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Module Reading List

`Global English?: Colonialism, Postcolonialism, and Decolonisation, 2021/22, Semester 2
Dr. Kate Spowage
Tutor information is taken from the Module Catalogue

Please find the module reading list below. This is broken into several parts to help you to locate relevant sources. To be clear, you are not expected to read every source on this list, nor are you expected to stick to the sources listed here - the list is intended to provide some guidance, and to inspire further research. 

Core Literary Texts (for purchase)

These are literary texts that we will study on the module. It is strongly recommended that you purchase your own copies for annotation.

Guo, X. 2007. A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers. London: Vintage.  

Highway, T. 2008. Kiss of the Fur Queen. Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press. (Available for purchase at Blackwell’s).  

Roy, A. 2004. The God of Small Things. London: Harper Perennial.  

General Reading on ‘Global English’

Each of these sources attempts to take a synoptic, global view of the English language. It is important to note that they exhibit disagreement over certain key points; each provides a way into thinking about the history, spread, and uptake of English throughout the world.

Bailey, R. W. 1991. Images of English: A Cultural History of the Language. Michigan: Uniersity of Michigan Press.

Crystal, D. 2003. English as a Global Language. 2nd edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Crystal, D. 2005. The Stories of English. London: Penguin Books.

Horobin, S. 2016. How English Became English: A Short History of a Global Language. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

O'Regan, J. P. 2021. Global English and Political Economy. London: Routledge.

Pennycook, A. 1998. English and the Discourses of Colonialism. London: Routledge.

Pennycook, A. 2017. The Cultural Politics of English as an International Language. London: Routledge.

Saraceni, M. 2015. World Englishes: A Critical Analysis. London: Bloomsbury.

Tupas, R. ed. 2015. Unequal Englishes: The Politics of Englishes Today. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Language Ideologies

Throughout this module, we will think about the importance of language ideologies to the question of 'global English'. Below are some useful introductions to language ideology theory, as well as some relevant studies to the question of colonialism and its legacies.

Bauman, R. and Briggs, C. L. 2003. Voices of Modernity: Language Ideologies and the Politics of Inequality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 

Gal, S. and Irvine, J. T. 2019. Signs of Difference: Language and Ideology in Social LifeCambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Lippi-Green, R. 2011. English with an Accent: Language, Ideology, and Discrimination in the United StatesLondon: Routledge.

Joseph, J. E. and Taylor, T. J. eds. Ideologies of LanguageLondon: Routledge. 

Kroskrity, P. V. 2000. Regimes of Language: Ideologies, Polities, and IdentitiesSanta Fe: SAR Press.

Kroskrity, P. V. 2005. Language Ideologies. In: Duranti, A. ed. A Companion to Linguistic Anthropology. Hoboken: Blackwell Publishing. 

Kroskrity, P. V. and Field, M. C. 2009. Native American Language Ideologies: Beliefs, Practices, and Struggles in Indian CountryTucson: University of Arizona Press. 

Peterson, E. 2019. Making sense of 'Bad English': An Introduction to Language Attitudes and Ideologies. London: Routledge.

Rosa, J. 2019. Looking like a Language, Sounding like a Race: Raciolinguistic Ideologies and the Learning of LatinidadOxford: Oxford University Press. 

Schieffelin, B., Woolard, K., and Kroskrity, P. V. 1998. Language Ideologies: Practice and TheoryOxford: Oxford University Press.


Postcolonial and Decolonial Theory

The following sources approach language, literature, and culture from perspectives that are informed by postcolonial or decolonial theory. Some are specific to language or literature, while some are more general. All offer important reflections on the legacies of colonialism in the modern world.

Ashcroft, B., Griffiths, G., and Tiffin, H. 2002. The Empire Writes Back: Theory and practice in post-colonial literatures. 2nd ed. London: Routledge.

Bertacco, S. ed. 2013. Language and Translation in Postcolonial Literatures: Multilingual Contexts, Translational Texts. New York: Routledge.

Césaire, A. 2000. Discourse on Colonialism. New York: Monthly Review Press.

Errington, J. 2007. Linguistics in a Colonial World: A Story of Language, Meaning, and Power. Oxford: Blackwell.

Fanon, F. [1952] 2008. Black Skin, White Masks. London: Pluto Press. Translated by Charles Lam Markmann.

Fanon, F. 1962. The Wretched of the Earth. London: Penguin Books.

Gilmour, R. 2020. Bad English: Literature, Mulitlingualism, and the Politics of Language in Contemporary BritainManchester: Manchester University Press. 

Gopal, P. 2009. The Indian English Novel: Nation, History, and Narration. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 

Gopal, P. 2021. On Decolonisation and the University. Textual Practice35(6), pp.873-899. 

Heller, M. and McElhinny, B. 2017. Language, Capitalism, Colonialism: Towards a Critical History. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Kachru, B. B. 1991. Liberation linguistics and the Quirk concern. English Today7(1), pp.3-13.

Kachru, B. B. 1994. The Speaking Tree: a medium of plural canons. In: Alatis, J. ed. Georgetown University Roundtable on Languages and Linguistics 1994: Educational Linguistics, Cross-Cultural Communication, and Global InterdependenceWashington: Georgetown University Press, pp.6-22.  

Leow, R. 2016. What colonial legacy? The Dewan Bahasadan Pustaka (House of Language) and Malaysia’s cultural decolonisation. In: Craggs, R. and Wintle, C. eds. Cultures of decolonisation: transnational productions and practices, 1945-70. Manchester, England: Manchester University Press.  Available as an Online Course Reading in Minerva 

Mair, C. 2003. The Politics of English as a World Language: New Horizons in Postcolonial Cultural Studies. ASNEL Papers 7.

Makalela, L. 2018. Shifting Lenses: Multilanguaging, Decolonisation and Education in the Global South. Cape Town: The Centre for Advanced Studies of African Society.   

Makoni, S. 2011. Sociolinguistics, colonial and postcolonial: an integrationist perspective. Language Sciences. 33(4), pp.680-688.

Mudimbe, V. Y. 1988. The Invention of Africa: Gnosis, Philosophy, and the Order of Knowledge. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Ndlovu-Gatsheni, S. J. 2019. Discourses of Decolonization/Decoloniality. Papers on Language and Literature. 55(3), pp.201-226.

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o. 1973. Homecoming: Essays on African and Caribbean Literature, Culture and Politics. New York: Lawrence Hill and Co.

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o. 1986. Decolonising the Mind: The Politics of Language in African Literature. London: James Currey Ltd.

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o and Ngũgĩ wa Mĩrĩĩ. 1977. I Will Marry When I WantLondon: Heinemann.   

Paul, P. 2003. The Master’s Language and its Indian Uses. In: Mair, C. ed. The Politics of English as a World Language: New Horizons in Postcolonial Cultural Studies. New York: Rodopi, pp.359-366.

Pennycook, A. and Makoni, S. 2020. Innovations and Challenges in Applied Linguistics from the Global South. New York: Routledge.

Rassool, N. Global Issues in Language, Education and Development: Perspectives from Postcolonial Countries. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. 

Said, E. 1978. Orientalism. New York: Pantheon Books.

Said, E. 1993. Culture and Imperialism. London: Chatto.

Talib, I. S. 2002. The Language of Postcolonial Literatures: An Introduction. London: Routledge.

Tikly, L. 2016. Language-in-education policy in low-income, postcolonial contexts: towards a social justice approach. Comparative Education. 52(3), pp.408-425.

Trouillot, M-R. 2012. Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History. Boston: Beacon Press.  

Vogt-William, C. 2003. “Language is the skin of my thought”: Language Relations in Ancient Promises and The God of Small Things. In: Mair, C. ed. The Politics of English as a World Language: New Horizons in Postcolonial Cultural Studies. New York: Rodopi, pp.393-406.

Case Studies

Below you can find a range of case studies that deal with specific aspects of the ‘global English’ question within particular contexts.

Bisong, J. 1995. Language choice and cultural imperialism: A Nigerian perspective. ELT Journal 49 (2), 122–32. 

Boyle, J. 1997. Imperialism and the English Language in Hong Kong. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development. 18(3), pp. 169–181. 

Bray, M. and Koo, R. 2004. Postcolonial patterns and paradoxes: language and education in Hong Kong and Macao. Comparative Education. 40(2), pp.215-239. 

Chakrabarty, D. 2005. Legacies of Bandung: Decolonisation and the Politics of Culture. Economic and Political Weekly. 40(46), pp.4812-4818. 

Harries, P. 1988. The Roots of Ethnicity: Discourse and the Politics of Language Construction in South-East Africa. African Affairs. 87(346), pp.25–52.

Heller, M. and Duchêne, A. 2012. Language in Late Capitalism: Pride and ProfitLondon: Routledge.

Hungwe, K. 2007. Language policy in Zimbabwean education: historical antecedents and contemporary issues. Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education. 37, pp.135-149.

Jeater, D. 2001. Speaking Like a Native: Vernacular Languages and the State in Southern Rhodesia, 1890-1935. The Journal of African History. 42(3), pp.449-468.

Kadenge, M. and Nkomo, D. 2011. The politics of the English language in Zimbabwe. Language Matters. 42(2), pp.248-263.

Lin, A. 1996. Bilingualism or linguistic segregation? Symbolic domination, resistance and code-switching in Hong Kong schools. Linguistics and Education. 8, pp.49–84.

Lin, A. and Martin, P. eds. 2005. Decolonisation, Globalisation: Language-in-education Policy and Practice. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Lemberg, D. 2018. “The universal language of the future”: Decolonization, development, and the American embrace of global English, 1945–1965. Modern Intellectual History. 15(2), pp.561–592.

Makoni, S. and Pennycook, A. eds. 2007. Disinventing and Reconstituting Languages. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Mühlhäusler, P. 1996. Linguistic Ecology: Language Change and Linguistic Imperialism in the Pacific Region. London: Routledge.

Park, J.-K. 2009. ‘English fever’ in South Korea: Its history and symptoms. English Today. 25(1), pp.50–57.

Park, J. S.-Y. 2010. The promise of English: Linguistic capital and the neoliberal worker in the South Korean job market. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism. 14(4), pp.443–455.

Pennycook, A. 1996. Language Policy as Cultural Politics: the double-edged sword of language education in colonial Malaya and Hong Kong. Discourse: studies in the cultural politics of education. 17(2), pp.133-152.

Spowage, K. 2018. English and Marx’s ‘general intellect’: The construction of an English-speaking élite in Rwanda. Language Sciences. 70, pp.167-178.

Tupas, R. 2004. The politics of Philippine English: neocolonialism, global politics, and the problem of postcolonialism. World Englishes. 23(1), pp.47-58.


The following texts are handbooks, which provide short, introductory entries written by experts on subjects pertinent to the module. Some of these relate to linguistic varieties (e.g. ‘East African English’), some to sociolinguistic profiles of societies (e.g. ‘English in Japan’), and some to critical and theoretical concepts (e.g. ‘hybridity’).

Bolton, K., Botha, W., and Kirkpatrick, A. eds. 2020. The Handbook of Asian Englishes. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.

García, O., Flores, N. and Spotti, M. 2017. The Oxford Handbook of Language and Society. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Kirkpatrick, A. ed. 2021. The Routledge Handbook of World Englishes. London: Routledge.

Rothermund, D. 2006. The Routledge Companion to Decolonization. London: Routledge.

This list was last updated on 14/04/2022