In this degree programme (alongside a selection of literature modules) you take modules that address the phenomenon of empire and its contemporary consequences: for example, nationhood, diaspora and migration. The material studied includes literary texts and theoretical texts as well as life-writing. You are encouraged to consider how these texts reflect on the colonial experience and the construction of a narrative of its aftermath.
The School of English is a large and thriving department but we take great care in ensuring that it is a supportive environment in which to be a student. From the moment you arrive you are an integral part of a scholarly community of students, teachers and researchers and participate in a dialogue, which seeks to push the boundaries of the subject into new fields of social and cultural inquiry. You are taught by leading international researchers and award-winning creative writers in a location steeped in literary history.
It is possible to spend a year on placement gaining valuable workplace experience and increasing your professional contacts. You don’t have to make a decision before you enrol at Kent, but certain conditions apply.
There is also the possibility of spending a year studying abroad at one of our partner universities. Previous destinations include: North America, Asia and Europe. For details, see English and Postcolonial Literatures with an Approved Year Abroad.
Teaching and assessment can vary between modules. All modules are taught by weekly seminars. In addition to seminars, the majority of literature modules also include a weekly lecture.
Assessment at Stage 1 and 2 is by a mixture of coursework and examination. Some modules may include an optional practical element.
Assessment at Stage 3 is by coursework only and may include an optional Dissertation.
Attendance at seminars is required, and for the majority of modules, you are assessed on your seminar contribution/performance.
Knowledge and understanding
You develop knowledge and understanding of:
- contemporary postcolonial writing in English, and English and American literatures
- the principal literary genres, fiction, poetry drama and of other kinds of writing and communication
- postcolonial theory and traditions in literary criticism
- the challenges of creative writing
- terminology used in literary theory and criticism
- the cultural and historical contexts in which literature is written, transmitted and read
- critical theory and its applications, understood within its historical contexts
- literary criticism as a practice subject to considerable variation of approach
- the study of literature in its relation to other disciplines.
You develop the following intellectual skills:
- application of the skills needed for academic study and enquiry
- evaluation of critical interpretations
- ability to synthesise information from a number of sources in order to gain a coherent understanding of critical theory and general methodology
- ability to make discriminations and selections of relevant information from a wide source and large body of knowledge
- exercise of problem-solving skills
- the ability to organise and present research findings.
You develp the following subject-specific skills:
- enhanced skills in the close critical analysis of literary texts
- informed critical understanding of the variety of critical and theoretical approaches to the study of literature
- ability to articulate knowledge and understanding of texts, concepts and theories relating to English studies
- sensitivity to generic conventions in the study of literature
- well-developed language use and awareness, including a grasp of standard critical terminology
- articulate responsiveness to literary language
- appropriate scholarly practice in the presentation of formal written work, in particular in bibliographic and annotational practices
- understanding of how cultural norms, assumptions and practices influence questions of judgement
- appreciation of the value of collaborative intellectual work in developing critical judgement.
You develop the following transferable skills:
- developed powers of communication and the capacity to argue a point of view, orally and in written form, with clarity, organisation and cogency
- enhanced confidence in the efficient presentation of ideas designed to stimulate critical debate
- developed critical acumen
- the ability to assimilate and organise substantial quantities of complex information of diverse kinds
- competence in the planning and execution of essays and project-work
- enhanced skills in creative writing (where the relevant modules have been taken)
- enhanced capacity for independent thought, intellectual focus, reasoned judgement, and self-criticism
- enhanced skills in collaborative intellectual work, including more finely tuned listening skills
- the ability to understand, interrogate and apply a variety of theoretical positions and weigh the importance of alternative perspectives
- research skills, including scholarly information retrieval skills
- IT skills: word-processing, email communication, the ability to access electronic data.
The programme aims to:
- introduce you to a range of postcolonial literatures in English (in addition to English and American literature) and encourage you to develop your own interests and expertise in fields of literary study
- enable you to develop an historical awareness of literary traditions
- develop your understanding and critical appreciation of the expressive resources of language
- offer opportunities for you to develop your potential for creative writing
- offer generous scope for the study of literature within an interdisciplinary context
- develop your ability to argue a point of view with clarity and cogency, both orally and in written form
- develop your ability to assimilate and organise a mass of diverse information
- offer you the experience of a variety of teaching styles and approaches to the study of literature
- develop your independent critical thinking and judgement
- provide a basis for the study of English or postcolonial studies or related disciplines at a higher level
- provide a basis in knowledge and skills for those intending to teach English or postcolonial literatures, including a broad frame of cultural reference.