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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : English Literature

Postgraduate Course: New Beginnings to the End of Days: Writing the American Republic from Reconstruction to 9/11 (ENLI11172)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Course typeStandard AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) Credits20
Home subject areaEnglish Literature Other subject areaNone
Course website None Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionThe course offers students the opportunity to engage with key texts - canonical and non-mainstream - that have contributed to the development, interrogation or undermining of notions of U.S. self-perception, understood both in terms of aesthetic significance and political impact. It proposes a series of cultural, political, or literary 'pressure points' that result in the emergence of modes of writing that seek to express transformed or contested expressions of U.S. identity. Areas of investigation include: the civil war, Reconstruction, Vietnam and the counter-culture, and 9/11.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Course Delivery Information
Delivery period: 2013/14 Semester 2, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Learn enabled:  Yes Quota:  15
Web Timetable Web Timetable
Course Start Date 14/01/2014
Breakdown of Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Additional Notes
Breakdown of Assessment Methods (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
No Exam Information
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
Students should develop the capacity to read and criticise complex literary and political texts and arguments. In addition, students should also possess a broad understanding of some of the key American historical and cultural moments, and how those are refracted through literary texts. After completion of the course students should be able to read further and more widely in U.S. literary and cultural history, having gained the requisite background knowledge and critical vocabulary.
Assessment Information
One essay for 4000 words (100%)
Special Arrangements
No UG version.
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus Week 1: White Mythologies of Nationhood
* Thomas Dixon, The Clansman: Historical Romance of the Ku Klux Klan (1905)
* Selections from W.E.B. DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk (1903)
* D. W. Griffith, Birth of a Nation (1915)

Week 2: Capital Fictions II: The Crisis of Capitalism and the American Left
* John Dos Passos, The 42nd Parallel (1930)

Week 3: Narrating the Depression
* John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath (1939)

Week 4: Race and Reconstruction II: The Southern Imagination and the Politics of Memory
* William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom (1936)
* Toni Morrison, Beloved (1987)

Week 5: Civil Rights and Republican Visions
* James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time (1963)
* Norman Mailer, The White Negro (1957)

Week 6: Expansionism and American Culture III: Vietnam and the American Imagination
* Norman Mailer, Why are We in Vietnam? (1967)
* Karin Ashley, Bill Ayers (et al), You Don¿t Need a Weatherman to Know Which Way the Wind Blows (1969)
* George Oppen, Of Being Numerous (1968)

Week 7: Republicanism and Reaction: Countering the Counterculture
* Joan Didion, Slouching to Bethlehem (1968)
* Saul Bellow, Mr Sammler¿s Planet (1970)
* Selections from Andrew MacDonald, The Turner Diaries (1996)

Week 8: Whose Republic/Whose Culture?: The American Diaspora
* Sandra Cisneros, The House on Mango Street (1988)
* Richard Rodriguez, Days of Obligation (1993)
* Julia Alvarez, In the time of the Butterflies (1994)

Week 9: Apocalyptic Visions: 9/11 and the End of Days 1
* Michael Cunningham, Specimen Days (2005).

Week 10: Apocalyptic Visions: 9/11 and the End of Days 2
* Marilynne Robinson, Gilead (2004)
Transferable skills Not entered
Reading list Not entered
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern Not entered
Course organiserDr Lee Spinks
Tel: (0131 6)50 3616
Course secretaryMs Nicole Luu
Tel: (0131 6)50 4465
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