American Society: Ethnic Encounters in the Making of the USA

The details
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Monday 13 January 2020
Friday 20 March 2020
24 May 2019


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA MT26 Criminology and American Studies (UK Study),
BA MT27 Criminology and American Studies (Including Year Abroad),
BA MT28 Criminology and American Studies (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad),
BA MT2R Criminology and American Studies,
BA MT3R Criminology and American Studies (Including Placement Year),
BA MT62 Criminology and American Studies (UK Study) (Including Placement Year),
BA LL36 Social Anthropology,
BA LL3P Social Anthropology (Including Year Abroad),
BA LL6P Social Anthropology (Including Placement Year),
BA LL37 Social Anthropology with Human Rights,
BA LL38 Social Anthropology with Human Rights (Including Year Abroad),
BA LL39 Social Anthropology with Human Rights (Including Placement Year)

Module description

The Spring term will start by looking at the legacies of slavery including its contemporary relevance. We then proceed chronologically looking at segregation, Civil rights legislation of the 1960s, criminal justice and affirmative action. The second part of the term will examine the history and politics of the Latina/o presence in the United States. This will consist of four linked lectures and discussions principally on US immigration policy and more specifically on the history of the US-Mexico border, immigration policies, neoliberalism and recent racial profiling laws.

Module aims

The Spring term will start by looking at the legacies of slavery including its contemporary relevance. We then proceed chronologically looking at segregation, Black Power criminal justice and affirmative action. The second part of the term will examine the history and politics of the Latino presence in the United States.

Module learning outcomes

To further understand American Society and Ethnic Encounters in the making of the United States

Module information

SC361-6-SP Spring
Available as an Outside Option
Available for third year students

Learning and teaching methods

2 hour seminar


  • Berrey, Ellen. (©2015) The enigma of diversity: the language of race and the limits of racial justice, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
  • McWilliams, Carey. (©2016) North from Mexico: the Spanish-speaking people of the United States, Santa Barbara, California: Praeger, an imprint of ABC-CLIO, LLC.
  • Hinton, E. (2015-06-01) '"A War within Our Own Boundaries": Lyndon Johnson's Great Society and the Rise of the Carceral State', in Journal of American History. vol. 102 (1) , pp.100-112
  • Felicia J. Wong. (2017) 'The Racial Rules of Criminal Justice', in The hidden rules of race: barriers to an inclusive economy, New York, NY: Cambridge University Press., pp.108-126
  • Slack, Jeremy; Martinez, Daniel E.; Whiteford, Scott; Heyman, Josiah; Woodhouse, Murphy. (2018) The shadow of the wall : violence and migration on the U.S.-Mexico border, Tucson: University of Arizona Press.
  • Rankine, Claudia. (July 17, 2019) 'I Wanted to Know What White Men Thought About Their Privilege. So I Asked.', in New York Times Magazine.
  • Cole, Teju. (2012) 'The White-Savior Industrial Complex', in The Atlantic.
  • Alicia C. S. Swords. (2011) 'Mexican Labor en la Frontera', in Consuming Mexican labor: from the Bracero Program to NAFTA, Toronto: University of Toronto Press., pp.175-192
  • Stevenson, Bryan. (no date) 'A Presumption of Guilt', in The New York Review of Books. vol. 64 (12)
  • Baldwin, James. (1962) 'A Letter to My Nephew', in The Progressive.
  • Smith, Zadie. (no date) Getting In and Out : who owns Black pain?.
  • Schermerhorn, Calvin. (©2018) Unrequited toil: a history of United States slavery, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • (2012) Arizona firestorm: global immigration realities, national media, and provincial politics, Lanham, Md: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
  • Rothstein, Richard. (2017) The color of law: a forgotten history of how our government segregated America, New York: Liveright Publishing Corporation.
  • Baldwin, James. (1998) 'White Man's Guilt (1965)', in Black on white: black writers on what it means to be white, New York: Schocken Books., pp.320-325
  • Douglass, Frederick; Andrews, William L. (1996) The Oxford Frederick Douglass reader, New York: Oxford University Press.

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Critical reflection assignment   24/02/2020  40% 
Coursework   Essay   16/03/2020  60% 
Exam  120 minutes during Summer (Main Period) (Main) 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
50% 50%


Coursework Exam
50% 50%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Prof Colin Samson, email:
Prof Colin Samson
Jane Harper, Student Administrator (Years 2/3), email:, telephone: 01206 873052



External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
Of 20 hours, 20 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

Disclaimer: The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its Module Directory is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to programmes, modules, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to modules may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery or assessment of modules and other services, to discontinue modules and other services and to merge or combine modules. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications and module directory.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.