EL6018 - The Black Atlantic: Literature, Slavery and Race

What will I learn on this module?

This module will introduce you to a range of texts which have been created out of, or about, the experience of African peoples in the diaspora from the seventeenth century to the present. It will encourage you to relate your understanding of the texts to the cultural and historical background from which they developed. Following on from level four core modules this module will develop your understanding of the concept of the ‘Atlantic World’ and theories of local, national and global cultures as well as theories of race and postcolonial theory. You will be encouraged to recognise the activity of the slave trade as the beginning point of the Atlantic World as an imagined space that challenges national and chronological boundaries and speaks of the powerful and enduring legacies of slavery.

How will I learn on this module?

1 x weekly 1 hour lecture
1 x weekly 2 hour seminar

The module will be delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars. You will hear one weekly lectures where you meet as a cohort. The lectures will establish the historical context and relevant intellectual and cultural contexts of the text. They will take place before other teaching on the module in preparation for the seminar discussion. You will then have a two-hour-long weekly seminar where you meet as a group. In the seminar you will take part in conversations about the text where you look at critical work and make close readings, giving you the opportunity to confer and reflect on your critical responses to the primary texts.

The module will make appropriate use of the eLP (electronic learning portal) to provide you with module material, links to resources and discussion areas. Lecture slides and material for the seminars will be provided.

In addition to learning during contact hours with the module tutors, you will be expected to undertake both directed and independent learning. Directed learning will take the form of preparation for seminars (including both reading and the preparation of critical responses to the studied topics) either individually or in small groups. Independent learning generally will take the form of further reading and research, the consolidation of seminar materials and the completion of the assessment.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

By attending the lectures and seminars and undertaking the assignments you will achieve the module learning outcomes. As you enjoy engaging with a range of British and American texts, the primary emphasis of the module will be on the development of foundational knowledge in relation to subject knowledge, critical analysis and application/synthesis. You will develop academic writing skills, critical thinking, reflective and research skills, time management and IT skills.

The module handbook provides details of lectures, seminars, reading lists and assessment criteria; lecture PowerPoint slides are made available on the e-learning portal. The module tutor will be available in lectures and seminars, as well as in office hours and on email/phone, to discuss any queries or concerns you have about how to excel academically on the module. Moreover, feedback on the first summative assessment will also serve as ‘feed forward’, giving guidance on how to improve during the module. In addition, you have a designated Personal Guidance Tutor throughout the entire duration of your programme. The academic side of the Personal Guidance Tutor’s role includes:
• monitoring your ongoing academic progress
• helping you to develop self-reflection skills necessary for continuous academic development
• directing you to further available services which can help them with their academic skills (e.g. Library’s Skills Plus)

You are advised to see your Personal Guidance Tutor at least twice each semester to review your academic progress. The Guidance Booklet, which you receive at the start of your first year, includes structured materials designed to help you develop your self-reflection skills. These materials underpin the academic side of the regular Guidance meetings, helping you to learn how to best use the feedback you receive on your assignments, how to build on your strengths, and improve in the areas where you could perform better.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1. To enhance your historical understanding of transatlantic slavery and the African diaspora.
2. In-depth knowledge of transnational literature from 1688 to the present that engages with the institution of slavery in the Atlantic World and its legacies.
3. A well-developed understanding of the concept of the ‘Black Atlantic’ and its theoretical critical underpinnings.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
4. To develop skills in research, analysis, and expression in written form

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):

5. To enhance understanding of critical debates around the construction and representation of race, with particular reference to slavery.

How will I be assessed?

Assessment consists of:
• Formative Assessment: 500 word critical review
• Summative Assessment 1: 1,500 word essay (40% of overall mark)
• Summative Assessment 2: 2,000 word essay (60% of overall mark).

Summative assessment and rationale for tasks

• Summative Assessment 1 (40%): 1,500 word essay (you must answer on 2 texts – 1 must be pre-1900).
• Summative Assessment 2 (60%): 2,000 word essay (answering on 2 texts)
• Formative Assessment: 500 word critical review of a relevant theoretical essay.

Feedback on the first piece of formative work will be delivered according to the existing protocols of the Humanities Department, encouraging a reflexive approach and ensuring you feel confident about approaching their first summative assessment. Detailed feedback on the first essay will be given before you start preparing for the second essay.

The formative assessment addresses module learning outcomes 4 and 5. The summative assessment 1 addresses module learning outcomes 1, 2, 4 and 5. The summative assessment 2 addresses module learning outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.





Module abstract

Please find details of this module in the other sections provided.

Course info

UCAS Code T710

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years Full Time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Humanities

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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