AJ9302 Contemporary American Literature and Society

Faculty of Education
Spring 2022
Extent and Intensity
0/2/0. 3 credit(s). Type of Completion: k (colloquium).
Taught in person.
Mgr. Zdeněk Janík, M.A., Ph.D. (seminar tutor)
Mgr. Jiří Šalamoun, Ph.D. (seminar tutor)
Guaranteed by
Mgr. Zdeněk Janík, M.A., Ph.D.
Department of English Language and Literature - Faculty of Education
Contact Person: Jana Popelková
Supplier department: Department of English Language and Literature - Faculty of Education
Course Enrolment Limitations
The course is only offered to the students of the study fields the course is directly associated with.
fields of study / plans the course is directly associated with
there are 8 fields of study the course is directly associated with, display
Course objectives
This course introduces students to major trends, authors and works of contemporary American literature by focusing on themes relevant for current times and provides connections to current political, cultural and social events. The central theme is the issue of identity - national, transnational, gender, social, racial, ethnic and multiethnic.
Learning outcomes
At the end of this course, students should be able to
identify cultural values and interpret their significance
describe postmodernism, discuss its causes and origins
identify and analyze postmodern features in literary texts
explain how minority writers (women, ethnic, racial and sexual minorities) have used postmodern narrative techniques to define their identities
  • 1. Cultural, social and literary themes of contemporary USA
  • 2. Theories of poststructuralism as a tool to interpret contemporary culture
  • 3. Postmodern Identity (Thomas Pynchon, John Barth, Kurt Vonnegut)
  • 4. Revisiting History (E. L. Doctorow, Toni Morrison)
  • 5. New ideas, new genres (graphic novel, cyberpunk)
  • 6. Critique of literary canon and critique of poststructuralism (Adrienne Rich, Gloria Anzaldua, Barbara Christian)
  • 7. Identity and Race (Alice Walker, Amiri Baraka, Lucille Clifton)
  • 8. Identity and Ethnicity I (Sandra Cisneros, Amy Tan) 9. Identity and Ethnicity II (Louise Erdrich, Sherman Alexie)
  • 10. Identity and Gender (Ursula LeGuin, Adrienne Rich, Olga Broumas)
  • 11. Queer Identity (Leslie Feinberg, Olga Broumas)
  • 12. Transnational Identity (R. Jarrar, Iva Pekarkova)
  • The Columbia history of the American novel. Edited by Emory Elliott - Cathy N. Davidson. New York: Columbia University, 1991. xviii, 905. ISBN 0-231-07360-7. info
  • The Heath anthology of American literature. Edited by Paul Lauter. Lexington, Mass.: D.C. Heath, 1990. xxxix, 261. ISBN 0-669-12065-0. info
  • Columbia literary history of the United States. Edited by Emory Elliott. New York: Columbia University Press, 1988. xxviii, 12. ISBN 0-231-05812-8. info
Teaching methods
discussion-based seminars
group work
Assessment methods
1) Response papers (1 for each seminar), focusing on one text from the assigned reading
2) final credit test
3) in-class presentation of an argument (based on the novel you read)
Language of instruction
Further comments (probably available only in Czech)
The course is taught annually.
The course is taught: every other week.
Information on the extent and intensity of the course: kombinované studium: výuka v blocích.
The course is also listed under the following terms Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021.
  • Enrolment Statistics (Spring 2022, recent)
  • Permalink: https://is.muni.cz/course/ped/spring2022/AJ9302