Postcolonial Literary Studies


This course engages with postcolonialism as a site of cultural theorising in a globalised world, but especially as a mode of analysis of a large, new field of contemporary literature. In foregrounding colonialism’s profound worldwide impact, we discover a critical lens that offers flexible methodologies for tackling imperial literature, but especially for engaging with contemporary literary texts produced in current former colonies in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, the Americans and the Pacific.

In taking up topics like decolonisation, migration, language, cultural production and social representation, postcolonial studies approaches the study of literature in ways that intersect with fields such as critical race theory, indigenous and feminist studies. A primary issue for us is the problematic disciplinarity of postcolonial studies, reflected in topics to be addressed, and in a range of questions to be tackled. 

Topics will include postcolonial modernity, nation and narration, fictions of nationhood and development, the Black Atlantic, migrant and diasporic aesthetics, marginality and hybridity, new imperialisms, gender in postcolonised history, the metropolitan and the cosmopolitan.

A general investigation of the postcolonial will occupy most of the course, but this semester we will focus on literature of three special regions – India, Pakistan and the Caribbean.  Such a focus is designed to foster a proper sense of the variety of cultural formations and experiences, social and political practices covered by the concept of the postcolonial, while also allowing a more focused and developed study of a chosen region, its history, culture and literature.


Coursework only

Availability 2024

Not taught in 2024




ENGLISH 702: 30 points