Culture, Crisis and Ecology in a Postcolonial World (EAS2113)

StaffDr Chris Campbell - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value
NQF Level
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

This module invites you to explore relationships between empire, representations of ‘the natural world’, and cultural responses to political, social and ecological crisis. It will enable you to reach an informed understanding of the relationship between postcolonial and ecocritical approaches to literature and aims to introduce you to a wide range of primary materials in a number of different genres spanning the late twentieth and early twenty-first century. Further, it will provide you with the theoretical and methodological skills that will enable you to engage critically with this rich field. Where appropriate, the module will encourage you to identify connections between key writers and genres and other relevant movements. Your studies throughout will be guided by the module tutors’ own research in this new and growing area of literary studies.


“Culture, Crisis and Ecology in a Postcolonial World” will enable you to explore the ways in which different forms of imperialism continue to function in cultural, political, economic and ecological spheres, to equip you with the ability to understand these processes, and to alert you to the global consequences they entail.


By introducing you to a range of texts which deal with the question of continuing imperialism and the effects of forms of historical and contemporary globalization you will explore the ways in which cultural representations of colonialism and its legacies, including environmental degradation and disaster, are inflected and complicated by other factors such as gender, race and social class. These are all important considerations for anyone interested in employment in the cultural, heritage and environmental sectors.’

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. demonstrate an informed appreciation of cultural responses to notions of crises and ecology in postcolonial contexts from the mid-twentieth to early twenty-first century;
  • 2. demonstrate an informed critical understanding of similarities and differences across and between texts, authors and genres of writing from Africa, the Caribbean, the Middle East and South Asia;
  • 3. demonstrate a developed ability to apply skills of close reading and of comparative analysis, specifically in texts dealing with crises and ecology in postcolonial contexts;
  • 4. demonstrate an informed critical understanding of relevant scholarly work in the field of postcolonial literary studies and ecocriticism;

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 5. demonstrate an advanced ability to analyse a range of literatures and concepts and to relate their concerns and modes of expression to their cultural, political, social and theoretical contexts;
  • 6. demonstrate an advanced ability to interrelate texts and discourses specific to their own discipline with issues in the wider context of cultural and intellectual history;
  • 7. demonstrate an ability to understand and analyse relevant theoretical ideas, and to relate these ideas to literary texts;

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 8. through seminar work, demonstrate communication skills, and an ability to work both individually and in groups;
  • 9. through essay-writing, demonstrate appropriate research and bibliographic skills, a capacity to construct a coherent, substantiated argument, and a capacity to write clear and correct prose;
  • 10. through research for seminars and essays, demonstrate proficiency in information retrieval and analysis;
  • 11. through sitting a final examination, demonstrate proficiency in the use of memory and in the development, organization, and expression of ideas under pressure of time.

Syllabus plan

The Syllabus will cover:

What is Neocolonialism? What is Postcolonial Ecocriticism?

The High Price of Oil

Resource Fictions and the World-System

Foreign Aid and the spectre of dependency

The Writer as Activist – the case of Arundhati Roy

Neoliberalism and Tourism

Visions of Nature in the ‘Rainbow Nation’

State-sponsored violence and counter-insurgency

‘Natural’ Disasters, Shocks and Eruptions - The Case of Haiti

Civil War, Trauma and recovery


The module will include a “Focus on Assessment” week.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled11Text-based Lectures
Scheduled8Contextual Lectures/Workshops/Screenings
Guided Independant33Study Group Preparation and meetings
Guided Independant70Individual Seminar Preparation
Guided Independant156Reading, Research, Essay preparation

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Informal group presentations in seminars: textual close analysis10 minutes1-7; 9-11Peer and tutor feedback in seminars

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay452000 words1-7,9-11Writen feedback plus tutorial follow-up
Exam452 hr1-7,9-11Written feedback plus tutorial follow-up.
Seminar Participation10Continous1-8

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay1-7,9-11Referral/deferral period
ExamExam1-7,9-11Referral/deferral period
Seminar ParticipationRepeat study or mitigation1-8Referral/deferral period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic Reading/Viewing:

Farah, Nuruddin, Gifts

Ghosh, Amitav, The Hungry Tide

Gordimer, Nadine, Get A Life

Gunesekera, Romesh, Noontide Toll

Melville, Pauline, The Migration of Ghosts

Oonya Kempadoo, Tide Running

Saro-Wiwa, Ken, A Month and a Day


Life and Debt

Waltz With Bashir


ELE – College to provide hyperlink to appropriate pages


Other resources:

Amin, Samir. Capitalism in the Age of Globalization: The Management of Contemporary Society. London: Zed Books, 1997.

Guha, Ramachandra and J. Martinez-Alier, Varieties of Environmentalism: Essays North and South. London: Earthscan, 1997

Lazarus, Neil. The Postcolonial Unconscious. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2011.

Loomba, Ania. Colonialism/Post-colonialism. London: Routledge, 1998.

Mies, Maria. Patriarchy and Capital Accumulation on a World Scale:Women in the International Division of Labour. London: Zed Books, 1999.

Moore, Jason W. Capitalism in the Web of Life: Ecology and the Accumulation of Capital. London: Verso, 2015.

Mukherjee, Upamanyu Pablo. Postcolonial Environments. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.

Nixon, Rob. Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor, London: Harvard UP, 2011.

Module has an active ELE page?


Available as distance learning?


Last revision date


Key words search

Postcolonial Literatures, World Literatures, Globalisation, Ecology, neo-colonialism, anti-colonialism, postcolonialism; African, Caribbean, Middle Eastern, and South Asian writing