ATS3888 - Race and class in American literature - 2019

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

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Sascha Morrell


Dr Sascha Morrell

Not offered in 2019




In this unit, students will examine a range of novels, short stories, and poems which illuminate how ideologies of race and class difference have evolved in the United States from the nineteenth century through to today. Topics explored may include: what it means to be 'American' and who decides; the economic underpinnings of white supremacist ideology; the legacies of chattel slavery in the Southern literary imagination; immigration and Jewish-American experience; colonial dispossession and the resilience of Native American cultures; the relevance of gender. Literary texts will be examined in relation to other media, including film and advertising.


On successful completion of the unit, students will be able to demonstrate:

  1. familiarity with an array of American writers from different periods and from different ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds;
  2. understanding of the evolving relationship between constructions of race and class difference in the United States, and their role in the construction of national identity;
  3. familiarity with theoretical and critical perspectives relevant to the understanding of race and class in American literature;
  4. understanding of the historical similarities and differences between race and class in the United States and in Australia;
  5. understanding of the importance of political and economic factors in the processes of literary production;
  6. skills in oral and written communication and research.


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

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