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Unit information: The American Century in 2018/19

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Unit name The American Century
Unit code HIST10044
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Livesey
Open unit status Not open
Pre-requisites

None

Co-requisites

None

School/department Department of History (Historical Studies)
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description

The ‘American Century’ explores a remarkable period in American history that witnessed the country transform into one of the most powerful and wealthy nations the world has ever known, yet one that still grappled with fundamental questions over what kind of society it aspired to be at home. The unit explores this dynamic period, engaging with key themes such as American exceptionalism; race, ethnicity and immigration; gender and sexuality; government and politics; economy and society; popular culture and consumerism; and violence in all its forms. Along the way we will stop to examine vital social developments and political tensions that shaped modern America, these include: visions of early century reform; the emergence of mass society and the ‘new woman’; the redefined role of the State in the aftermath of the Great Depression and in World War II; racial reform and the white supremacist backlash in the 20s and 60s; sexual liberation and counterculture in the 60s; the renewed power of Conservatism in the 70s and 80s; and the crises and culture wars of the late twentieth century.

Intended learning outcomes

Successful students will be able to:

  1. Identify and analyse key themes in the history of the United States during the twentieth century
  2. Discuss and evaluate the key historiographical debates
  3. Understand and interpret primary sources and select pertinent evidence in order to illustrate specific and more general historical points
  4. Present their research and judgements in written forms and styles appropriate to the discipline and to level C
  5. Assess the degree of continuity and change in U.S. social, political and cultural life over the course of the century.

Teaching details

Weekly:

2 x one-hour lecture
1 x one-hour workshop
1 x one-hour seminar

Assessment Details

One summative essay (50%) (3000 words) [1-5]
One two-hour exam (50%) [1-5]

Reading and References

Deborah Gray White, Too heavy a Load: Black Women in Defence of Themselves, 1894-1994 (1999)
Nathan Miller, New World Coming: 1920s &the Making of Modern America (2004)
Catherine Stewart, Long Past Slavery: Representing Race in the Federal Writers’ Project (2016)
Stephen Tuck, We Ain’t What We Ought to Be. The Black Freedom Struggle from Emancipation to Obama (2011)

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