Writing America - EN332

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2018-19 2019-20
Canterbury Autumn and Spring
View Timetable
4 30 (15) DR P Owusu




Not available as a Wild Module



This module aims to emphasize connections between literature and culture in the USA, from early considerations of a distinct American literature to the present day. By way of six key themes or preoccupations, the module will introduce students to some of the major debates and antagonisms, and rhetorical and stylistic modes, that have formed and modified American literary and intellectual culture Questions of Belief, Gender, Race, Economy, Space, and Time will be approached through a range of textual forms set against their historical contexts and within the broader nexus of cultural production including the visual performing arts where appropriate. Students will be encouraged to examine the specific local, regional, and national frameworks within which these texts are produced, but also to look at the ways in which they resist and transcend national boundaries, in the development of an American register in world literatures for instance.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

Year long, 1hr lecture plus 2hr seminar

Method of assessment

40% coursework, 60% exam

Preliminary reading

HAWTHORNE, Nathaniel, 'The Scarlet Letter' (1850)
HOWELLS, William Dean, 'The Rise of Silas Lapham' (1885)
ROWLANDSON, Mary, 'A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs Mary Rowlandson (1682) - please note this is available online - we will put the link on Moodle.
BALDWIN, James, 'Another Country' (1962)

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

On completion of this module students will be able to demonstrate the following subject specific learning outcomes:

• read and respond to selected critical and creative works representative of a range of key events, debates and themes in American literary culture
• develop close reading skills appropriate to specific textual modes
• learn to make meaningful critical connections and cross-references between literature and other disciplines, between different areas of cultural production, and between the textual and the visual
• learn to situate and discuss literary and critical texts in their historical, cultural, and theoretical contexts
• both apply and interrogate critical and theoretical strategies appropriate to interdisciplinary study
• develop their ability to identify various different kinds of texts and to analyse these texts critically

On completion of this module students will be able to demonstrate the following generic learning outcomes:

• develop their command of written and spoken English and their ability to articulate coherent critical arguments
• develop their ability to situate critical arguments in historical contexts
• understand and interrogate various critical approaches, the theoretical assumptions that underpin these approaches, and the historical contexts which enabled them
• develop their ability to carry out independent research
• develop their presentational skills

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