autumn 2018

ENG-1120 Introduction to American Studies - 10 stp

Sist endret: 22.02.2019

The course is administrated by

Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences and Education


Tromsø |

Application deadline

Applicants from Nordic countries: 1 June for the autumn semester and 1 December for the spring semester.

Exchange students and Fulbright students: 15 April for the autumn semester and 1 October for the spring semester.

Type of course

This course may be taken as a single course. A good command of oral and written English is recommended.

Admission requirements

Higher Education Entrance Qualification (generell studiekompetanse) or prior learning and work experience (realkompetanse).

A good command of oral and written English is recommended.

Application code: 9199 - Enkeltemner (ikke realfag), lavere grad (Nordic applicants).

Course contents

The course provides an introduction to American literature and culture. It represents a historical, highly selective survey course of American literature from colonial times to the present, with primary emphasis on texts from the Romantic Age to the present. Texts from the various periods are analyzed closely and discussed in their socio-cultural contexts. The course thus attempts to integrate the study of literature and culture. The major genres of literature are represented in the course, and it provides students with the basic methods and tools of textual analysis, designed to make them more proficient in close reading.

Objective of the course

The students have the following learning outcomes: 


  • of the history of American literature and culture
  • of different literary genres of American writing
  • of methods and concepts for the study of literary and cultural texts
  • of a variety of samples of fiction, poetry, and drama


  • ability to explain one's ideas in a succinct, coherent manner and support them with close reading of texts
  • acquisition of advanced skills for the close reading of texts

Language of instruction

Language of instruction and examination: English.

Teaching methods

4 hours of teaching for 13 weeks.

Quality assurance: All courses undergo a halfway evaluation once in a 3-year period at the bachelor's level. The Programme Board determines which programme options will be evaluated per year, and which courses will be evaluated by the students and the teacher per year.


The following coursework requirements must be completed and approved in order to take the final exam: 

Coursework requirements: Assessment of one essay (1200-1500 words) that focuses one or more of the texts on the reading list. In addition, attendance is required at 80% of the group discussion sessions scheduled for one class on most weeks (after the course registration closes). For distance students one additional written assignment replaces the 80% attendance requirement. Coursework requirements are evaluated with approved/not approved. 

The exam will consist of: A 6-hour written (digital) school exam in WISEflow.

Performance in the course will be assessed on an A-F grades scale. Grades are A-E for passed and F for failed. A re-sit examination is offered in the event of an F grade. The deadline to register (in the Studentweb) for a re-sit examination is January 15th (for the autumn semester).

Date for examination

Written test 17.12.2018

The date for the exam can be changed. The final date will be announced in the StudentWeb early in May and early in November.


Course overlap

ENG-1120 Liberty, Equality and Power: American Culture in Text and Film 10 stp

Recommended reading/syllabus

Literary texts (available at the bookstore and library):

The Shorter Norton Anthology of American Literature, 9th Edition, Volumes 1 and 2 (2017). See assigned readings below.

F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby (First published 1926).

Toni Morrison, Home (2012).


Texts for historical and cultural context: (available in the library and online).

America's History in the Making.

Neil Campbell and Alasdair Kean, American Cultural Studies, 4th Edition (2016).

Russell Duncan and Joseph Goddard, Contemporary America. (Second Edition, 2003).

From Thomas King, The Truth About Stories: A Native Narrative (2003).

From Howard Zinn, A People's History of the United States: 1492 to the Present (2005).


Specific readings from Norton, supplied pdf files, and links (in the order in which they are assigned).

Barack Obama (2006) "University of Massachusetts at Boston Commencement Address," (available online at

Walt Whitman (1860) "Facing West from California's Shores" (Shorter Norton 1)

Christopher Columbus, From "Letters" (Shorter Norton 1)

The Iroquois Creation Story (Shorter Norton 1)

Thomas King, "'You'll Never Believe What Happened' is Always a Great Way to Start," in The Truth About Stories: A Native Narrative (pdf in Canvas).

Nathaniel Hawthorne, "Mrs. Hutchinson," (, and "Young Goodman Brown" (Norton 1).

Frederick Jackson Turner (1893) From "The Significance of the Frontier"

Dennis R. Hidalgo, "Manifest Destiny," Dictionary of American History (2003) (pdf in Canvas)

Excerpts from John O'Sullivan, "On Manifest Destiny," and "The Great Nation of Futurity," O'Sullivan, "Annexation." (pdf in Canvas).

Thomas King, "You're Not the Indian I Had in Mind," in The Truth About Stories: A Native Narrative (pdf in Canvas).

Joy Harjo, "Equinox" Available online at

Benjamin Franklin, "The Way to Wealth" and excerpts from the Autobiography (Shorter Norton 1).

Thomas Jefferson (1776) The Declaration of Independence (available online at

Excerpts from The U.S. Constitution (1787)

Martin Luther King, "Letter from the Birmingham Jail" (Norton 2 and

From Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (Shorter Norton 1).

From Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life (Shorter Norton 1).

Sojourner Truth (1851) "Speech to the Women's Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio, 1851" (Shorter Norton 1).

Charlotte Perkins Gilman, "The Yellow Wallpaper" (Shorter Norton 2)

Walt Whitman, "One's-Self I Sing" and "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry" (Shorter Norton 1).

Robert Frost, "The Pasture," "Mending Wall," "After Apple-Picking," "The Road Not Taken," and "Nothing Gold Can Stay" (Shorter Norton 2).

W.E.B. DuBois, "From The Souls of Black Folk" (Shorter Norton 2).

Langston Hughes, "The Negro Speaks of Rivers," "I, Too," "The Weary Blues," and "Theme for English B" (Shorter Norton 2).

Zora Neale Hurston, "How it Feels to Be Colored Me" (Shorter Norton 2).

Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman (Shorter Norton 2).

Raymond Carver, "Cathedral" (Shorter Norton 2) and

Several additional readings may be available electronically, or uploaded on Canvas.


Mathisen, Kari

studiekonsulent (årsstudium i engelsk, lektorutd. studieretning engelsk, BA i engelsk, MA i engelsk litteratur)
Telefon: +4777623316

Laura Virginia Castor ISK

Laura Castor

Professor engelsk litteraturvitenskap
Telefon: +4777646568