The opportunity to move from the familiar Euro-American literary canons into the fresh but less well known worlds of African and Asian literature is what attracts most students to this popular MA.
At SOAS, students benefit from the unique expertise in this vast field possessed by the school’s faculty.
This expertise is available to students interested in studying these literatures through English - including both original English language literatures of Africa and Asia and literature written in African and Asian languages presented through English translations.
While exploring new horizons and breaking out of the Euro-centric space in which comparative literature has developed so far, the course covers the major theoretical contributions made by Western scholars.
In doing so, it constructs a unique multi-cultural domain for the study of literature and its location in culture and society.
A prior knowledge of an African or Asian language is not a requirement for admission to this degree.
Duration: One calendar year (full-time). Two or three years (part-time, daytime only) We recommend that part-time students have between two-and-a-half and three days a week free to pursue their course of study.
All students are required to take the core course in their first year. Two other courses, one major, one minor, plus a dissertation of 10,000 words must also be completed.
The taught part of the programme consists of core lectures introducing basic concepts, theory and methodology; and additional seminars that extend the core material into other areas. At Masters level there is particular emphasis on seminar work where students may be expected to make full-scale presentations for units they take.
A 10,000-word dissertation written over the summer offers students the opportunity to develop original research in an area of special interest.
- Learning Resources
SOAS Library is one of the world's most important academic libraries for the study of Africa, Asia and the Middle East, attracting scholars from all over the world. The Library houses over 1.2 million volumes, together with significant archival holdings, special collections and a growing network of electronic resources.
A postgraduate degree in Comparative Literature (Africa/Asia) provides students with competency in language skills and intercultural awareness and understanding. Familiarity with the selected region will have been developed through a combination of the study of it's literature and exploration of contemporary literary theories. Some graduates leave SOAS to pursue careers directly related to their study area, while others have made use of the intellectual training for involvement in analysing and solving many of the problems that contemporary societies now face.
Postgraduate students gain linguistic and cultural expertise enabling them to continue in the field of research or to seek professional and management careers in the business, public and charity sectors. They leave SOAS with a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek, including written and oral communication skills; attention to detail; analytical and problem solving skills; and the ability to research, amass and order information from a variety of sources. A postgraduate degree is a valuable experience that provides students with a body of work and a diverse range of skills that they can use to market themselves with when they graduate.