Module and Programme Catalogue

Search site

Find information on

2018/19 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ENGL32148 American Danger

20 creditsClass Size: 30

For full module descriptions of our level 2 and 3 undergraduate modules (including details of preparatory reading, texts for purchase and required unassessed work) please see the Undergraduate Module Handbook in the English Organisation on the VLE.

Visiting and Exchange Students must read this information before selecting modules.

Module manager: Professor Bridget Bennett
Email: b.k.g.bennett@leeds.ac.uk

Taught: Semester 1 View Timetable

Year running 2018/19

Pre-requisite qualifications

Grade B at 'A' Level in English Language or Literature (or equivalent) or an achieved mark of 56 or above in a Level 1 module in English (or its non-UK equivalent).

Module replaces

ENGL3389

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

In this module we will examine how the threat of danger from within (sometimes from outsiders, but also from the inside) has persistently undermined more optimistic American narratives about the nation-as-home, providing a troubling and remarkably persistent counter-narrative to dominant discourses. We will look at a range of very diverse and extraordinary texts (novels, films, a play) that each address differing types of danger set within or constituted out of differently imagined versions of home. These include the most important and foundational Indian captivity narrative set in a period of war; a sensational mock gothic thriller; an award-winning play about a dysfunctional family set on their isolated Midwestern farm in the period of the Vietnam war; an award-winning novel about home, family and transients; one of the most celebrated Westerns of all time, set in the nineteenth century but confronting contemporary race relations and expansionist foreign policy; one of the most significant, acclaimed and reviled pieces of early cinema that reflects on the presence and future of African Americans in the United States. We will ask how such narratives of danger and endangerment set limits of racial and gendered belonging and exclusion, how they reflect on the political events of the periods in which they were produced but also their continued relevance in our current period of violence, danger and terror.

Objectives

On completion of this module, students should be able to:
- engage with a variety of literary texts and genres, and
- construct arguments about the relation of these texts to ideas that have been explored in seminars and that students will pursue in their own readings and investigations.

Learning outcomes
Students will have developed:
- the ability to use written and oral communication effectively;
- the capacity to analyse and critically examine diverse forms of discourse;
- the ability to manage quantities of complex information in a structured and systematic way;
- the capacity for independent thought and judgement;
- critical reasoning;
- research skills, including the retrieval of information, the organisation of material and the evaluation of its importance;
- IT skills;
- efficient time management and organisation skills;
- the ability to learn independently.

Skills outcomes
- Skills for effective communication, oral and written.
- Capacity to analyse and critically examine diverse forms of discourse.
- Ability to acquire quantities of complex information of diverse kinds in a structured and systematic way.
- Capacity for independent thought and judgement.
- Critical reasoning.
- Research skills, including information retrieval skills, the organisation of material, and the evaluation of its importance.
- IT skills.
- Time management and organisational skills.
- Independent learning.


Syllabus

In this module we will examine how the threat of danger from within (sometimes from outsiders, but also from the inside) has persistently undermined more optimistic American narratives about the nation-as-home, providing a troubling and remarkably persistent counter-narrative to dominant discourses. We will look at a range of very diverse and extraordinary texts (novels, films, a play) that each address differing types of danger set within or constituted out of differently imagined versions of home. These include the most important and foundational Indian captivity narrative set in a period of war; a sensational mock gothic thriller; an award-winning play about a dysfunctional family set on their isolated Midwestern farm in the period of the Vietnam war; an award-winning novel about home, family and transients; one of the most celebrated Westerns of all time, set in the nineteenth century but confronting contemporary race relations and expansionist foreign policy; one of the most significant, acclaimed and reviled pieces of early cinema that reflects on the presence and future of African Americans in the United States. We will ask how such narratives of danger and endangerment set limits of racial and gendered belonging and exclusion, how they reflect on the political events of the periods in which they were produced but also their continued relevance in our current period of violence, danger and terror.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Film Screenings12.002.00
Meetings11.001.00
Lecture21.002.00
Seminar101.0010.00
Private study hours185.00
Total Contact hours15.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Teaching will be through weekly seminars (10 x 1 hour) plus up to 5 additional hours. Of this, there will be one lecture prior to the submission of the unassessed work and one at a later point in the semester. Students will be expected to discuss their unassessed work in person at a meeting with the tutor, in order to help them develop their ideas. This, along with film screenings, will make up the 5 additional hours.

Private Study: Reading, seminar preparation and essay writing.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

- Seminar contribution.
- Feedback on unassessed essay of 750 words
- Feedback on presentation
- Participation in essay workshop

Methods of assessment


Coursework
Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay4000 words (including quotations and footnotes). One unassessed piece of work of 750 words is also required which will be returned individually. In addition, students will give unassessed but compulsory seminar presentations in pairs. Students will also contribute to building a scholarly bibliography of secondary reading. Whilst these unassessed elements do not form part of the assessment for this module, they are a requirement and MUST be submitted. Students who fail to submit the unassessed essay/take part in the presentation/contribute to building a scholarly bibliography will be awarded a maximum mark of 40 for the module (a bare Pass). Students will also participate in an essay workshop at the end of the module.100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

This module will be assessed by one essay of 4000 words (including quotations and footnotes). One unassessed piece of work of 750 words is also required which will be returned individually. In addition, students will give unassessed but compulsory seminar presentations in pairs. Students will also contribute to building a scholarly bibliography of secondary reading. Whilst these unassessed elements do not form part of the assessment for this module, they are a requirement and MUST be submitted. Students who fail to submit the unassessed essay/take part in the presentation/contribute to building a scholarly bibliography will be awarded a maximum mark of 40 for the module (a bare Pass). Students will also participate in an essay workshop at the end of the module.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/04/2018

Disclaimer

Browse Other Catalogues

Errors, omissions, failed links etc should be notified to the Catalogue Team.PROD

© Copyright Leeds 2019