ENG 3720/ 3924: Postcolonial Women Writers

Tuesday, Thursday: 2-3:20 pm; LANG 304

Office Hours: TR 11:00-1:00 and by appointment

Office: MARQ 104

Download Syllabus in PDF



This is an intensive course aimed at introducing you to the major works of postcolonial female authors. We will spend the early few weeks of the course learning the basic concepts of postcolonial studies itself and then move on to discuss the primary texts written by female authors from various parts of the postcolonial world.

Our main concern would be to charter the particularities of postcolonial feminism and the role of neoliberal globalization in the current state of gendered space in the postcolonies.

Required Texts:

  • Mohanty, Chandra. Feminism Without Borders.
  • Edgell, Zee. Time and the River. Oxford: Heinemann, 2007.
  • Cliff, Michelle. Abeng. New York: Penguin, 1984.
  • Hyder, Qurratulain. River of Fire. New York: New Directions, 1998.
  • Nwapa, Flora. Efuru. London: Heinemann, 1966.
  • Emecheta, Buchi. The Joys of Motherhood. London: Heinemann, 1994.
  • Cooke, Miriam. Hayati. New York: Syracuse UP, 2000.

Course Policies and Requirements

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


Distribution of Points:

Weekly Quiz        100 Points
Mid-Term Exam         300 Points
Presentations            200 Points
Term Paper             300 Points
Participation             100 Points
Total                 1000 Points

Weekly Quiz: (100 Points)

Over the semester I will administer 10 reading quizzes. The quizzes will be meant to check if you have been reading the assigned texts. Quizzes will be administered on each Monday during the first ten minutes of class. THERE WILL BE NO EXTRA TIME ALLOWED, which means if you are late to class and the quiz has already been administered, you will MISS the quiz. No make up quizzes!

Mid-Term Exam (300 Points):

The Mid-term will be given in the eighth week. The exam will include three essay questions. I will give you a comprehensive study guide a week before the exam.

Group Presentation (200 Points) 
In the first week, your class will be divided into small groups who will then choose their presentation topics. I will provide detailed instructions later. (GUIDELINES)

Term Paper (300 Points)
The final term paper will be due on the last day of class. The paper should be 10-15 pages, written in MLA style, with a clearly defined thesis and a coherent argument. I expect you to use at least one of the major critical approaches that you must have learned in your Critical Theory course. I would encourage you to choose your topic early and to conduct extensive research. I will be available to assist during all the stages of your research and composition process. I will give you a separate handout about the detailed requirements of this assignment. No late papers please.

Class Participation (100 Points)
 As this is a discussion format class, 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. I encourage you to speak-up in the class, not just about the texts but also if you have any suggestions about how to improve our learning during the course.

You are expected to attend the class regularly. You will be in the danger of failing the course if you exceed FOUR absences.

Cheating and Plagiarism (Poster on Academic Integrity)

Cheating and plagiarism constitute fraudulent misrepresentation for which no credit can be given and for which appropriate sanctions are warranted and will be applied.
    “Cheat” means intentionally to misrepresent the source, nature, or other conditions of academic work so as to accrue undeserved credit, or to cooperate with someone else in such misrepresentation. Such misrepresentations may, but need not necessarily, involve the work of others. As defined, cheating includes, but is not limited to:
    Obtaining or retaining partial or whole copies of examination, tests or quizzes before these are distributed for student use;
    Using notes, textbooks or other information in examinations, tests and quizzes, except as expressly permitted;
    Obtaining confidential information about examinations, tests or quizzes other than that released by the instructor;
    Securing, giving or exchanging information during examinations;
    Presenting data or other material gathered by another person or group as one’s own;
    Falsifying experimental data or information;
    Having another person take one’s place for any academic performance without the specific knowledge and permission of the instructor;
    Cooperating with another to do one or more of the above; and
    Using a substantial portion of a piece of work previously submitted for another course or program to meet the requirements of the present course or program without notifying the instructor to whom the work is presented.
    Presenting falsified information in order to postpone or avoid examinations, tests, quizzes, or other academic work.

    “Plagiarize” means to take and present as one’s own a material portion of the ideas or words of another or to present as one’s own an idea or work derived from an existing source without full and proper credit to the source of the ideas, words, or works. As defined, plagiarize includes, but is not limited to:

  • (a)    The copying of words, sentences and paragraphs directly from the work of another without proper credit;
  • (b)    The copying of illustrations, figures, photographs, drawings, models, or other visual and nonverbal materials, including recordings, of another without proper credit; and
  • (c)    The presentation of work prepared by another in final or draft form as one’s own without citing the source, such as the use of purchased research papers.


Please bring me the necessary documnetation and I will work with you to help you if you have a learning disability.

Grading Scale:

A 920-1000

B 830-919

C 739-829
D 600-738
F Less than 600 Points


Weekly Schedule:

(Note: This is a tentative schedule and the istructor retains the right to change it as and when necessary. This document will be continously augmented by in-class announcements or through emails and you are required to be aware of all such announcements)
Week 1
Introduction to the course
Mohanty: Intro and Chapter 1
Mohanty: Chapter 2
Week 2
Discussion: Mohanty: Chapter 2
Mohanty: Remaining Chapters


Week 3
Mohanty: Allchapters

Nwapa: Efuru

Group Presentation
Efuru Group: Patricia, Stephanie, Nick, Andrea, and Pepper
Week 4
Discussion: Nwapa: Efuru








Week 5

Discussion: Nwapa: Efuru


Hyder: River of Fire

Group Presentation

Hyder Group: Lance, Ryan, Connor, Sean, and Ben.

Week 6
Discussion: Hyder: Rivr of Fire

Hyder: Rivr of Fire

Week 7
Discussion: Hyder: Rivr of Fire
Cliff: Abeng
Week 8
Discussion: Cliff: Abeng
Mid Term
Cliff: Abeng
Group Presentations
Abeng Group: Amber, Stacie, Carla, Jordan, Rebecca
Week 9
Discussion: Cliff: Abeng
Emecheta: Joys of ..
Week 10
Discussion: Emecheta: Joys of ..
Group Presentation:
Emecheta: Joys of .. Group: Brittany F, Alex, and Chance
Cooke: Hayati
Group Presentation
Hayati Group: Brittany F, Michael, Jen, Shauna, Sean, Joseph.
Week 11
Discussion: Cooke: Hayati
Edgell: Time and …


Group Presentation
Edgell: Time and … Group: Jillian, Olivis, Melanie, Caroline. Patricia M.
Week 12
Discussion: Edgell: Time and …


Edgell: Time and …


Week 13
Discussion: Edgell: Time and …


Final Paper Workshops
Week 14 & 15

Revision and Paper workshops.