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Unit information: American Revolutions in 2021/22

Unit name American Revolutions
Unit code ENGL30108
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Theo Savvas
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of English
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This unit, exploring twentieth-century American literature, aims to give an overview of the richness of the ‘American century’ by focusing on moments of social change, protest and activism, and the ways in which they were represented by and / or effected through literary and cultural movements. Drawing on a range of sources – from speeches to novels, nonfiction prose to drama, poetry to journalism – it will encourage students to think about what is at stake in literary representation; how literature, theory, and action might intersect; and how contemporary ‘America’ and its literatures have been formed through cultural and political ‘revolutions’ through the twentieth century.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the unit, students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate advanced knowledge and understanding of the breadth and depth of radical American writing in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries;
  2. apply thorough understanding of historical, cultural and intellectual contexts to readings of American novels, plays, nonfiction prose, poetry and journalism;
  3. discriminate between and analyse different critical perspectives on this literature;
  4. present and critically assess pertinent evidence to develop a cogent argument;
  5. demonstrate advanced skills in close textual analysis, argumentation, and critical interpretation using evidence from primary texts and secondary sources;
  6. contribute to group tasks and discussions and demonstrate advanced skills in oral presentation.

Teaching Information

Teaching will involve asynchronous and synchronous elements, including long- and short-form lectures, group discussion, research and writing activities, and peer dialogue. Students are expected to engage with the reading and participate fully with the weekly tasks and topics. Learning will be further supported through the opportunity for individual consultation.

Assessment Information

  • 1 x group project (25%) [ILOs 1-6]
  • 1 x 2000 word essay (75%) [ILOs 1-5]


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. ENGL30108).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.