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Unit of study_

ENGL3608: Transpacific American Literature

Semester 1, 2021 [Normal day] - Remote

Students will apply advanced literary methods to address the broad ways in which American Literature in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries has engaged with the opening of transpacific space. Themes will include the nature of westward exploration, the emergence of planetary perspectives and how these have affected US culture. Students will build on their knowledge of literary study to consider the key methodological question of how relationships between nation and narrative should be defined.

Unit details and rules

Unit code ENGL3608
Academic unit
Credit points 6
12 credit points at 2000 level in English or 12 credit points at 2000 level in Australian Literature
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Paul Giles,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment Take Home Final Assessment
Take-Home Final Essay in lieu of the Final Exam
30% Formal exam period
Due date: 18 Jun 2021 at 23:00
1500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO5
Presentation Seminar presentation and participation
10% Multiple weeks 10 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO6 LO3 LO2
Assignment Textual commentary
20% Week 05
Due date: 11 Apr 2021 at 23:00
1000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2
Assignment Research essay
40% Week 13
Due date: 01 Jun 2021 at 23:00
2000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO4 LO2

Assessment summary

Detailed information for each assessment can be found in the Canvas site for this unit.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a High distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a Distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Introduction Lecture (1 hr)  
Week 02 Edgar Allan Poe, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym Lecture (1 hr)  
Edgar Allan Poe, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym Tutorial (2 hr)  
Week 03 Edgar Allan Poe, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym Lecture (1 hr)  
Edgar Allan Poe, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym Tutorial (2 hr)  
Week 04 Herman Melville, Moby-Dick Lecture (1 hr)  
Herman Melville, Moby-Dick Tutorial (2 hr)  
Week 05 Herman Melville, Moby-Dick Lecture (1 hr)  
Herman Melville, Moby-Dick Tutorial (2 hr)  
Week 06 Poetry of Emily Dickinson Lecture (1 hr)  
Poetry of Emily Dickinson Tutorial (2 hr)  
Week 07 Jack London, Tales from the Pacific Lecture (1 hr)  
Jack London, Tales from the Pacific Tutorial (2 hr)  
Week 08 Memories of War: Vietnam and Other Pacific Wars Lecture (1 hr)  
Memories of War: Vietnam and Other Pacific Wars Tutorial (2 hr)  
Week 09 Denise Levertov, Poems Lecture (1 hr)  
Denise Levertov, Poems Tutorial (2 hr)  
Week 10 Yusef Komunyakaa, Poems Lecture (1 hr)  
Yusef Komunyakaa, Poems Tutorial (2 hr)  
Week 11 Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior Lecture (1 hr)  
Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior Tutorial (2 hr)  
Week 12 Ocean Vuong, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous Lecture (1 hr)  
Ocean Vuong, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous Tutorial (2 hr)  
Week 13 Conclusion: Transpacific American Literature Lecture (1 hr)  
Conclusion: Transpacific American Literature Tutorial (2 hr)  

Attendance and class requirements

  • Attendance: According to Faculty Board Resolutions, students in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences are expected to attend 90% of their classes. If you attend less than 50% of classes, regardless of the reasons, you may be referred to the Examiner’s Board. The Examiner’s Board will decide whether you should pass or fail the unit of study if your attendance falls below this threshold.
  • Lecture recording: Most lectures (in recording-equipped venues) will be recorded and may be made available to students on the LMS. However, you should not rely on lecture recording to substitute your classroom learning experience.
  • Preparation: Students should commit to spend approximately three hours’ preparation time (reading, studying, homework, essays, etc.) for every hour of scheduled instruction.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

All reading requirements for this unit can be accessed through the Library eReserve, available on Canvas. All recommended reading suggestions can also be found on Canvas.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. excel at applying and continuing to develop expertise in the graduate's chosen discipline or disciplines
  • LO2. demonstrate critical thinking and problem solving, communication (oral and written)
  • LO3. work productively, collaboratively and openly in diverse groups and across cultural boundaries
  • LO4. display interdisciplinary effectiveness
  • LO5. build integrity, confidence and personal resilience, and the capacities to manage challenge and uncertainty
  • LO6. effectively exercise professional and social responsibility and make a positive contribution to society.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

This unit of study was developed from the previous module ENGL2664. It has been modified in response to student feedback in order to allow opportunities for more detailed study and focus on a smaller number of literary texts.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.