Travel Writing and Postcolonialism

Subject ENGL30006 (2010)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2010.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2010:

Semester 2, Parkville - 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

On Campus

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 2.5 A 1.5-hour lecture and a 1-hour tutorial per week.
Total Time Commitment: 102
Prerequisites: Completion of at least 12.5 points at second year in English.
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: 106-033 Writing After Empire; 106-033 Colonial and Postcolonial Writing; 670-321 Colonial and Postcolonial Writing; 106-229 Travel Writing and Travel Texts; 673-344 Travel Writing and Travel Texts
Core Participation Requirements: For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry. The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the 3Disability Liaison Unit website: 4


Assoc Prof Elizabeth Maxwell, Prof Deirdre Patrica Coleman


Anne Maxwell

Deirdre Coleman

Subject Overview:

In this subject students study a range of texts concerned with travel, European imperialism, neo-colonialism and postcolonialism. Students examine how knowledge and experience of different peoples, places and culture are mediated by texts and how that mediation constructs both the experience and identity of the writer. They also study the interaction of western travellers with native landscapes and non-European inhabitants, the styles of writing used by imperial, formerly colonised and contemporary diasporic writers, and how writers have used literature to negate the effects of colonialism and to project new kinds of subjectivities. Special areas of focus include women"s travel writing, Orientalism, racism and slavery, postcolonial nationalism, colonial and postcolonial discourse and identity formation, the problems facing women in newly independent societies, and postcolonial theory.


Students completing this subject will:

  • be able to explore the importance of textual traditions in shaping responses to other places, peoples, culture;
  • gain a knowledge and understanding of the social, political and intellectual forces contributing to imperial, third world and migrant writing;
  • develop a knowledge and appreciation of the subject matter, styles and narrative conventions that imperial writers, Third World and migrant writer use, and how these writers political beliefs and their social ideals have contributed to the power and complexity of their narratives;
  • gain an overview of travel writing from the early 18th century through to the contemporary era and to be able to discuss and write about travel texts in a sophisticated manner;
  • develop an understanding of postcolonial theory, and to be able to use it to produce sophisticated analyses of texts.
Assessment: A 1500 word esay 40% (due mid-semester) and a take home examination of 2500 words 60% (due in the examination period). Regular tutorial attendance (minimum of 80%), a class presentation and participation in class discussion are required to pass the subject. No extension will be given on the take-home examination due in the examination period. 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.

  • Turkish Embassy Letters, 1716 (published 1763) (Lady Mary Wortley Montagu)
  • Gulliver's Travels, 1726 (J. Swift)
  • Travels in West Africa, 1897 (Mary Kingsley)
  • Songlines (Bruce Chatwin)
  • Plain Tales from the Hills (Rudyard Kipling)
  • Heart of Darkness (Joseph Conrad)
  • South Pacific Tales (R.L. Stevenson)
  • Wide Sargasso Sea (Jean Rhys)
  • The Joys of Motherhood (Buchi Emecheta)
  • East-West (Salman Rushdie)
  • Disgrace (J.M. Coetzee)
Recommended Texts:
  • Empire Writing: An Anthology ( Boehmer)
  • Beginning Postcolonialism (McCleod)
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: Students who successfully complete this subject will be able to:
  • 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 both 106-033 Writing After Empire or 106-033/670-321 Colonial and Postcolonial Writing, and 106-229/673-344 Travel Writing and Travel Texts are not eligible to enrol in this subject.

Related Course(s): Bachelor of Arts(Media and Communications)
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: American Studies Major
English Literary Studies Major

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