ATS3888 - Race and class in American literature - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

Literary Studies


Professor Leah Garrett

Unit guides



  • First semester 2017 (Day)


In the course students will read and evaluate novels, short stories, and poems that focus on the experience of being a member of an ethnic and class group in America. A number of different topics will be explored including: what does it mean to be an American; how does the American 'melting pot' model exclude or marginalize the experiences of Native and African Americans; how do writers use a variety of narrative styles to convey their experiences; how do different immigrant groups, such as Jews, Latinos, and Asians, describe the impact of racism and class discrimination in their writings; how does poverty influence the understanding of race and vice versa.


On successfully completing this unit, students will have:

  1. Familiarity with an array of contemporary American writers;
  2. Understanding of the impact of racial categories on class in America and vice versa;
  3. Developed tools of comparative analysis when researching authors writing from different ethnicities and classes;
  4. Honed evaluative tools for approaching writers composing at the same time but from very different backgrounds;
  5. Understanding of the historical similarities and differences between race and class in America and in Australia;
  6. Understanding of the importance of economic issues to the processes of literary production;
  7. Developed oral and written communication skills;

    Third-year students will have a more developed understanding the theoretical issues underpinning the study of race and class


Within semester assessment: 100%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study