Practise Of Postcolonial Literaturees In The German English Language Essay

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James Clifford's (1997) notion of the 'travelling cultures' is still topical today as cultures are essentially mobile as a result of an increase in migratory processes and of globalisation at all levels of society. Furthermore, cultural difference and diversity have become key issues in cultural studies' debates. Literary texts, however, constantly gain meaning due to their function as mediators and mirrors of cultural and transcultural relations. Such linking becomes most apparent when looking at the influence of postcolonial discourse on contemporary writing in English. It also becomes palpable when exploring the development of curricular, both in school and university, in the latter with regard to career, university posts, research topics, book titles and conferences.

After a contextualisation of the term "Postcolonial Literatures," I will reflect on notions such as the "New English Literatures" with regard to the current developments at English departmens at German-speaking universities. I will discuss in which ways the New English Literatures or Postcolonial Literatures have had great potentialities for breaking and braking the literary canon of English Studies since they have become acknowledged epistemes. Say more about the connection with canon and the German academic system. In this context, the notion of "br(e)aking the canon," literally speaking, implies both, a loosening of the confining or restricting forces at work, for instance in a canon, and its retarding or stopping, by means of a brake. Both meanings, which I use in a composite textual reading, at metaphorical level signify a loosening and revisioning of the empiricism of modernity, which was also marked by set bodies of "national literatures" (Nationalliteraturen). With regard to canon and the major and the minor, David Lloyd, analysing Jean Genet's works, argues that there exists an "irreconcilable antagonism to the canonical ends of aesthetic culture" (Lloyd 1987: 161). [1] The latter was also characterised by a "hegemonic function" (ibid.) and, in consequence, by century-long asymmetrical power relations between the coloniser and the colonised, the "Orient" and the "Occident," "master" and "slave, " or "we" and the "other." The so-called "other" (e.g. native, black, woman) who has started to write in English, often already during British colonisation under Anglo-European cultural domination, has since independence from the former British Empire, for a long time been denied access to the canon of English Literature. However, due to the breaking down of the Empire and of the br(e)aking of the English literary canon in the context of Postcolonial Studies, writers have eventually gained access to recognition by way of both, a decisive use of Enlgish as well as a conscious application of formal-aesthetic writing strategies prevalent in canonical texts. [2] 

Consequently, many writers from the former British Empire, e.g. R.K. Narayan, Mulk Raj Anand, Raja Rao (India), Sam Selvon (Trinidad), George Lamming, Edward Kamau Brathwaite (both Barbados), Wole Soiynka or Chinua Achebe (Nigeria), i.e. the older generation of postcolonial writers, who were often educated according to the British education system or had studied in England for some time, have chosen English as their creative language. Being knowledgeable in English canonical texts, they have next to a realist mode, frequently used a great number of writing strategies, such as parody, satire, subversion, (re)negotiation of cultural norms and values, or writing back to the Empire, in order to break and brake the canon, implicitly or explicitly. Till today, the literary canon of English studies has constantly been expanded, yet it is often problematic to decide which writers and books to include or exclude. This also accounts for the so-called New English Literatures, as production and reception in this field is exstensive. Many writers have become celebrities on the global literary market. In spite of the fact that the English canon still towers around Shakespeare, Dickens, Woolf, Orwell, Beckett, or Joyce (to mention just a few) and books which have for a long time been read in schools, e.g The Catcher in the Rye, Lord of the Flies, Of Mice and Men, Animal Farm, The Great Gatsby, Death of a Salesman, or Birthday Party (Wandel 2005: 87-89), a subsequent expansion of the literary canon has taken place at all levels of education. Currently, African or Indian literatures written in English, with special focus on writers such as Chinua Achebe, V.S. Naipaul, Salman Rushdie, Arundhaty Roy, Margaret Atwood or Michael Ondaatje (to mention only a few), have been included at university and school level. And both, the Booker Prize and Nobel Prize for Literature also demonstrate an expansion in terms of an inclusion of quite a number of writers from the former British Empire, beginning as early as 1971. [3] 

Since 1989, that is the publication of The Empire Writes Back and many other events and shifts, also concerning theory, ranging from New Criticism to Poststructuralism, the canon of English Literature has considerably shifted towards a recognition of the 'margins.' Lars Eckstein argues in a twofold way with regard to production and reception: "'Great' literature in English has long ceased to be a white Euro-American privilege. […] Indeed, together with the English language, English literature has long ceased to be the exclusive property of the West" (Eckstein 2007: 13). Accordingly, Heinz Antor delineates most precisely the development of the New English Literatures at English Departments at German-speaking universities: "If the 1970s marked the arrival of the New Literatures in English on the German academic scene and the 1980s were a period of coming-of-age, the 1990s were characterised by a development towards postcolonial studies as an established presence within English Studies" (Antor 2005: 418). Founding fathers of the then-called Commonwealth Literatures, Dieter Riemenschneider and Gerhard Stilz, among others, have paved the (stony) way for the long-lasting success of the New English Literatures. Apart from individual engagement in the New English Literatures at university level, the Association for the Study of the New Literatures in English (ASNEL)/Gesellschaft für die Neuen Englischsprachigen Literaturen (GNEL) which was founded at Gießen in 1989, has contributed to the consolidation and continued growth of postcolonial studies and related university programmes at English Departments at German-speaking universities. Yet, the term postcolonial, more often than not, has been criticised since it has come into existence, and it is worthwhile asking whether the term still makes sense with respect to the br(e)aking of the canon of English literatures. Would a term such as English Literatures Across the Globe (Eckstein 2007) [4] help to describe the dramatic changes which have taken place not only at English Departments at German-speaking universities? Does the notion of "tranculturality" [5] assist in order to do both, br(e)ak(e) the old canon of English Literature and give shape to the new canon of "major English literatures across the globe" (Eckstein 2007), the title of a companion which contains analyses of a body of texts which was formerly subsumed under the umbrella term postcolonial? In other words, what's in a name?

With the publication of the ground-breaking study Orientalism (1978) by Edward Said, postcolonial studies experienced a breakthrough in the academic world. Define and eloberate a bit. A decade later this success was backed up by The Empire Writes Back (1989) by Bill Ashcroft, Grareths Griffiths and Helen Tiffin, a publication which lead critics to assert that "literatures from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and various other parts of the English-speaking world such as Canada, Australia and New Zealand have generally become identified with 'postcolonialism'" (Schulze-Engler 2007: 20). In a literary context, the term is primarily concerned with literatures emerging from the political context of the colonial legacy. With regard to stylistic qualities, postcolonial literature are engaged in writing back (to the Empire), hybridity, the subaltern, which have been used in order to br(e)ak(e) the canon of English literary studies. In what follows, I will delineate and discusse the term postcolonial in its many disguises.

The old term "Commonwealth Literature" is apparently too confining and obsolete as well as rather Eurocentric. [6] "Anglophone literature" excludes the many, rich literatures of Africa, for instance, written in European languages other than English. "New English Literatures," a terms which has been widely used within the German academic context, [7] puts much emphasis on newness (Brathwaite, Ngugi or Achebe are hardly new) and again excludes the non-English-speaking world. The formerly used term "third-world literatures" is derogative and has stopped to make sense since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Communist "second world." Finally, the older expression "literature of developing nations" is connected to an economic paradigm which most postcolonial scholars reject. Thus, postcolonial is a term which most likely describes the br(e)aking of old structures, however flawed the term appears to be.

Generally, the term postcolonial literature functions as a response to colonialism in not only its literal but also in its more subtle forms. However, using postcolonial as a literary category risks marginalising the texts the term describes by threatening to separate them from all other writing, for instance the canon of English literature. [8] It also risks essentialism if it conveys the perception that, being separate, postcolonial literature is also in some sense homogeneous. Nevertheless, African novels show how literature has proved a powerful medium for empowerment in two ways: Firstly, it enables writers in postcolonial societies to reclaim a legitimate voice that had been nullified under British colonialism; secondly, it challenges European cultural dominance, which remains far from erased with the emergence of national independence.

Yet, it has to be asked, why Jamaican, Barbadian, Nigerian, Kenyan, Canadian, New Zealand, Australian, Indian, Sri Lankan, Mauritian, Asian British or Arabian writers should be grouped together under one and the same category. Thus, it becomes evident that the term postcolonial is more often than not used as an umbrella term. Not only Frank Schulze-Engler has argued that the term postcolonial finds itself in a crisis of overproduction and that there are increasing doubts as to the paradigmatic function of the postcolonial. [9] This position has already been taken up by the critic Stephen Slemon in 1995 who commented on the term as follows:

Whatever coherence the term "postcolonial" might have promised in its earliest moments - as an intellectual field or academic discipline, as a critical methodology for social analysis, as a pedagogy, or a cultural location, or a stance - the attributes of postcolonialism have become so widely contested in contemporary usage, its strategies and sites so structurally dispersed, as to render the term next to useless as a precise marker of intellectual content, social constituency, or political commitment. Postcolonialism has become conceptually dis/contented - a suitcase blown open on the baggage belt. (Slemon 1995: 7)

Critical voices have emerged since the term appeard that attack postcolonialism rather than defend it, and thus show its inherent structural crisis and arbitrariness. The literary critic Graham Huggan is one of those critical voices who argues that

[…] it has become much more fashionable to attack postcolonialism than to defend it, attacks which are very much part, of course, of the increasing institutionalization of postcolonial studies as an academic (sub)discipline or "cultural field" […]. There is a sense, then, in which postcolonialism has come to prominence even as it lurches into crisis. Critiques of postcolonialism are rampant, yet postcolonial studies prospers; the postcolonial field has grown rich, it seems, on accumulated cultural capital while being increasingly acknowledged as methodologically flawed or even intellectually bankrupt. (Huggan 2000: 279)

The term postcolonial has become a hot commodity within literary studies over the last three decades. [10] Writers like Salman Rushdie and Arundhati Roy are best-selling authors; and no college or university English department with a high self-esteem wants to be without a scholar who can talk profoundly about postcolonial theory and literature. Many postcolonial scholars seem to be engaged in a discussion about the question as to which "national" literatures or authors can be justifiably included in the 'postcolonial' / New English Literatures canon. [11] In addition, it is not often pointed out but quite noteworthy that very few contemporary authors of the literature(s) under discussion willingly accept and adopt the term to label their own writing.

To complicate matters further, postcolonial theory frequently functions as a section of or within the even more erroneously named field of "cultural studies." Under this umbrella term the whole body of, more often than not, leftist radical theory and criticism is subsumed, ranging from Marxist, Gramscian, Althusserian, Foucauldian, to a diversity of feminist schools of thought and gender studies, among others. What all these schools have in common is their programmatic intention to analyse power relations as apparent in cultural products such as literature, film, or art, often in favour of the liberation process of the formerly colonised countries and the marginalised voices. Thus, the term postcolonial literature helps scholars to categorise literature written by people living in countries formerly colonised by other nations. Apart from this function, postcolonial study is further engaged with the effects of colonisation and in particular with issues such as orientalism, identities (the processual character of identity), (re)negotiation of (Eurocentric) norms and values, difference (the uprooting of certainty), exile, diaspora, processes of migration, transformation, hybridity, political right of autonomy, nationalism, potential counter-discourse in terms of "writing back," resistance, re-construction, subversion, language variation, clash of cultures (contact zone) which is characteristic of colonialism and imperialism, the dismantling of binarisms such as "first/third" world, "centre/margin," "developed/underdeveloped" countries, and with the heterogeneity of colonialism. [12] How then, can a term such as postcolonial literature claim "[...] to cover all the culture affected by the imperial process from the moment of colonisation to the present day" (Ashcroft, Griffiths, Tiffin 1989: 2)?

Among the works commonly studied in the field of postcolonial literature are novels such as Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart (1958) or Ngugi wa Thiong'o's A Grain of Wheat (1967) which were written while the nations in question (Nigeria and Kenia) were still colonies or on the brink of becoming independent nation states. Even though they are nominally independent, most of the former colonies involved are still culturally and economically heavily dependent on the leading industrial nation states which continue to dominate them by control of markets for goods or raw materials or by the payment of interest on accumulated foreign debts. In addition, various forms of neo-colonialism and neo-imperialism have led to state corruption and human rights abuses. [13] 

One can claim that this way of defining both, a canon and a whole era is Eurocentric, especially because most of the theoretical grounding is based on poststructuralism and postmodernism, and most of the prominent postcolonial scholars, for example, Homi Bhabha, Edward Said or Gayatri Spivak, are as Mark Stein has termed them "jet-set-hybrids" (Stein 1996: 43). Define "jet-set-hybrids". Stein writes: "However, it's unbearable to conflate jet-set hybridity and academic cosmopolitanism with the hardship of expatriates, exiles, undocumented migrants, displaced persons, and refugees, who make their way to the Northern metropoles" (Stein 1996: 43). On the one hand, the scholars in question often confine themselves to an elitist "third space," [14] without any contact to their compatriots. On the other hand, it has to be noted that many "postcolonial" writers do not share the general orientation of postcolonial scholars toward engaging in an ongoing critique of colonialism. Nigerian writers Chinua Achebe and Wole Soyinka, for instance, after having written powerful condemnations of the British in their country, turned to describe and criticise the deeds of native-born dictators and corrupt officials within their independent homelands. [15] Writers of the second and more often third generation after independence, who frequently live in a diasporic, i.e. transcultural situation, or who have experienced a multicultural way of life through several geographical changes, focus on their personal situation rather than on the specific postcolonial situation of their respective home lands. Today, many writers of fiction, drama, and poetry see little point in continually reworking the past to solve the past's problems. In addition, many postcolonial writers have moved to England or North America (because they are offered posts at the one or the other univrsity, or because they have migrated indipendently). Soyinka, being based in the US, even called upon the governments of these "neo-colonialist" nations asking them to come to the aid of Nigeria's freedom movements in order to help overthrow native dictators.

Postcolonialism is a term that has been used in a great variety of contexts. Thus, settler colonies such as Australia, Canada and New Zealand are sometimes portrayed as postcolonial societies, but many critics would refuse them the label because the literature of these countries is dominated by the influence of the "mother country" (England) and European immigrants, and is therefore a literature of privilege rather than of protest. [16] Though Ashcroft, Griffiths and Tiffin (1989: 2) include Australia, Canada and New Zealand in their list of countries whose literatures they subsume under the umbrella "postcolonial," some critics would suggest that only literature written by native peoples in Canada, Australia and New Zealand would truly qualify as postcolonial. [17] Although many critics deny the literature of the US this label, Ashcroft, Griffiths and Tiffin suggest that "[t]he literature of the USA should also be placed in this category" (ibid.: 2). On the one hand, this makes little sense on account of the "current position of power, and the neo-colonizing role" which the United States have "played" (ibid.: 2), but on the other hand, the United States' identity was formed in contradistinction to that of England, and native American and Chicano/Chicana literature is often discussed under the postcolonial paradigm. The Irish are frequently presented as an example of a postcolonial European people, [18] and indeed many African writers have been inspired by Irish ones for that reason; in Things Fall Apart Achebe has an intertexual reference to W.B. Yeats' poem "The Second Coming" (1919, 1995) and in an interview with Norbert Schaffeld, Edwin Thumboo from Singapore formulates his creative indeptedness to Yeats (Schaffeld 2001: 11-37). [19] 

Postcolonial is also a problematic term as it draws some very arbitrary lines. South African writers Athol Fugard and Nadine Gordimer - because they are white - are often excluded from postcolonial discourse, although their works were influential in their protests against apartheid. Besides, they have lived and worked far more in Africa than, say, Buchi Emecheta who emigrated to England as a very young woman and has done all of her writing there. Many fine Indian writers are denied the postcolonial label simply because they do not write in English but in any other of the twenty-one scheduled Indian and numerous other non-official languages and dialects. They are excluded on the sensible grounds that India has a millennia-long tradition of writing. [20] This tradition should not be falsely associated with the British imperial "episode."

Of those Indian writers who use English as their creative language, Anita Desai is included, though she is half German. Bharati Mukherjee explicitly rejects the label "Indian-American," and sees herself primarily as American, though she is an immigrant from India who lived for some years in Canada. Rushdie prefers to be thought of his characters as multinational hybrids (though he has, on occasion, used the label postcolonial in his own writing), whereas Hanif Kureishi depicts his protagonists as proper Englishmen, "almost" (Kureishi 1990: 3), who are more English than Pakistani in their outlook. Many second and third generation immigrant Indian or Pakistani writers prefer to think of themselves as "Asian British" rather than postcolonial and often address issues such as assimilation processes, generation conflict, or racism. [21] As a matter of fact, Ngugi is included in the postcolonial debate even though he has been writing primarily in Gikuyu for many years, and many Caribbean-immigrant or Caribbean-born writers living in England classify themselves as "Black British."

Indeed, postcolonial theoretician Homi Bhabha developed the term "hybridity" to use it in order to be able to describe the situation in the former colonial countries with regard to culture-contact situations and negotiations. Focussing on India, he also captures the sense that many writers have of belonging to both cultures simultaneously, though his elitist and abstract concept of "hybridity" as a "third space" (either-or) is fairly difficult to fill with content. In addition, writers like Rushdie reject the concept of "exile" which was also a useful category to describe earlier generations of emigrants. [22] Increasingly, writers accept their blend of cultures in terms of a positive synthesis. This celebration of hybridity, cultural mixture, constant border-crossing and inter- or transculturality considerably blurs the boundaries laid down by 19th century European ideas about nation states and literary canons, including the notion of racial and cultural purity. These ideas have been revealed as fictitious by postcolonial scholars.

Postcolonial studies have helped to give voice to formerly suppressed peoples. This is the question asked by Gayatri Spivak in her most famous essay, "Can the Subaltern Speak? " (1994 [1988]: 66-111). The term "subaltern" (the economically dispossessed) originates from the theory of Antonio Gramsci to describe the subordinated consciousness of non-elite social groups. In her famous essay, Spivak elucidates that subaltern cannot be heard by the intellectual. This is because the intellectual's interests are in conflict with the subaltern's desires, their language, symbolic systems and their cultural sense of expression.

In spite of the critical voices, the notion of postcolonial literature is most frequently explained as being engaged in a potential anti-colonial discourse, and as presenting a form of literature which subverts the "Western" claim to hegemony (Michel 1993: 11). Generally speaking, language is a key issue of reclaiming voice and a recurring theme in the New English Literatures which are generally "identified with 'postcolonialism'" (Schulze-Engler 2007: 20). However, in line with, as well as in contrast to, Eckstein and Antor, it appears to me that we are now facing a kind of desorientation in the field of New English Literatures. This is due to an excessive recognition of these writers and their literatures at all levels of production and reception. Consequently, one had to admit that the br(e)aking of the English literary canon has taken place at many levels. As a consequence, the field of English literary studies seems to be in need of a paradigm shift regarding new theoretical approaches in order to cover the latest developments in postcolonial literatures and the New English Literatures - in spite of the fact that in many (postcolonial) regions of the world, the (post)colonial condition, in the sense of the effects of colonialism, is not yet "over." [23] 

Regardless of the positive effects of the recognition of the New English Literatures in German-speaking universities, it has to be noted that postcolonial literatures have become a hot commodity after their breakthrough in the 1990s. After the lacking institutional basis in the 1970s and 1980s, and a phase of establishment in the 1990s, the current situation has changed noticeably. In order to be able to pursue a successful academic career at a German university today, it is often useful for scholars of English Literature to have at least one publication in the field of the New English Literatures added to the publication list - apart from canonical English or American topics. This makes the German scholar in English Literatures and Cultures an even more multi-oriented researcher than before (from Beowulf to Wolf Hall [24] ), however superficial the topics and subjects might have been researched, at times. Research in this field is often no longer done for a longer period of time, but repeatedly one book publication or a paper given at a national (Gesellschaft für die Neuen Englischsprachigen Literaturen) or international conference will suffice. The teaching of courses on the New English Literatures at German-speaking English departments is also often organised seemingly at random. Apart from Frankfurt (Frank Schulze-Engler, NELK), Münster (Mark Stein), Hannover (Jana Gohrisch), Saarbrücken (Martina Gosh-Shellhorn), München (Helge Novak, Tobias Döring), Freiburg (Monika Fludernik, Barbara Korte), Bremen (Schaffeld in Canadian Literature), Cologne (Heinz Antor), Potsdam (Lars Eckstein), [25] Chemnitz (Cecile Sandten) many scholars turn their interests on and off the New English Literatures and postcolonial literatures. As a springboard this field of study might help in order to pursue a university carreer, yet wholehearted scholars such as Dieter Riemenschneider or Gerhard Stilz, the founding fathers of Commonwealth Literature in Germany, have become an exception. The GNEL or Association for the Study of the New Literatures in English (ASNEL) has observed an increase in membership numbers (especially of postgraduate students), yet it has to be doubted whether their affiliation will be long-lasting (in research and teaching). It has become en vogue to study Zadie Smith, Monica Ali, or Moshin Hamid, American. or to put it more generally, Black and Asian British writing, also often in combination with fashionable topics such as Hip Hop and Rap music, yet, it has to be conceded in this context, that a profound theoretical approach is often missing, especially with regard to the political implications the term postcolonial denotes. [26] This conflation of topics and issues can also be observed at the Anglistentag panels topics, which are titled "Violence and War in Anglophone Cultures" (Bamberg 2005, chaired by Barbara Schmidt-Haberkamp), "Postcolonial Aethetics" (Halle 2006, chaired by Helge Novak, Saskia Schabio and Mark Stein), "Travelling Literatures" (Tübingen 2008, chaired by Sissy Helff, Cecile Sandten and Axel Stähler), or "(Post-)Colonial Discourses: British Images of Australia in Literature and Art, Australian Responses" (Klagenfurt 2009, chaired by Adi Wimmer and Andreas Gaile). In spite of the fact that the latter focuses again on a region within the broader field of New English Literatures and postcolonial literatures, the establishing of the New English Literatures has become an integral part of English Studies since the 1990s, which, as Antor maintains, "spawned a variety of reactions" (Antor 2005: 419). Antor is also critical with resepct to this breaking of the canon:

On the one hand, the process of differentiation and expansion within our subject through a widening of the canon was seen as necessary and even inevitable in an increasingly globalised world. […] On the other hand, there arose new fears of an explosion, of an over-differentiation and a loss of unity, a fragmentation of Anglistik as an academic subject. There were also anxious doubts by some representatives of classical English and American Studies as to whether the rise of the New Literatures in English could possibly lead to neglect of their traditional fields and of the old canonised texts. (Antor 2005: 419)

However, Antor's concern is rather addressing the anxiety of a loss of unity within English Literary Studies than the celebrated "anything-goes"-mentality postcolonial literature is often characterised by. This is a development which, as I argue, might lead to overproduction, imprecision and blurriness. Especially BA and school curricular are confronted with the problem of having to cope with this overabundance of material in order to get students well-educated in an accepted and coherent body of texts in English/American and New English Literatures/postcolonial literatures.

Intercultural competence has become a buzzword in current discussions about teaching English in the EFL classroom. This idea has resulted in a shift in topics, with a focus on themes such as globalisation, (mass) migration and the accelerating process of the flow of information around the globe. In spite of this recent debate and the increasing real and virtual cultural encounters which students are constantly experiencing, Reinhold Wandel most critically draws our attention to the still prevailing situation in German EFL classrooms:

Traditionally and conventionally English instruction in German schools focuses on Britain and the US. In secondary school textbooks German pupils are introduced to an English family, living in Hatfield, Nottingham or Chester; […] After three years the textbooks switch to the United States and usually for a further two years relevant aspects of American society are portrayed […]. Thus EFL-learners in Germany are - as a rule - only confronted with the target cultures of the US or the UK. (Wandel 2005: 86)

Wandel explains why this phenomenon happens to be such a distinctive feature in the German school context: There are, firstly, relatively old teachers who were academically brought up with these two basic foci when studying. Secondly, the set texts which are used by these teachers have proved to be successful in the classroom, and, thirdly, teachers "tend to use works of literature edited in versions which are annotated or contain background information, comments and model interpretations and in which the necessary questions (and answers) for classroom discussion are supplied" (Wandel 2005: 88). His final point is that "until recently most syllabi or lists of set books made compulsory by the departments of education have not asked for the discussion of new English literatures" (Wandel 2005: 88). Wandel further elucidates this point by arguing that:

[a]s for German EFL-learners, our eurocentric [sic!] perspectives and attitudes must be questioned, and it is in this context, too, that working with Indian fiction is important and relevant. If multiculturalism as an educational aim is to be taken seriously, then the formation of empathy, tolerance, curiosity and the ability to change and exchange perspectives must be trained, and the confrontation with South Asian literature, for example, provides an ideal training ground for raising intercultural awareness. Literary texts provide unique insights into other people's lives and convey new experiences and beliefs. (Wandel 2005: 89).

This idea is underlined by many departments of education that have started to make, for instance, "Anglophone Worlds: Economic, Cultural and Technical Changes in Developing Countries" compulsory as one of the topics in the "Zentralabitur." In the context of the broader field of the so-called "Anglophone world," topics such as "Economic, Cultural and Technological Developments in Developing Countries" are obligatory issues in the written A-level exams. In this context, countries such as India, South Africa, etc. range prominently. The themes mentioned have to be explored with the help of texts such as short stories, novels, extracts from novels, expository texts or cartoons, diagrams, news papers and journals as well as audio-visual materials, so that changing gender roles, education, new poverty as well as health problems such as starvation, hunger, the AIDS-crisis, but also technological developments and different strategies of developments (e.g.) industrialisation, tourism, agrarian revolutio) can be scrutinised. [27] 

The aims are the conscious reflection of the students' practices and behaviour as a starting element of the learning processes in young adults and learners of English. However, students and pupils of English Literature in general, as well as with a special focus on the New English Literatures, are subsequently confronted with text books which provide them with easy-reader material in order to comprehend topics more effortlessly. Peter Freese's Viewfinder Special - New Edition is dedicated to topics such as "Britain in Europe," "London - Diversity and Myth," "Ethnic Diversity in the UK," "Australia," "India" or "the Global Village" (Freese 2010) [28] .

Instead of having to read full-length novels by different writers of different nationalities and cultural backgrounds, students are provided with extracts, diagrams, cartoons etc. This trend of conflation of topic and presentation in an easy and seemingly coherent, or rather canonic mode, on the one hand, challenges young readers' perceptions of English Literatures and Cultures, on the other, it might confine them to a specific "canon" of writers, chosen by the editor or author of the particular edition with a special choice on text passages. The question, therefore, has to be asked, which writers are eligible for entering the literary canon of English literary studies, including the New English Literatures / Postcolonial Literatures, in a broader sense.


Clifford's initial notion of the 'travelling cultures' needs to be re-discussed. Accordingly, the question is at stake: where do the New English Literatures and Postcolonial Literatures go within or without the canon of English Literature? In spite of this, it has to be conceded that the New English Literatures have long started to break and brake the canon of English literary studies.