This course is discontinued

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

In this course, we will read a variety of forms of American literature—political documents, speeches, autobiography, essays, drama, and history—in order to explore the ways that Americans have imagined, reformed, and questioned their common identity. We will discuss a variety of issues that pertain to the construction of American identity: the meaning of a democratic culture; the role of literacy in American life; the legacy of slavery, women’s rights, and civil rights more generally; the media and its construction of American culture; and much more. Beginning with the foundational texts of America and ending with contemporary literature, we will chart the ways various thinkers have dealt with citizenship issues, how they have defined private versus public life, and how they use the term “democracy” to both define and critique American laws, institutions, and cultures.

Learning outcome

To develop an understanding of American culture through studying the debates about citizenship and public life; to look at the construction of American culture from a variety of race, class, and gender perspectives; to develop analytical skills by focusing on particular themes in American culture.


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.

Lectures are open to all.

In order to participate in seminars and groups admission to the course is required.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

Acceptance to the bachelor program in North American studies, English literature, LAP or other relevant program.

Recommended previous knowledge

Good reading and writing skills in English and basic knowledge of American culture.

NORAM 1500 American History or NORAM1506

Overlapping courses

10 credits overlap with NORAM4321 – American Public Life (discontinued)


Kunnskapsemne med integrert vurdering; 20 semester hours of seminar

Access to teaching

A student who has completed compulsory instruction and coursework and has had these approved, is not entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework. A student who has been admitted to a course, but who has not completed compulsory instruction and coursework or had these approved, is entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework, depending on available capacity.


Semesteroppgave or mappe: students can choose either a research paper (10 pp) or a “mappe” that consists of two 5-page position papers

Examination support material

No examination support material is allowed.

Language of examination

The language of examination is English

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Sensur på emnet gjennomføres i henhold til
HFs retningslinjer

Marks will be published on Studentweb no later than three weeks after the submission date/exam.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course






Autumn 2008


Autumn 2008

Teaching language