Travel Writing and Postcolonialism

Subject ENGL30006 (2013)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2013.

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

This subject is not offered in 2013.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 1.5-hour lecture and a 1-hour tutorial per week.
Total Time Commitment:

Total expected time commitment is 102-hours across the semester, including class time.





Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:

670-321 Travel Writing and Postcolonialism

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 Disability Liaison Unit website:


Prof 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.


On completion of the subject students should have:

  • the ability to explore the importance of textual traditions in shaping responses to other places, peoples, culture;
  • gained a knowledge and understanding of the social, political and intellectual forces contributing to imperial, third world and migrant writing;
  • developed a knowledge and appreciation of the subject matter, styles and narrative conventions that imperial writers, Third World and migrant writers use, and how these writers political beliefs and their social ideals have contributed to the power and complexity of their narratives;
  • gained 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;
  • developed an understanding of postcolonial theory, and to be able to use it to produce sophisticated analyses of texts.

A class paper, 500 words, 10%, (done throughout the semester), a 1500 word essay 40% (due mid-semester), and an essay of 2000 words 50% (due in the examination period). This subject has a minimum hurdle requirement of 75% attendance and regular participation in tutorials. Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject. No extension will be given on the take-home examination due in the examination period.

Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available.

  • Turkish Embassy Letters, 1716 (published 1763) Lady Mary Wortley Montagu
  • Gulliver's Travels, 1726 J Swift
  • 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 106-033 Writing After Empire or 106-033/670-321 Colonial and Postcolonial Writing, or 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: English Literary Studies Major
English and Theatre Studies
English and Theatre Studies
English and Theatre Studies
Related Breadth Track(s): English

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