Imagining India - EN834

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
(version 2)
View Timetable
7 30 (15) DR A Padamsee







This course will trace the evolution of the images and perceptions surrounding the idea of India in British and Indian literature from the 'Mutiny' of 1857 to the present day. Through a variety of genres, including fiction, film and painting we will explore the ways in which representations of India became important sites of conflict, fantasy and dialogue between Indian and British writers in the late colonial period. We will then go on to consider how these discourses were co-opted, questioned and re-visioned after Independence by successive generations of Indians negotiating the rapidly changing idea of the nation. The course will be centred largely (but not exclusively) on works written in English and will question what it means to translate cultures, languages, and national vocabularies – what is lost and gained in the act of literary appropriation and exchange, and how history is shaped in the process.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 20
Private Study Hours: 280
Total Study Hours: 300


Spring term in 2019/20

Method of assessment

Assignment (5,000 words) – 100%

Indicative reading

Indicative list, current at time of publication. Reading lists will be published annually:

Any edition of the following:
E M Forster, A Passage to India
Sunil Khilnani, The Idea of India
Salman Rushdie, Midnight's Children
Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. Identify the broad genealogy and major concerns of British and Indian literary and visual narratives about the Indian subcontinent from the mid-nineteenth to the early twenty-first century;

2. Understand the contexts, major historical processes, problems and concerns behind changing British and South Asian discourses on race, gender, culture, nation, empire, class and religion in the colonial and postcolonial periods;

3. Interpret a range of formal and aesthetic approaches to narrating or interrogating postcolonial literary discourses of identity and belonging;

4. Apply theoretical concepts (such as postcolonialism, feminism, and modernism) to reading and analysis;

5. Demonstrate an ability to apply close reading techniques to a range of literary texts and to make complex comparisons between them

6. Conduct self-directed research and demonstrate an ability to discuss, evaluate and creatively deploy secondary critical and theoretical perspectives

7. Construct original, articulate and well-substantiated arguments.

University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that module information is accurate for the relevant academic session and to provide educational services as described. However, courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Please read our full disclaimer.