Non-Western Literature

I.     Course Prefix/Number: EGL 230

       Course Name: Non-Western Literature

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite

EGL 101 or placement into 101

III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course introduces students to literature in English by writers from non-Western cultures such as Asian, South Asian, African, Caribbean, Middle-Eastern or Latin American. Content includes social, historical, and cultural contexts of literary works; relationship of these writers to literary traditions; terminology and methods of literary analysis and evaluation.

IV.   Learning Objectives

The student will be able to:

  1. Identify some of the major works of non-Western literature.
  2. Explain some of the distinctive characteristics of non-Western literatures.
  3. Delineate the social, intellectual, cultural, and historical influences specific to each author and region.
  4. Interpret the formal elements of these works, using appropriate terminology, such as: theme, conflict, figurative language, etc.
  5. Analyze works in the context of their literary, cultural, and historical backgrounds.
  6. Synthesize knowledge of genre, formal elements, and background material.
  7. Incorporate secondary sources in the analysis and interpretation of literary texts.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

Readings may be organized thematically, chronologically or according to culture. A thematic organization would group texts according to themes, such as gender, death, war, identity. A chronological organization would emphasize historical development of particular non-Western literatures, for example, from the colonial to the postcolonial period. A culture specific organization would group writers of particular non-Western cultures into units, for example, Asian, South Asian, African.

Sample outline by culture:

Week #1:
Introduction to non-Western literature as part of the humanities, to the course objectives and to principles of literary analysis. Discussion of distinctive characteristics of non-Western literature and culture.

Weeks #2 through #6:
Asian literature: Writers from Japan and China

Weeks #7 through #11:
South Asian literature: writers from India and Pakistan

Weeks #12 through #16:
African literature: writers from Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa

Sample chronological outline:

Week #1:
Introduction to non-Western literature as part of the humanities, to the course objectives and principles of literary analysis. Discussion of distinctive characteristics of non-Western literature and culture.

Week #2 through #9:
Literature from the Colonial Era

  1. Indian writers
  2. Caribbean writers
  3. African writers

Weeks #10 through #16
Postcolonial Literature

  1. Indian writers
  2. Caribbean writers
  3. African writers

VII.  Methods of Instruction

The course will be conducted through lectures, discussion, readings, and the supplementary use of other appropriate media such as films, records, etc.
Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Course may be taught as a face-to face, hybrid or online course.

Reading, writing, oral presentations, and testing. A minimum of three critical essays of at least 750 words each.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

Novels, short stories, poetry and/or drama by writers from non-Western cultures. Films, audiovisual materials and/or guest lectures may be used when appropriate. Possible anthologies include:

Global Voices: Contemporary Literature from the Non-Western World (Prentice Hall), Eds. Arthur W. Biddle and Gloria Bien.

Colonial and Postcolonial Fiction (Garland), Robert L. Ross, ed.

Postcolonial Plays: An Anthology (Routledge), ed. Helen Gilbert

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

A minimum of three critical essays of at least 750 words each, written outside of class. In addition to exams and written/oral assignments, students will be evaluated on their active  and prepared participation in class discussions and other projects.

Possible breakdown:
Midterm 25%
Final 25%
Formal essays 25%
Quizzes, other assignments, attendance 25%

XI.   Other Course Information

Attendance policy

For whatever information/procedures the instructor holds the student accountable.

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at