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

StaffDr Chris Campbell - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level5
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

  • 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 globalisation 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, organisation, and expression of ideas under pressure of time

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • 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
Scheduled learning and teaching11Text-based lectures
Scheduled learning and teaching8Contextual lectures/workshops/screenings
Scheduled learning and teaching22Seminars
Guided independent study33Study group preparation and meetings
Guided independent study70Individual seminar preparation
Guided independent study156Reading, research and 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, 9-11Written feedback plus tutorial follow-up
Examination452 hours1-7, 9-11Written feedback plus tutorial follow-up
Seminar participation10Continuous 1-8

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
ExaminationExamination1-7, 9-11Referral/Deferral period
Seminar participationRepeat study or Mitigation 1-8Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

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

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Indicative learning resources - 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.

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Key words search

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