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EN251 New Literatures in English

 Partition 1947African Literature

This is a Pathway Approved Option for the World and Comparative Literature Pathway and one of the Distributional Requirements for the English Pathway. Can also be selected as an option under the remaining Pathways.



Dr. Rashmi Varma, Term 1 (

Prof. Neil Lazarus, Term 2 (

Seminar Tutors: Rashmi Varma; Neil Lazarus

Office hours: 

Rashmi Varma: Wednesday, 16:100-17:00, Thursday, 12:00-13:00, or by appointment

Neil Lazarus: Wednesday 17:00-18:00, Thursday 12:00-13:00, or by appointment

Lecture: Thursday, 14:00-15:00 OC O.01

Seminars: Thursday, 15:00-16:00, H5.01
Thursday, 16:00-17:00, H5.01
Thursday, 17:00-18:00, H5.01

Through the medium of English, writers from Africa and Asia today confront a (prospectively) global audience. This module aims to introduce students to the emergent body of literature being produced by writers (and film-makers) from South Africa, sub-Saharan Africa generally, and South Asia, and to situate it in terms of the historical circumstances that have engendered it and to which it constitutes a response. The module will examine the various ways in which different writers negotiate and represent social conditions -- local and global -- in their work, and the ways in which they incorporate and work with domestic and foreign literary forms and conventions. The works will be read comparatively, in relation to one another, and as contributions to particular literary and cultural traditions. Social issues under review will range very widely: for example, race, violence, religion and communalism, land, ‘development’ and the environment, sex and gendered identity, nation and state, memory, trauma and prolepsis, English as a world language and English as a language of cultural imperialism.

Method of Assessment
Students taking this course are required to produce two 2,500-word essays. These will be due on Tuesday, Term 2, Week 2 and Tuesday, Term 3, Week 2. There will also be a two-hour examination in June. The assessed essays each count for 25% of the final mark (total 50%); the exam counts for the remaining 50%.

Syllabus for Term 1: South Asia

Week One: Introduction to the Module

Week Two: Partition Narratives

Urvashi Butalia, excerpt from The Other Side of Silence: Voices from the Partition of India (2000) Butalia, The Other Side of Silence

Saadat Hasan Manto, 'Toba Tek Singh' (1955). Kingdom's End and Other Stories (1987) manto_toba_tek_singh.pdf

Manto, 'Khol Do' (1950). The Annual of Urdu Studies 27 (2012) Manto, Khol Do

Kamleshwar, 'Kitne Pakistan' (1966-7). Tarun K. Saint, ed. Translating Partition: Essays, Stories, Criticism (2001) Kamleshwar, Kitne Pakistan

Faiz Ahmed Faiz, 'The Dawn of Freedom' (1947). Tr. Agha Shahid Ali. The Annual of Urdu Studies 11 (1996) Faiz, The Dawn of Freedom

Week Three: Salman Rushdie, Shame (1983)

Week Four: Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things (1997)

Week Five: Mirza Waheed, The Collaborator (2011)

Film: Garm Hawa (1974) (dir., M.S. Sathyu, Urdu, with English subtitles, film)

Screening: Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Week Six: No class. Reading Week

Week Seven: Amitav Ghosh, The Hungry Tide (2004)

Week Eight: Vishwajyoti Ghosh, Delhi Calm (2010)

Film: Masaan (Crematorium) (2015) (dir., Neeraj Ghaywaan) The film will be screened in H545 on Wednesday, Nov 22, from 7 pm.

Week Nine: Arvind Adiga, The White Tiger (2008)

Week Ten: Mahasweta Devi, ‘Pterodactyl, Puran Sahay, and Pirtha’. Imaginary Maps (1995). Pterodactyl

Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar, ‘November is the Month of Migrations’, ‘Baso-jhi’ and 'The Adivasi Will Not Dance' from The Adivasi Will Not Dance: Stories (2015)

Syllabus for Term 2: Sub-Saharan Africa

Week One: J M Coetzee, Waiting for the Barbarians (1980)

Week Two: Ayi Kwei Armah, The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born (1968)

Week Three: Tsitsi Dangarembga, Nervous Conditions (1988)

Week Four: Nadine Gordimer, The House Gun (1998)

Week Five: Film: Tsotsi (dir. Gavin Hood, 2005)


Week Six: No class. Reading Week

Week Seven: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Half of a Yellow Sun (2006)

Week Eight: Mia Couto, Confession of the Lioness (2012)

Week Nine: Film (screening to be arranged): Moolaadé (dir. Ousmane Sembene, 2004)

Week Ten: Ngugi wa Thiong’o, A Grain of Wheat (1967)

1st assessed essay questions, 2017-18

2nd assessed essay questions, 2017-18

lecture handout, T1, W2 (Partition)

lecture handout, T1, W7 (Hungry Tide)

Jawaharlal Nehru's "Tryst with Destiny" speech on the eve of India's independence in 1947: