School of English and Drama

Black Writing in Britain from the 18th Century to the Present I

Module code: ESH287A

Credits: 15.0
Semester: SEM1

    Film Screening
  • Semester 1: Weeks 8, 9, 10, 11: Wednesday 4 pm - 7 pm
  • Semester 1: Thursday 12 pm - 2 pm

Contact: Dr Rachael Gilmour
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: None

This module examines a selection of works by black writers published in Britain from the eighteenth century to the late twentietn century, considered in the context of empire and its demise, the migration of people to Britain from the colonised and formerly colonised world, and the racist nationalism of the decades following WWII. The course¿s expansive conception of `black¿ writing ¿ encompassing African, Caribbean, Asian and first- and second-generation black British and British Asian writers ¿ is one which we will historically and politically contextualise, and at times contest, as we go along. Drawing on contemporary cultural, postcolonial and feminist theories, we will explore how writers as diverse as Olaudah Equiano, Sam Selvon, Hanif Kureishi, Jackie Kay, Linton Kwesi Johnson and Ravinder Randhawa have responded creatively to a changing British society. We will explore in detail the stylistic and formal properties of a diverse range of literature written by black writers in Britain, from realist novels to criticism to experimental poetry, and we will investigate the politics of publishing this writing in Britain. At the same time, we will pay particular attention to the ways in which questions of national and `racial¿ identity, cultural and religious difference, class and gender, historical narrative, language, form and genre, are addressed and contested. The course is broadly chronological, aiming to give students an understanding of the literature in its historical and cultural context, tracing shifts in the social and political, as well as literary, landscape of Britain.

Connected course(s): UDF DATA
Assessment: 90.0% Coursework, 10.0% Practical
Level: 5