Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Decolonising the Canon THEATRE4088

  • Academic Session: 2020-21
  • School: School of Culture and Creative Arts
  • Credits: 30
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

The course explores key writings of postcolonial thinkers and artists from the 20th and 21st centuries from Africa, Asia and South America and how their ideas have shaped and influenced dramatic productions and performance traditions in their respective contexts. The course will examine historical approaches as well as contemporary artistic responses to the question of how to decolonise the Western canon.


1 x 3hr seminars per week over 10 weeks; 2-3 of these seminars will incorporate a dramaturgical workshop, as scheduled on MyCampus. This is one of the Honours options in Theatre Studies and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available on MyCampus.

Requirements of Entry

Available to students fulfilling requirements for Honours entry into Theatre Studies, and by arrangement to visiting students or students of other Honours programmes who qualify under the University's 25% regulation.

Excluded Courses





Essay (3,500 words) - 50%

Group Work, Dramaturgical Concept (20 minute duration) - 30%

Presentation (10 minute duration) - 20%

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ provide students with knowledge of key concepts of postcolonial thought in the 20th and 21st century

■ explore the role of the artist in relation to political, cultural and social milieus in the history of anticolonial struggle and postcolonial thought

■ introduce students to the wider social, economic and political history specific to the context of the studied practitioners

■ develop students' knowledge of historical and contemporary examples of postcolonial theatre practitioners through critical analysis and engagement with a variety of course types

■ provide students with the opportunity to develop dramaturgical staging concepts through a critical engagement with the studied texts and an assessment of their own intersectional positionality.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course, students will be able to:


■ critically evaluate primary and secondary sources relating to the interrelationship between theatre and postcoloniality

■ identify and assess key events, people and trends that impact the development of postcolonial thought and artistic production

■ develop a dramaturgical concept for the staging of a dramatic text/performance

■ present this knowledge and understanding in oral and written form according to established scholarly conventions and appropriate to an honours level

■ engage with innovative ways to explore and present ideas

■ apply a holistic approach to the study of their discipline and an awareness of their intersectional positionality

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.