Home > Undergraduate > Current courses > ELL3001S Contemporary Literary Studies
Third Year, Second Semester

ELL3001S Contemporary Literary Studies

30 NQF credits at HEQSF level 7

What are the most important debates and approaches within contemporary literary and cultural studies? How do cultural forms engage with the question of ‘the contemporary’ or ‘the here and now’, both within our current South African moment, but also across other historical periods and in other places? What new forms and canons are emerging for 21st-century readers and writers in an unstable world? What is the shape of things to come? This final course in our undergraduate programme introduces students to a range of current ideas and questions in our discipline, with seminars that are closely tied to the research interests and creative work of faculty members and senior postgraduates.

The expertise of our staff is wide-ranging, and includes: South, West and East African literatures, history and critical thought; creative writing and texts in performance; 19th and 20th-century poetry; black feminisms; queer studies; early modern studies and Shakespeare in the global South; postcolonial studies; decolonial theory; small magazines and African print cultures; sci-fi and speculative fiction; Francophone writing; life-writing and creative non-fiction; cultural memory and trauma studies; European literary and cultural theory; and the environmental humanities. In terms of assessment, the course will offer a mixture of research assignments and more public forms of critical writing and essays, with some opportunities for creative writing within seminars.

Convenor: A/Prof H. Twidle

Course entry requirements: ELL2000F, ELL2001S and ELL3000F, or at the discretion of the Head of Department.

Lecture times: 6th period, Monday and Tuesday.

DP requirements: All written work to be handed in and at least 75% attendance at seminars.

Assessment:  Continuous assessment (essays, projects, tests, etc.) counts 100%.
Two core coursework essays of 2000-2500 words: 50% of final grade.
Seminar coursework: 50% of final grade.

Prescribed Texts, 2020

Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake (2003).
Amitav Ghosh, The Great Derangement (2016). E-book version provided via library.
Chinelo Okparanta, Under the Udala Trees (2015).
Shishir Kurup, Merchant on Venice (2007).  E-book version provided via library.
Christina Sharpe, In the Wake: On Blackness and Being (2016). E-book version provided via library.

Reading Guide