English (ENGL) 633

Post Colonial Drama (Revision 3)

Permanently closed, effective January 4, 2017.

View Previous Version

Delivery Mode: Individualized-Study

Credits: 3

Prerequisite: Senior level English course desirable.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Program: Master of Arts Interdisciplinary Studies

**Note: Students in Group Study courses are advised that this syllabus may vary in key details in each instance of the course. Always refer to the Moodle site for the most up-to-date details on texts, assignment structure, and grading.**


English 633 examines recent plays in English from the countries once colonized by Britain, in relation to the "centre" of colonization and to each other, beginning with three plays by English playwrights which interrogate the idea of colonization and globalization. It then considers plays from Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand/Aotearoa, South Africa, Nigeria, and the West Indies in terms of their oppositional stance towards colonialism, their attempts to establish a unique voice in concert with the indigenous cultures, their reconception of the idea of a political and cultural centre, and their hybridization of linguistic and cultural experiences.

Course Objectives

The objectives of this course are

  1. To consider the nature of post-colonial drama as a theatrical, cultural, social, and political concept.
  2. To show how the idea of "empire" is constructed and deconstructed by British, Irish, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, South African, Nigerian, and Caribbean playwrights.
  3. To explore the cultural diversities and pluralities that constitute a post-colonial "national" drama.
  4. To examine the paradoxes and hybridities in the forms and styles of post-colonial drama.
  5. To consider how indigenous folk and /or mythical styles and themes inform post- colonial drama to constitute a syncretism of cultures.
  6. To show the importance of traditions of orality, such as storytelling, dance, and singing, in post-colonial drama.
  7. To examine the influences of international theatre forms-epic, absurdist, feminist.
  8. To show the influence of American popular culture, and the debunking of American imagery and mythology.

Student Evaluation

To receive credit for this course, students must participate in the online activities, successfully complete the assignments, and achieve a final mark of at least 60 per cent. Students should be familiar with the Master of Arts—Interdisciplinary Studies grading system. Please note that it is students' responsibility to maintain their program status. Any student who receives a grade of "F" in one course, or a grade of "C" in more than one course, may be required to withdraw from the program.

The following table summarizes the evaluation activities and the credit weights associated with them.

Course Activity Weighting
Critical Essay 20%
Comparative essay 35%
Research Paper 45%

Course Materials

The course materials for English 633 include the texts listed below, a Course Guide, and the forms you need to submit an assignment or to notify the University of a change in your status as a student. If you find any items are missing from your course package, please contact the Course Materials Production department at Athabasca University. You may telephone, toll-free from anywhere in Canada and the United States at 1-800-788-9041, and ask to speak to Course Materials (ext. 6366). Students in the Edmonton and Calgary dialing areas are asked to call the Learning Centres to connect with the automated attendant, and then dial the four-digit extension. You may also write to: Course Materials, Athabasca University 1 University Drive Athabasca AB T9S 3A3 -- or e-mail: cmat@athabascau.ca


  • Churchill, Caryl. Cloud Nine. London: Theatre Communications Group, 2000.
  • Enright, Nick and Justin Monjo. Cloudstreet. Sydney: Currency Press, 2001.
  • Friel, Brian. Translations. London: Faber and Faber Limited, 2000.
  • Fugard, Athol. 'Master Harold' . . . and the boys. New Your: Viking Penguin Inc, 1984.
  • Gilbert, Helen and Joanne Tompkins. Post-Colonial Drama: theory, practice, politics. London: Routledge, 1996.
  • Grace-Smith, Briar. Purapurawhetu. Wellington: Huia Publishers (Playmarket), 1999.
  • Hare, David. Plays Two. London: Faber and Faber, 1997.
  • Jones, Marie. Stones in His Pockets. London: Applause Books, 2001.
  • MacLeod, Joan. Amigo's Blue Guitar. 3rd. ed. Burnaby, BC: Talonbooks, 1999.
  • Soyinka, Wole. Collected Plays 2. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1974.
  • Taylor, Drew Hayden. alterNatives. Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2000.
  • Walcott, Derek. Dream on Monkey Mountain and other plays. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2001.
  • Wertenbaker, Timberlake. Our Country's Good. Woodstock IL: The Dramatic Publishing Company, 1989.


  • Davis, Jack. No Sugar. In Australia Plays. Ed. Katharine Brisbane. London: Nick Hern Books, 1989.

Athabasca University Printed Materials

Course Guide: The English 633 Study Guide contains essential information about the course and the procedures you should follow to complete it successfully. Please read through this entire document before you begin your studies.

Athabasca University Online Materials

Course Home Page You will find Course Information (including the Assignment File and other pertinent information) at the top of the course home page. You will find your assignments and links to submit your work to your professor on the course home page.

Athabasca University Library: Students are encouraged to browse the Library's Web site to review the Library collection of journal databases, electronic journals, and digital reference tools: http://library.athabascau.ca.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 3, October 1, 2008.