American Power, American Protest - ENGL3420

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2021 to 2022
Autumn Term 4 15 (7.5) checkmark-circle


American Power, American Protest introduces students to the long history of oratorical performance in the USA, from presidential speeches to University debates, from Native American orature to political activism. In so doing, students will be introduced to the necessary tools to understand and critique the rhetorical choices of a range of speakers; to analyse the specific historical and cultural factors that give rise both to the speeches they encounter and the rhetorical choices of their delivery; and to a range of key historical and political events in the life of the USA as well as the range of activists and advocates that give voice to them.


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
Alternative assessment: 100% Coursework (2,000 words).

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List:

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 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 wider forms of oratory and compare them across different historical periods.
4. Conduct their own research to support their studies, and develop an understanding of different forms of speech act and persuasive 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 speech-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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