Module Details

The information contained in this module specification was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change, either during the session because of unforeseen circumstances, or following review of the module at the end of the session. Queries about the module should be directed to the member of staff with responsibility for the module.
Title Literature, Slavery and Empire
Code ENGL750
Coordinator Dr A Duxfield
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2020-21 Level 7 FHEQ First Semester 15


The module aims to:
- introduce students to texts of both real and imaginary travel and cross-cultural encounter produced in Renaissance and eighteenth-century England.
- add to the student's understanding of literary history, and introduce them to ways of using interdisciplinary research in cultural and social history to illuminate literary texts.
- develop the student's critical awareness of key theoretical debates about cross-cultural interaction, otherness and travel/colonial writing.
- explore questions such as the relationship between travel writing and nationalism, the influence of travel on literary genres, as well as the involvement of such textual records in the formation of England’s imperialist ambition in these periods.
- consider the ways in which texts in the period construct concepts such as 'Englishness' and 'the foreign'.
- examine literary and non-literary responses to servitude and the slave trade.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Students will gain the ability to read, analyse, interpret and compare with competence and independence a wide variety of literary texts.

(LO2) Students will gain an advanced knowledge and systematic understanding of the political and ideological aspects of literary texts and how they can be situated within appropriate cultural and social contexts.

(LO3) Students will gain a critical appreciation of the ways in which texts can be situated within literary history, including issues of genre, influence, and creation and reception.

(LO4) Students will gain an advanced knowledge and critical awareness of current and new literary, critical and theoretical debates.

(LO5) Students will gain a comprehensive and practical understanding of techniques for accessing electronic and bibliographic sources.

(LO6) Students will gain the ability to use scholarly referencing and bibliographic conventions appropriate for advanced literary scholarship.

(LO7) Students will gain research skills enabling critical evaluation of different research methodologies and selection of appropriate methodologies.

(LO8) Students will gain research skills to deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively in order to generate new and independent research.

(S1) Students will gain a systematic knowledge and critical awareness of current debates and new insights within the field of literature and its contexts.

(S2) Students will gain advanced critical and analytical skills in relation to diverse forms of discourse.

(S3) Students will gain advanced literacy, interpersonal and communications skills, and the ability to present sustained and persuasive written and oral arguments.

(S4) Students will gain the ability to autonomously design and self-direct a research project that brings together historical and literary approaches.

(S5) Students will gain the ability to comprehensively understand and apply a variety of theoretical approaches to literature.

(S6) Students will gain the ability to handle complex information and argument in a critical, creative and self-reflective manner.

(S7) Students will gain practical research skills to retrieve information, assemble bibliographic data, and critically evaluate, sift and organize material independently.

(S8) Students will gain the ability to use IT and other relevant tools and resources to present written and oral work to a professional, scholarly standard.

(S9) Students will gain advanced skills and experience in selecting and using electronic and/or archival resources for planning and undertaking research and writing.

(S10) Students will gain organisational skills in managing time and workloads, and in meeting deadlines.



The syllabus might typically include works such as Shakespeare’s The Tempest and Othello, Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, Milton’s Paradise Lost, Equiano’s Interesting Narrative, and the abolitionist poetry of Edward Rushton. Content will be available to the students via the library and, where appropriate, provided vie the module VLE. Students will be expected to read the primary text(s) assigned for each seminar and also to carry out independent research to support both their contributions to seminars and their written assessment.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

The module is delivered through fortnightly 2 hour seminars.
The rest of the learning time will be self-directed. This will include reading of primary and suggested secondary materials in preparation for seminars, independent research carried out to support further seminar preparation and assessment, and the writing of assessments. Students will also be encouraged to meet with tutors to discuss their assessment project.

Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours   12

Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 138


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Research poster and reflective commentary  Large single sided p    100       
Short Essay  1000-1500 words         

Recommended Texts

Reading lists are managed at Click here to access the reading lists for this module.