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2018/19 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ENGL3290 American Words, American Worlds, 1900-Present

20 creditsClass Size: 247

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: Dr Denis Flannery
Email: d.j.m.flannery@leeds.ac.uk

Taught: Semester 2 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.

This module is restricted to Level 2 & 3 students and visiting students.

This module is mutually exclusive with

ENGL3020American Words, American Worlds, 1900-Present

Module replaces

ENGL3020 American Words, American WorldsENGL3028 American Words, American Worlds

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

American Words, American Worlds, as its title implies, is a module for people with a serious interest in both American literature and American culture more broadly considered. Thus the lectures elucidate the set texts, but they also tackle major cultural issues: the United States as a political force in the world; the way race and ethnicity have shaped and sometimes limited individual aspirations; American conceptions of scale as registered in the the rise (and spectacular fall) of the skyscraper or microtechnologies; the memorialisation of some events and identities (e.g. Vietnam War and its veterans) compared with the amnesia surrounding others (AIDS and queer subjectivities). The seminars, which demand full preparation, both discuss each of the set texts closely and expect students to respond to a range of contextual material analogous to that treated in the lectures. The module is assessed partly by an examination, and partly by an essay in which students close read textual material and are encouraged to deploy their knowledge of American culture.

Objectives

On completion of this module, students will possess an increased knowledge of American literature and an enhanced awareness of some of the preoccupations of American culture in the period from 1900 to the present. Also, students will have augmented their critical and analytical skills with respect to different kinds of texts, including poetry, and further developed their skills in essay writing and close reading.

Learning outcomes
In terms of Academic Excellence this module develops critical thinking, flexibility of thought and analytical skills. It supports and develops the ability to work autonomously, initiative, planning and organisational skills. Students will learn to analyse information, synthesise views and make connections; students will be critically aware of, and be informed by, current knowledge; and will develop research skills. In short:
- 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.

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

This module examines American texts in the period from 1900 to the present, the so-called American century, when America emerged as preeminent on the international political, and arguably literary and linguistic, stage. Based on the premise that the materials show a forceful relation between 'word' and 'world' that demands our attention, the module approaches the texts both formally and in their cultural context, seeking to highlight the absolute interconnection between the two -- between 'word' and 'world'. In texts and in contexts we identify and explore a number of insistent preoccupations, for example: American exceptionalism and the American Empire; traumatic event and the culture of memorialisation; the frontier/borderlands geography; jazz, blues and racial absences/presences; urbanisation and migration; technologies of production and reproduction; queer subjectivities and 'the closet'. In a diverse range of forms which include documentary film, 'third-person' autobiography, poetry, fiction and drama, students will be introduced to pivotal events in American culture (such as the Vietnam War, the Cold War, the AIDS epidemic, the Harlem Renaissance), all the while attending to how the 'American words' that have been used to represent such events might be distinct and are certainly remarkable.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Lecture221.0022.00
Seminar101.0010.00
Private study hours168.00
Total Contact hours32.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Seminar preparation, essay writing, exam preparation

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

- Participation in seminar discussion.
- Feedback on assessed essay.

Methods of assessment


Coursework
Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1,700 words (including quotations and footnotes). Students must submit/sit and pass all elements of assessment. Students who fail any element (even as a result of penalties)) will have to resit the failed element in order to pass the module.33.30
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)33.30

Students must submit/sit and pass all elements of assessment. Students who fail any element (even as a result of penalties)) will have to resit the failed element in order to pass the module.


Exams
Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)3 hr 00 mins66.70
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)66.70

Students must submit/sit and pass all elements of assessment. Students who fail any element (even as a result of penalties)) will have to resit the failed element in order to pass the module.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 15/02/2018

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