Syllabus for American Studies B1

USA-kunskap B1

Syllabus

  • 30 credits
  • Course code: 5EN721
  • Education cycle: First cycle
  • Main field(s) of study and in-depth level: English G1F
  • Grading system: Fail (U), Pass (G), Pass with distinction (VG)
  • Established: 2006-12-07
  • Established by: The Faculty Board of Languages
  • Revised: 2015-06-04
  • Revised by: The Department Board
  • Applies from: week 01, 2016
  • Entry requirements: American Studies A1 or 30 credits within the humanities or social sciences disciplinary research domain.
  • Responsible department: Department of English

Learning outcomes

Upon completing the course, students will have a deeper knowledge of central features of the cultural and societal life of the United States, especially in the subjects of history, politics, mass media, and literature. Students will also have developed their ability to communicate in English, both orally and in writing, on the issues and problem complexes treated in the course.

The goals for each course component are given below.

Component 1. United States history (7.5 credits)
Upon completing the component students will be able to

  • show, in English, a good knowledge of selected themes in American history
  • analyse in English the factors and events that have influenced American history within these themes
  • analyse in written English a history text about the history of the United States.

Component 2. United States politics (7.5 credits)
Upon completing the component students will be able to
  • evince a good knowledge of some of the issues and problem complexes that characterise today’s US domestic and foreign policy
  • argue in English for or against a particular standpoint in a current issue of contention in US politics
  • analyse in written English a given text in English in the field.

Component 3. United States mass media II (7.5 credits)
Upon completing the component students will be able to
  • Give an account in English of the main features of several central media theories pertaining to American media productions
  • Discuss in English the historical and cultural conditions in the US during the 20th and 21st centuries of relevance to different mass media
  • Critically discuss in English the many different roles of US media in national and international contexts.

Component 4. American literature during the 20th century (7.5 credits)
Upon completing the component students will be able to
  • give an account in English of intellectual and cultural history behind a number of representative works from the 20th century
  • give an account in English of social and cultural conditions in the US during the 20th century
  • argue in English for their interpretation of a text with the support of the text
  • present an independent analysis in English, in essay form, of literary texts in English.

Content

The course consists of four components, each worth 7.5 higher education credits as shown below.

American History 7.5 credits

The component discusses selected important themes and problems in American history from both historiographical and analytical perspectives. The choice of themes can vary from term to term.

American Politics 7.5 credits

The component takes up some current problems in present-day US politics, such as the declining importance of parties, voter turnout, financing election campaigns, relations between the president and Congress, the power of the courts, and current US foreign policy.

American Mass Media 7.5 credits

The component discusses problems and issues regarding modern U.S. mass media. We read and discuss texts, study different forms of media and place them in their political, cultural, and historical contexts. Topics that may be covered include news assessments, cultural memory, visual culture, race/ethnicity and gender, popular culture, political communication, and the Internet.

American 20th-Century Literature 7.5 credits

The component comprises readings and discussions designed to elucidate, on the one hand, representative texts from the 20th century and, on the other hand, the cultural and intellectual background to these texts.

Instruction

Group instruction. Instruction, class discussions, and examinations in all components are in English. Special emphasis is placed on written assignments in the components. All course reading is in English.

Active participation in course seminars is obligatory. In cases of absence students will be given the opportunity to complete an extra assignment within the framework of the course period.

Assessment

Examination is both oral and in writing. Grades used are either Fail, Pass, or Pass with Distinction. To receive a grade of Pass with Distinction for the whole course, students must have achieved the grade of Pass with Distinction for at least three of the course components.

Students who do not achieve a passing grade on the regular examination will have another opportunity to take the examination within a reasonable period of time after the regular examination.

Students who fail a certain examination twice have the right upon request, following consultation with the head of department, to have another examiner appointed.

Transitional provisions

For transitional regulations in the case of changes in the syllabus, please contact the student adviser.

Other directives

Results that are more than five years old are normally not recognised if the syllabus for the course component has been changed.

If the syllabus or course reading for a component has been changed, students have a right to be examined under the original syllabus and course reading on three occasions during the following three semesters. Normally this right then expires. Otherwise there are no limitations on the number of examination opportunities.

The course may not be included in a degree if equivalent parts have been read within another course included in the degree.

Reading list

Reading list

A revised version of the reading list is available.

Applies from: week 01, 2017

American History

  • Banner, Lois W. Handlin, Oscar Elizabeth Cady Stanton : a radical for woman's rights

    4. pr.: Boston: Little, Brown & comp., cop. 1980

    Find in the library

    Mandatory

  • Banner, Lois W. Women in modern America : a brief history

    New York: Harcourt, cop. 1974

    Excerpts. Text provided by the teacher

    Find in the library

    Mandatory

  • Melosh, Barbara Gender and American history since 1890

    London: Routledge, 1993

    Find in the library

    Mandatory

  • Rosenberg, Carroll Smith The female world of love and ritual : relations between women in nineteenth-century America

    Part of:

    Signs : journal of women in culture and society

    Chicago, Ill.: Chicago U. P., 1975-

    Available through J-STOR

    1(1975):1, s. 1-29

    Find in the library

    Mandatory

  • Testi, Arnaldo The gender of reform politics : Theodore Roosevelt and the culture of masculinity

    Part of:

    The journal of American history.

    Abilene, Kan., etc.: Mississippi Valley Historical Association, 1964-

    Available through J-STOR

    81(1995):4, s. 1509-1533

    Find in the library

    Mandatory

  • Cuordileone, K. A. "Politics in an age of anxiety" : Cold War political culture and the crisis in American masculinity, 1949-1960

    Part of:

    The journal of American history.

    Abilene, Kan., etc.: Mississippi Valley Historical Association, 1964-

    Available through J-STOR

    87(2000):2, s. 515-545

    Find in the library

    Mandatory

  • Douglass, Frederick Baker, Houston A. Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, an American slave

    Harmondsworth: Penguin books, 1986

    Find in the library

    Mandatory

  • Angelou, Maya. I know why the caged bird sings

    New York: Random House, 2002

    Find in the library

    Mandatory

  • Miller, Arthur Death of a salesman

    Find in the library

    Mandatory

An additional two short texts from J-STOR or photocopied material

American Politics

  • Frey, William H. Diversity Explosion: How New Racial Demographics are Remaking America

    Brookings Institution Press, 2014

    Find in the library

    Mandatory

  • Jones, Robert P. The end of White Christian America

    First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition.: New York: Simon & Schuster, 2016.

    Find in the library

    Mandatory

  • Putnam, Robert D. Our kids : the American dream in crisis

    New York: Simon & Schuster, 2015

    Find in the library

    Mandatory

American Mass Media

The course reading is compiled in a compendium supplied by the department.

American 20th-Century Literature

  • Williams, Tennessee; Browne, E. Martin A streetcar named desire

    [New ed.]: London: Penguin, 2009

    Find in the library

    Mandatory

  • Lee, Harper To kill a mockingbird

    London: Vintage, 2004

    Find in the library

    Mandatory

  • Morrison, Toni Beloved

    London: Vintage Books, 2005

    Find in the library

    Mandatory

  • Villanueva, Tino Scene from the movie Giant

    1. ed.: Willimantic, CT: Curbstone Press, 1993

    Find in the library

    Mandatory

  • Foer, Jonathan Safran Everything is illuminated

    Penguin Books Ltd., 2003

    Find in the library

    Mandatory

  • Hamid, Mohsin The reluctant fundamentalist

    [New ed.]: London: Penguin, 2008

    Find in the library

    Mandatory

Ginsburg, Allen. "Howl", "A Supermarket in California", "America" (handout)

Cisneros, Sandra. "Never Marry a Mexican" (handout)

Reading list revisions