THE AMERICAN CENTURY - 2018/9

Module code: ELI2036

Module Overview

This module draws attention to and interrogates the shifting correlation between the ‘self’ and ‘society’ in American culture during the twentieth century. Approaching this topic from an interdisciplinary perspective, the module explores three interrelated areas that speak to the major social, political, and aesthetic developments of the ‘American Century’:

1) Urbanisation, Commerce, and the American City,

2) Transnationalism and American Identity, and

3) Race, Nation, and the Body in Contemporary America. In addition to the set primary texts, students will examine relevant examples from film, art, music, and design that help to further illuminate these three thematic strands.

Module provider

School of Literature and Languages

Module Leader

KILNER-JOHNSON AD Dr (Lit & Langs)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 5

JACs code: T700

Module cap (Maximum number of students): 40

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

None. This module has a capped number and may not be available to ERASMUS and other international exchange students. Please check with the departmental exchange coordinator.

Module content

Weeks 1-2: Introduction:  Defining the ‘American Century’


E.L. Doctorow, Ragtime (1975)


 

Weeks 3-5: Thematic Strand 1: Urbanisation, Commerce, and the American City


Theodore Dreiser, Sister Carrie (1900)
Willa Cather, The Professor’s House (1925)


 

Weeks 6-7: Thematic Strand 2: Transnationalism and American Identity


Ernest Hemingway, Fiesta: The Sun Also Rises (1926)
T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets (1943)


 

Weeks 8-10: Thematic Strand 3: Race, Nation, and the Body in Contemporary America


Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior (1976)
Tony Kushner, Angels in America: Part 1, Millennium Approaches (1993)
Jhumpa Lahiri, ‘Interpreter of Maladies’ (1999)


 

Week 11: Revision and Conclusion

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework ESSAY (1500 WORDS) 50
Examination EXAM (2 HOURS) 50

Alternative Assessment

N/A

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate achievement of the module learning outcomes.

 

Seminar discussion with ongoing tutor feedback is designed mainly to assess transferable skills in working as part of a group and practical/professional skills in expressing ideas and critical analysis in oral communication. It also assesses subject knowledge in the different forms of critical theory used in English literature and cognitive/analytical skills in critical thinking and in using theory in the close reading of literary texts.

 

The close reading and essay assess subject knowledge in the different forms of critical theory used in American literature and cognitive/analytical skills in critical thinking and in using theory in the close reading of literary texts. They also assess practical/professional skills in expressing ideas and critical analysis in written communication and transferable skills in working independently. 

 

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:


Essay (1500 words)
Exam (2 hours)


 

Formative assessment and feedback


Seminar discussion with ongoing tutor feedback in seminar


 

Students receive both written feedback and verbal feedback in tutorials that informs the final summative assessment, i.e. the essay.

Module aims

  • This module aims to deepen and expand students’ understanding of: A range of twentieth-century American fiction, drama, and poetry;
  • Key cultural, social and political developments in twentieth-century American culture;
  • The development of American identity politics and subjectivity.
  • This module aims to develop and strengthen students’ skills in: Close reading, analysis, and critical thinking;
  • Oral and written communication;
  • Independent work and group work in seminars;
  • Time management through essay submission and revision planning.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
1 Describe and analyse significant historical developments in twentieth-century America, and connect these changes to relevant aesthetic and textual features KC
2 Analyse an array of literary texts with an awareness of and engagement with critical materials and cultural artefacts KC
3 Understand and evaluate the relationship of literature to contemporary American cultural identity KC
4 Use critical and contextual material in relation to close textual analysis and critical thinking CT
5 Communicate orally in class discussions and in written form in essays CT
6 Work both individually and as part of a group PT
7 Plan and implement timetables for essay deadlines and exam revision . PT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Overall student workload

Independent Study Hours: 128

Lecture Hours: 11

Seminar Hours: 11

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to deliver subject knowledge, to develop cognitive/ analytical skills, and to develop in-depth transferable, practical, and professional skills. Specifically, the weekly lectures deliver subject knowledge through an overview of the twentieth-century American literature, and develop cognitive/analytical skills in analysing literature and its historical and intellectual contexts. The weekly seminars involve student-led discussions that develop skills in communication and in working individually and as part of a group. The seminars also provide students with instruction on planning and implementing timetables for work and on presenting ideas coherently under time constraints.

This relates to the programme learning and teaching strategy, which, at Level 5, is designed to continue the delivery of subject knowledge through lectures and SurreyLearn and to develop in-depth transferable, practical and professional skills, with a greater emphasis on student-led involvement, critical analysis, discussion and rhetorical ability.

The learning and teaching methods include:


1-hour lecture per week x 11 weeks
1-hour seminar per week x 11 weeks

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list

Reading list for THE AMERICAN CENTURY : http://aspire.surrey.ac.uk/modules/eli2036

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
English Literature with Film Studies BA (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
English Literature with Sociology BA (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Liberal Arts and Sciences BA (Hons)/BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Theatre and Performance with Creative Writing BA (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
English Literature and French BA (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
English Literature BA (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
English Literature with Creative Writing BA (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
English Literature with Politics BA (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2018/9 academic year.