Colonial and Postcolonial Writing

Subject 106-033 (2009)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2009. Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2009:

Semester 1, - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 1.5-hour lecture and a 1-hour tutorial per week
Total Time Commitment: Not available

Usually 12.5 points of first-year English.

Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Dr Elizabeth Anne Maxwell


Anne Maxwell

Subject Overview:

In this subject students examine fiction by canonical British authors from the late 19th and early 20th centuries who are famous for their treatment of colonial themes like Orientalism, slavery, the civilizing mission, Manichean allegory , beachcombing, degeneration, Darwinism, dying race theory and race mixing. They also examine some of the more remarkable works by writers from countries that were formerly part of the British Empire but which are now politically independent. In addition to exploring the texts' subject matter, students will learn about their literary styles and narrative conventions. Some of the concepts explored in this part of the subject are nationalism, the female subaltern, cosmoplitanism, hybridity, mimicry, surrealism, migration and diaspora, settler colonialism, indigeneity and the revisioning of history. On successful completion of the subject, students will have a greater understanding of the discourses of colonialism and postcolonialism. They will also be able to demonstrate an understanding of the more important theorectical concepts and debates currently engaging postcolonial literary critics.

Objectives: to be able to demonstrate an understanding of the complexity and range of colonial and postcolonial textual production;
to be able to show an understanding of some of the major theoretical debates surrounding colonial and postcolonial literature and criticism;
to be able to bring an interdisciplinary approach to the study of colonial and postcolonial texts.

A 2000 word essay 50% (due mid-semester), and a second essay of 2000 words 50% (due at the end of the semester). Students must attend a minimum of 80% of classes in order to submit assessment in this subject.

Note: Assessment submitted late without an approved formal extension will be penalised at 2% per day. Students who fail to submit up to 2-weeks after the final due date without a formal extension and/or special consideration will receive a fail grade for the piece of assessment.

Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available.

  • Plain Tales from the Hills (R Kipling)
  • Matigari (Ngugi Wa T'iongo)
  • South Sea Tales (R Stevenson)
  • At the Bottom of the River (J Kincaid)
  • Heart of Darkness (J Conrad)
  • The Joys of Motherhood (Emecheta)
  • Dr Wooreddy's Prescription for Enduring the Ending of the World (Mudrooroo)
  • East/West (S Rushdie)
Recommended Texts:
  • Empire Writing: An Anthology ( Boehmer)
  • Beginning Postcolonialism (McCleod)
  • Jazz (Morrison)
Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • apply new research skills and critical methods to a field of inquiry;

  • develop critical self-awareness and shape the capacity to persuasive arguments;

  • communicate arguments and ideas effectively and articulately, both in writing and to others.


Students who have completed 106-033 Writing After Empire are not eligible to enrol in this subject.

Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: American Studies Major
Australian Studies Major
English Literary Studies Major

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