BA Literatures in English Programme
The Literatures in English programme is devoted to both the teaching of and research on literatures in English, that is, a wide variety of Anglophone literatures and not just English Literature. As a result, at all three campuses of UWI, undergraduate courses in West Indian, African, and African American literatures are taught alongside courses in canonical British and American literature for comparative purposes.
Although our primary focus, given our name, is on the criticism of literature per se, our programme boasts of strengths in several related areas such as the creative writing, drama and theatre arts, film studies, cultural studies, and critical theory:
Caribbean Literature and Culture
is, understandably, the major (even though not the exclusive) focus of research of faculty members in the programme which boasts several internationally renowned experts in the field. For a sense of the varied research interests of faculty members, please click here. The programme is also home to the Journal of West Indian Literature (JWIL)
, the premier journal in the field.
: the programme can boast of the presence of an award-winning Guyanese poet who is actively engaged in creating quality original works of art. The department is also home to the creative writing journal POUi: the Cave Hill Journal of Creative Writing
In the course of the regular academic year, the programme offers two workshop courses in creative writing: LITS2603Creative Writing: Poetry and LITS2604 Creative Writing: Prose Fiction. For information on these courses, please click here. The department also offers annual summer workshops in creative writing (poetry, prose, and drama) and film production taught by leading authorities in the field and attended by students from a wide variety of countries. For information on these workshops, please click here. With the eventual establishment of the proposed Creative Arts Centre, the programme will contribute in a significant way to the major in Creative Arts.
Drama and Theatre Arts
: the programme is home to the Cave Hill Theatre Workshop
which has mounted a number of successful and critically acclaimed productions over the years.
In addition to a number of courses on dramatic history (e.g. on Renaissance drama, Post-colonial theatre), the programme offers the year-long course LITS2499 Drama and Theatre Arts which is designed to offer training and experience in the areas of acting, stage performance, and other practical aspects of dramatic production.
: the study of Caribbean, African, and other Post-colonial films, is a major research interest of many faculty members in Literatures in English. The programme already offers a few courses in this area (e.g. the pioneering LITS3603 African Film) and plans to offer more.
: the attempt to explore and develop theoretical models to analyze and critique diverse cultural forms is another major research interest of many faculty members in the programme. The programme played a pivotal role in the major recent conference (Re)Thinking Caribbean Culture, the first of its kind devoted to Caribbean theory.
Our literature offerings at both the undergraduate and postgraduate level are informed by a variety of modern theoretical models, not least so-called Post-colonial and Feminist approaches, while our theory offerings attempt to introduce students to a wide cross-section of approaches pertinent to critical practice in the Caribbean.
: the study of a variety of cultural forms, both 'high' and 'low,' is another major research interest of many faculty members in Literatures in English and an area to which many of our students, less interested in the study of the literary text per se than popular art forms such as calypso and reggae, are increasingly drawn.
The programme already offers a few courses in this area (e.g. the pioneering LITS 2403 Caribbean Popular Culture 1) and plans to offer more. With the establishment of the proposed Centre for Research in Caribbean Culture, the programme will also contribute in a substantial way to the proposed major in Cultural Studies. The programme is also substantially involved in the development of several interdisciplinary programmes of study within the Faculty such as the proposed minor in Gender Studies and the proposed major in African Studies.
Our goal has always been to produce graduates equipped with a sound grasp of the historical development and cultural diversity of the field and possession of the requisite interpretive tools for rigorous analysis and research. Consequently, while our curriculum at UWI understandably emphasises West Indian, African / Diasporic, and other so-called Post-colonial literatures, a BA in Literatures in English also signifies that a well-rounded graduate must necessarily be grounded as well in the tradition in reaction to which the 'new literatures in English' have emerged. To these ends, within the limits imposed by our available resources, students are exposed to a diverse core of major literary texts, seminal authors, and critical methodologies internationally accepted as indispensable to a sound grasp of the discipline as a whole. Such a comparative, historically-based, and theoretically-informed approach to the study of literature reflects both international standards in our discipline and our own special perspectives which derive from our unique experiences as Caribbean-based and Caribbean-centred people.
The burgeoning field of Post-colonial studies is currently one of the fastest growing areas of research in the humanities in almost all major universities. Literatures in English at UWI has played a pioneering and pivotal role over the last twenty or more years in the development of West Indian and, by extension, Commonwealth / Post-colonial literature and criticism. Creative writers and critics / theorists, teachers and students, associated with the institution have made stellar contributions in this regard. It is for this reason that we continue to draw both able students and distinguished visiting scholars from all over the world desirous of studying at the very heart of such developments.
Our research strengths include:
- Caribbean Literature and Culture
- African Literature and Culture
- Post-colonial Literatures (India, Pakistan, Canada, Australia, New Zealand)
- Creative Writing
- Drama and Theatre Arts
- Film Studies
- Cultural Studies
- Critical Theory
- Feminist Theory and Women's Writing