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Literature and Cultural Identity: Intersectionalities of Race, Class and Gender


Module description

The module examines constructions and representations of cultural identity in literature, focusing on texts from different historical periods and cultural areas. Specifically, it investigates the following aspects of cultural identity: national identity, gender, race and ethnicity and class. In addition, the module looks at the relationship between personal selfhood and collective identities in literature.

We will read the following texts:

  • Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities
  • Homi Bhabha (ed.), The Location of Culture
  • Judith Butler, Gender Trouble
  • Iain Chambers, Border Dialogues
  • Tony Davies, Humanism
  • Paul Du Gay et al. (eds), Identity: A Reader
  • Frantz Fanon, Black Skins, White Masks
  • Simon Gikandi, Maps of Englishness
  • Gill Haddow, Embodiment, and Everyday Cyborgs
  • Donald Hall, Subjectivity
  • Stuart Hall and Paul du Gay (eds.), Questions of Identity
  • John Hutchinson and Anthony Smith (eds.), Nationalism: A Reader
  • Iain Morland (ed.), Queer Theory
  • John Rajchman, The Identity in Question
  • Jonathan Rutherford,(ed.), Identity: Community, Culture Difference
  • Edward Said, Orientalism

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will have:

  • developed an interdisciplinary approach to the study of key cultural concepts
  • cultivated independent critical thinking and judgement
  • engaged imaginatively in the process of reading and analysing complex and sophisticated literary and non-literary texts
  • acquired an interdisciplinary reading of literature and cultural identity
  • formed a historical overview of how cultural identity has been represented in literature in selected texts
  • knowledge and appreciation of some of the key concepts about cultural identity
  • an understanding of how literature has been a key site for the production and interrogation of notions of identity
  • acquired the critical language used by scholars in the field to analyse cultural identity
  • a comparative perspective on representations of cultural identity in literature.