American Power, American Protest - ENGL3420

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Autumn Term 4 15 (7.5) Ben Hickman checkmark-circle


American Power, American Protest introduces students to the relation between text and power, as it has manifested in US history. It looks at how language has enforced control as well as how it has been mobilised to challenge power. In so doing, it will introduce the necessary tools to understand and critique the aesthetic, political and rhetorical choices of a range of important cultural and political figures. Students will analyse the specific social factors that give rise to the texts they encounter, and survey a range of key historical events and struggles in US history.


Contact hours

Contact Hours: 22
Private Study Hours: 128
Total Study Hours: 150

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods:
Essay (2,500 words) 50%
Seminar Participation 20%
Project (collaborative) 30%

Reassessment methods
100% Coursework (2,000 words).

Indicative reading

The University is committed to ensuring that core reading materials are in accessible electronic format in line with the Kent Inclusive Practices. The most up to date reading list for each module can be found on the university's reading list pages:

A module reader will be provided including a range of transcriptions of speeches by figures such as former presidents of the USA, African American and Native American leaders and advocates, anti-war protestors, anti-capitalist activists, and renowned authors

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Demonstrate good knowledge of critical concepts and rhetorical terms.
2 Understand how the concerns of the primary reading relate to, or are informed by, broader political, historical, and cultural debates and contexts.
3 Develop an ability to interact with, and respond to, a range of texts and compare them across different historical periods.
4 Conduct their own research to support their studies, and develop an understanding of different forms of representation and argument.
5 Generate and develop critical ideas that interact with current debates in all areas covered by the module.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Utilize close analysis skills and apply them to a wide-range of texts in order to develop comparisons between them.
2 Present an argument, and use peer responses to refine their ideas.
3 Display an ability to devise individual research, including the ability to use secondary texts (which may be theoretical) from appropriate sources.
4 Reflect upon their own critical practices, and how these engage with wider current debates.
5 Use textual analysis and critical argument, and an effective command of written English, together with an appropriate range of vocabulary.


  1. Credit level 4. Certificate level module usually taken in the first stage of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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