EN3NL-Nigerian Prose Literature: From Achebe to Adichie

Module Provider: English Literature
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites: English Part 1 or A-Level (A*, A or B)
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Dr Sue Walsh

Email: s.a.b.walsh@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:
This module will introduce students to modern Nigerian literature in English, and to the debates that marked its inception such as Achebe’s controversial attack on Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and Nigerian writers’ responses to Ngugi Wa Thiong’o’s call to African writers to cease writing in English, the language of the colonisers. The module will also engage with critical debates about the claims of the oral roots of Nigerian literature and their implications, will address Nigerian interventions in feminist criticism and will also interrogate the construction of Nigerian national identity through analysis of number of texts centred around the representation of the 1967 civil war.

The aims of this module are to promote engagement in current critical debates in postcolonial literary studies through focused textual analysis, and to enable students to engage with and interrogate the implications and methodology of oralist, historicist and ‘allegorical’ readings of texts.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module students will be expected to:
-Exercise skills of close textual analysis paying particular attention to the discursive construction of identity and its implications.
-Conceptualize some of the ways in which the literature articulates cultural and historical tensions and establish productive connections between texts.
-Engage critically with ideas discussed in seminars and in secondary materials.
-Reflect upon the implications of the critical languages and practices of postcolonial theory and criticism and on their own critical and theoretical formulations.
-Research, organize and articulate a sustained, detailed and reflexive critical argument in writing.

Additional outcomes:
Oral and written communication skills will be developed, together with critical, interpretative and analytical abilities. Students will also enhance their IT competence through the use of relevant web resources in a critically informed manner and develop their research skills through a formative research exercise set at the beginning of the module. The module will also enable students to develop a critical awareness of the role cultural productions play in the formation of national, cultural and self-identities, and to connect the issues and implications addressed on this module to related issues on other modules.

Outline content:
On this module students will read classic Nigerian texts such as Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart and Amos Tutuola’s The Palm-Wine Drinkard, as well as Ken Saro-Wiwa’s experiment in ‘rottn english’, Sozaboy, Buchi Emecheta’s The Joys of Motherhood and Ben Okri’s Booker prize winning The Famished Road. Students will also read more recent work by Nigerian women writers (depending on availability) such as Sefi Atta’s coming of age novel Everything Good Will Come, Lola Shoneyin’s comic critique of polygamy, The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives and Chimamanda’s Ngozi Adichie’s civil war novel Half of a Yellow Sun. Students will also engage with the Kenyan-Gikuyu writer Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s Decolonising the Mind: The Politics of Language in African Literature, and with the responses to that work by writers like Achebe, Saro-Wiwa and Wole Soyinka.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Three seminar hours weekly, for which students are required to do preparatory reading. Students are also entitled to a half-hour tutorial on their formative written work. With the consent of the module convenor, students may also undertake a placement, through which they will learn how to apply the knowledge and skills gained in studying for this module in a professional context outside the University.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 30
Tutorials 0.5
Guided independent study 129.5 40
Total hours by term 160.00 40.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 80
Set exercise 20

Other information on summative assessment:

Students will submit one short exercise of 1000 words, this will carry 20% of the total mark, to be submitted at the beginning of the following term in which the module is taught. Students will also submit one coursework essay of 4000 words, which will carry 80% of the overall assessment also to be submitted at the beginning of the following term in which the module is taught.

Formative assessment methods:
Students write one formative essay, of between 1500 and 2000 words.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of at least 40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:

    Re-examination in August. Coursework will be carried forward if it bears a confirmed mark of 40% or more. Otherwise it must be resubmitted by 25 August 2017

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Key Readings List:
    You can view a Key Readings list for this module here: http://readinglists.reading.ac.uk/lists/9EADD9E4-E7A3-9A1D-788E-963894D5DA08 N.B. Reading lists may change before the module starts.

    Last updated: 11 April 2017

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