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Centres and Institutes

Empire and the Postcolonial: Race, Genders, Sexualities

Course Not Running 2014/15
Unit value:
Year of study:
Year 3



Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

At the end of a course, a student should be able to . . . 

  • Develop a deep understanding of race, diaspora and sexualities
  • Critically read and react to literary texts
  • Develop a reflective approach
  • Undertake independent research and complete it successfully
  • Critically read and react to literary texts


This course will be taught over 10 weeks with 2 hours classroom contact per week in seminars/tutorials. 

Scope and syllabus

What kind of racialised, gendered selves get produced at the conjecture of the transnational and the postcolonial? What is the transnational and the postcolonial? How is self and subjectivity constructed in postcolonial fictions? This course will aim to answer some of these questions by offering a historical, theoretical and literary understanding of slavery and indentured labor, the material aspects of migrant labor and livelihood, the experiences of displacement and homelessness, the ideologies of ‘home’ and nation, the cultures of diaspora, the politics of multiculturalism, and issues relating to race (racism), sexuality and gender.

Method of assessment

One 1,500 - 2,000 word essay to be submitted on Friday, week 5, in the term in which the course is taught (20%); one 3,500 - 4,000 word essay to be submitted on Friday, week 11, in the term in which the course is taught (70%); a participation and presentation throughout the course (10%).

Suggested reading

Indicative selection of primary texts:

  • Leila Aboulela (2005) Minaret, Bloomsbury.
  • Nadeem Aslam (2004) Maps for Lost Lovers. Faber and Faber.
  • J. M. Coetzee (2000) Disgrace, Vintage.
  • Joseph Conrad (1902) Heart of Darkness, Everyman’s library.
  • Tsitsi Dangarembga (1988) Nervous Conditions, Seal Press.
  • Ralph Ellison (1947) The Invisible Man. Vintage.
  • E M Forster (1924) A Passage to India, London, Edward Arnold.
  • Ghosh, A. Sea of Poppies. Penguin Viking, 2008.  
  • H Rider Haggard (1886) She. Project Gutenburg.
  • Aldous Huxley (1932) Brave New World. Penguin.
  • Jamaica Kincaid (1990) Lucy, Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
  • Jackie Kay (1991) The Adoption Papers, Bloodaxe.
  • Hanif Kureshi (1990) The Buddha of Suburbia, Penguin, 1990.
  • Morrison, Toni (1987) Beloved. Vintage.
  • Naipaul, V.S. The Mimic Men; The Enigma of Arrival; Bend in the River
  • Philips, Caryl. Cambridge. 1991. Crossing the River.1993.
  • Jean Rhys (1966) Wide Sargasso Sea. Penguin Classics.
  • Rushdie, Salman. Satanic Verses. 1989.
  • Walcott, Derek. Omeros. 1990.Collected Poems 1948-84. London: Faber & Faber, 1986.
  • Adam Zameenzad (1996) Gorgeous white female, Fourth Estate.