From Orientalism to Globalisation: Debates in Postcolonial Studies (EASM128)

StaffDr Florian Stadtler - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level7
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module aims

This module aims to trace the political, social and cultural history of postcolonial theory and intellectual practice from colonial discourse analysis and Orientalism to current debates on the postcolonial environment and globalisation. The module gives you the opportunity to extend your knowledge of the field of postcolonial studies through the study of foundational texts in postcolonial theory in dialogue with a selection of postcolonial literatures. The module considers the role of writers and intellectuals in relation to these debates and the problems this role might engender. The module aims to expose and challenge paradigms of colonialism, highlight the forging and subsequent critique of the newly independent, ‘postcolonial’ state, engage with representations of marginality, expressions of literary commitment and critiques of national reconciliation and ‘globalisation’. The module also aims to establish the links between these key debates and literary form. Regions covered by the module may include Africa, South Asia, the Middle East and the Caribbean. The module will provide methodological training in working across disciplines, in a critical engagement with postcolonial theory and works of literature, and in using bibliographic and electronic resources.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Gain an advanced knowledge and awareness of the contexts (cultural, political, intellectual, historical, social, economic) that have informed postcolonial studies as well as the complex debates surrounding the politicisation of the act of writing and intellectual practice as they have emerged in twentieth-century colonial and postcolonial literatures.
  • 2. Develop an advanced understanding in the diverse field of postcolonial theory and apply this to a range of literature and film.
  • 3. Analyse and critique at an advanced level the varied genres produced within the disparate field of postcolonial studies and recognise the significance of these in terms of the ethico-politics of writing.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Devise, research and execute a sustained independent research project.
  • 5. Identify the links between the contexts of works of literature and the mode in which these texts are presented.
  • 6. Develop advanced skills in critical and theoretical thinking that apply beyond the subject, particularly to the fields of critical theory and intellectual history.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. Develop public speaking and communication skills through leading seminar discussion and giving group presentations.
  • 8. Develop advanced skills in academic writing as well as personal organisation and time-management through written assessment and assignments.

Syllabus plan

Themes covered include:

  • Situating Postcolonial Studies
  • Theorising the Colonial Encounter: Orientalism and Colonial Discourse Analysis
  • Anti-Colonial Nationalism and Neo-Colonialism
  • Researching Postcolonial Studies
  • Marginal Voices, Subalternity and the Limits of Representation
  • The Question of National Unity
  • Writing Black Britain
  • The Politics and Aesthetics of Literary Commitment
  • Globalisation and Its Discontents
  • Resource Fictions
  • New Developments in Postcolonial Studies

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 Teaching22Seminars
Guided independent study20Study group preparation and meetings
GuiGuided independent studyded Independent90Seminar Preparation
Guided IndeGuided independent studypendent168Reading, research and essay preparation

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay plan1000 words1-6, 8Tutorial follow-up

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
Research report252500 words1-6, 8Feedback sheet with opportunity for tutorial follow-up
Essay755000 words1-6, 8Feedback sheet with opportunity for tutorial follow-up

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Research reportResearch report1-6, 8Referral/deferral period
EssayEssay1-6, 8Referral/Deferral Period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading


  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Half of a Yellow Sun
  • J. M. Coetzee, The Life & Times of Michael K.
  • Kiran Desai, The Inheritance of Loss
  • Assia Djebar, Fantasia: An Algerian Cavalcade
  • Mohsin Hamid, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia
  • Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Petals of Blood
  • Tayeb Salih, Season of Migration to the North
  • Sam Selvon, The Lonely Londoners

Critical Conceptual works:

  • Homi Bhabha, The Location of Culture
  • Timothy Brennan, “From Development to Globalization: Postcolonial Studies and Globalization Theory”
  • Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth
  • Stuart Hall, “Cultural Identity and Diaspora”
  • Neil Lazarus, The Postcolonial Unconscious
  • Neil Lazarus, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Postcolonial Literary Studies
  • Benita Parry, Postcolonial Studies: A Materialist Critique
  • Edward Said, Orientalism
  • Gayatri Spivak, “Can the Subaltern Speak?”

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Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date


Key words search

Colonialism, postcolonialism, neo-colonialism, globalisation, postcolonial literatures, postcolonial, world and global literary theory, world-systems analysis