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ENGL2101 African Worlds

Module Overview

Africa has produced some of the world's outstanding literary texts, yet its literatures, cultures and people are often placed in opposition to the rest of the world. The module engages with the literary fictions by and about Africans, in order to ask: how do these texts produce innovative and emancipatory literary worlds that may be called 'African'? Lectures and seminars will scrutinise how senses of national, regional and continental affiliation may relate themselves to transnational and global modes of belonging. We will read texts by Chinua Achebe, Bessie Head, Taiye Selasi and other stars of world literature, as well as their predecessors.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

* To equip you with vocabularies and concepts for thinking about Africa and African literature outside of stereotypes and prejudice * To provide the historical contexts for reading and analysing African fictions that deal with questions of worlding and worldliness * To teach a set of analytical terms related to Africa's nationalisms and cosmopolitanisms * To improve your attentive-reading skills by applying them to African texts and genres *To improve your critical thinking and essay-writing skills.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • On completing the module, you will have gained an increased understanding of how to discuss Africa and its literature without unintentionally othering its cultures and peoples.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • You will have read gained an increased understanding of a group of formally innovative and politically emancipatory contemporary African fictions.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • You will have improved your attentive reading, critical thinking and essay-writing skills (especially with regard to argument construction), in keeping with the requirements of second-year level of university study.
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • You will have internalised some of the academic protocols of cross-cultural conversation about literature and culture.
Disciplinary Specific Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • You will have internalised a specific cluster of analytical terms to do with thinking and feeling beyond the nation.
Cognitive Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • You will gain an increased understanding of the interface between literature, culture and politics in post/colonial Africa-related contexts.
Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • You will come closer to being a socially and culturally aware global citizen.


Topics for study typically cover critical debates around the following questions: * What is a world? * How was the colonial encounter world-changing? * How is a modern African city represented in literature as a location of worldly belonging? * What is the link between African rural locations and notions of home? * What does it mean be an African? * What is an Afropolitan?

Special Features

Wherever possible, writers studied on the module will talk to the students via Skype or in person. Students can opt to send used copies of the module books to readers in Africa, and stay in touch with them (if they wish) via social media. The tutor will alert the students to topical module-related news via a Twitter hashtag.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures Seminars One-on-one discussion and feedback with tutor during office hours Attentive individual reading Group work in and (optional) outside of seminars Individual research Assessed and non-assessed writing This module includes a Learning Support Hour. This is a flexible weekly contact hour, designed to support and respond to the particular cohort taking the module from year to year. This hour will include (but not be limited to) activities such as language, theory and research skills classes; group work supervisions; assignment preparation and essay writing guidance; assignment consultations; feedback and feed-forward sessions.

Independent Study118
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Access to module Blackboard site.

Bessie Head (1968 [2006]). When Rain Clouds Gather. 

Simon Gikandi (2016). The Novel in Africa and the Caribbean since 1950. 

Amos Tutuola (1952). The Palm-Wine Drinkard. 

Doris Lessing (1950). The Grass is Singing. 

Tejumola Olaniyan and Ato Quayson (2007). African Literature, An Anthology of Criticism and Theory. 

Taiye Selasi (2013). Ghana Must Go. 

Achebe, Chinua (2010 [1964]). The Arrow of God. 

Ngugi wa Thiong'o (1989). Matigari. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Analytical essay  (1500 words) 30%
Analytical essay  (2500 words) 70%


MethodPercentage contribution
Analytical essay  (3000 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Books and Stationery equipment

The cost of mandatory textbooks.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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