World Literature (PG)

Key information

Start date
End date
Year of study
Term 2
Module code
FHEQ Level
School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics

Module overview

This module will introduce students to the growing field of world literature.

It will broadly survey contemporary theoretical discussions in the field through two major entry points: language and translation and movement and identity. To anchor these overarching themes, students will look at several core literary texts (to be updated every year) from Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

Alongside literary analysis, students will be encouraged to explore the theoretical dimensions of world literature, its assertions and its models, as well as rebuttles and contestations against it. At the end of the module, students will be able to provided nuanced critical analyses centred on the world literature canon and demonstrate understanding of the major debates in the field.



Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of the module a student would be able to:

  • Critically analyze example texts of world literature
  • Determine relevant theoretical approaches for the analysis of specific literary texts
  • Develop theoretical arguments on world literature
  • Develop critical writing skills


This module is taught over the course of 10 weeks and consists of a 2 hour lecture and 1 seminar per week

Scope and syllabus

The syllabus has two thematic units: Unit 1: Language and Translation and Unit 2: Movement and Identity.

  • Unit 1 will examine the way in which world literature has been imagined, most dominantly in monolingual terms. It will present discussions on translation, multiligualism and creolization as it complicates the models of world literature as primarily Anglophone. At the end of Unit 1, students will be able to make connections between politics, language and representation as they pertain to the theories of world literature and as they are expressed in literature of Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
  • Unit 2 will approach world literature through the broad discussions on movement and identity. Situated within historic and contemporary shifts in population, this unit will consider how identity is forged in literature as it faces conceptions of the world. At the end of Unit 2, students will be able to construct relevant frameworks through which cultural identity, experiences of migration and diaspora and literary expression engenders notions of worldliness.

Method of assessment

  • 30% - Annotated Bibliography (1500 words)
  • 70% - Essay (2000 words) OR Virtual Presentation/Podcast (10 minutes)
  • Exact assessment deadline dates are published on the relevant module Moodle/BLE page.

Suggested reading

  • Moretti, Franco. (2014). 'Conjectures on World Literature'. New Left Review. 1. 54-68.
  • Damrosh, David. What Is World Literature? Princeton University Press, 2003. JSTOR,
  • Casanova, Pascale, and M B. DeBevoise. The World Republic of Letters. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 2007. Print.
  • Jameson, Fredric. “Third-World Literature in the Era of Multinational Capitalism.” Social Text, no. 15, 1986, pp. 65–88. JSTOR,
  • Aamir, R. Mufti.. Forget English! Orientalisms and World Literatures. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2016.
  • Francesca Orsini; The Multilingual Local in World Literature. Comparative Literature 1 December 2015; 67 (4): 345–374. doi:
  • Pheng Cheah. What Is a World? On Postcolonial Literature as World Literature. Durham: Duke UP, 2016.
  • Kilito, Abdelfattah, and Waïl S. Hassan. Thou Shalt Not Speak My Language. Syracuse University Press, 2008. JSTOR,
  • Literary readings will vary but focus on Asia, Africal and Middle East


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules