English Literature MA

Postcolonialism: Writing & Theory ENGLIT4099

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Critical Studies
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

The long history of empire, invasion and occupation that has shaped modernity and the struggles for national independence it has produced has resulted in a rich literature of colonisation and resistance. This course explores postcolonial writing from Shakespeare to Jean Rhys and Salman Rushdie, through the lens of major theoretical figures such as Gayatri Spivak, Homi Bhabha and Edward Said.


1 x 2hr seminar per week over ten weeks as scheduled on MyCampus.


This is one of the Honours options in English Literature and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available on MyCampus.

Excluded Courses

ENGLIT4027 Postcolonialism: Writing & Theory


Essay (2000 words): 35%

Essay (3000 words): 50%

Seminar presentation of 7 minutes: 15%

Main Assessment In: April/May

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 will provide the opportunity to:

■ study a wide range of literary texts engaged with Empire and its aftermath

■ consider these texts in the light of a variety of theoretical and historical approaches

■ reflect on the relationship between literature and Empire

■ develop independent research skills through formulating and researching essay topics with appropriate guidance

■ develop skills in the art of critical writing at the appropriate level.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ write an assessment of available critical and historical approaches to literature and Empire, and identify the approaches that they find most convincing 

■ critically assess the language and themes of postcolonial literature

■ write in a critical and informed way about genres and techniques in postcolonial literature 

■ explain the cultural and historical factors behind the histories and stories of Empire

■ develop an autonomous research interest in the field of postcolonial literature and criticism 

■ communicate responses to the material studied on the course both orally and in written form through coherent and sustained argument.

■ demonstrate resilience and time management through effectively planning, undertaking and submitting coursework.

■ deal with change and new challenges by applying their disciplinary skills and knowledge to previously unfamiliar research areas and questions.

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.