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Poetics, Politics, History: Themes in African and Caribbean Literatures in French (Level 5)


  • Credit value: 15 credits at Level 5
  • Convenor and tutor: Dr Nathalie Wourm
  • Assessment: a 2500-word essay in French or English (100%)

Module description

In this module, we will study novels and short stories from some of the most acclaimed contemporary French-speaking Caribbean and African authors. We will focus on the poetics, the literary techniques employed, but also on the cultural, historical and political aspects that these works foreground. We will examine concepts of race, gender and otherness as well as social inequality through the lenses of writers such as the Guadeloupean Maryse Condé, the Martinican Patrick Chamoiseau, Algerian novelist Assia Djebar, and the Congolese Alain Mabanckou.

The module is taught in English and assessed in English or French. We will be working on texts in English translation, but you are welcome to read the original French version if you prefer.

Indicative syllabus

  • Crossing the Mangrove, Maryse Condé (1989)
  • Crusoe's Footprint, Patrick Chamoiseau (2012)
  • Women of Algiers in their Apartment, Assia Djebar (1980)
  • Black Moses, Alain Mabanckou (2015)

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • demonstrate relevant, factual knowledge about the texts, contexts and issues under discussion
  • evaluate the prescribed texts at a thematic as well as linguistic and stylistic level
  • work within historical and theoretical frameworks in the interpretation of the prescribed texts.