A Story of American Freedom? A History of the United States from Pre-Contact to the Present
Is American history a story about freedom? In this module, which explores domestic US history from indigenous Native Americans settlements to the present, you will be able to consider this question, as well as to gain a broad base of knowledge upon which to build on in years two and three, and a range of essential study skills. The module is structured chronologically, but threaded through the narrative is the theme of freedom in American history and the significant conflicts over its changing meanings, its limits, and its accessibility to various social and economic groups throughout American history. You will use a range of sources to explore these themes, including traditional textual sources but also art, literature, and other cultural documents. Single honours students take this core module for 40 credits, and combined honours students can choose whether to take this module for 20 or 40 credits.
Divided by A Common Language: Culture and Society in Britain and the USA
This module will give you the opportunity to learn alongside North American students and to gain insight into the similarities and differences in the culture and society of Britain and the USA. The module is structured thematically, covering major aspects of British and American society, history, politics and culture, and encouraging discussion and debate amongst students from both sides of the Atlantic. At the end of the module, you will complete a project that will ask you to reflect upon whether you think Britain and the USA are ‘divided by a common language. This module is core for single honours students, but optional for combined honours students.
This module will enable you to develop skills for independent learning and individual research so that you can undertake a substantial piece of written work on a subject related to one of your other year two modules. You will be able to select your own topic in consultation with tutors, and to work closely with a supervisor expert in that area. This module therefore provides an essential foundation for the dissertation in year three. This module is core for single honours students, but optional for combined honours students.
American Studies in the 21 st Century
This module is designed to allow you to reflect upon the skills and knowledge that you have built up over your degree, and to look forward to your future, whether your plans include further study or employment. We will use the critical and analytical skills you have gained in year one and two to discuss contemporary issues in the United States (such as elections, social movements, literature and film, or Supreme Court decisions), and you will also be able to take part in workshops designed around employability and postgraduate opportunities. This module is core for single honours students, but optional for combined honours students.
As the culmination of your degree, the dissertation will enable you to build upon skills gained in the extended essay and will equip you with the practical skills and research methodology to undertake research on a topic of your choice in American Studies. Although the dissertation by nature is centred on independent learning, you will work with a supervisor with the expertise to guide you through your project. Single Honours students take this core module for 40 credits, but it is optional for combined honours students.
Likely optional modules
We continually review and where appropriate, revise the range of modules on offer to reflect changes in the subject and ensure the best student experience. We will inform applicants of any changes to the course structure before enrolment.
We are proud to offer an exciting range of optional modules each year, all of which are related to, and informed by, the research that we are doing. The nature and content of these modules will vary, as we seek to provide you with modules that are in line with our current research interests, and fresh with the most up-to-date thinking on a particular topic. As we value the student perspective, we also update our modules based on the feedback students give us, as we try to ensure that you will have a great learning experience no matter which of our modules you choose.
We will always have at least one optional module available in year two and year three in each of our strands (History, Literature and Media, and Politics and Foreign Policy), and students taking American Studies may take modules in year two and year three in other courses, for example in History, English Literature, or Film, Radio, and Television Studies. Examples of the modules available in 2015-16 give an indication of the range and types of modules we usually offer.
Applied Humanities Employability in Practice (20 credits)
This module aims to complement the theoretical elements of a humanities degree by taking the skills-set that student acquire as undergraduates and helping them see ways and means to render it relevant to the world of work. In contrast to academic class-based learning, the focus here is on exciting and useful practical work-based experience. Students will have the opportunity to develop an understanding of a work environment either through a 40 hour micro-placement; or by bringing students into contact with professionals who will help set out a project/problem based work opportunity; or through a relevant case study. This could be work shadowing, a reflective diary, a portfolio, or a research report.
More details can be found on this page.
Modules offered in 2015-16:
Rise of the American Colossus: US Foreign Policy, 1898 to the Present
The Invention of America: Texts and Contexts from 1607 to the Present
American Cinema Since 1950
American Political Culture and the American Dream
Removal to Red Power: American Indian History 1830s-1950s
Atlantic Americas: Commerce, Domination, and Resistance in the Atlantic World, 1500-1800
Literature and Media strand:
American Modernism 1880-1960
American Independent Cinema
Banned Books: A Literary History of the United States
The Beatles: Cultural Context and Critical Understanding
Politics and Foreign Policy strand:
Uneasy Neighbours: US Foreign Policy in Latin America
Political Concepts in 21st Century America
The Modern Black Freedom Movement
Contemporary Native America: Resurgence and Resistance since 1960
Medium and Message: American News and Media
Literature and Media strand:
Contemporary American Literature and Culture
New Voices in Ethnic American Literatures
The Cinematic City
Blood, Terror and Belonging: Culture at American Borders
Politics and Foreign Policy strand:
Instrument of Power: The CIA and US Foreign Policy 1947 to the Present
Politics, Identity, and US Foreign Policy