"I, too, sing America": Identity, Diversity, and Voice in United States Literature
Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies
Undergraduate: Level 5
Thursday 05 October 2023
Friday 28 June 2024
31 March 2022
Requisites for this module
BA QT37 English and United States Literature (Including Year Abroad),
BA T720 English and United States Literature,
BA T723 English and United States Literature (Including Placement Year),
BA T728 English and United States Literature (Including Foundation Year),
BA LQ32 Literature and Sociology,
BA LQ33 Literature and Sociology (Including Placement Year),
BA LQ38 Literature and Sociology (Including Foundation Year),
BA QL23 Literature and Sociology (Including Year Abroad)
This module will look at a mixture of major and less well-known US texts from c.1850 to the present. Students will study a varied spectrum of US literature, looking at issues such as the relationship between American writing and history, American "difference" and differences within American society, nationalism and regionalism, and conflicts of race and gender.
The range of texts will enable us to consider the history of writing in the United States from before the Civil War to the Vietnam War, the Gulf War and beyond: that is, from the beginnings of a conflict that first threatened and then confirmed the United States as a nation state to the civil conflicts that erupted over the assertion by the United States of its global and imperial power as well as over the continuing denial of civil rights to the descendants of the slaves, the original inhabitants of North America and others. Among other topics, we will discuss:
* literary regionalism and literary nationalism
* the development of realism, modernism and postmodernism
* the conflict between the innovators who wanted to make it new, to respond to changing times with changing techniques and those who opted for a return to more traditional methods and values
* the emergence of more politically motivated, socially concerned forms of writing
* the impact of a growing concerns with race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class on American writing
* the varying status of the United States in both internal and transnational terms, as reflected and contributed to by its literature
The aims of this module are to:
1. provide students with an overview and knowledge of some key themes and concepts in United States literature, particularly in relation from the mid-19th century to the present.
2. provide students with a critical understanding of the legacies of slavery, colonialism, freedom, independence, class, gender, and social mobility in United States literature, with particular reference to issues of individual and communal identity.
3. enable students to develop the critical tools to evaluate how United States authors attempted to write about their nation and collectively have produced national and regional literatures.
After successful completion of the module, students should be able to:
1. demonstrate a critical understanding of a range of key themes and concepts in United States literature, particularly in the period from the mid-19th century to the present.
2. critically evaluate and situate the legacies of slavery, colonialism, freedom, independence, class, gender, and social mobility in United States literature, and their ongoing relevance in American culture and society.
3. apply a critical insight into how United States authors attempted to write about their nation to their own literary analysis of a selection of United States literature.
No additional information available.
Anticipated teaching delivery: Weekly 1-hour lecture and 1-hour seminar
LT203: LT203 reading lists, essay questions, etc.
(no date). Available at: https://moodle.essex.ac.uk/mod/folder/view.php?id=264001
Chopin, K. and Chopin, K. (2014) The Awakening
. Newburyport: Open Road Media. Available at: https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/universityofessex-ebooks/detail.action?docID=1806436
Hughes, L. (1995) The collected poems of Langston Hughes
. Edited by A. Rampersad and D.E. Roessel. New York: Vintage Books. Available at: https://www-proquest-com.uniessexlib.idm.oclc.org/publication/2059727?OpenUrlRefId=info:xri/sid:primo
Rukeyser, M. and Levi, J.H. (2006) The collected poems of Muriel Rukeyser
. Edited by J.E. Kaufman and A.F. Herzog. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press. Available at: https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/universityofessex-ebooks/detail.action?pq-origsite=primo&docID=2041565
Kerouac, J. (1972) On the road. London: Penguin.
Ginsberg, A. (no date) Howl
. Available at: https://poets.org/poem/howl-parts-i-ii
Orange, T. (2019) There there. New York: Vintage Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.
The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course.
The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students.
Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list
Assessment items, weightings and deadlines
|Coursework / exam
||Essay 1: 2,000 words on a single text or writer
||Essay 2: Comparative 4,000 words on two or three texts or writers
Exam format definitions
- Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
- In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
- In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
- In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary,
for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.
Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Owen Robinson, email: email@example.com.
Dr Jordan Savage, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr Owen Robinson (AU), Dr Jordan Savage (SP)
LiFTS General Office - email email@example.com.
Telephone 01206 872626
Dr Doug Haynes
University of Sussex
Reader in American Literature and Visual Culture
Available via Moodle
Of 18 hours, 18 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.
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