2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue
ENGL3290 American Words, American Worlds, 1900-Present
20 creditsClass Size: 149
Module manager: Dr Denis Flannery
Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable
Year running 2022/23
Pre-requisite qualificationsGrade 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
|ENGL3020||American Words, American Worlds, 1900-Present|
Module replacesENGL3020 American Words, American WorldsENGL3028 American Words, American Worlds
This module is approved as a discovery module
Module summaryAmerican 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.
ObjectivesOn 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.
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 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.
Research skills, including information retrieval skills, the organisation of material, and the evaluation of its importance.
Time management and organisational skills.
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.
|Delivery type||Number||Length hours||Student hours|
|Private study hours||168.00|
|Total Contact hours||32.00|
|Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)||200.00|
Private studySeminar preparation, essay writing, exam preparation
Opportunities for Formative Feedback- Participation in seminar discussion.
- Feedback on assessed essay.
Methods of assessment
|Assessment type||Notes||% of formal assessment|
|Essay||1,500 words (including quotations and footnotes).||33.30|
|Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)||100.00|
Students must submit 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 listThe reading list is available from the Library website
Last updated: 27/05/2022
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