American society, culture and literature

Credit points: 6
Contact hours: 60
Type: P, S

Main Instructor

dr. Nike Kocijančič Pokorn, Full Professor

Course Description

Objectives and competences

  • Awareness of the complexity of the notion culture and American culture;
  • Awareness of the plurality of the American culture through the outline of American history;
  • Awareness of the differences and similarities between the Slovene and American society;
  • The ability to understand the function of literary texts in the American society;
  • The ability to understand the complex interconnectedness of literature and culture in the USA;
  • The ability to recognise the canonized authors in the history of American literature;
  • The ability to critically approach different aspects of the USA, i.e. from its political system, education, religious communities, lifestyle, holidays, to its customs and typical leisure activies. 

Content (syllabus outline)

The course is divided into two units:

a) American Literature

b) American Society and Culture

American Literature: The course touches upon selected events in the history of the United States of America and focuses on the following periods and authors: American history to 1620; Native American Literature: Pima Stories of the Beginning of the World; Early American History and Literature 1620-1820; Thomas Jefferson, American History and Literature, 1820-1865; Nathaniel Hawthorne; Edgar Allan Poe; Walt Whitman; Herman Melville; Emily Dickinson; American History and Literature 1865-1914; Mark Twain, Henry James, Edith Wharton, Theodore Dreiser, Native American Chants and Songs, American History and Literature Between the Wars 1914-1945, Robert Frost, Wallace Stevens, Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, Eugene O'Neill, e. e. cummings, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, American History and Literature since 1945, Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, Kurt Vonnegut, Toni Morrison. The lectures include reading of selected passages or works.

American society and culture:  an overview of US geography; selected chapters from US history; minorities and immigration; US political system; US legal system; US economy; education; religion; US media; arts, sports and leisure


Kocijančič Pokorn, Nike. 2011. American Literature: Selected Texts.

Mauk, D. and Oakland, J. (2002) American Civilization, (Third Edition) London and New York: Routledge

For their home reading students have to select at least 7 works from the reading list provided by the lecturer.

American Literature - reading list


Enrollment in the second year of Interlingual Communication.


The final grade consists of the average from the two subjects (American literature & American society and culture). To pass, students must get a positive grade in both subjects.

American Society and Culture: Exam (50 % of the final grade).

American Literature: Seminar paper, written and oral exam (exam also covers home reading, i.e. at least 7 works from the reading list provided by the lecturer – 50 % of the final grade).

Forms of marking: 6-10 or A-E (positive grade), 1-5 or F (negative grade). The assessment is in line with the Statute of the University of Ljubljana and the examination regulations of the Faculty of Arts.



Nike Kocijančič Pokorn