ENG 3440. 01: Contemporary British Postcolonial Writers

T, TR 11:00-12:20, Language 318

Office Hours: T, TR 12:30-2:00 and by Appointment. (Office, Language 408E)

Email: raja@postcolonial.net OR use this Contact Form

For questions about assigned reading: Reading Questions
Download Syllabus.

This course is meant to introduce you to some leading contemporary voices in the postcolonial/ commonwelath British writings. Focused primarily on the novels written by diasporic authors who either reside in Britain or are connected to the British diasporic communities, this course will dwell heavily on issues of immigration, cultural difference, and struggles of a diasporic life.
Required Texts:
V. S. Naipaul. A Bend in the River. Vintage, 1989.
Hanif Kureshi.  The Buddha of Suburbia. Penguin, 1991.
Salman Rushdie. Midnight’s Children. Random House, 2006.
Marion Molteno. A Shield of Coolest Air. Longstone Books, 2008.
Sam Selvon. Moses Ascending. Heinemann, 1991.
  1. Reading Strategies
  2. “Reading the Postcolony in the Center: V.S Naipaul’s A Bend in the River.”

Course Policies and Requirements


You are expected to come prepared for class: This involves reading the assigned texts, listening carefully to your peers, and contributing your views in a collegiate and stimulating way. Attendance is mandatory.

Distribution of Points
  • Mid-Term                           200 Points
  • Online Journal Responses  200 Points
  • Presentation                        200 Points
  • Participation                      100 Points
  • Final Exam                         300 Points
  • Total                                   1000 Points 

Response Journals
Every week you will post your response to the readings on the discussion thread provided under
Online Journals on the course website. To be able to do this you must create a user name on the course website;  you will share this user name with me for me to be able to keep a record of your postings. Your response must at least be 500 words.
Presentation (Instructions) (Schedule)
During the first week you will choose a particular text for a group presentation. Your presentation will then fall in the week in which your chosen text is scheduled for class discussion. I expect a 30-40 minutes FORMAL PRESENTATION using the insights provided by the secondary readings. You must also turn in a 3-5 page written brief of your presentation with a detailed list of your scholarly sources.  Following are some, but not all, questions you may consider:
  • What does the text say about gender, race, ethnicity, class, nation, or power and what are your views about it?
  • Did you agree or disagree with the text’s politics? why?
  • What is the text critiquing?
  • How can we relate this text to contemporary realities?
  • Does this text raise the question of justice? If so, how and for whom?
  • Does the text provide a politics for a better future?
Mid-Term Exam (Study Guide)
 The Mid-term will be an in-class essay exam administered in the eighth week.
General rules about essay exams–Courtesy, Jenny Caneen-Raja
Class Participation
As this course is based on a discussion format, your thoughtful participation is essential to the success of the class. I encourage collegiate, open, and thought-provoking class discussions. Remember, we are all here to learn, so let us share our ideas and knowledge to make this class into a dynamic learning experience.
Final exam (Questions)
The final exam will be a two part essay exam. Part 1 will comprise a take home exam while Part 2 will be in-class. A detailed study guide will be provided a week prior to the exam.      
You are expected to attend the class regularly. You will be in the danger of failing the course if you exceed the allowed number of absences: FOUR class sessions for a T, TR class and SIX for a M, W, F class. 
Cheating and Plagiarism  
Plagiarism is against the law, and will result in automatic failure in the course. Simply stated, plagiarism is when you try to pass anyone else’s work as your own or if you turn in your own work written for another class. View UNT Policy on Academic Integrity.
The American Disabilities Act
Essential competencies for this course include the abilities to read written texts and write about them. If you have a documented disability and require accommodations, please contact the instructor at the beginning of the semester to make arrangements for necessary classroom adjustments. 
Grading Scale
A 920-1000 
A- 900-919
B+ 860-899 
B 830-859 
B- 800-829 
C+ 760-799 
C 739-759 
C- 700-729 
D+ 660-699 
D 630-659 
D- 600-629 
F Less than 600 Points
Weekly Schedule
Week 1
Introduction to the course
Reading: Naipual
Handout 2
Discussion: Naipaul

Week 2

Select Presentation Topics.


Reading: Kureshi

Week 3& 4

Discussion: Kureshi (Embracing Suburbia: Breaking Tradition and Accepting the Self in Hanif Kureishi’s The Buddha of Suburbia)


Week 5

Discussion: Rushdie

Reading: Rushdie

Week 6

Discussion: Rushdie

Reading: Rushdie

Week 7

Discussion: Rushdie


Week 8

Mid Term

Discussion: Molteno

Reading: Molteno

Week 9

Discussion: Molteno


Week 10 & 11
Discussion: Selvon
Reading: Selvon

Week 12

Discussion: General Discussion

Week 13 & 14


 Concluding discussions and Final Exam workshops.