Postcolonial Theory

Key information

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Module code
FHEQ Level
School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics

Module overview

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module


By the end of the module students will have:

  • Explored concepts of history, culture, nationalism, migration, gender and race in the context of post-colonial theories and literatures;
  • Examined how communities are imagined and created through a sense of belonging in time and place;
  • Interrogated culture and its relationship with individual memories and familial relationships, and how these emerge in powerful narratives of race and history;
  • Developed a critical understanding of colonial and postcolonial constructs such as Orientalism, the global and transnational, the cosmopolitan and the international



Total of 20 weeks teaching with 3 hours per week classroom contact consisting of a 2 hour lecture and a 1 hour tutorial.

Scope and syllabus


This module will explore the historical relationships of power, domination and practices of imperialism and colonialism in the modern period (late nineteenth-century to the present) through the study of literature and culture. A range of literary, filmic and theoretical texts from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and the Near and Middle East will normally be included in the reading list. These will address representations of colonialism and decolonisation, neo-colonialism, nationalism in postcolonial societies and diasporic experiences, allowing us to explore the heterogeneous meanings, intersections and strategies of analysis that have emerged with reference to postcolonial studies. Attention will be paid to colonial and postcolonial constructs such as: the Oriental, the Global, the Cosmopolitan, and the Third World.

Overall, the module will engage with notions of history, and discourses of modernity and postmodernity.


Method of assessment

An essay of 2,000 words to be submitted on Friday, week 1, term 2 (30%); an essay of 3,000 words to be submitted on Friday, week 1, term 3 (40%); two analyses of postcolonial objects or visual or other texts of 800 words each, to be submitted on Monday, week 11, Term 1 and Term 2 respectively (30%).

Suggested reading

The current reading list can be downloaded from Moodle.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules