Singapore University of Social Sciences

Topics in American Literature

Topics in American Literature (ELT372)

Applications Open: 01 April 2022

Applications Close: 31 May 2022

Next Available Intake: July 2022

Course Types: Modular Undergraduate Course

Language: English

Duration: 6 months

Fees: $1378 View More Details on Fees

Area of Interest: Linguistics and Languages

Schemes: Alumni Continuing Education (ACE)

Funding: To be confirmed

School/Department: School of Humanities & Behavioural Sciences


From its colonial origins to the present, American literature has posed questions regarding the meaning of America, striving to articulate a sense of national cultural identity. For the first several centuries, American writers struggled to emerge from the shadow of Europe. It was during the 19th century, the period of the so-called American Renaissance, that American writers found their own voice for the first time as they evoked the country with an unpretentious directness of style and fidelity to what they saw as a distinctly American valuation of experience. More recent literature of the modern and postmodern periods has formed in reaction to the increased complexity and diversity of the United States. Our study will read and interpret samples of poetry, short fiction, essays, biography, and one complete novel. Although all of these works stand on their own, we can trace a continuing engagement with American ideology throughout these texts.

Level: 3
Credit Units: 5
Presentation Pattern: Every July
E-Learning: BLENDED - Learning is done MAINLY online using interactive study materials in Canvas. Students receive guidance and support from online instructors via discussion forums and emails. This is supplemented with SOME face-to-face sessions. If the course has an exam component, this will be administered on-campus.


  • Colonial Beginnings
  • Eighteenth-Century National Optimism
  • The American Renaissance
  • The Birth of Modern American Poetry
  • Modernism
  • Postmodernism

Learning Outcome

  • Analyze the key aspects of American ideology, especially in literature written prior to the twentieth century.
  • Determine the characteristic literary styles and thematic concerns of major historical periods of American literature, from colonial era to postmodernist.
  • Demonstrate the uniquely American identity of the texts.
  • Propose connections between the themes and concerns of American literature within a larger sense of historical development and the social issues facing the planet in the present day.
  • Examine the major themes and concerns that reappear throughout American literature.
  • Compose academic essays that employ the appropriate skills in scholarly research, writing, and citation.
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