Students preparing for their graduation ceremony at Canterbury Cathedral

Postcolonial Studies - MA

2018

This innovative and interdisciplinary MA will develop your understanding of the politics of culture.   It looks at both the imperial interpretations of the colonial as well as anti-colonial and postcolonial assertions of autonomy. To complement your studies, you share your year between our Canterbury campus and our Paris centre.

2018

Overview

In this context, while ‘postcolonial’ refers primarily to societies of the so-called ‘Third World’, it also includes questions relevant to cultures such as those of Ireland and Australia.

A cross-cultural, interdisciplinary programme, you spend your first term at our Canterbury campus with full access to its excellent academic and recreational facilities. In the spring term, you relocate to the Paris School of Arts and Culture where you study at the Columbia Global Center (known as Reid Hall) in a historic corner of Montparnasse. You visit Paris in the autumn term, where you meet our Paris staff and are taken on a tour of the city. We offer advice and support to help you relocate to Paris.

In Paris, you participate in the Paris-focused modules, taught in English. Then, in the the final term, you complete your MA by writing a 12,000-word dissertation on a research topic defined in collaboration with your academic supervisors.

Studying at the Paris School of Arts and Culture

The Paris School of Arts and Culture is a specialist, postgraduate centre located in the heart of Paris. We offer interdisciplinary, flexible programmes, taught in English, which take full advantage of all the cultural resources Paris offers. Study trips to the city’s museums, art exhibitions, archives, cinemas and architectural riches are an integral part of your studies. 

The interdisciplinary nature of the School means you can choose modules from outside your subject area, broadening your view of your subject. As part of our international community of students and staff, you can take part in regular seminars and talks, write for the student-run literary magazine or help to organise our annual student conference.

Think Kent video series

Fra Mauro’s Mappa Mundi (1448-53) was one of the earliest maps to imagine the Indian Ocean as open waters rather than closed in by a southern land-mass. This lecture by Emeritus Professor Abdulrazak Gurnah, acclaimed novelist and Professor of English and Postcolonial Literatures at the University of Kent, re-imagines it as a cosmopolitan site which preceded and survived colonialism, rather than another chapter in the grinding and inevitable consolidation of European power.


About the School of English

The School of English has a strong international reputation and global perspective, apparent both in the background of its staff and in the diversity of our teaching and research interests.

Our expertise ranges from the medieval to the postmodern, including British, American and Irish literature, postcolonial writing, 18th-century studies, Shakespeare, early modern literature and culture, Victorian studies, modern poetry, critical theory and cultural history. The international standing of the School ensures that we have a lively, confident research culture, sustained by a vibrant, ambitious intellectual community. We also count a number of distinguished creative writers among our staff, and we actively explore crossovers between critical and creative writing in all our areas of teaching and research.

The Research Excellence Framework 2014 has produced very strong results for the School of English at Kent. With 74% of our work graded as world-leading or internationally excellent, the School is ranked 10th out of 89 English departments in terms of Research Intensity (Times Higher Education). The School also received an outstanding assessment of the quality of its research environment and public impact work.

For further information about the University of Kent, Paris, please see www.kent.ac.uk/paris

National ratings

In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, research by the School of English was ranked 10th for research intensity and 15th for research power in the UK.

An impressive 100% of our research-active staff submitted to the REF and 95% of our research was judged to be of international quality. The School’s environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of world-leading research.

Course structure

During the autumn term your core module, Colonial and Postcolonial Discourses, provides an introduction to the analysis of colonial discourse and to the most significant strands of postcolonial theory. Topics covered also include the role that culture plays in anti-colonial struggles and the role of the postcolonial intellectual in the contemporary world. Recommended reading for the module includes works by Frantz Fanon, Edward Said and Gayatri Spivak.

During the spring term, spent in Paris, you develop your studies to include the cultural production of exiles, with particular focus on the role of Paris as a place of refuge and as a focus for multi-cultural encounters and creativity. Works studied may include texts by North American, Latin American and North African writers living in Paris, with focus on their diverse representations of the city and how the experiences of diaspora and exile inform and shape their writing.

You then complete your one-year MA by writing a dissertation on an aspect of postcolonial studies that you will define in consultation with an appropriate tutor. All texts and teaching materials are in English, so this programme offers you a rare opportunity to spend part of your MA year living and studying in Paris without necessarily knowing any French.

Modules

You take two compulsory Postcolonial modules and two further optional modules (four in total) during the autumn and spring terms. You are also expected to attend the Faculty and School Research Methods Programmes. You then write the dissertation or editorial project between the start of the summer term and the end of August.

In 2015/16 the following core specialist modules are available: EN852 – Colonial and Postcolonial Discourses (Canterbury) and CP807 – Diaspora and Exile (Paris). These should be considered indicative of the types of modules available, which may vary from year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.
 

Modules may include Credits

This module introduces you to a wide range of colonial and postcolonial theoretical discourses. It focuses on the construction of the historical narrative of imperialism, psychology and culture of colonialism, nationalism and liberation struggles, and postcolonial theories of complicity and resistance. The module explores the benefits and problems derived from reading literature and culture by means of a postcolonial and postimperial lens. Through the study of crucial texts and events, both historical and current, the module analyses the birth of imperialist narratives and their complex consequences for the world today.

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Among the various paradigms from which diasporic writing should be distinguished is the literature of exile. Exile is often the consequence of political pressure or disaffection with a society rather than the result of the larger and often spatially and chronologically extended migratory movements which led to the emergence of diasporic communities. While both paradigms may intersect, the concerns and motivations of diasporic and exilic literatures usually differ.

A historically and culturally significant geographical, and frequently also imaginary, point of intersection between the diasporic and the exilic paradigms is the metropolis of Paris. In this module, our comparative focus will be on diasporic and exilic literatures and on the significance of the diasporic or exilic space of the French metropolis, both as production context and as informing literary production. Writers to consider include: American expatriates in 1920 (like Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway, Henry Miller, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Djuna Barnes), in the Post World War II era (like Richard Wright and James Baldwin), and other writers who chose exile in Paris (like Heinrich Heine, Oscar Wilde, Rainer Maria Rilke, Samuel Beckett)

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This course examines the medium of film, considering its specific qualities as an art form and the particular ways in which it engages its audience. The emphasis of the course varies from year to year, responding to current research and scholarship, but it maintains as its focus the aesthetic strategies of film in contrast with other arts, film's relationship with reality, the interdisciplinary reach of Film Studies, the particular kinds of engagement into which cinema invites its audience and/or French film theory. Students studying at the Paris campus will benefit from having access to relevant institutions in Paris, such as the Cinémathèque Française, the Bibliothèque Nationale, the American Library in Paris and the Paris Diderot library. The course explores both the historical trajectory of the theory of film as well as how these conceptual frameworks inform contemporary scholarship.

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This course examines film history and historiography through case studies. In carrying out this investigation students will be encouraged to work with archive and primary sources held in libraries, museums and archives. For students studying in Canterbury, this would include, for example, the online resources of the Media History Digital Library, as well as the British Film Institute Library or British Library. For students studying at the Paris campus this would include, for example the Cinémathèque Française, the Bibliothèque Nationale, the American Library in Paris and the Paris Diderot library. This will help them to evaluate and contest received histories, which may be based on an aesthetic, technological, economic, and/or social formations. Through this investigation students will be better able to understand the role and value of the contextual study of film, while giving them the opportunity to research and write on an aspect of film history. The choice of case study will depend upon the expertise of the module convenor.

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The module is conceived as open to all Humanities MA students in Paris. It examines the medium of film, considering its specific qualities as an art and industrial form and the particular ways in which it is influenced by and influences other artistic and cultural forms in turn of the 20th century Paris. The emphasis of the course varies from year to year, responding to current research and scholarship, but it maintains as its focus the aesthetic strategies of film in contrast with other arts, technological developments, and historical change, particularly as they are developed in the growth of Paris as a city. The course also addresses the strategies used by the cinema to communicate with its historical audience. The course explores both the historical place of the cinema within the development of twentieth-century urban culture in Paris as well as how this historical definition informs the development of the cinema.

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The curriculum includes a selection of texts from various countries, all readily available in English and all specifically relevant to the modern history, evolving population and changing appearance of Paris and to how these aspects of the city has been perceived and represented in literary prose. The set texts are by writers from different periods and of various nationalities and they are all set in and inspired by Paris. The texts are chosen for their high literary quality, but also because they represent essential aspects of the city’s evolution and exemplify various narrative strategies and ways of engaging with the realities of life in the city, always shaped by personal preoccupations and sensibilities. This varied selection within the genre of prose fiction allows study of Zola’s naturalism and his presentation of the political and aesthetic implications of baron Haussman’s plans for urban renewal and control; Edith Wharton’s perspective as an American incomer; André Breton’s combination of oneiric urban encounters with photographic illustrations of the city, inserted into the text; Jean Rhys’s clearly gendered experience of the city in the 1920s and 1930s; the identity of the city as a site for postwar liberation and literary dynamism in the work of expatriates from the Beat generation; and the representation of today’s city as a centre for immigrant communities and cultural diversity. The primary texts are thus all Paris-focussed but are chosen to open an international perspective on the literary representation of an increasingly cosmopolitan city.

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This module will introduce you to key concepts that are central to understand fundamental debates in history and philosophy of art as well as art criticism. Some examples of key concepts are the notion of originality, influence, race, the aesthetic, fiction, beauty, gender and taste. The key concepts discussed in the seminars are subject to change.

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The module will focus on Paris as a centre of artistic experimentation. The city served as the launch pad for key artistic movements from the mid-19th century through to the period after the Second World War (Impressionism, Cubism, Surrealism, etc.), and as a magnet for budding and established artists from all around the world. The module will take advantage of the great museum collections that encapsulate such developments (Musées d'Arte Moderne and d’Orsay, Rodin and Picasso Museums, Beaubourg, Quai Branly, etc.) and also of the major exhibitions on show in Paris in any given year.

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This module, to be taught at the Paris School of Arts and Culture, looks at Paris' revolutionary and resistance past. We cover a two-hundred-year period, beginning with the revolution of 1789 and ending with the student protests of May 1968. We will explore Paris during the two world wars, the Commune of 1871, the 1848 revolution and advances in medicine, science, painting and literature.

The aim of this module is to examine the ways in which Parisian culture, which has long been at the centre of innovation in the fields of architecture, film, literature, art, philosophy and drama, has been transformative. The module is interdisciplinary and will include the analysis of memoirs, oral histories, memorials, instruments, paintings, literary texts, cartoons, posters, film, newspapers, radio and the internet.

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From the French Revolution to the European Union, the term 'Europe' has long been a placeholder for a large number of utopian, internationalist aspirations. These aspirations are necessarily culturally and politically contingent; to trace the history of cultural constructions of Europe is to hold a mirror up to its changing intellectual faces. Focusing on a series of influential texts published at significant moments in the recent history of the continent, this module investigates how the changing ‘idea of Europe’ reflects the changing priorities of cultural discourse. In particular, it considers the key role – but also contested – played by Paris in particular as a European cultural capital, central to the idea of Europe and to the development of European culture. The texts studied on this module range across disciplines and genres, and include poems and pamphlets, essays and lectures, philosophy and politics. Through studying these texts in their socio-political contexts, the idea of Europe is triangulated through reference to a number of key categories (e.g. ‘prophecy’; ‘crisis’; ‘utopia’; Europe as ‘conservative’; Europe as ‘progressive’). The overall aim of this module is to explore what it means to be – in Friedrich Nietzsche’s words – a ‘good European’, and to consider the central role played by Paris in the emergence of modern European culture.

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In recent decades European intellectual culture has seen a turn towards the post-secular, the post-critical, the “return” of religion, or, as Claude Lefort described it “the permanency of the theologico-political”. Such gestures invite a rethinking of the political, social, and intellectual role of “religion” in the recent history of European thought. Such reworking intimately affects the understanding of Europe within a scene of global political and economic development, European traditions of philosophy, concepts of political autonomy; its critical theories of culture and economy, links between the idea of Europe and democratic political foundations; and the nature of artistic, social, and psychological exploration. This course creates capacities to interact with and to intervene in these important and on-going cultural discussions by developing new maps of “religion” as a central preoccupation in the formation of European intellectual identity, with a strong focus on Paris and the history of religion in “French theory” (e.g the works of Badiou, Benslama, Derrida and Foucault).

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This module will look at eighteenth-century British representations of North American Indigenous people and consider the cultural functions of these representations, their origins, and their effects on British identity.

Students will be asked to look at British texts beginning with samples of early voyage narratives up to the Romantic period and consider the changing purpose of the figure known as the "Indian." In addition to conventional literary texts, this module will also incorporate museum catalogues, collected objects, and philosophical writing from the period.

The module will look at the interest in primitivism alongside narratives of progress and Enlightenment, as well as the new anxieties surrounding developments such as consumerism and empire, and assess the unique role played by Indians.

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This module explores the idea of the city, and the major concepts related to urban life. It analyses and determines the conditions of their emergence within a broader cultural context. It traces how these concepts have changed through time, with the aim of enhancing our present understanding of cities and their regeneration. It follows the development of city planning and the establishment of planned, ideal cities as a political goal up to the foundation of new towns. In its dealing with historically modern cities, the module centres on case studies of cities representative of urbanism from the eighteenth to the twenty-first centuries, drawing lessons from the methods and types of documentation used in its development. The course also introduces the manner in which architecture has generated a number of spontaneous and critical responses to the demands of the city in the past four decades. The arguments are drawn from sources in architectural and urban theory, philosophy, art history, anthropology, literary sources and social sciences.

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This course investigates the development of American modernism in art and literature in the fifty year period between 1890 and 1940; a time bookended by official closing of the American frontier (which effectively concluded the period of the nineteenth century associated with "manifest destiny") and the outbreak of World War Two. The course will explore key texts of the period within their artistic and social contexts, including the development of new scientific and social-scientific modes of inquiry, the growth of the city and the increasing importance of the USA on the world stage.

The course is organized into blocks comprised of texts associated with various cities and movements within American modernism. We will begin by looking at the importance of New York and the American expatriate scene, before considering modernism in the mid-West and US South. A reading pack will be provided in the first week as an aid to student research.

Students will be expected to develop their own research interests within the topic and will be assessed by a 5,000 word essay. Essays that investigate topics not directly covered by the set reading are encouraged and can be developed in consultation with the tutor.

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This module explores the construction and contestation of authorship between the publication of Alexander Pope's brilliant Grub Street satire, The Dunciad (1728) and of James Boswell’s Life of Johnson (1791). In this period, notions of authorship underwent significant change as the image of the author as craftsman (or less flatteringly as tradesman) gave way to the image of the author as original creator or genius – an image that still informs our understanding of authorship to this day. Through an exploration of a wide variety of novels, satires, periodicals, and biographies, as well as visual images we will explore how the modern author’s fortunes were shaped by such factors as the decline of the patronage system, the growth and democratisation of the literary marketplace, the emergence of the woman writer and the labouring-class or unlettered genius.

Topics for discussion will include the myth and reality of Grub-Street; the gendering of authorship; the relationship between authorship and nation; the economics of authorship; the birth of the literary critic; canon-formation; literary celebrity and scandal.

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'Reading the Contemporary' is a cross-disciplinary module the aim of which is to find out what it means to read the contemporary period through its aesthetic practices. The module will be co-taught by staff from the School of English, the School of Arts and the Institute of Contemporary Arts, with seminars alternating between the Canterbury campus and the ICA (London).

The module has three main objectives. First, it will consider what it means, in a theoretical sense, to think about our contemporary moment. Second, it will address key themes and issues in contemporary culture and will consider how they bear on and are shaped by recent aesthetic forms. Third, through the seminars delivered at the ICA, which will arise directly out of the ICA's programme, students will be introduced to examples of current aesthetic practice.

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The module aims to extend your awareness of contemporary issues in postcolonial writing, and the debates around them. The module includes a selection of important postcolonial texts (which often happen to be major contemporary writing in English) and studies their theorisations of contemporary culture and narrative practice. It focuses on issues such as the construction of historical narratives of nation, identity and gender in the aftermath of the globalisation of 'diaspora', institutional responses to these constructions, and the problems associated with creating a discourse about these texts.

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This module studies four works by Dickens and a selection of his journalism in relation to the 'Condition of England' question – a phrase coined by Thomas Carlyle in 1839 to describe the rapidly changing political, moral and economic state of the nation in the nineteenth century. It considers the narrative and structural strategies developed by Dickens to address such issues as class division; privilege and meritocracy; the experience of the metropolis; sanitary reform; industrialisation and work; and domestic ideology.

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On this module students will develop their skills as an independent writer, critic and thinker, understanding and building their own unique writing practice through readings of exemplary texts, open seminar discussion, writing exercises and creative workshops. Students will learn to identify and apply central concepts like plot, narrative, form and structure, theme, voice and character, in both reading and writing practice, Experimentation, ingenuity, ambition and originality in the student's approach to her/his own writing will be encouraged. Workshops will develop close reading and editorial skills and invite students to offer and receive constructive criticism of their peers’ work.

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This module will prepare you for the production of your dissertation portfolio of fully realised, finished poems. You will read a wide range of exemplary, contemporary work and experiment with form and content.

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In this module you will learn further techniques of writing fiction, including how to plot a full-length novel, work on deep characterisation and the construction of an intellectual framework within your fiction. You may be continuing to work on a project begun in Fiction 1, or starting something new. Rather than expecting you to try new techniques, voices and styles, your tutor will work with you to identify your strongest mode of writing and will encourage you to develop this.

Your tutor will supply you with a reading list before the start of the module.

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The main focus of Poetry 2 is to further develop and refine your writing with the eventual aim of producing a successful dissertation portfolio of fully realised, finished poems. Poetry 2 differs from Poetry 1 in that you are encouraged to develop a sequence or series of wholly new poems.

In this module you will develop your practice of writing poetry through both the study of a range of contemporary examples and constructive feedback on your own work. Each week, you will be exposed to a wide range of exemplary, contemporary sequences. The approach to the exemplary texts will be technical rather than historical; at every point priority is given to your own particular development as poets.

The reading list does not represent a curriculum as such, but indicates the range of works and traditions we will draw upon to stimulate new thought about your own work. Decisions about reading will be taken in response to individual interests. Likewise, you will be directed toward work which will be of particular benefit to you.

The main focus of Poetry 2 is to further develop and refine your writing with the eventual aim of producing a successful dissertation portfolio of fully realised, finished poems. Poetry 2 differs from Poetry 1 in that you are encouraged to develop a sequence or series of wholly new poems.

In this module you will develop your practice of writing poetry through both the study of a range of contemporary examples and constructive feedback on your own work. Each week, you will be exposed to a wide range of exemplary, contemporary sequences. The approach to the exemplary texts will be technical rather than historical; at every point priority is given to your own particular development as poets.

The reading list does not represent a curriculum as such, but indicates the range of works and traditions we will draw upon to stimulate new thought about your own work. Decisions about reading will be taken in response to individual interests. Likewise, you will be directed toward work which will be of particular benefit to you.

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‘Paris: The Residency’ contributes to the poetry and prose strands of the MA in Creative Writing and the Literature strand of the Paris Programmes. The objective of ‘Paris: The Residency’ is to give students as close an experience as possible of what it might be like to be a writer in residence or retreat, and to produce work inspired by a specific location for a specific period of time. The emphasis will be on producing a body of creative work for the main assessment. This module aims to enable students to develop their practice of writing through both the study of a range of contemporary examples and practices, and constructive feedback on their own work. Throughout their stay, students will be exposed to a wide range of instances of exemplary, contemporary work relating to Paris, or which was written by writers whilst staying, or living in Paris (as suggested by the indicative reading list). They will be encouraged to read as independent writers, to apply appropriate writing techniques to their own practice and to experiment with voice, form and content. The approach to the exemplary texts will be technical as well as historical. At every point in the module, priority will be given to students’ own development as writers. It is an assumption of the module that students will already have a basic competence in the writing of poetry or prose, including a grasp of essential craft and techniques. The purpose of this module will be to stimulate students towards further development of, and to hone their already emerging voices and styles through engaging with various literary texts, raising an awareness of place as the starting point for new writing, and how their work can develop with large chunks of time for independent study, reflection and exploration of a city like Paris.

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This module will chart the emergence of ideas associated with sustainability, ecology and conservation in the Victorian period through examining prose writings on the relationship between culture and environment. While earlier work in ecocriticism tended to focus on poetry (especially of the Romantic period), scholars have more recently begun to argue that the novel may be the literary form best suited to explore environmental and ecological issues due to its emphasis on character, place, and narrative duration.

This module will therefore examine Victorian novels in which human interaction with – and connection to – the environment is a central concern and will then contrast these novelistic depictions with essays which advocated a diverse range of environmental or ecological causes in the nineteenth century (urban regeneration and cultural heritage, nature conservation and animal rights, self-sufficiency and alternative communities).

Informed by current scholarship in ecocriticism and sustainability studies, this module will consider how class, gender and sexuality influenced the articulation of critical responses to Victorian modernity and generated new ideas concerning culture and nature, human and animal, environment and economy, urban and rural, community and technology.

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'Modernism and Paris' provides students with an opportunity to study a selection of texts from the UK, USA and mainland Europe, all readily available in English and specifically relevant to both Paris and modernism. The texts are all either inspired by, set in, or refer significantly to Paris and most were written in the city. They seek new and experimental literary expressions for the experience of modern city life and demonstrate a range of literary forms, including the novel, poetry, manifestos, essays and biography. In exploring the cultural contexts as well as avant-garde politics and aesthetics of modernism, the module presents texts by major authors of different nationalities, chronologically ordered, allowing students to appreciate the beginnings and development of modernism from the late 19th century to the first decades of the 20th century. It recognises the importance of modernist cross-fertilisation between literature and the visual arts and encourages students to explore links between modernist literature and the development of, for example, cubism and surrealism. The primary materials are Paris-focused but are chosen to open an international perspective on literary culture and history.

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Writing a Masters dissertation provides the opportunity for you to explore a topic of interest at greater length and in more depth than any academic assignment you will have undertaken to date. As such, it can be both an exciting and daunting experience. This module addresses what is involved in writing a dissertation and helps you to plan your research and prepare your dissertation proposal. It also provides a forum to share ideas with other students and to discuss any questions you might have about the process of researching and writing an extended piece of work.

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Teaching and Assessment

Assessment is by a 5000 word essay for each module and a 12000 word dissertation.

Programme aims

This programme aims to:

  • provide you with the opportunity to obtain a postgraduate qualification (MA) in one year, and to allow, if required, a smooth transition to doctoral studies
  • allow you to spend the first term in Canterbury and the second term in Paris, studying modules in postcolonial studies, with access to modules in relevant related subjects
  • enhance your knowledge of postcolonial cultural production (literature and other art forms)
  • enable in-depth comparative exploration of areas of postcolonial cultures in the Francophone, Anglophone, Hispanic and Lusophone spheres
  • develop knowledge and understanding of relevant aspects of Paris and the cultural history and imaginary of the city as reflected in and shaped by postcolonial cultural production and especially the cultural production of exile and diaspora in the metropolis
  • develop a critical awareness of these topics
  • build an understanding of critical theories linked with the study of these topics
  • introduce various methodological approaches
  • develop knowledge of relevant databases
  • provide teaching which is informed by current research and scholarship and which requires you to engage with aspects of work at the frontiers of knowledge
  • offer generous scope for the study of cultural production within an interdisciplinary context
  • provide access to intercultural awareness and understanding
  • provide opportunities for the development of personal, communication and research skills and other key skills appropriate for graduate employment both in industry and in the public sector
  • develop critical, analytical, problem-solving and other transferable skills
  • develop your research skills to the point where you are ready to undertake a research degree
  • develop your oral skills to the point where you are able to present a conference-type paper to your peers.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • a wide range of colonial and postcolonial cultural production (literature and other art forms) in English and in English translation from sources including French, Spanish and Portuguese
  • the cultural history and imaginary of modern Paris, as reflected in and shaped by postcolonial cultural production
  • critical theory and its application to the appreciation of literature and to a research dissertation and in particular the relation between critical theory in general, and various kinds of postcolonial theory
  • the concepts, terminology and modes of thought specific to postcolonial theory and criticism
  • the conditions of contemporary postcolonial cultural production
  • the wider intellectual and academic context from which postcolonial studies has developed.

Intellectual skills

You develop intellectual skills in:

  • language skills: advanced reading, comprehension and communication skills in English
  • Problem-solving skills: the ability to reason logically, critically and analogically, evaluate complex information critically, synthesise complex information from a number of sources in order to gain a coherent understanding of the subject
  • research methodology: gather, organise and deploy evidence, data and information from a variety of secondary and primary sources
  • academic skills: identify, investigate, analyse, formulate and advocate solutions to problems. Develop reasoned arguments, synthesise relevant information and exercise critical judgement
  • evaluate critically current research and advanced scholarship in the discipline
  • adaptation skills: learn to work in different environments by adapting to the educational, cultural and professional environments of England and France, while adopting an interdisciplinary approach to literary studies.

Subject-specific skills

You gain subject-specific skills in:

  • the ability to communicate at an advanced level in English, orally and in writing
  • develop high level reading skills in English
  • analyse and evaluate a variety of sources, both textual and visual, in English
  • develop a deep appreciation of a variety of literary styles and art forms and their lines of divergence and convergence
  • develop in-depth knowledge of postcolonial cultures and literatures
  • develop a comprehensive understanding of the cultural development and the imaginary of modern Paris, as expressed in and shaped by postcolonial cultural production
  • an understanding and applying various theoretical approaches to the study of cultural production.

Transferable skills

You gain the following transferable skills:

  • oral communication: the ability to  communicate orally at a high standard
  • written communication: the ability to produce written work of a high standard, in an appropriate register, in English
  • a high level of competence in information processing using relevant databases and online research
  • teamwork: the ability to undertake group tasks that will encourage co-operative skills
  • utilise problem-solving skills in a variety of theoretical and practical situations
  • time management
  • living and working in diverse cultural environments: you will participate and work in academic communities in both Canterbury and Paris. You will thus develop cultural knowledge and understanding, flexibility, imagination, resourcefulness and tolerance.

Careers

Many career paths can benefit from the writing and analytical skills that you develop as a postgraduate student in the School of English. Our students have gone on to work in academia, journalism, broadcasting and media, publishing, writing and teaching; as well as more general areas such as banking, marketing analysis and project management.

Study support

Postgraduate resources

The Templeman Library is well stocked with excellent research resources, as are Canterbury Cathedral Archives and Library. There are a number of special collections: the John Crow Collection of Elizabethan and other early printed texts; the Reading/Raynor Collection of theatre history (over 7,000 texts or manuscripts); ECCO (Eighteenth-Century Collections Online); the Melville manuscripts relating to popular culture in the 19th and early 20th centuries; the Pettingell Collection (over 7,500 items) of 19th-century drama; the Eliot Collection; children’s literature; and popular literature. A gift from Mrs Valerie Eliot has increased the Library’s already extensive holdings in modern poetry. The British Library in London is also within easy reach.

Besides the Templeman Library, School resources include photocopying, fax and telephone access, support for attending and organising conferences, and a dedicated postgraduate study space equipped with computer terminals and a printer.

Conferences and seminars

Our research centres organise many international conferences, symposia and workshops. The School also plays a pivotal role in the Kent Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, of which all graduates are associate members. The Institute hosts interdisciplinary conferences, colloquia, and other events, and establishes international links for all Kent graduates through its network with other advanced institutes worldwide.

School of English postgraduate students are encouraged to organise and participate in a conference which takes place in the summer term. This provides students with the invaluable experience of presenting their work to their peers.

The School runs several series of seminars, lectures and readings throughout the academic year. Our weekly research seminars are organised collaboratively by staff and graduates in the School. Speakers range from our own postgraduate students, to members of staff, to distinguished lecturers who are at the forefront of contemporary research nationally and internationally.

The Centre for Creative Writing hosts a very popular and successful weekly reading series; guests have included poets Katherine Pierpoint, Tony Lopez, Christopher Reid and George Szirtes, and novelists Abdulrazak Gurnah, Ali Smith, Marina Warner and Will Self.

The University of Kent is now in partnership with the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA). Benefits from this affiliation include free membership for incoming students; embedded seminar opportunities at the ICA and a small number of internships for our students. The School of English also runs an interdisciplinary MA programme in the Contemporary which offers students an internship at the Institute of Contemporary Arts.

Dynamic publishing culture

Staff publish regularly and widely in journals, conference proceedings and books. They also edit several periodicals including: Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities; The Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature: 600-1500; The Dickensian; Literature Compass; Oxford Literary Review; Theatre Notebook and Wasafiri.

Global Skills Award

All students registered for a taught Master's programme are eligible to apply for a place on our Global Skills Award Programme. The programme is designed to broaden your understanding of global issues and current affairs as well as to develop personal skills which will enhance your employability.  

Entry requirements

A first or upper-second class honours degree in a relevant subject (or equivalent).

All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, and professional qualifications and experience will also be taken into account when considering applications. 

International students

Please see our International Student website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information for your country. 

English language entry requirements

The University requires all non-native speakers of English to reach a minimum standard of proficiency in written and spoken English before beginning a postgraduate degree. Certain subjects require a higher level.

For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages. 

Need help with English?

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.

Research areas

Research in the School of English comes roughly under the following areas. However, there is often a degree of overlap between groups, and individual staff have interests that range more widely.

Eighteenth Century

The particular interests of the Centre for Studies in the Long Eighteenth Century converge around gender, class, nation, travel and empire, and the relationship between print and material culture. Staff in the Centre pursue cutting-edge approaches to the field and share a commitment to interdisciplinary methodologies.

The Centre regularly hosts visiting speakers as part of the School of English research seminar programme, and hosts day symposia, workshops and international conferences.

Nineteenth Century

The 19th-century research group is organised around the successful MA in Dickens and Victorian Culture and the editorship of The Dickensian, the official publication outlet for new Dickens letters. Other staff research interests include literature and gender, journalism, representations of time and history, sublimity and Victorian Poetry.

American Literature

Research in North American literature is conducted partly through the Faculty-based Centre for American Studies, which also facilitates co-operation with modern US historians. Staff research interests include 20th-century American literature, especially poetry, Native American writing, modernism, and cultural history.

Creative Writing

The Centre for Creative Writing is the focus for most practice-based research in the School. Staff organise a thriving events series and run a research seminar for postgraduate students and staff to share ideas about fiction-writing. Established writers regularly come to read and discuss their work.

Medieval and Early Modern

The Faculty-based Canterbury Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies has a distinctive brand of interdisciplinarity, strong links with local archives and archaeological trusts, and provides a vibrant forum for investigating the relationships between literary and non-literary modes of writing in its weekly research seminar.

Modern Poetry

The Centre for Modern Poetry is a leading centre for research and publication in its field, and participates in both critical and creative research. Staff regularly host visiting speakers and writers, participate in national and international research networks, and organise graduate research seminars and public poetry readings.

Postcolonial

Established in 1994, the Centre for Colonial and Postcolonial Research has acquired an international reputation for excellence in research. It has an outstanding track record in publication, organises frequent international conferences, and regularly hosts leading postcolonial writers and critics. It also hosts a visiting writer from India every year in association with the Charles Wallace Trust.

Staff research interests

Full details of staff research interests can be found on the School's website.

Dr Bashir Abu-Manneh: Reader in Postcolonial Literature

Global English and literatures of the Middle East, literary realism and modernism, literary and cultural theory (Marxist and postcolonial)

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Dr Stella Bolaki: Senior Lecturer in American Literature

Multi-ethnic American literature (especially with a focus on migration/diaspora and transnational approaches); the Bildungsroman; gender theory; life writing and illness/disability; medical humanities. 

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Professor Bernhard Klein: Professor of English Literature

Early modern literature and culture; Irish studies; travel writing and cartography; maritime history and culture. 

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Professor Donna Landry: Professor of English and American Literature

Eighteenth-century literature, culture, and empire; colonial discourse and postcolonial theory; Middle Eastern, especially Turkish, literature; Ottomanism and Enlightenment; travel writing; queer theory; animal studies; sea and desert studies; historical re-enactment. 

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Dr Ariane Mildenberg: Senior Lecturer in Modernism

Modernist poetry; Wallace Stevens; Gertrude Stein; Virginia Woolf; the kinship of method and concern between phenomenology and modernist literature and art; the interaction of contemporary philosophy with theology; the relationship between modernism and postcolonial writing; translation of Scandinavian poetry.

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Dr Alex Padamsee: Lecturer in English and American Literature

Postcolonial literature and theory; South Asian literatures; British writing on India; race, empire and colonisation in 19th and 20th-century British literature; partition and trauma studies.

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Dr Robbie Richardson: Lecturer in 18th-Century Literature

Eighteenth-century British and transatlantic literature and culture; history and literature of British empire; museum studies; material culture; Indigenous studies; postcolonial and critical race theory; cultural studies.

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Professor Caroline Rooney: Professor of African and Middle Eastern Studies

African and Middle Eastern literature, especially Zimbabwean and Egyptian; colonial discourse and postcolonial theory; the Arab Spring; liberation literature and theory; terror and the postcolonial; global youth cultures, especially hip-hop and spoken word; contemporary visual arts; sea and desert studies; queer theory; psychoanalysis.

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Professor David Stirrup: Professor of American Literature and Indigenous Studies

First nations and Native American literature; 20th-century North American literature; the American and Canadian Midwest; border studies.

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Dr Matthew Whittle: Lecturer in Postcolonial Literature

Postcolonial studies, with a specific interest in Caribbean literature, migration and diaspora, and the “end of Empire”; post-war and contemporary British literature; animal studies and the relationship between trophy hunting, taxonomy and postcoloniality.

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Fees

The 2018/19 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

Postcolonial Studies - MA at Canterbury and Paris:
UK/EU Overseas
Full-time £8250 £15200

For students continuing on this programme fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* If you are uncertain about your fee status please contact information@kent.ac.uk

General additional costs

Find out more about general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent. 

Funding

Search our scholarships finder for possible funding opportunities. You may find it helpful to look at both: