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African Postcolonial Theories and Literary Criticism


Admission requirements

Elective for MA African Studies and RESMA African Studies. Those from other MA programs may be admitted with prior registration (please contact the course coordinator).


This course engages with postcolonialism as a site of cultural theorising in a globalised world. Through engaging with pivotal texts from African and African diasporic movements like Négritude, pan-Africanism, postcolonial feminism and afropolitanism, this course analyses a diversity of postcolonial theories as they approach the study of the lasting effects of colonialism on Africa. The course aims to present central concerns of postcolonial theory, including the impact of European languages, institutions and epistemologies on African societies. Both academic and literary texts will be discussed in our analyses of forms of resistance to colonialism, struggles over racialized identities, gender, as well as representations of place and history.

Course objectives

General Learning Objectives:

  • Formulate judgements, based on a question or problem in the field of African Literatures by taking into account social and cultural, academic and ethnical responsibilities linked to the student’s own application of knowledge and judgement;

  • Clearly communicate, both in oral and written form, the outcomes based on the students own academic research, knowledge, motifs, and considerations to professionals as well as the broader public.

  • Learning skills pertaining to the course:

  • The student will obtain the ability to apply knowledge, insights and different methods from the discipline Literature and Culture Studies in new or unknown circumstances within the domain of African Studies, in order to solve problems, integrate knowledge and deal with complex matters;

  • The student will acquire knowledge of African cultural production engaging with issues of postcolonial history and literature;

  • The student will acquire knowledge and understanding of major debates on postcolonialism relevant to African studies;

  • The student will acquire skills of analysing the aesthetics of African texts, films in

  • socio-historical contexts.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

Seminar, practical training for creative writing, research.

Assessment method


  • Presentation (10%): (measured course objective 1-9)

  • Assignment: multimodal novel report (20%): (measured course objective 1-9)

  • Take home exam (70%): (measured course objective 1-9)


The final grade is established by determining the weighted average.


A resit consists of the same two written assignments and a presentation. Resubmission of these assignments for the resit can be done by 30 January 2024, by 17:00.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

The following list is a selection. Please consult the syllabus for more detailed information.
Binyavanga Wainaina. 2005. ‘How to write about Africa’. Granta 92.
Frantz Fanon. 1967[1952]. Black Skin, White Masks. New York: Grove Press.
Tsitsi Dangarembga. 1988. Nervous conditions. London : Women’s Press.
Ama Ata Aidoo. 1977. Our Sister Killjoy. London: Longman.
Ngũgĩ wa Thiongo. 1986. Decolonising the Mind: The politics of language in African literature. Oxford: James Currey.
Kwame Anthony Appiah. 2008. Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers. New York: W. W. Norton.
Simile Dosekun. 2020. “African Feminisms.” The Palgrave Handbook of African Women’s Studies.

The weekly reading material (i.e. essays chapters, articles or links to blog posts) has been collected and made available for you here

The ASCL library has collected hardcopies of the reading material for you, including the novels by Tsitsi Dangarembga (Nervous Conditions) and Ama Ata Aidoo (Our Sister Killjoy). You can read them in the library, but you cannot borrow them. Both are also available as PDFs on Surfdrive.


Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.

General information about course and exam enrolment is available on the website.

#### Registration À la carte education, Contract teaching and Exchange

Information for those interested in taking this course in context of À la carte education (without taking examinations), eg. about costs, registration and conditions.

Information for those interested in taking this course in context of Contract teaching (with taking examinations), eg. about costs, registration and conditions.

For the registration of exchange students contact Humanities International Office.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the stuco Iris Kruijsdijk or the Education Administration Office: Reuvensplaats