Course convenor: Prof Sandra Young

One of the distinct features of modern societies is how their connections across space and time have been mediated by cultures of empire. Imperialism was undoubtedly the engine of globalization. The imprint on cultural formations and modern sensibilities has been both profound and complex. Writing, reading, speaking, literature, language, liberty, freedom, nationalism, the nation-state, race, ethnicity, sex, gender, desire, indigeneity, to name but a few, are all categories of being that are impossible to make sense of without a sense of the modern. This course offers a number of vistas for reflecting on the imprints, echoes and afterlives of empire as a cultural formation as mediated through narrative and literary discourse. In the course of the semester, we will engage with how, from our postcolonial present narrative works, to mediate and give these experiences meaning.

Timetable, seminar times and seminar sign-up are published on VULA once you have registered for the course. 

DP requirements: None.

Assessment: Continuous assessment (essays, projects, tests etc) counts 100%.

Prescribed Texts, 2023

C. L. R. James: The Black Jacobins  (excerpts provided)

Selection of eighteenth-century “occasional essays” (to be provided)

Olaudah Equiano: The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Oluadah Equiano, Or Gustavus Vassa, Or Gustavus Vassa (text widely available online, or to be purchased)

Selection of poetry (to be provided)

Selection of Onitsha Market Literature (to be provided)

Damon Galgut: Beautiful Screaming of PIgs (text widely available, to be purchased)

Tsitsi Dangarembga: Nervous Conditions (text widely available, to be purchased)