School of English and Drama

Thresholds of America: The Spatial Imaginary in American Fiction since 1930

Module code: ESH6037

Credits: 15.0
Semester: SEM2

  • Semester 2: Friday 10 am - 11 am

Contact: Dr Sam Mcbean
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: None

From regional fiction of the American South, to Harlem's centrality to jazz culture, to Los Angeles' importance to American postmodernism, to re-imaginations of the South in post-Katrina fiction, American fiction of the last century might be explored through a focus on the topic of space and spacial imaginaries. Beginning with John Dos Passos' 'The 42nd Parallel' and ending with Claudia Rankine's' Citizen: An American Lyric', this module will consider a range of modern and contemporary American fictions to explore how an attention to spatiality might focus critical attention upon America in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. We will explore how American fiction is abundant with spatial imagery and concerns: from the more literal examples of borders, specific cities and regions; to more abstract considerations of inclusion, exclusion, and crossings; to, finally, the spatiality of figures such as the citizen, the immigrant, the dissident, the subversive, and the queer. As well as developing skills in literary analysis, the module aims to foster an interdisciplinary approach to exploring the spatial imaginary of America, considering other forms of media alongside the literary as well as theoretical and critical material from a range of disciplines.

Connected course(s): UDF DATA
Assessment: 100.0% Coursework
Level: 6