Modern Literature and Theory 2

Module code: EN7032

Module co-ordinator: Dr Emma Parker

This module is divided into three sections. The first, 'Women’s Travel Writing’, examines representations of Afghanistan, Fiji, and West Africa in literature and film by drawing on influential feminist postcolonial thinkers such as Gayatri Spivak, Sara Mills, Meyda Yegenoglu, and Reina Lewis. The second section, ‘Memoir’, draws on three very different literary memoirs published since the early 1990s to examine questions of confession, truth, narrative, subjectivity, reader-response and ethics. The third section, ‘Depicting Diasporas’, employs three novels and a film, all set in London, to consider themes attending diasporic subjects such as disorientation, racism and hybridity. 


There will be nine two-hour seminars during which you will discuss literary works within three distinct theoretical and cultural frameworks. You may be expected to make presentations at some point.

By the end of the module, you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a knowledge of a key debates about women’s travel writing
  • Articulate the central tenets of postcolonial feminist theory
  • Define the conventions of memoir as a genre
  • Comment on how and why a genre develops in particular ways in a particular time and place
  • Identify key themes in, and debates about, diasporic literature and
  • Intertwine the analysis of literature and film
  • Critically assess the usefulness of theory to literary criticism 


  • A 5,000-word essay dealing with issues raised on one of the sections of the module