Discover the richness and diversity of new writings in English with this distinctive degree, which focuses on literature from across the Commonwealth and the theoretical issues that emerge from colonial and postcolonial literatures.
You’ll develop your understanding of research in literary studies through a core module, but then choose from optional modules which look at the histories, contexts, structures and language that give postcolonial and colonial texts their uniqueness.
We focus on literature, but the programme also introduces you to other forms of cultural production such as music and cinema – and you’ll think about the relationships between literary studies and disciplines such as geography, anthropology and history. Supported by our Institute for Colonial and Postcolonial Studies, you’ll gain a cross-disciplinary insight into how writers from around the world have engaged with issues such as identity, place, independence, development and race among many others.
The University of Leeds was the first UK university to establish ‘Commonwealth Literature’ as an academic discipline at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. We’re still leading the way in research and teaching, supported by the expertise of staff within and outside of the cross-disciplinary Institute for Colonial and Postcolonial Studies.
You’ll study in a supportive environment with access to extensive resources for your research and placing literature and culture in their historical and political context. Microfilm collections of American, Indian and South African newspapers, parliamentary papers relating to the British Empire, US government and presidential files, the Church Missionary Society Archives, the Black Power Movement archive and British documents on the end of empire, foreign affairs and policy overseas are just some of the resources at your fingertips. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to explore your interests and gain key skills.
This programme is also available to study part-time.
You’ll take one core module in your first semester, introducing you to the challenges, methods and approaches used in researching literature and allowing you to develop your skills. You’ll also choose one of our optional modules, before studying another two in your second semester.
You can choose all of your modules from within postcolonial literary and cultural studies, but you also have the option to expand your studies by choosing one from those available across the School of English, from the early medieval period to contemporary literature.
By the end of the programme, you’ll demonstrate the skills and knowledge you’ve developed when you submit your dissertation or research project on a postcolonial literary or cultural topic of your choice.
If you choose to study part-time, you’ll study over a longer period and take fewer modules in each year.
You’ll have weekly seminars in each module where you discuss the themes and issues arising from your reading, and you’ll be able to enhance your learning by attending the wide range of research seminars and talks by visiting speakers that we arrange throughout the year. However, independent study is a vital part of the degree, as it allows you to build your skills and explore your own ideas.
Most of our modules are assessed by a single essay of around 4,000 words, which you submit at the end of the semester in which you studied the module. You may also be expected to submit unassessed essays to gain feedback on your work, or give presentations in your seminars.
This programme will equip you with a wide range of high-level transferable skills which are valuable in a wide range of careers.
You’ll be a confident researcher who can work independently as well as within a team. You’ll be a strong communicator, both verbally and in writing, and be able to think critically and analytically. In addition, you’ll have a strong level of cultural and critical awareness, and you’ll be able to look at a situation from different points of view.
All of these qualities are attractive to employers across sectors, and you’ll have the skills to pursue a career in fields including teaching, journalism, publishing, advertising, broadcasting and law. Many of our graduates also progress to PhD-level study and you’ll be well equipped for a career in academia.
Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.
We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.
The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website
This programme introduces you to a range of colonial and postcolonial discourse from countries and regions such as Africa, the Americas, Asia, Canada and Oceania. You will explore a range of issues contingent upon colonisation, independence, and the formation of postcolonial diasporic communities.
You will be encouraged to develop a knowledge and understanding of the roles played by various forms of writing in the shaping and representation of postcolonial subjectivity and context, and to contextualise postcolonial writing in terms of its chronological and geographical specificities, deepening your knowledge and understanding of selected themes and topics in a way that will enable you to select and execute an independent piece of research.
We are the oldest department of English Literature in the world, and at the last Research Assessment Exercise were awarded the highest research rating possible, of 5*A. We have one of the largest graduate programmes in this area in the country and a rich research culture covering all aspects of literatures in English.
We offer supervision in all areas of postcolonial literature, and have particular strengths in African American and Chicana writing, black British writing, Canadian literature, Indian subcontinental and diasporic writing, New Zealand literature, and Pacific literature.
The research of staff has made valuable contributions to the areas of literature and philosophy, modernism/postmodernism, medieval and early modern literature, history of the book, romanticism, transatlantic studies and performance studies.
English Literature houses the Centre for the History of the Book and is one of the UK's leading forces in this area. It works closely with the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and with the National Library of Scotland. The latter's recently acquired Murray Archive is crucial for studies in Romanticism, Book History, Bibliography and Archive Studies.
The course includes a 15,000-word dissertation, completed under the supervision of one or more of the course tutors. Students will undertake a seminar based programme of research methods training in core research skills and subject specific methodologies. They will also take two option courses covering areas of postcolonial literature and culture related to their chosen fields, each consisting of a weekly two-hour seminar, and will write two extended essays in relation to these courses.
The academic staff you will be working with are all active researchers or authors, many of them prize winners and leading scholars in their fields. As well as benefiting from their expert supervision, you will undertake a seminar-based programme of training in core research skills and subject-specific methodologies. You will also have the opportunity to develop other transferable skills through the University’s Institute for Academic Development
We encourage you to share your research and learn from the work of others through a vibrant programme of Work-in-Progress seminars, reading groups, visiting speakers and conferences.
Our postgraduate journal, Forum, is a valuable conduit for research findings, and provides an opportunity for editorial experience.
On hand are all the amenities you would expect, such as computing facilities, study areas and a common room and kitchen. Our location gives you easy access to the University’s general facilities, such as the Main Library and our collections, as well as to the National Museum, National Library and National Galleries of Scotland at the heart of the city.
In addition to the impressive range of resources available at the University’s Main Library (more than two million printed volumes and generous online resources) and the nearby National Library of Scotland, we host a number of collections of rare and valuable archival materials, all of which will be readily available to you as a postgraduate student.
Among the literary treasures are the libraries of William Drummond, Lewis Grassic Gibbon, Hugh MacDiarmid, Adam Smith, Dugald Stewart and Norman MacCaig, plus the WH Auden collection, the Corson Collection of works by and about Sir Walter Scott and the Ramage collection of poetry pamphlets.
Our cultural collections are highly regarded and include a truly exceptional collection of early Shakespeare quartos and other early modern printed plays, and world-class manuscript and archival collections.
The programme comprises a wide range of topics and approaches, enabling students to practise textual, cultural and theoretical modes of analysis important to advanced research in English and the humanities in general. The dissertation allows you to focus on a single topic. This pathway explores the emergence of postcolonial and world literatures in English, and the histories of empire and decolonization underpinning these literatures. It considers how different postcolonial cultures have transformed genre and form; and how the global intersections of race, gender, sexuality, and diaspora have changed our ways of reading literature’s worldliness
Core module: Adventures in Literary Research
Optional modules: Literature and Race; Sweatshops, Sex Workers, and Asylum Seekers: World Literature after Globalisation; From Conquest to Colonisation; Nehru’s India; Imperialism and Decolonisation; The Empire Strikes Back; Literature and Law; other relevant MA English or History modules; another Humanities or Winchester School of Art MA module.
For more information visit the University of Southampton website.