HR162-4-SP-CO:
The Great American Experiment

The details
2019/20
History
Colchester Campus
Spring
Undergraduate: Level 4
Current
Monday 13 January 2020
Friday 20 March 2020
15
20 August 2019

 

Requisites for this module
(none)
(none)
(none)
(none)

 

(none)

Key module for

BA T700 American Studies (United States),
BA T702 American Studies (United States) (UK Study),
BA T708 American Studies (United States) (Including Year Abroad),
BA T710 American Studies (United States) (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad),
BA T712 American Studies (United States) (UK Study) (Including Placement Year),
BA T770 American Studies (United States) (including Placement Year),
BA T7P3 American Studies (United States) with Film,
BA T7P4 American Studies (United States) with Film (Including Placement Year),
BA T7W6 American Studies (United States) with Film (Including Year Abroad),
BA T7W8 American Studies (United States) with Film (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad),
BA VT2R American History (Including Year Abroad)

Module description

This module offers a survey overview of key developments in United States history from 1900 to the early 1980s. At the heart of this module is the emergence of industrial capitalism in the United States. We will examine not only the various political responses, such as Progressivism and the New Deal, but also its effects on Americans of all backgrounds. Topics will include the rise of corporate America; the labour movement; the rise of Jim Crow; gender, sexuality, and morality; the Cold War as waged at home and abroad; postwar consumerism; the Civil Rights Movement and other 'rights revolutions'; and the post-1980 triumph of conservative politics. Like other modules that adopt a 'survey' study of a nation's history, this one cannot encompass every event in US history; rather, on a weekly basis, it offers dedicated attention to crucial transformative events and ideas that helped constitute views of the US as a progressive, prosperous, and democratic republic, but also ones that challenged that view.

Module aims

The purpose of this module is to provoke novel and exciting debate about the history of the United States. The module covers a large range of topics including a number of key historical events as well as important social movements. The topics studied range from the rise of corporate America, the origins of the Jim Crow order, the New Deal and WWII, the 1950s and 60s civil rights, women's and youth movements. It is hoped that every student will find something that he or she wishes to study in depth.

Module learning outcomes

1. Students will obtain a groundwork understanding of the history of US from ca. 1900 to ca. 1980.

2. Students will gain knowledge of US history through learning about major events and shifting ideologies to help understand how and why the US rose to its prominent global position.

3. Students will learn how to read primary and secondary sources, and critically evaluate different historical approaches, in US history.

Module information

General reading list:

Nell Irvin Painter, Standing at Armageddon: A Grassroots History of the Progressive Era (2008).

Edward Ayers, The Promise of the New South: Life after Reconstruction (1993).

Nancy Cott, The Grounding of Modern Feminism (1988).

David M. Kennedy, Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945 (1999).

Lizabeth Cohen, A Consumer’s Republic: The Politics of Mass Consumption in Postwar America (2004).

Manning Marable, Race, Reform, and Rebellion: The Second Reconstruction and Beyond in Black America (2007).

Lisa McGirr, Suburban Warriors: The Origins of the New American Right (2001).

Learning and teaching methods

Lectures and seminars.

Bibliography

  • Genovese, Michael A.; Morgan, Iwan W. (2012) Watergate remembered: the legacy for American politics, New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Russell Barnes. (2010) Nixon in the Den, London: BBC4.
  • Brinkley, Alan. (1998) Liberalism and its discontents, Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.
  • (2018) 1945-1953: From World War to Cold War: Yesterday.
  • Lloyd C. Gardner. (1998) 'The American 'Cause' in Vietnam, 1941-1965', in Itinerario - International Journal on the History of European Expansion and Global Interaction. vol. 22 (3) , pp.59-78
  • Schulman, Bruce J.; Zelizer, Julian E. (2008) Rightward bound: making America conservative in the 1970s, Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.
  • Lizabeth Cohen. (1996) 'From Town Center to Shopping Center: The Reconfiguration of Community Marketplaces in Postwar America', in The American Historical Review. vol. 101 (4) , pp.1050-1081
  • Nell Irvin Painter. (1987) Standing at Armageddon: the United States, 1877-1919: W. W. Norton.
  • Richard White. (2017) The Republic for which it stands: the United States during Reconstruction and the Gilded Age, 1865-1896, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Rhonda Y. Williams. (2006) 'Black Women, Urban Politics, and Engendering Black Power', in The Black power movement: rethinking the civil rights-Black power era, New York, NY: Routledge., pp.79-104
  • Glen Gendzel. (2011) 'What the Progressives Had in Common', in The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era: Society for Historians of the Gilded Age & Progressive Era. vol. 10, pp.331-339
  • Paula S. Fass. (1979, c1977) The damned and the beautiful: American youth in the 1920's, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • David M. Kennedy. (1999) 'What the New Deal Did', in Freedom from fear: the American people in depression and war, 1929-1945, Oxford: Oxford University Press., pp.363-380
  • Michael Perman. (no date) Struggle for Mastery: Disfranchisement in the South, 1888-1908.

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 Seminar participation 55%
Coursework Primary source analysis (1000 words) 20/02/2020 40%
Coursework Take home exam (2000 words) 05/05/2020 5%

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%

Reassessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Belinda Waterman, Department of History, 01206 872313

 

Availability
Yes
Yes
No

External examiner

Dr Simon Rofe
University of London
Reader in Diplomatic and International Studies
Resources
Available via Moodle
Of 50 hours, 50 (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
History

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