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

Undergraduate Course: Cities of Words: 20th Century Urban America (ENLI10096)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course aims to examine the representation of urban space in twentieth-century American writing. It covers a broad selection of texts in a variety of genres, the novel, poetry, journalism, short stories, and complements these with a consideration of various theoretical perspectives on the relationship between literary aesthetics and geography. In particular we look at the changing ways that New York and Los Angeles have been represented, thinking about social and political issues of immigration and race relations, the commodification of culture, and urban detection, as well as about formal considerations of how the experience of city spaces are textually conveyed. The course promotes students abilities both to engage critically with a text and to think conceptually about the ways in which US cities function as part of modern culture.
Course description This course enables students to explore a variety of representations of modern urban United States, focusing
specifically at New York and Los Angeles. We'll be looking a number of different genres of writing -
fiction, poetry, travel narrative, screenplay
to consider the ways in which the city has been depicted in American literary culture. The relationship between aesthetics and urban geography will also be examined through
reading a number of key theorists alongside the primary texts. The course encourages both close critical engagement and conceptual thinking about the ways in which city spaces function as part of modern culture.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: ( Literary Studies 1A (ENLI08020) AND Literary Studies 1B (ENLI08021) AND Literary Studies 2A: English Literature in the World, 1380-1788 (ENLI08024) AND Literary Studies 2B: English Literature in the World, post-1789 (ENLI08025)) OR ( English Literature 1 (ENLI08001) OR Scottish Literature 1 (ENLI08016) AND English Literature 2 (ENLI08003) OR Scottish Literature 2 (ENLI08004))
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Students admitted to the intercalated BMedSci (UTBMELITER1F) are also eligible to take this course.
Additional Costs Essential course texts
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisites A MINIMUM of 4 college/university level literature courses at grade B or above (should include no more than one introductory level literature course). Related courses such as civilisation or other interdisciplinary classes, Freshman Year Seminars or composition/creative writing classes/workshops are not considered for admission to this course. Applicants should also note that, as with other popular courses, meeting the minimum does NOT guarantee admission. In making admissions decisions preference will be given to students who achieve above the minimum requirement with the typical visiting student admitted to this course having 4 literature classes at grade A.

** as numbers are limited, visiting students should contact the Visiting Student Office directly for admission to this course **
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 196 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 100% coursework:
30% 2,000 word course essay
70% 3,000 word final essay
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. demonstrate their understanding of critical issues in relation to the city as a crucial site in the production of US literature and American modernity.
  2. speak and write fluently about these issues in relation to the primary texts, and the socio-historical contexts in which they are embedded.
  3. apply a range of relevant literary theories, such as spatial theory, African-American literary criticism, and postmodernism, to the primary texts on the course, and evaluate these theories in relation to each other.
  4. apply a range of secondary criticism to the primary texts on the course, and evaluate them in relation to their own readings.
  5. further improve their abilities in areas fundamental to the study of English literature at Honours level: essay writing, independent reading, critical thinking, class discussion, oral presentation of information, and the ability to learn autonomously in small groups.
Reading List
Additional Information
Course URL
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Special Arrangements Numbers are limited and students taking degrees not involving English or Scottish literature need the written approval of the head of English Literature
Additional Class Delivery Information Seminar: 2 hour(s) per week for 10 week(s): plus 1 hour per week for 10 weeks - Autonomous Learning Group at time to be arranged.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Anna Girling
Course secretaryMrs Vivien MacNish Porter
Tel: (0131 6)50 3528
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