Anglophone literatures and cultures (2018/2019)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Annalisa Pes
Annalisa Pes
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
I semestre dal Oct 1, 2018 al Jan 12, 2019.

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

The course is meant to introduce students to postcolonial literature in English by reading and analysing representative critical works and literary texts. Upon the completion of this course, students will be able to:
- read postcolonial literary texts closely, with focused attention to language, content, and form, and analyze the relationship between literary texts and the particular historical, social, and cultural contexts that produced them;
- demonstrate independent critical thinking in their analysis of literary texts
- demonstrate an ability to structure ideas and arguments in a logical, sustained, and persuasive way, and to support them with precise and relevant examples


“Mothers, daughters, and sisters: female perspectives and colonial/postcolonial relations”

The course provides students with an introduction to postcolonial studies and literature. We will use postcolonial theory to engage critically with representative Anglophone texts from Australia, the Caribbean, and the South Pacific. Particular emphasis will be laid on the relationship between literary texts and their historical and socio-cultural contexts, within a specific methodological and theoretical framework.
The analysis of texts in the syllabus will consider the consequences of British colonial invasion and imperial dominance on (formerly) colonized countries and people, and will investigate the issues of belonging, displacement, colonization of the body and of the mind, cultural difference and hybridity. Students will be taught to critically consider female perspectives on relational dynamics, not only in terms of power relations between colonizers and colonized, but also in terms of “double colonization” and women’s oppression and vulnerability in the intersection of the “race”, “class”, and “gender” categories.

The course will be taught by means of lectures to be held in English

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
K.H. Petersen, A. Rutherford A Double Colonization: Colonial and Post-colonial Women’s Writing Dangaroo Press 1986
Jamaica Kincaid At the Bottom of the River 1983
W. Dutton “Merge and Separate: Jamaica Kincaid's Fiction”, World Literature Today, Vol. 63, No. 3 (Summer, 1989), pp. 406-410  
Gail Jones Sorry 2007
D. Herrero “The Australian Apology and Postcolonial Defamiliarization: Gail Jones's Sorry”, Journal of Postcolonial Writing, 47, 3, 2011, pp. 283-295  
A. Henderson “The I and the We: Individuality, Collectivity, and Samoan Artistic Responses to Cultural Change”, The Contemporary Pacific, 2016, vol. 28, 2, pp. 316-345 2016
Sia Figiel Where We Once Belonged 1999

Assessment methods and criteria

Oral exam in English at the end of the course.

The exam will assess the knowledge of texts on the syllabus and the capacity to critically discuss the problematic issues they deal with. In particular students will have to demonstrate:

- knowledge of the major tenets of postcolonial theory;
- knowledge of texts and contexts (to know the history of colonization and decolonization of the main former British colonies, and to be able to read primary texts within their historical, geographical and political framework)
- capacity to critically comment literary texts (to be able to discuss and analyse literary texts in a thoughtful manner and with the aid of critical works);
- knowledge of the critical debate on texts (to know and be able to use theoretical tools)
- ability to express the critical interpretations of texts in clear and effective manners.

Students will have to bring their own primary texts at the exam.
The programme will be valid for two academic years (i.e. until February 2021)