BA English Literature with Creative Writing / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Contemporary South Asian Literatures

Course unit fact file
Unit code ENGL34152
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? No


Writing from South Asia has long been one of the most dynamic fields of global literature. This course examines recent texts by authors from South Asia and the South Asian diaspora. Through these works, we will explore such issues as migration, sexuality, gender inequality, class and caste in the context of urbanisation and global capitalism, war and militarism, nationalisms and fundamentalisms, and environmental catastrophe as they pertain to the rapidly changing world of individuals and communities within South Asia and across the globe. We will pay particular attention to the relationship between these urgent concerns and the authors’ approaches to literary form, be they experimental or conservative.



The aims of this course are:

  •  to introduce students to contemporary South Asian texts and their representation of themes such as globalisation and global capital, environmental threat, gender and sexuality, and migration;
  • to introduce students to theoretical methods that can enrich their reading of these texts, such as postcolonial, ecocritical, and feminist approaches, and to engage with selected critical writings from these fields;
  • to consider the formal and thematic innovations made by authors from South Asia and the South Asian diaspora;
  • to analyse the ways in which recent South Asian texts interact with their cultural and historical contexts;
  • to develop skills of critical thought, speech, and writing in relation to the themes and ideas listed above


Knowledge and understanding

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • demonstrate a thorough familiarity with a range of recent texts from South Asia and the South Asian diaspora and their contexts;
  • engage thoughtfully with the relationship between literary form and thematic content in these texts;
  • demonstrate an understanding of critical and contextual issues, such as histories of colonialism and postcolonialism, political dissent, globalisation and global capital, environmental threat, gender and sexuality, and migration.
  • engage with relevant critical writing from a variety of theoretical perspectives.

Intellectual skills

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • think critically and make critical judgments about the representation of the key themes of the course in the texts;
  • analyse course texts in an effective and thoughtful manner;
  • reflect critically on theoretical approaches to the literary texts, including postcolonialism, ecocriticism, feminism, and queer theory;
  • develop and articulate reasoned arguments about the key themes in literary texts.

Practical skills

By the end of the course, students will have demonstrated that they are able to:

  • plan and execute independent research on a specialist topic;
  • synthesise material from different sources (e.g. critical, philosophical, and literary) in order to develop clear, reasoned and convincing arguments;
  • make good use of library resources pertaining to the course;
  • provide feedback to peers by engaging with the ideas of others in a respectful and constructive manner. 

Transferable skills and personal qualities

By the end of the course, students will have developed the ability to:

  • retrieve, sift, organise, synthesise, and critically evaluate material from a range of different sources;
  • produce written work using appropriate language for an academic audience;
  • manage time effectively by scheduling tasks in order of importance.

Employability skills

This course enhances student employability by giving students a range of transferable skills. These include: logical thought; good oral and written communication skills; resourcefulness in the ability to gather, interpret, analyse and/or evaluate critical sources; time management skills through the completion of independent and deadline-driven work; articulacy and presentation skills through seminar discussions.

Assessment methods

Weekly Journal 30%

Essay 70%


Feedback methods

Feedback method

Formative or Summative

Numerical grade and written comments on essay within 15 working days. Feedback includes commentary on performance as well as suggestions for improvement.

Formative and Summative

Oral feedback given on students’ ideas and one-on-one meetings prior to essay submission


Oral feedback given in class during discussions.



Recommended reading

Akil Kumarasamy, Half Gods 

Neamat Imam, The Black Coat

Vivek Shanbhag, Ghachar Ghochar (trans. Srinath Perur)

Kamila Shamsie, Home Fire

Jhumpa Lahiri, Unaccustomed Earth

Anosh Irani, The Parcel

Romesh Gunesekera, Noontide Toll


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 11
Seminars 22
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Sundhya Walther Unit coordinator

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