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 suite of taught modules have been carefully constructed to take you on a series of journeys - from a discussion of American Studies itself as an approach, and then from the immediate localities, regions and borders of the United States, to the wider national and international settings. This will offer multi-perspective interpretations of the United States, internally, with its neighbours and with the rest of the world. You will engage in an inter-connected sequence of debates which will lead you to a greater understanding of the complexity of the United States as a cultural construct as well as a geographical and political entity.
The academic year is divided into three terms: term 1 (September –December); term 2 (January-March); term 3 (April to June). July and August is the period when you write up your dissertation.
All taught sessions take place in the evening, 4pm-7pm.
Full-time is two evenings per week / Part-time is one evening per week.
This degree offers a tightly integrated programme with a selection of modules that will enrich your research methods and approaches in the American Studies subject-area. Whilst concentrating on the core aspects of American Studies you will be encouraged to pursue your research through avenues of related subjects (History, Literature and Film) forming a holistic, yet inter-disciplinary, approach. The modules offered emphasise a cross-fertilisation of subject areas, promoting an international perspective towards America, such as global concerns and transnational considerations, thus shifting from the original constructs of America, ‘American uniqueness’ and ‘exceptionalism’ (Brian Edwards, Globalising American Studies, 2010).
This programme is, therefore, well-suited to those students who prefer diversity to the narrower focus of a single-subject Master’s degree.
The suite of taught modules have been carefully constructed to take you on a series of journeys - from a discussion of American Studies itself as an approach, and then from the immediate localities, regions and borders of the United States, to the wider national and international settings. This will offer multi-perspective interpretations of the United States, internally, with its neighbours and with the rest of the world.
You will engage in an inter-connected sequence of debates which will lead you to a greater understanding of the complexity of the United States as a cultural construct as well as a geographical and political entity.
Each module is worth 30 credits; you will take two modules per term.
American Studies has a historical, literary, cultural and evidence-based approach which requires wide, critical reading and intelligent synthesis of ideas and information. It requires you to construct arguments in writing. You will receive critical and constructive comments on your progress as an integral part of teaching and learning, through individual meetings with tutors, feedback on written work or specific coursework tutorials.
We place importance on presentations so, as a transferable skill, you will present seminar papers extensively throughout the course of your modules. These will be used as a basis for feedback and will then feed into your written work. These exercises will develop your critical abilities as well as widen your familiarity with, and confidence in handling, a range of sources, preparing you for the modules’ summative assessment stage, and the final dissertation.
This programme places a strong emphasis on the development of independent research and writing. The programme’s assessment strategies are designed to develop independent research skills; the ability to structure and write a sophisticated critical essay and longer academic monographs, and the opportunity to pursue your own intellectual interests within each module’s thematic scope.
Teaching and learning at postgraduate level differs from what you may have experienced at undergraduate level. Each week, small presentation groups lead/initiate the discussion of the topic. You will therefore bring to the table your own interpretation of the given material, working independently as well as in a group. The sessions will provide you with the opportunity to discuss your ideas in a safe and supportive environment.
Workload: 30 contact hours per taught module / 124 supported open learning hours (e.g. online documentation) per taught module / 146 independent study hours per taught module
Our Academic Support Team provides help in the following areas: study skills, written English, and research skills. Details on where to get support will be provided at the beginning of the course. In addition, you will meet regularly with an academic tutor, who is there in a pastoral capacity.
Further information on this course is available in the programme specification. Please note that the programme specification relates to course content that is currently being studied by students at the University. For new programmes, the programme specification will be made available online prior to the start of the course.
York St John University works hard to create an inclusive environment for all our students. We offer a range of learning support services to assist students throughout their studies.