- Course: MA Postcolonial Literary and Cultural Studies
- Year of graduation: 2024
- Nationality: Indian
Why did you choose to study your particular course and why did you choose the University of Leeds?
The texts in postcolonial literature, that I was introduced and exposed to during my bachelor’s played a significant role in shaping my profound interest in the field. India being a postcolonial country, undergoing repercussions of the same made me curious about its foundation. The desire to specialise in postcolonial literature propelled me in applying for courses that came in the forms of Global, World, and Postcolonial Literature. University of Leeds naturally became one of my top three places to apply to. I researched a bit on the School of English’s Postcolonial Research Group, its past and present activities and other active groups like Critical Life and Medical Humanities. Which are interconnected with each other.
The interdisciplinary nature of learning, research, and the professors’ work(s) involved in the field inspired me to apply. Leeds is also the first university to establish a chair in Postcolonial studies, back in the 1960s, when it used to be known as Commonwealth Literature. A lot of the big names from the field came from Leeds or have been taught under professors like Graham Huggan and John McLeod. I had already been in touch with some of the former Link to Leeds ambassadors, their stories had a positive impact on me as an applicant.
What is the best aspect of your course?
A Master’s in Postcolonial Literary and Cultural Studies won’t necessarily prevent you from exploring modules from English and Creative Writing. You are given freedom to select modules of your choice and create the best platter suitable to your palate! So, if you’re someone like me who likes both the old and contemporary, you could combine the Renaissance and Contemporary Literary modules. Hence, the structure is very holistic so as not stunt rather catalyse the growth of students.
The course allows every opportunity to flourish as a student and researcher in terms of developing cognitive ability, critical thinking, and academic writing skills. We not only learn as postgraduate taught students but also involve in research, working on our individual research projects or our long dissertation in summer.
Can you tell us about some of the exciting projects you have completed as part of your degree?
Although these don’t strictly count as projects, but we have had presentations, reflecting on our interpretation of texts. Every class (Africas of the Mind and Planetary Aesthetics) would comprise of a presentation followed by Q & A and roundtable discussion. Our semester assignments were preceded by the submission of an abstract proposal that was presented and accompanied by peer-feedback. We’ve had an exciting tour to the Henry Moore Institute on the Weight of Words exhibition. After which we are told to write on our experience in terms of words, art, and writing.
What activities outside of your studies are you involved in?
I am actively involved with LUU and staff at the University as a course representative. My work includes gathering data and feedback from my course mates regarding their satisfaction with the course, modules, and how the school and University could improve in providing better services.
I also participate in volunteering activities at the University, whenever opportunities arise. Recently I volunteered at the Business Confucius Institute (BCI) to prepare for the Chinese Lunar New Year 2024. There’s so much going at the University all the time, that there won’t be a single monotonous moment!
What would you say to students thinking about studying your course?
If your passion lies in unearthing the world of multiethnic cultures and history of people from across the world, this course is the one for you. If you don’t mind mixing a bit of both humanities and social sciences, postcolonial literature will provide you with so much more. Where texts are unbridled by time and space and native literatures of the forgotten past grace your intellect, this course will be a joyride for you. Postcolonial literature’s infinite potential and opportunities is the course of the hour since we are living in that age, and if you need to understand how we are where we stand now, you need Postcolonial Literature.
The other piece of advice will be, to start thinking about the entire application as early as you can. Since that gives a lot of time to go through the previous year modules, gain a rough idea, and you might also want to get started already with the fascinating reading list!
What does Leeds as a city have to offer students?
The University being a red-brick university is not only the seat of knowledge, but historically the city is also the cradle of industrial revolution. All those Dickens, Eliot, Bronte, and Austen that you’d read in Victorian Literature would become a reality as you explore the Yorkshire moors and Haworth, an hour bus-ride away from the city, home to the Brontes.
The Leeds Museum and Galleries is a fantastic option for those who are interested in immersing themselves in the history of the city and works from elsewhere procured in and around UK. The University’s unbeatable Treasures of the Brotherton and the Kirkstall Abbey are noteworthy sites to lookout for. The City Centre is always teeming and bustling with life, daily and on occasions. Booklovers would find haven in Waterstones and the warm, beautiful cafes (Nero) everywhere.
What do you plan to do once you graduate?
I have plans to apply for a PhD, since it had always been my dream to become a researcher. The professors at the School of English have been extremely supportive when it came to discussing my ideas and them providing feedback. At present, I am going through the application procedure.
What experiences at Leeds do you think will help in securing a graduate role following graduation?
As a closet introvert, the professors at the school have done a fabulous job in helping me become sociable in no time. From introductory sessions on Orientation Day to sending warm emails looking out for us, the experience has been extremely optimistic.
As a Master’s student only used to hour long lectures, the presentation cum seminar framework at the University gave me a purpose to read and invest in the text before class. The excellent reference facility be it journals or books at the Brotherton and Laidlaw Libraries, have infused within me the renaissance spirit of questioning. Encouraged by our module instructors to read extra, beyond the suggested material has helped me in discovering and developing my future research areas. Weekly Academic Writing Classes with Kat, Irene, and Oksana have helped me develop my critical thinking and writing skills a lot.
My role as a course representative helped me understand student voice and expectations more. My ability to interact and express my ideas clearly have improved. As a researcher, I believe it is essential to express with clarity, the content of the material. This skill that I have gained along with multi-tasking at the university would certainly help me in my future endevours. I have gained more in these past few months at the university, than I could really account for (or express in words)!