THE AMERICAN CENTURY - 2021/2
Module code: ELI2036
In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, and in a departure from previous academic years and previously published information, the University has had to change the delivery (and in some cases the content) of its programmes, together with certain University services and facilities for the academic year 2020/21.
These changes include the implementation of a hybrid teaching approach during 2020/21. Detailed information on all changes is available at: https://www.surrey.ac.uk/coronavirus/course-changes. This webpage sets out information relating to general University changes, and will also direct you to consider additional specific information relating to your chosen programme.
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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.
School of Literature and Languages
KILNER-JOHNSON Allan (Lit & Langs)
Number of Credits: 15
ECTS Credits: 7.5
Framework: FHEQ Level 5
JACs code: T700
Module cap (Maximum number of students): 40
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.
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 type||Unit of assessment||Weighting|
|Coursework||ESSAY (1500 WORDS)||50|
|Examination||EXAM (2 HOURS)||50|
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.
- 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.
|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|
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 for THE AMERICAN CENTURY : http://aspire.surrey.ac.uk/modules/eli2036
Programmes this module appears in
|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|
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 2021/2 academic year.