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Course, academic year 2022/2023
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Ideology and Literature: American Literature 2001 - 2015 - JMM655
Title: Ideology and Literature: American Literature 2001 - 2015
Guaranteed by: Department of North American Studies (23-KAS)
Faculty: Faculty of Social Sciences
Actual: from 2018
Semester: summer
E-Credits: 5
Examination process: summer s.:
Hours per week, examination: summer s.:1/1, Ex [HT]
Capacity: unknown / unknown (15)
Min. number of students: unlimited
Virtual mobility / capacity: no
State of the course: not taught
Language: English
Teaching methods: full-time
Note: course can be enrolled in outside the study plan
enabled for web enrollment
priority enrollment if the course is part of the study plan
Guarantor: PhDr. Richard Olehla, Ph.D.
Examination dates   Schedule   Noticeboard   
Last update: PhDr. Richard Olehla, Ph.D. (04.02.2019)
The course discusses changes in the American society after 9/11/2001, especially when different ideological concepts are taken into account. We will explore the extent to which different ideological and philosophical concepts have influenced post-9/11 American society, its culture and literature. The authors to be discussed include Don DeLillo, Paul Auster, Susan Sontag, John Updike, Josef Joffe and New York based French philosopher Jacques Derrida. Weekly readings are limited to ca. 20 pages (with an exception of four novels). Discussions in class are more than welcomed. The language of instruction is English.
Course completion requirements
Last update: PhDr. Richard Olehla, Ph.D. (04.02.2019)

- regular attendance (max. 3 absences per term)

- homework and activity in classes (discussions will be held on the texts which the students will be required to read before each class)

- term essay (4 pages; 1200 words)


Final grade will be awarded on the following system:

- 30% attendance

- 20% activity in classes

- 50% term essay

Last update: PhDr. Richard Olehla, Ph.D. (04.02.2019)

Some of the materials are available online or can be downloaded from the SIS. All fiction to be discussed is available as English e-books online, or widely available in Czech translation on sale or in public libraries.


Primary sources:

Amis, Martin. "The Last Days of Muhammad Atta," The New Yorker, April, 2006, (short story)

Auster, Paul. Man in the Dark. Henry Holt, 2009. (novel)

DeLillo, Don. Cosmopolis. Scribner, 2003. (novel)

DeLillo, Don. Falling Man. Scribner, 2007. (novel)

DeLillo, Don. „In the Ruins of the Future“. Harper`s Magazine, December 2001, s. 33–40. (essay)

Sontag, Susan. „The Talk of the Town“. The New Yorker, 2001, Vol. 32, 24 Sept 2001. (essay)

Updike, John. Terrorist. Alfred J. Knopf, 2006. (novel)


Secondary sources:

Bercovitch, Sacvan. „The Myth of America“. Litteraria Pragensia, 2003, Vol. 13, No. 25, s. 1–17.

Borradori, Giovanna. Philosophy in a Time of Terror: Dialogues with Jürgen Habermas and Jacques Derrida. University of Chicago Press, 2003

Joffe, Josef. Überpower: The Rise of Antiamerianism. WW Norton, 2006.

Kamp, David. "Rethinking the American Dream". Vanity Fair, April 2009. Available online at:

Procházka, Martin. „Apocalypticism in American Cultural History 2: Revelations of the Other“. Litteraria Pragensia, 2005, Vol. 15, No. 30, s. 79–106.

Sandhu, Sukhdev. "Aliens and Other: The Desolation of Manhattan". London Review of Books. 4 October 2001. Available online at:

Requirements to the exam
Last update: PhDr. Richard Olehla, Ph.D. (04.02.2019)

Essays are due on 27 May 2019. Later submissions will not be accepted.


Last update: PhDr. Richard Olehla, Ph.D. (04.02.2019)

Class plan

Week        Date                   Topic, Text

1              22 Feb 19           orientation / introductory class

2              1 Mar 19             Founding myths: Sacvan Bercovitch - The Myth of America (essay)

3              8 Mar 19             Apocalypticism: Martin Procházka - Apocalypticism in American Cultural History (essay)

4              15 Mar 19           Megalopolis: Don DeLillo - Cosmopolis (novel)

5              22 Mar 19           Political correctness: Don DeLillo - In the Ruins of the Future (essay)

6              29 Mar 19           Political correctness: Susan Sontag - The Talk of the Town (essay)  

7              5  Apr 19            Writing about the Other: Don DeLillo - Falling Man (novel)

8              12 Apr 19           Fear and Loathing: Giovanna Borradori - A Philosophy in the                                                   Time of Terror (interview with Jacques Derrida)

9              19 Apr 19           no class (Easter Friday)

10            26 Apr 19           American Dream: David Kamp - Rethinking the American Dream (article)

                                         Antiamericanism: Josef Joffe - Uberpower: The Rise of Antiamericanism (book chapter; pp. 55-59)              

                                          essay topics due

11            3 May 19            Being the Other: Sukhdev Sandhu - Aliens and Others (article)

                                                                 Martin Amis - The Last Days of Muhammad Atta (short story)

12            10 May 19          Being the Other: John Updike - Terrorist (novel)

13            17 May 19          What to do now: Paul Auster - Man in the Dark (novel)

                                         closing session, discussion over students` essays

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