James H. Thomason Library

English 341 Course Guide: Postcolonial Literature & Film
Reference Sources

A Sugar Plantation in the South of Trinidad. C. Bauer, 1850.
Image source - Bridgeman Art Library Archive

  Dictionaries, Encyclopedias, etc.
  Historical Background Sources
  Course Texts & Films
  Style Guides
Locating Books
Locating Articles & Criticism
  Reference Sources & Criticism
  Articles, Essays, Book Chapters
  Key Journals
Internet Resources
Get Help

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Reference Sources:    

Dictionaries, Encyclopedias, Companions, Guides

    back to top

For background information and definitions refer to the following library reference works and online reference collections:

African Authors: A Companion to Black African Writing, Black Orpheus Press, 1973.
Main Level, Reference: R 896 H419A v.1

African Writers, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1997.
Main Level, Reference: R 896 Af83A [2 vols]

Cambridge Guide to Literature in English [CREDO Reference], Cambridge Univ. Press, 2006.
Authoritative and international survey of world literature in English with entries on eras, theses, genres and critical terms, authors, poems, novels, literary journals and plays.

The Chinua Achebe Encyclopedia, Greenwood Press, 2003.
Main Level, Reference: R 823.914 C441C

Continuum Encyclopedia of British Literature [CREDO Reference], Continuum International Publishing Group, Ltd., 2006.
A comprehensive guide to all British literature, including literature in English from the colonial and postcolonial periods. 

Encyclopedia of African History [CREDO Reference], Kevin Shillington, editor.

Routledge, 2005.
A-Z reference resource on the history of the entire African continent, with entries ranging from the earliest evolution of human beings in Africa to the beginning of the twenty-first century.

Book Cover


Encyclopedia of Latin American and Caribbean Literature, 1900-2003. Daniel Balderston and Mike Gonzalez Routledge, 2004.
Main Level, Reference: R 860.03 En19E2

Encyclopedia of Post-Colonial Literatures in English, Routledge, 1994.
Main Level, Reference: R 820.9917 En19E [2 vols]
   A comprehensive collection of 1600 alphabetically arranged genre, subject, country and author entries, spanning the literatures in English of Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, the Caribbean, East Africa, Gibraltar, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Malta, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, St. Helena, South Africa, South Central Africa, the South Pacific and West Africa.
   The Encyclopedia is alphabetically organized and includes three major categories of survey: national entries, which trace the literary and cultural development of a country in terms of its geography, history, economy, and politics; major subject and genre entries, which provide a historic perspective on the trends and currents of literary activity in different countries; and biographical and critical entries on individual authors.

Gale Contextual Encyclopedia of World Literature.[Gale Virtual Reference Library] Anne Marie Hacht and Dwayne D. Hayes, editors.  Gale Pub., 2009.

   Covers world authors from many periods and genres, building an understanding of the various contexts -- from the biographical to the literary to the historical -- in which literature can be viewed. Identifies the significant literary devices and global themes that define a writer's style and place the author in a larger literary tradition as chronicled and evaluated by critics over time. (publisher's description).

International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers
[Gale Virtual Reference Library], St. James Press, 2001. 
   Electronic edition of four volume set giving thorough coverage of films and filmmakers, including legendary films, actors and actresses, directors, writers and other production artists. Entries include a detailed essay written by an expert; biographies; filmographies; comprehensive credits; major awards; and updated bibliographies, as well as photographs. For general and professional audiences.
vol.1, Films; vol.2, Directors; vol.3, Actors and actresses; vol.4, Writers and production artists.

Key Concepts in Postcolonial Literature[CREDO Reference]Gina Wisker. Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.

Modern Women Writers, Continuum, 1996.
Main Level, Reference: R 809.8928709 M72M [4 vols]

World Authors 1990-1995, H.W. Wilson, 1999.
Main Level, Reference: R 809 W893W 1990-95  
Earlier volumes have different editors. Series includes volumes for 1975-80, 1980-85, 1985-90,


The Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory & Criticism, Johns Hopkins, 2005.
Main Level, Reference: R 801.950904 J62J
This informative, reliable introduction to criticism and literary theory is for those with interest in theoretical issues but without specialized knowledge. Entries contain cross references, see also, and a bibliography with selected primary and secondary sources. Helpful indexes of Names and Topics in back of volume.  
   Includes entries on "Postcolonial Cutural Studies," "African Theory and Criticism" and        "Caribbean Theory and Criticism,"

The Oxford Companion to English Literature [Oxford Reference Online] Oxford Univ. Press, 2006.
Also available Main Level Reference: R 820.9 Ox2O [2000]

Schirmer Encyclopedia of Film. Schirmer Reference, 2007.

Main Level, Reference: R 791.4303 G767S [4 vols]

Historical Background Sources   back to top

Encyclopedia of African History [CREDO Reference], Routledge, 2005.
A-Z reference resource on the history of the entire African continent, with entries ranging from the earliest evolution of human beings in Africa to the beginning of the twenty-first century.

Britain’s Imperial Century, 1815-1914: A Study of Empire and Expansion, Palgrave Macmillan, 2001.
Upper Level, Circulating Collection: 325.34109 H991B

Colonialism: An International, Social, Cultural, and Political Encyclopedia, ABC-CLIO, 2003. 
Main Level, Reference:
  R 325.3 C718C [3 vols]
Includes 600 entries covering ideologies, religions, theory, geography, imperial nations, colonies, colonized regions, ethnic groups, individuals, and treaties.
Contributions from an international team of academic experts in history, political science, economics, sociology, and other social sciences. Comprehensive coverage of colonies, international organizations, powerful companies and individuals, doctrines, wars, and the role of religion. Examination of how colonialism left nationalism, racism, capitalism, cultural transformation, human migration, and gross inequities of wealth in its wake.

Country Watch
Access Note: Click on “Country Review” on left of screen, select country from pull-down menu, select “History” under “Political Overview."

Biography   back to top

Literature Resource Center [Thomson Gale]
Search here for your author or use advanced search criteria to compile a list of authors by type. Contains biographical information from Contemporary Authors and Dictionary of Literary Biography databases, as well as British Writers [Main Level Reference: R 820.9 B777B] and thirteen Scribner print sources.

Dictionary of Literary Biography, Gale, 1990.        
Main Level, Reference:
R 809 D561D [18 vols]
DLB provides career biographies of literary figures from a vast range of cultural backgrounds and historical periods. In addition to biographical information, DLB also provides an overview of authors’ major works. 
Also searchable in Literature Resource Center
Access Note:
Select “Advanced Search” select search field from pull-down menu options (author, keyword, title, etc.), and type in appropriate search terms for field. To limit search to DLB, from “limit the current search” go to “database” and select Dictionary of Literary Biography.

Encyclopedia of World Biography
, Gale, 1998.
Main Level, Reference: R 920.02 En19E [17 vols]
Alphabetically arranged long essays on reputable personalities who have made great contributions to human culture and society.

Multicultural Writers since 1945: An A-Z Guide, Greenwood Press, 2004.
Main Level, Reference: R 809.045 M919M
Each entry provides biographical information about the author, major multicultural themes, survey of criticism, and bibliography with selected studies of the author’s work. Includes Achebe, Rhys, Rushdie, Jamaica Kincaid, and others.

Course Texts & Films   back to top

Required Texts

Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. New York: Astor-Honor, 1959.
Library copy: Upper Level, Circulating Collection: 848.996 Ac45T

Oyono, Ferdinand. Houseboy. Portsmouth: Heinemann Pub., 1966.

Fanon, Franz. The Wretched of the Earth. Translated from the French by Constance Farrington. New York: Grove Press, 1965.  Library copy: Upper Level, Circulating Collection: 301.24 F217W

Kincaid, Jamaica. Lucy. New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, c1985.
Library copy: Upper Level, Circulating Collection: 813.54 K573A

Reys, Jean. Wide Sargasso Sea.

Desai, Kiren. The Innocence of Loss.

Roy, Ahrundati. The God of Small Things. OR Adiga, Aravind. The White Tiger.

Primary Films

Nair, Mira. Monsoon Wedding. 2001 OR Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India. 2001

Ngangura, Mweze. Pièces d'identité (Identity Card). 1998.

Ousmane, Sembène. Tableau Ferraille (Scrap of Metal). 1983.

Pontecorvo, Gillo. The Battle of Algiers 1966.

Supplementary Texts

Baldwin, Dean and Patrick Quinn. An Anthology of Colonial and Postcolonial Fiction. New York:

Houghton Mifflin, 2007.

Bordwell, David and Kristin Thompson. Film Art: An Introduction. Eighth Edition. New York:    

McGraw Hill, 2008.

Fanon, Franz. The Wretched of the Earth. New York: Grove Press, 1965.

Lazarus, Neil. The Cambridge Companion to Postcolonial Literary Studies. Cambridge:

Cambridge UP, 2006.

Loomba, Ania et al. Postcolonial Studies and Beyond. Durham: Duke UP, 2006.

Young, Robert J.C. Postcolonialism: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford UP, 2003.


Style Guides   back to top

Humanities: Documenting Sources [Research and Documentation Online], Bedford/St. Martins, 2003.

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers.

7th edition. Modern Language Association, 2009.

2 copies: Main Level, Reference  R 808.02 M72M

       AND Ready Reference Shelf (behind Reference Desk)

Writing Center, Presbyterian College
Citation styles, writing guides, and scheduling an appointment with a tutor.

Locating Books   back to top


Use the online catalog to locate books in Thomason Library. You can search by author, title, word, or subject.

  • Search for a person, as AUTHOR or SUBJECT, with last name, first name:              
  Achebe, Chinua [as AUTHOR]  
  Achebe, Chinua [as SUBJECT]  
  • SUBJECT searching requires use of Library of Congress subject headings. The terms below are examples of subject headings related to Postcolonial literature:
  Caribbean Area in Literature
  India in Literature
  Literature Modern 20th Century--History And Criticism
  Postcolonialism in Literature
  Decolonization in Literature
  Igbo (African people) in literature
  Caribbean Area -- In literature
  West Indies -- In literature

Subject searching is an effective and precise method of searching the catalog, however, KEYWORD searching has benefits, also.

  • If you are unsure of the exact title or the correct subject heading to use, try a KEYWORD search using two or three of the most significant words from the title or subject you are trying to find. Place phrases in "quotation marks."

  • Connect words with AND, OR, NOT to focus your search.
  • Try truncation at the end of a word stem to retrieve singular, plural, and other variations of the word.  Use an asterisk (*) to truncate from 1 to 5 characters. Use a double asterisk (**) to include word endings with an unlimited number of characters.
KEYWORD Searching Tips

· Add * to the root of a word to truncate or expand
a term:
postcolonial* = postcolonial, postcolonialist, postcolonialism

· Use AND between words to narrow your search:
Nigeria AND history

· Use OR between words to expand your search and
group words with parentheses:
(writer* OR author*) AND Africa

Try WORD searching with ThomCat, other library catalogs & library databases

 PASCAL Catalog

If you need books in addition to those found at Thomason Library, try your search here for books in other academic libraries in SC. Through PASCAL Delivers, you can order books online for delivery within 3-4 working days. This service for current PC students, faculty, and staff is a project of PASCAL- Partnership Among SC Academic Libraries. Borrowers will be notified by e-mail when requested items arrive at Thomason Library. Click here for searching and ordering tips.


A catalog of books and materials at libraries worldwide. Try searching here to find ALL books available on a topic. Materials available at Thomason Library are highlighted and others can be borrowed through ILL or searched in PASCALCAT.


Interlibrary Loan

ILL is available to PC students, faculty and staff in order to share resources between libraries. Check link for instructions.

Locating Articles & Criticism:   back to top
Reference Sources & Criticism    

Literature Resource Center
[Thomson Gale]
Biographical, bibliographical and contextual information from the Contemporary Authors and Dictionary of Literary Biography databases, as well as full-text criticism from the Contemporary Literary Criticism Select database. Contains full-text journal articles from more than 250 literary journals, critical essays, author biographies, and definitions of literary terms from Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature.

Oxford Reference Online - Premium Collection
This collection brings together language and subject reference works from one of theworld'slargest reference publishers into a single cross-searchable resource. It is a fully-indexed, cross-searchable database of over 100 dictionary, language reference, and subject reference works published by Oxford University Press, giving subscribers unprecedented access to a comprehensive information resource plus added functionality and more detailed information from titles in the world-renowned Oxford Companions Series.

Articles, Essays, Book Chapters   back to top

Academic Search Premier - Humanities[EBSCOhost]
Search this subset of full text peer-reviewed humanities journals indexed in Academic Search Premier.

 MLA International Bibliography  [EBSCOhost]
Indexes critical literary and language scholarship and provides access to journals and serials published worldwide, as well as books, essay collections, working papers, proceedings, dissertations, and bibliographies. Nearly 45,000 records are added annually.
http://hdl.handle.net/1880/44661 link to MLA Tutorial - basic search. Choose Shockwave Flash

Arts & Sciences Collections I, II, & III contain an archive of over 350 full-text journals which are searchable through JSTOR or accessible through Journal Finder, which guides the user to full-text articles available at Thomason Library. The collections include journals in economics, history, political science, sociology, and humanities. This archive covers the full run of journals from the first issue of volume one; however, the most current three to five year issues of the journals are not available as specified by the publishers in their agreements with JSTOR.

Project MUSE Basic Undergraduate Collection  
Current and recent volumes of 112 core journals in the humanities and social sciences.

Key Journals   back to top

ARIEL: A Review of International English Literature

ELH (English Literary History)

Superior studies interpreting the conditions affecting major works in English and American literature while publishing articles with an intelligent mix of historical, critical, and theoretical concerns.

Film Quarterly

Published since 1958, provides readers with insightful analyses of film, the film industry, and international cinemas. More than a glimpse behind the scenes, Film Quarterly offers serious film lovers in-depth articles, reviews, and interviews that examine all aspects of film history, film theory, and the impact of film, video, and television on culture and society.

Interventions: The International Journal of Postcolonial Studies  
A peer-reviewed journal focusing on the following aspects of postcolonial research, theory and politics: the histories of imperialism and colonialism; the role of culture (academic, literary and popular) in the operation of imperialism and in the formations of national resistance; lberation struggles, past and ongoing;  the role of religion and culture in new nationalisms; the contemporary politics of identity; race and ethnicity; gender and sexuality; the economics of neo-colonialism; diaspora and migrancy; indigenous fourth-world cultures, the connections between colonialism and modernity, postcolonialism and postmodernism.

Journal of Commonwealth Literature
The Journal of Commonwealth Literature is internationally recognized as the leading critical and bibliographic forum in the field of Commonwealth and postcolonial literatures Three of the four issues each year bring together the latest critical comment on all aspects of 'Commonwealth' and postcolonial literature and related areas, such as postcolonial theory, translation studies, and colonial discourse. The fourth issue provides a comprehensive bibliography of publications in the field.
[publisher's description]

Journal of Modern Literature 
Scholarly studies of literature in the twentieth & twenty-first centuries, with emphasis on the Modernist period; discussion of individual writers.

Jouvert: Journal of Postcolonial Studies
A refereed, multi-disciplinary journal published on the World Wide Web tri-annually. Jouvert publishes articles engaging in postcolonial theory, literature, history, arts, and politics.

Literature Film Quarterly
An academic publication covering the adaptation of literary and dramatic works into film. Also covers film genre, theory, and criticism, and features interviews with screenwriters and directors.

Postcolonial Text 
Postcolonial Text
is a refereed open accesss journal that publishes articles, book reviews, interviews, poetry and fiction on postcolonial, transnational, and indigenous themes.

Postcolonial Studies
Journal published by the Institute of Postcolonial Studies (Melbourne, Australia). Explores the various facets--textual, figural, spatial, historical, political, & economic--of the colonial encounter, & the ways in which this encounter shaped the West & non-West alike.

Research in African Literatures 
Scholarly articles on all aspects of the oral and written literatures of Africa submitted in English, French or other languages (but published in English) for members of the African Literature Association.

Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism
Focuses on renewal of practices of intellectual criticism. Recognizes tradition of social, political & cultural criticism in & about regional/diasporic Caribbean & honors tradition but argues with it because through argument tradition renews itself.

Studies in English Literature 1500-1900
Focuses on four fields of British Literature which rotate quarterly as follows: Winter-English Renaissance, Spring - Tudor and Stuart Drama, Summer-Restoration and Eighteenth Century, and Autumn - Nineteenth Century with historical and critical essays which contribute to the understanding of English Literature.


Internet Resources:   back to top

Contemporary Postcolonial and Postimperial Literature in English [Leong Yew, Ph.D., National University of Singapore]
Note: site is archive only, no longer receiving updates.

The Empire Writes Back: Post-Colonial Caribbean Literature 

Site created by Dr. Kathleen Nichols, Pittsburgh State University (Pittsburgh KS)

The Voice of the Shuttle: Other English Literatures  Provides annotated links to a variety of Postcolonial sites, covering literature from Africa, the Caribbean, Asia, Australia, and other areas.  Caution: some links do not work.

Postcolonial Studies Emory University


Get Help   back to top
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