LIT231 : Introduction to Postcolonial Literatures in English

Convenor(s): Dr Andrew van der Vlies


Please note: This module may or may not run in any individual session. Please check with the course Convenor.

General Information

Anglophone literatures from around the world should be the concern of any department of 'English Literature' (which we should perhaps rather think of as 'Literatures in English'). This module allows you to complement the largely British- and United States-centred material you may thus far have encountered by reading intriguing, fascinating, subtle, engaging, and entertaining ‘non-metropolitan’ writing in English – from countries as diverse as  India, Zimbabwe, Canada, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Trinidad, Australia, Pakistan, and Aotearoa New Zealand. This module invites you to think about authors' and texts' historical and political contexts, and to concern yourselves with such issues as strategies of resistance, ‘national’ cultural identities, indigeneity, gender and sexuality, and the consumption and influence of post-colonial cultural material in ‘the West’. It will enable you to evaluate the development of genres studied in the core curriculum in broader global contexts. Authors to be studied in Spring 2010 semester include: Salman Rushdie, Shyam Selvadurai, Margaret Atwood, Nadine Gordimer, Tsitsi Dangarembga, J.M. Coetzee, and Alan Duff, amongst others (see below).


We will meet as a large group for a class (of 50 minutes), probably on Tuesdays at 10am. In this class I may lead discussion of a theme, or introduce the texts we will be reading and discussing that week. I might offer a presentation, or introduce a particular writer, or give you some historical background or critical contexts in relation to which you will be invited to consider that week’s set text(s). I might occasionally arrange the screening of a film or documentary, at times to be arranged and advertised in advance. In addition to this weekly class, you will have another seminar (also 50 minutes), EITHER Thursday 11.10am-12.00pm, OR 12.10-1.00pm (tbc). In this seminar, you will discuss the texts set for discussion that week, and I will expect one or two students to offer short (non-assessed) presentations on these texts and related themes. I have regular office hours when you are welcome to come and discuss the module or assessment plans with me.


You will write two essays. The first essay will be 1,500 words, and is worth 40% of your final mark. Your second essay, of 2,500 words, is worth 60% of the final module mark. In essays you will be expected to demonstrate thematic and stylistic analysis of the specific texts chosen for discussion, and also to relate your discussions to the historical and cultural contexts established through seminar discussion and individual research.


Contact Details

Dr Andrew van der Vlies, +44 (0)114-222-8496

Information last changed: Thursday 07th of April 2016 :: 01:16:28 PM (BST)


The University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK