknowledge the significance of indigenous languages and dialects as signifiers of subject-hood in conflict with the coloniser's language. By exploring a variety of anti-colonial resistance and liberation discourses in relation to the development of current postcolonial thinking, the module also offers an insight into the history of the discipline of Colonial and Postcolonial studies.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 20

Method of assessment

• Presentation (20 minutes) – 20%
• Essay (3,000 words) – 80%

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List

Achebe, C. (2001) Things Fall Apart. London: Penguin Classics
Cixous, H. (2005) Stigmata: Escaping Texts. London: Routledge
Dangarembga, T. (1988) Nervous Conditions. London: Women's Press
Djebar, A. (1992) Women of Algiers in Their Apartment. London: University Press of Virginia
Roy, A. (2004) The God of Small Things. London: Harper Perennial

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

8.1 Demonstrate the ability to undertake the comparative analysis of literature to enhance their ability to undertake independent research;
8.2 Appreciate the central concepts of Postcolonial reading perspectives and theories and to understand their origin in anti-colonial liberation discourses;
8.3 Follow critical debates in Postcolonial studies and to form an opinion of their own by critically engaging with them;
8.4 Demonstrate confidence in distinguishing why certain literature of Africa and South Asia lends itself to Postcolonial readings;
8.5 Analyse selected literary texts in their individual contexts within a collective image that is paradigmatic of the Postcolonial condition: alienation, marginalisation, dislocation;
8.6 Interrogate the intersection of feminism, postcolonialism and the writing act;
8.7 Consider the particularities of each writer in terms of race, class, gender, historical context and writing language;
8.8 Observe the mode of translation as a space of historical, cultural, political and philosophical exchange;

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