Hopp til hovedinnhold

American Literature and Culture ENG175

Reading and analysis of selected works of American literature in a variety of genres (novels, short stories, poetry, drama, essays, etc.) and historical periods (from the early-colonial period to the present) that address key developments and events in American history and culture. Emphasis will be placed on understanding how literary texts relate to their social, historical, artistic, and cultural contexts.

Course description for study year 2021-2022





Vekting (SP)


Semester undervisningsstart


Antall semestre






Tilbys av

Faculty of Arts and Education, Department of Cultural Studies and Languages

Learning outcome


By the end of the course, students are expected to have a basic understanding of:

  • how intellectually serious and formally skillful texts and artifacts have contributed to the USA's diverse literary tradition;
  • significant relationships between American literary texts and their particular social, cultural, and historical contexts;
  • literary mediations of important historical events and sociocultural debates;
  • diverse sociocultural situations, traditions, and philosophies that inform American literature.


By the end of the course, students are expected to be able to:

  • analyze and understand American literature from different perspectives and multiple historical periods and literary genres;
  • interpret texts by conducting close readings and deploying relevant techniques and terms from literary and cultural studies;
  • explain the sociocultural significance of selected texts and authors;
  • identify relevant trends and movements that distinguish different literary periods within American literature.

General competence

By the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • use correct, varied, and precise English in order to participate in intellectual conversations about issues in literary and cultural studies;
  • analyze what others have written or said, then summarize their arguments and assumptions.
This course focuses on interpreting literature from and about America from the early colonial period to the present. By reading and analyzing a diverse range of intellectually serious and formally skillful literary works, students will explore topics such as: American exceptionalism, the American dream, democracy, ecology and the environment, immigration and Americanization, modernity and modernization, postmodernity and post-WWII America, and post-9/11 America. In addition to providing a sampling of the diverse beliefs and perspectives expressed in American literature, this course aims to develop students' critical understanding of American culture and society by situating literary texts in particular social, historical, and cultural contexts.
Required prerequisite knowledge
Recommended prerequisites

The course presupposes a solid command of written and spoken English. 

It is strongly advised that students, in addition to fulfilling the Higher Education Entrance Qualification, also have good results from specialized courses in English from Upper Secondary School. 

For students with a background other than the Norwegian school system, a level of competence in English corresponding to C1 in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages is recommended.

Eksamen / vurdering

Written exams, mid-term and final

Vurderingsform Vekting Varighet Karakter Hjelpemiddel
Beginnings to 1914 1/2 5 Hours A - F Exam aids available at the teachers' discretion
1914 to present 1/2 5 Hours A - F Exam aids available at the teachers' discretion

Written examinations, a mid-term and a final.
• Exam aids will be available at the teachers' discretion.
• Students must pass both exams to earn a final grade in the course. 
• English language and academic writing skills are taken into account in the grading, as well as the course content.

Duration: 5 hours per exam.

Course teacher(s)
Course coordinator: Eric Dean Rasmussen
Course teacher: Peter Paul Ferry
Programme coordinator: Margrethe Melin
Method of work

In-class lecture and discussion. Online discussion and resources. 

Students are expected to: 

  1. Attend every class, unless health reasons and/or an emergency make attendance that day impossible. Register each absence on Canvas.
  2. Do the required reading and study exercises before each class session.
  3. Spend approximately 18 hours per week studying for this course, including class meetings and out-of-class preparation.
  4. Contribute to class discussions, both verbally and in writing, and participate in study exercises, both in class and online.
  5. Make use of online resources accessed via Canvas.
  6. Check Canvs and the UiS student email daily for updates and information.
Open for
English Language and Literature - Bachelor's Degree Programme, One-year programme, History - Bachelor's Degree Programme, Religious Studies - Bachelor's Degree Programme, Nordic Language and Literature - Bachelor's Degree Programme, Teacher Education including an MA.
Course assessment
The UiS quality system involves student evaluation of all courses.
Overlapping courses
Course Reduction (SP)
American Literature and Culture (LENG175) 15
American Literature and Culture (ENG165) 10
American Literature and Culture (MENG165) 10
English Literature after 1950 (ENG130) 5
Other Voices - Global English Literature (ENG130) 5
English Literature after 1950 (ÅEN130) 5
Search for literature in Leganto