Contemporary North American Literature

Academic year
Subject Area
Literature-Anglo-American Studies
Language of Instruction
Other Languages of Instruction
Mode of Delivery
ECTS Credits
1st Cycle Studies

Recommended Prerequisites

Proficiency in English; some knowledge of North American history, culture and literature.

Teaching Methods

A number of lectures for contextualization and exposition of theoretical tools for textual analysis will lay the basis for the close-reading of the materials. This preliminary approach will in turn enable critical reflection based on discussion-oriented activities, allowing for the development of a critical standpoint. Written assignments are expected to consolidate the students’ active engagement in learning and train them for autonomous research.

Learning Outcomes

Students will read a range of American literary texts selected and organized in terms of one or more concerns, such as school or movement, mode or genre, theme or topic, author or ethnic group. This approach allows for a more specific focus or perspective and so facilitates the aim of extending  and deepening the knowledge of American writing and its historical context acquired in former courses in American literature and culture. At the theoretical or methodological levels, students will acquire useful analytical tools and further develop their reading skills and critical perspective. By the end of the course, students will be well prepared to undertake further study in this area at 2nd, and eventually 3rdCycle of studies.

Work Placement(s)



This course aims at the development of critical thinking about a central theme of American literature and culture - the formation of identities, at the individual, the community, and the national level. The prose narratives and/or volumes of verse that comprise the primary bibliography of this course will be read along with several theories in American studies and defining concepts such as: empire, democracy, religion, frontier, gender, race, ethnicity, war, etc.  The notion of symbolic representation and the work of ideology on angles and perspectives of that same representation will also be an important subject

Head Lecturer(s)

Susana Isabel Arsénio Nunes Costa Araújo

Assessment Methods

Periodic Assessment
Other: 20.0%
Mini Tests: 80.0%

Final Assessment
Exam: 100.0%


Allen, D. & G. Butterick (eds.). (1994), The Postmoderns. The New American Poetry Revised. New York: Grove Press, 1994.

Baym, N. (ed.). (2011), The Norton anthology of American Literature. 8th ed. vols. D and E. New York: Norton.

Bercovitch, S. (ed.). (1999),  The Cambridge History of American Literature. Vol. 7 (Prose Writing. 1940-1990). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Jameson, F. (1998), The Cultural Turn: Selected Writings on the Postmodern, 1983-1998. New York: Verso.

Perkins, D.  (1989). A History of Modern Poetry, vol.s I & II. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press.

Ramazani, J., Ellman, R., & O’Clair, R. (eds.). (2003), The Norton Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Poetry. New York: W. W. Norton & Co.