English and drama

The Languages of Racisms in Literature and Art

Module code: Q3129
Level 5
15 credits in autumn semester
Teaching method: Seminar
Assessment modes: Coursework

The module is interdisciplinary and essentially vocational, in that you should emerge believing that you are called upon to continue the work of thinking about the cultural operations of racism. A wide variety of texts is studied ranging from classical history and drama, through Renaissance travel literature, to 19th and 20th century novels, poems, pamphlets and trial literature. There is also a strong emphasis on the examination of visual materials, whether satiric prints, academic oil paintings, book illustrations, or graphic novels and film. You are consequently trained in the arts of close reading not only printed texts but the semiotics of racism within high and low art.

You will study works by the following authors and artists: Juvenal, Daniel Defoe, Bartholomeo de las Casas; Edmund Burke; Alfred Tennyson; Thomas Carlyle, Charles Darwin; Adolf Hitler; Primo Levi; Art Spiegelman; Francisco Goya, James Gillray; Rudyard Kipling, Les Murray, Tony Harrison, Luis Bunuel, Thomas Dixon Junior, W. D. Griffiths, bell hooks, Spike Lee, Gillo Pontecorvo.

Module learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate an understanding of how racist structures operate within aesthetics. Demonstrate an understanding of how racist structures operate within Nationalism.
  • Demonstrate an understanding that racism must not be seen simply as a black on white issue.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how racism is transferred transculturally and transnationally.
  • Give a basic outline of the fundamental building blocks of racist discourse.