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A History of the United States (HI111-30)

When the first British settlers arrived in North America at the turn of the seventeenth century, they could not have imagined that they had taken the first step towards founding a country that would become one of the most powerful nations in the modern world. The United States has forged a path of prosperity and unparalleled global influence, but undercutting this narrative of progress is a more complicated story of racial oppression, economic inequality, and political turmoil. This module charts the ebbs and flows of the history of the United States by exploring the meanings, conditions and boundaries of American “freedom”. The module uses case studies to examine how race, class, gender, society, culture, and politics have both made freedom a reality and kept it a mythic ideal, and it challenges us to understand the contemporary United States through a historical lens. With an emphasis on social and cultural history, at the heart of the module are those Americans who have continually strived to fulfil the promise of American freedom.

Student Reviews
  • "The seminars along with the lectures have been very impactful and interesting. Highly enjoyable."
  • "The thing that has had the most impact on my learning is the focus on bringing many of the historical ideas that we look at into the present and their relevance in contemporary issues"
  • "The integration of contemporary events and relating that to a historical context makes the content we study more relevant and engaging"
Learning Outcomes
  • Demonstrate a broad understanding of significant themes in United States history, and of patterns of change and continuity over four centuries, including understanding and engaging with the US in the present.
  • Identify key historiographical debates and contributions of different historical sub-disciplines (including social,
    cultural, and political history, and the histories of race and gender) to interpretations of this subject matter.
  • Identify and engage with key printed / online primary sources in US history, having gained experience of reading such documents for the meanings and evidence that they contain.
  • Demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills through the delivery of a presentation.
  • Devise well-defined essay topics, construct their own bibliographies, collect relevant data from a variety of sources and present results in an effective fashion.
  • 1000 word source analysis essay (10%)
  • 2000 word Op-Ed project (30%)
  • 3000 word essay (50%)
  • seminar participation/engagement (10%)

Photograph taken at Women's March 2018.

Module Convenor:
Dr Rebecca Stone
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