Today´s world has been shaped largely by the colonial experience: states, borders, languages, cultures and the imprint which empires, European and non-European, have left over centuries.
Colonial and postcolonial studies engage with the cultural and political history and legacy of colonialism, highlighting a variety of power relations, cultural dynamics and historical processes which had been previously ignored or under-played.
This programme will take an original, interdisciplinary approach, where you will be studying material from Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and beyond. Working with World Literature, film and historical sources, you will explore major currents in cultural production and identity politics. You will be introduced to a range of authors, and have the opportunity to study works and critical texts which originated in languages other than English. Works will be taught in English translation, with the possibility to read them in the original modern languages.
English language requirements
You can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:
by holding an English language qualification to the right level
by taking and successfully completing one of our English courses for international students
It will give you the opportunity to undertake further study to develop your understanding of key principles underpinning the study of colonial and postcolonial cultures in a comparative, global and inter-disciplinary context.
The programme includes the following core modules [full descriptions available below]:
World Literatures and Film I
World Literatures and Film II
Before Postcolonialism: Europe and its Empires
You will also choose an optional module chosen from a range of relevant disciplines such as History, African studies, Development or literature related to colonialism and postcolonialism.
You will complete the course with a 15,000-word dissertation on a topic which you will choose, refine and analyse with the help of your supervisor (who will be allocated to you depending upon your own research interests)
World Literatures and Film I and II
These modules set out to examine World Literature and Cinema, through a range of critical investigations. How might these concepts be theoretically defined? How might they have the potential to alter established approaches to power relations, identity, socio-political order and literary canons? The modules offer a fascinating insight into major literary phenomena of the modern era, through critical examination and dynamic discussion of a range of texts coming from areas such as Sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America and beyond.
This module involves the study and analysis of key thinkers of postcolonial theory, examining figures such as Edward Said, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Homi Bhabha and Frantz Fanon, in addition to the more recent theorists of World Literature. The approach will be both theoretical and applied, enabling you to encounter and examine these intellectual figures and their work, and to assess critically possible applications and relevance to your own fields of interest.
Before Postcolonialism: Europe and its Empires
Postcolonialism is primarily an intellectual (and often political) attempt to challenge the politico-economic and symbolic world domination of European powers – i.e. colonialism. But how did European empires develop in the first place? What were the value systems which drove a tiny peninsula of the Eurasiatic continent to expand and conquer the rest of the world? And how did modern European colonial systems compare with empires of other times and places? Through a comparative approach of imperial systems since the early modern period, this module examines the conditions and modus operandi of a political phenomenon which came to rule the world in the late nineteenth century, when the majority of the planet became subjected to half a dozen European countries. It offers a thought-provoking introduction to a condition which triggered multiple emancipatory reaction, and still influences much of today´s world.
This module will prepare you for the 15,000-word dissertation. It will allow you to hone your research, critical and writing skills under the supervision of a subject specialist.
You will also choose one optional module:
Module outside of the Main Department
You will also choose an optional module chosen from a range within History, African Studies, Development or Literature related to colonialism and postcolonialism.
Dissertation in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies
You will complete the programme with a 15,000-word dissertation in colonial and postcolonial studies, which will give you the opportunity to research a topic of your choice related to colonial and postcolonial studies. You will be invited to reflect upon topics which you would like to explore academically, and you will then be given the opportunity to discuss with your supervisor the sources, methodology and argument which you can use to produce an original piece of research which will make a contribution to scholarship. The variety of languages and disciplines represented in the Department of Modern Languages ensure that we are able to offer highly qualified supervision in a large variety of fields and intellectual approaches.
Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by the employability skills training offered through the College of Arts and Law Graduate School. The University also offers a wide range of activities and services to give our students the edge in the job market, including: career planning designed to meet the needs of postgraduates; opportunities to meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs, employer presentations and skills workshops; individual guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique; and access to comprehensive listings of hundreds of graduate jobs and work experience opportunities.
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