Learning Goals

Students will…

1) Learn and develop the techniques of close reading both orally and in writing.
2) Grasp the key theoretical ideas that give shape to the field of postcolonial studies.
3) Gain an in-depth understanding of the ideologies, politics, and historical particularities that both enable and foreclose postcolonial readings of literary texts.
4) Explore how literature participates in the formulation of a critique of colonialism and imperialism.
5) Understand how the relationship between culture and empire comes to shape modernity.
6) Develop their critical reading and writing skills in order to complete an independent research project.




25% Class Participation: will be determined by reading quizzes, small-group and class discussions, student-led presentations, and writing feedback groups. Since the class meets once a week for two hours, attendance is a must.
5% Paper 1: A 2-3 page essay (double-spaced) in which students will present an “against the grain reading” of one primary text without the use of scholarly sources.
10% Paper 2: A  4-5 page “lens essay” (double-spaced) in which students will use one scholarly source as an analytical lens in order to perform a close reading of one primary text.
15% Paper 3: A 6-8 page essay (double-spaced) in which students will engage with one scholarly source in order to present and further their own argumentative reading of one primary source.
10% Annotated Bibliography for Final Research Paper: a concise description of a student’s research project as well as a summary of two main scholarly sources a student intends to engage with in said project (no more than 2 double-spaced pages).
35% Final Research Paper: A 10-12 page paper (double-spaced) in which students will further a scholarly argument concerning a primary source of their choice by entering into a scholarly conversation with two scholarly sources.



Required Primary Texts (subject to change)

1) Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness (1899)

2) Sam Selvon, The Lonely Londoners (1956)

3) Tayeb Salih, Season of Migration to the North (1967)

4) Jamaica Kincaid, Lucy (1990)

5) Tash Aw, Map of the Invisible World


**Shorter primary texts as well as secondary critical and theoretical works will be made available on Moodle**



Last updated: 20 November 2019