EL7013 - Reading the American Man

What will I learn on this module?

You will learn about how male protagonists have been represented in a range of American fiction from the twentieth century to the present, for example how they have come to symbolise the ‘idea’ of America. You will learn about concepts such as the construction of masculinity, feminist critiques of the masculine as universal symbol of humanity and how these intertwine with the idea of America as a nation in the novels and short stories studied. You will study theoretical and critical articles alongside the texts to inform your critiques of the fiction.

How will I learn on this module?

You will be required to read either a novel or a short story collection each week, alongside assigned critical or theoretical articles that will help you to reflect on the texts through a conceptual lens.
If you choose to study on campus delivery will be primarily via student-led seminar discussion, facilitated by a tutor. If you choose to study by distance learning you can complete the module via a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), populated with on-line learning materials. Whether you are on-site or distance learning you will study the same texts and have access to the same materials. On-site students are encouraged to take part in the discussion boards by way of building a cohort with the distance learning students. The assessment for both on-site and distance learning students is the same combination of non-assessed and assessed e-tivities (on-line tasks). You will be expected to undertake both directed and independent learning. Directed learning generally will take the form of preparation for seminars for on-site students and weekly reading guidance for the distance learning students, where you will be expected to contribute to discussion whether this is in the seminar or through the VLE. Independent learning generally will take the form of further reading and investigation, and revision/preparation for the assessment of the module. Assessments for all students taking this module will include a portfolio of e-tivities that have two roles. First, e-tivities will include non-assessed assessments that ensure the student has the technological capacity in terms of hardware and digital literacy to complete the module. Second, the e-tivities will include the assessed assessments that test the student’s aptitude in relation to the learning outcomes.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Campus-based students: By attending and participating in seminar discussions and activities, you will receive oral feedback on your ideas from your tutors, guidance on the content of the module and on the assessment tasks. Further one-to-one support from your tutors is available via advertised scheduled ‘office hours’ throughout the semester or by emailing to make an appointment or for advice. You are strongly encouraged to share your ideas for your assignments with your tutor in advance of submitting your assessed work.
Distance-learning students: By engaging and participating in the e-tivities, preparation tasks and online discussions, you will receive online feedback from tutors. You are strongly encouraged to share your ideas with your tutor before submitting assessed work. The VLE will be in every way comparable to on-site delivery. In place of seminars will be weekly reading, guidance on how to approach the materials, and follow-up discussion via engagement with on-line discussion forums. Distance learning students are provided with the same opportunity to discuss, analyse and question their understanding of the reading material via the discussion forums. In addition, distance learning students will be supported by an Associate Tutor, who will moderate (rather than facilitate) the online discussions, thereby fulfilling the same role as the seminar tutor.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1. A nuanced understanding of the concept of male masculinity and its portrayal in twentieth- to twenty-first century American fiction.
2. Advanced knowledge of the idea and ideals of America as expressed in literature symbolically through representation of male protagonists in twentieth to twenty-first century American fiction.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
3. A capacity to synthesise theoretical and historical knowledge and understanding and apply it appropriately
4. A developed ability to present a coherent argument in written form, demonstrating independent research and analysis and thus exhibiting transferable key skills.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
5. Enhanced cultural awareness of gender as a social construct

How will I be assessed?

Formative: You will produce a draft essay plan, of no more than one page, for the first essay, to discuss with your tutor.

1. 1 x 3,000-word essay (50%)
This summative essay will be chosen from a range of options. It will require you to engage with two texts studied on the module thus far and to draw on criticism and theory studied on the module as well as independently researched material. (MLOs 1,3,4)

Formative: You will produce a draft essay plan, of no more than one page, for the second essay, to discuss with your tutor.

2. 1 x 3,000-word essay (50%)
This summative essay will be chosen from a range of options. It will require you to engage with two further texts studied on the module and to draw on criticism and theory studied on the module as well as independently researched material. You will also have the option to create your own essay title, in consultation with one of the tutors. (MLOs 1,2,3,5)

Written feedback will be given on the summative work within the University’s standard number of working days on the standard feedback sheet.

You are also encouraged to use tutorial time for additional supplementary feedback. Oral feedback on the formative essay plans will be given by your tutor in an individual tutorial.





Module abstract

Please find details of this module in the other sections provided.

Course info

Credits 30

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 1 year full-time
3 other options available

Department Humanities

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2023

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing.

Full time Courses starting in 2023 are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but may include elements of online learning. We continue to monitor government and local authority guidance in relation to Covid-19 and we are ready and able to flex accordingly to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with additional restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors, potentially to a full online offer, should further restrictions be deemed necessary in future. Our online activity will be delivered through Blackboard Ultra, enabling collaboration, connection and engagement with materials and people.


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