Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


10 cp from 200-level unit in Drama or Literature or English

Teaching organisation

Intensive block made up of lectures and tutorials on-campus plus 26 hours on location in New York.

Unit rationale, description and aim

New York is a hub for American theatre performance and an important centre and setting for American writing. Student will have the opportunity to read literary texts, attend performances and immerse themselves in the locations that gave birth to these texts and to the cultural sites (theatres/art galleries/museums) that provided the creative impetus to these works. This interdisciplinary unit in literature and drama offers students the opportunity to consider American texts from different academic disciplines and perspectives as a way to enhance their critical understanding of the various works. The aim of this unit is to provide students with the opportunity to study American literature and theatre in the country that it was created. Students will be in a position to assess these texts from a culturally informed perspective.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - interpret and compare an advanced critical knowledge of American literary and dramatic texts drawn from a variety of genres (GA1, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA9, GA10)

LO2 - interpret and compare the way in which theatrical conventions determine meaning (GA1, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA9)

LO3 - apply an understanding of the historical, geographical and cultural conditions in which particular literary and dramatic works were produced (GA1, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10).

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity 

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


Topics may include:

  • New York as a cultural and literary centre and its impact on the literary arts 
  • the influence of particular theatre innovators and practitioners 
  • the cross-fertilisation between literature and the visual arts in New York
  • the historical and cultural significance of American literature and drama
  • the interrelationship between dramatic and literary texts
  • the effect of theatrical space on meaning

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit is taught through mixed mode: online lectures, video conferences, face-to-face classes and field experience on site in New York. Students will watch recorded lectures and complete study guides. Lectures will provide students with discipline content and text-based knowledge. Students will attend live, video conference tutorials about the texts and then face-to-face classes and field experience in New York.

A range of learning and teaching strategies may be incorporated into this unit including formal lectures, performance workshops, performances, seminars, online learning resources, guided readings, and discussions. The classes will permit interactive learning through direct exposure to live theatre performance and literary tours as well as emersion in the cultural landscape of New York. Workshops will focuse students’ discussions around the experiential learning that has taken place. Workshops will be used to encourage students to engage with the texts studied. Formal recorded lectures and video-conference/ face-to-face seminars will be used to model research techniques and analytical methods, as well as communication strategies which are appropriate for the disciplines of literature and drama. Online learning, guided reading, and discussions could be used to develop skills which are fundamental to literature and drama such as the close reading of plays, novels and poems, the ability to identify relevant secondary sources, and the capacity to enhance creative, critical and reflective thinking.

This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total across the semester. To achieve a passing standard in this unit, students will find it helpful to engage in the full range of learning activities and assessments utilised in this unit, as described in the learning and teaching strategy and the assessment strategy. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessments have been designed to provide students with a variety of tasks by which they are able to demonstrate achievement of the different learning outcomes of the unit.

This is a 300-level unit and students will be expected to start showing a high degree of self-motivation to support their learning within it. The assessment in this unit is designed to help students to polish their research and analytical skills. These skills will then be used to help enhance the students’ knowledge of the literature and drama of America. The Research Task requires students to demonstrate high level research skills. The rationale for this task is to provide students with an opportunity to apply the research skills learnt over the course of the degree and apply them to the investigation of a specific literary or dramatic text. 

Web Discussions/ Blogs requires students to employ advanced analytical and critically reflective abilities in the creation of online work. Students will demonstrate advanced textual analysis, employing skills learnt throughout their participation in the disciplines of literature and/or drama. 

The Examination/Viva requires students to demonstrate an advanced knowledge of course content. It will also ask you to demonstrate high level analytical skills in critiquing the texts studied on this course.

In order to pass this unit, students are required to achieve an overall score of 50% or more. The schedule in both online and multi-mode provide scaffolded learning with opportunities for students to monitor their own progress, practice their skills and receive feedback.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1

Research Essays 

The purpose of this task is to give students the opportunity to conduct careful, critical research into American literature or drama.


LO1, LO2, 

GA1, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10

Assessment Task 2

Web Discussions/ Blogs (including Review of Performances) 

The purpose of this task is to give students the opportunity to reflect critically and creatively on the experiential learning occurring on site in New York.


LO2, LO3

GA1, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA9, G10

Assessment Task 3


The purpose of this task is to allow students to demonstrate their knowledge of lecture material and the texts studied. 


LO1, LO3

GA1, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA9, G10

Representative texts and references

Acker, Kathy. New York CityNew York: Top Stories. First Thus Ed, 1981.

Andreach, Robert J. Tragedy in the Contemporary American Theatre. University Press of America, 2014.

Bigsby, C.W.E. Modern American Drama, 1945-1990. Cambridge University Press, 2000.

Bloom, Harold. Modern American Drama. Cambridge University Press, 2004. 

Däwes, Birgit, ed. Indigenous North American Drama: A Multivocal History. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2013.

Delillo, Don. Underworld, Picador, 2011.

Delillo, Don. Cosmopolis,  Picador, 2011.

Eyre, Richard and Wright, Nicholas. Changing Stages: The British and American Theatre in the Twentieth Century., Alfred Knopf, 2001.   

James, Henry. Washington Square. Sheba Blake Publishing, 2018.

King, Kimball. Modern Dramatists: A Casebook of Major British, Irish and American Playwrights (Studies in Modern Drama). Routledge, 2013.

Morisson, Toni. Jazz. Vintage, 2000.

Saddik, Annette J. Contemporary American Drama. Edinburgh University Press, 2007.

Salinger, J.D. Catcher in the Rye. Penguin, 2018.

Scott-Fitzgerald. The Great Gatsby. Penguin, 2019.

The New York Poets: An Anthology, Mark Ford Ed, Z Publishing House, 2017.

Toibin, Colm. Brooklyn. Picador Australia, 2015.

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