ENG41670 Contemporary US Genre Fiction: Intersection, Disruption, Protest

Academic Year 2023/2024

Our understanding of the “contemporary” is informed by diverse narratives of globalization, neoliberalism, and late capitalism; as well as the events of 9/11 and the escalation of racial, economic, and environmental crises and protests. This module focuses on developments in the American novel around the turn of the twenty-first century. Within our set of contemporary texts, we will encounter a diverse group of writers and their experiments with popular forms, images, and expectations.
The course will employ primary and critical texts to build a collaborative discussion of the American literary and social moment. We will concentrate on novels by canonical contemporary authors that employ the images and structures of what is conventionally considered to be “genre” or “popular” fiction, from science fictions to dystopian narratives and graphic novels. Together, we will consider the ways in which contemporary novels forge narrative acts of historical transgression, speculative remaking, disaster, and renewal.
For better and worse, we will encounter texts that are rarely fully critically digested or contextualized. Thus, the module will ask you for flexibility and creativity in pursuing the new, changing, and uncertain definitions of the present period.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

1. Identify key issues in the composition, form, and development of contemporary American prose
2. Establish contexts for the study of the contemporary American writing.
3. Engage with critical, cultural, and theoretical contexts relevant to the texts studied.
4. Prepare for and participate in group in-class discussions.
5. Participate in weekly class activities - ie. individual presentations, debates, and reading excercises.
6. Complete an extended essay relating to a topic studied in the module.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning


Seminar (or Webinar)




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Continuous Assessment: Short Assignments, Presentation Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Essay: 5,000-word essay Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Remediation Type Remediation Timing
In-Module Resit Prior to relevant Programme Exam Board
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?


Name Role
Dara Downey Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Katherine Fama Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Tim Groenland Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 Thurs 14:00 - 15:50