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level5

5ABA0018 Caribbean Drama

Credit value: 15
Module convenor: Dr Justine McConnell
Assessment: 1 x 4000 word essay (100%); coursework reassessment in exam period 3
Teaching pattern: One-hour lecture and one-hour seminar weekly
Pre-requisites: None

Reassessment: Students are reassessed in Period the failed elements of assessment and by the same methods as the first attempt. 

Module description

What do we mean when we talk about the Caribbean? And why has a space that includes such a diversity of cultures, languages, histories, and ethnicities so often been grouped together as one space?  What distinguishes drama from other literary works and how can we incorporate an understanding of performance when studying these texts?

This module explores a range of dramatic works produced throughout the Caribbean since the start of the twentieth century.  We will study the colonial and postcolonial context of the Caribbean, and reflect upon the ways in which this informs the work of Caribbean writers.  Theories developed by postcolonial and performance studies scholars will be analysed and applied to the plays under consideration, and colonial and postcolonial discourse will be put into dialogue with theories of performance and Caribbean identity. 

Each week will focus on a new play, allowing us to consider a wide range of works by some of the Caribbean’s major playwrights.  By the end of the module, students will have gained a good knowledge of Caribbean literature and the key concepts underlying it, as well as having considered ways in which works written for performance might be approached differently to those written only for the page.

Educational aims and objectives

The module aims to introduce students to Caribbean drama and to consider the ways in which postcolonial and performance theories can illuminate the works under examination. Students will develop their analytical and critical skills by evaluating these theories and applying them to the dramatic works. They will also enhance their comparative and interpretative skills by examining a range of drama from across the anglophone, francophone, and Hispanic Caribbean. 

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students will be able to demonstrate intellectual, transferable and practical skills appropriate to a Level 5 module and in particular will be able to:

  • Demonstrate detailed knowledge of Caribbean drama and the postcolonial and performance theories underlying it.

  • Identify, analyse, and communicate key concepts and theories that underpin Caribbean literature.
  • Evaluate the ideas and frameworks that have been developed in the field of postcolonial literature, and apply them to Caribbean drama.
  • Effectively analyse Caribbean literature, deploying both a strong literary- critical approach and relevant theoretical models.
  • Develop independent reflections on performance texts which are informed by the analysis of concepts at an abstract level. 

Core reading

All the primary texts are in print and are available to borrow or buy.

The following books provide a good introduction to some of the themes of this module:

  • Antonio Benítez-Rojo, The Repeating Island: The Caribbean and the Postmodern Perspective. Trans. James E. Maraniss. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2001.
  • Helen Gilbert and Joanne Tompkins, Post-Colonial Drama: Theory, Practice, Politics. London: Routledge, 1996.
  • Kole Omotoso, The Theatrical into Theatre: A Study of the Drama and Theatre of the English-Speaking Caribbean. London & Port of Spain: New Beacon Books, 1982.

 Any additional course costs students should be aware of

Students may wish to buy their own copies of the primary texts, but this will not be mandatory, as all texts studied are available from the library.

Additional information

This module is open to students on degree programmes other than those offered by the Department of Comparative Literature (subject to approval by the module convenor and availability of places).

The modules run in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand so there is no guarantee every module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary depending between years.

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