ENMDIA-Diasporas of the Mind: Minority Literature in Britain

Module Provider: English Literature
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Prof Bryan Cheyette

Email: b.h.cheyette@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:
This comparative module will bring together a diverse group of contemporary literary texts and cultural histories which cross racial, ethnic and national divides in Britain. The authors on the course will be read together with an eclectic group of critical theorists and cultural historians all of whom attempt to rethink present-day identity politics. Theoretical concepts that we will discuss include: "Identity Politics", "Postethnicity", "Multiculturalism", "Cosmopolitanism", "Minority", "Race", "Hybridity", "Diaspora", "Community", "Universalism", "Particularism" and “Britishness”. The module will identify some of the main trends in contemporary British fiction and situate them in historical context.

-to provide students with detailed knowledge and understanding of a range of post-war British fiction, with regard to the different models of minority literature in contemporary Britain.

-to provide students with detailed knowledge and understanding of a number of critical theorists and cultural historians in relation to the question of cultural pluralism and multiculturalism in post-war Britain.

-to encourage students to analyse and interrogate their own and others’ critical methodologies.

Assessable learning outcomes:
-employ skills of textual analysis to demonstrate understanding of the materials they have studied
-identify and engage critically with a number of different critical and theoretical models relating to contemporary British fiction and cultural pluralism
-evaluate and interrogate some of the ways in which the selected primary texts express and respond to contemporary social, cultural and historical conditions
-construct and articulate coherent critical arguments in writing

Additional outcomes:
The module will encourage students to: develop their oral communication skills through discussions in seminars; think critically both within and across disciplines; to interrogate their own assumptions and arguments, and those of others, including their peers and seminar-leaders.

Outline content:
This module explores the relationship between a range of contemporary minority British fiction with regard to the theory and practice of multiculturalism and cultural pluralism. Through detailed discussion of the work of Salman Rushdie, Anita Desai, Caryl Phillips, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, Kazio Ishiguro, Clive Sinclair, Elaine Feinstein and Zadie Smith we will examine the use and misuse of such categories as "Postcolonial", "Black-British", "British-Jewish" and "British-Asian" in relation to recent debates, both general and within the academy, concerning the growth of a plural British identity. We will be exploring contemporary literature in relation to these debates and notions of a twenty-first century Britishness.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The module consists of ten weekly seminars, each two hours in length. Each seminar will involve discussion of texts or special materials that have been set and prepared in advance. The module teacher will also be available for consultation with students on a one-to-one basis to discuss their work and the progress of the module as a whole.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 22
Project Supervision 1
Guided independent study 177
Total hours by term 200.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:
Not applicable.

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:
Aside from the set readings and questions for discussion, students must submit a 4000-word essay on a topic of their choice, in which they will respond to and develop upon an aspect of the material covered in the seminars. The specific title will be determined by the student in consultation with the module convenor.

Formative assessment methods:
Presentations with feedback.

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guidePG.aspx

Assessment requirements for a pass:

Reassessment arrangements:
Re-submission of coursework.

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:

Last updated: 20 April 2018


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