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Black Writers of the Global Nineteenth Century - ENG00104H

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  • Department: English and Related Literature
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Olivia Carpenter
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25

Module summary

In this module, we’ll explore the global texts and contexts of nineteenth-century anglophone Black writers. Their narratives of love and death, desire and betrayal, race and racism will comprise the heart of our module, and we’ll also consider these texts using methods from Black Studies and Critical Race Theory. We’ll examine Black British, American, and Caribbean memoirists, novelists, poets, and journalists and consider their literary innovation in the face of nineteenth-century racial politics. Together, we’ll trace the ways Black writers from this period often appear to read and write back to one another, and we’ll ask—and hopefully begin to answer—important questions about race and literary history, canonicity, and genre.

Key questions at work in our module include: When and why do nineteenth-century Black writers challenge traditional literary form in these texts? Where do we see nineteenth-century Black writers in conversation with one another, and what legacy does that leave to twenty-first-century writers? How can we use scholarly methods from Black Studies and Critical Race Theory to analyse these texts and their implications?

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 2 2024-25

Module aims

The primary aim of this module is to immerse you in the complex and diverse tradition of global nineteenth-century literature produced by Black authors. While some or perhaps even all the primary materials under consideration may be new to you, this module invites you to expand and enrich your understanding of literary history. You will also practice methods from Black Studies and Critical Race Theory.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, you should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an advanced understanding of and engagement with the anglophone literary history of Black nineteenth-century authors

  2. Demonstrate an advanced understanding of and engagement with the politics of race at work in global nineteenth-century literature

  3. Evaluate key debates within the relevant critical fields of Black Studies and Critical Race Theory

  4. Produce independent arguments and ideas which demonstrate an advanced proficiency in critical thinking, research, and writing skills.


Task Length % of module mark
3000 word essay
N/A 100

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

You will be given the opportunity to submit a 1000-word formative essay for the module, which can feed into the 3000-word summative essay submitted at the end of the module.

Your essay will be annotated and returned to you by your tutor within two weeks.

You will submit your summative essay via the VLE during the revision and assessment weeks at the end of the teaching semester (weeks 13-15). Feedback on your summative essay will be uploaded to e:Vision to meet the University’s marking deadlines


Task Length % of module mark
3000 word essay
N/A 100

Module feedback

You will receive feedback on all assessed work within the University deadline, and will often receive it more quickly. The purpose of feedback is to inform your future work; it is designed to help you to improve your work, and the Department also offers you help in learning from your feedback. If you do not understand your feedback or want to talk about your ideas further you can discuss it with your tutor or your supervisor, during their Open Office Hours

For more information about the feedback you will receive for your work, see the department's Guide to Assessment

Indicative reading

  1. Mary Prince, The History of Mary Prince, A West Indian Slave (1831)

  2. Frederick Douglass, A Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (1845)

  3. William Wells Brown, Clotel, or The President’s Daughter (1853)

  4. Mary Seacole, The Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands (1857)

  5. Hannah Bond, The Bondwoman’s Narrative (c. 1861)

  6. Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1861)

  7. Frances E.W. Harper, Iola Leroy (1892)

  8. Sutton Griggs, Imperium in Imperio (1899)

  9. W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk (1903)

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.