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The assessment for this module is as follows:

Assignment 1: Seminar contribution (10%)

  • Seminar contribution will be assessed on the basis of a self-evaluation form, to be uploaded to Tabula at the end of the module.

Assignment 2: 10 min individual oral presentation (40%)

  • Each seminar participant will have to deliver an individual presentation of 10 minutes at some point in the semester (dates and topics to be decided in the first 2 weeks of the module). All presentations will be based firmly on the seminar readings and take the form of a historiographical analysis.

Assignment 3: 1 x 3000 word essay (50%)

  • While there are some suggested essay questions available below, module participants are strongly encouraged to build their own final essay topic based on the following matrix. You may pick one item from each section (or choose another one not listed):


Time period


New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Boston, Miami, Austin, Los Angeles, New Jersey, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Seattle, Nashville, Denver, New Orleans, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Detroit…

Gilded Age, Progressive Era, World War I, Roaring Twenties, Great Depression, World War II, Postwar Boom, Civil Rights Movement, Vietnam War, Neoconservatism, New Millenium, War on Terror…

protest and activism, gentrification and rejuvenation, subcultures, law enforcement and incarceration, tourism, environmentalism, city politics, gender, religion, race and ethnicity, immigration, sexuality, architecture, urban crises, urban culture, housing, education, deindustrialization…

  • This matrix is just a guide and you may want to actually compare two or more cities or focus on one city and discuss the intersection of multiple topics, but here are examples of what types of essay topics you may craft:
    • How did gentrification change New York in the 1970s and 1980s?
    • How has deindustrialization affected Detroit since the 1950s?
    • How important was St. Louis as a stage and site for activism during the Civil Rights Movement?
  • Additionally, you may want to just pick one of the suggested essay questions below, though be warned that these are more open-ended and challenging as a result:
    • Do city dwellers have a “right to the city?”
    • Urbanization goes hand in hand with capitalism. Discuss.
    • How important are cities to presidential elections?
    • Pick any city in the US and explain either why it succeeded or why it failed.
    • The war on drugs in US cities is a war on African American and Latino residents. Discuss.

Deadlines for all assessed essay work can be found on Tabula.

General information about assessed work can be found on the department Assessment and Submission webpages.

Marking scheme for presentations

Different students may legitimately approach their presentations in different ways and sometimes particular strength in one area can offset weakness in another. But the following criteria gives you an idea of the areas to think about when preparing and presenting, and what makes for a good presentation.

First Class (marks of 74+)

  • Information: detailed, accurate, relevant; key points highlighted;
  • Structure: rigorously argued, logical, easy to follow;
  • Analysis and Interpretation: extensive evidence of independent thought and critical analysis;
  • Use of relevant and accurate Evidence: key points supported with highly relevant and accurate evidence, critically evaluated;
  • Presentation Skills: clear, lively, imaginative; good use of visual aids (where appropriate);
  • Time Management: perfectly timed, well organised;
  • Group Skills: engages well with group; encourages discussion and responds well to questions.

2.1 Upper Second (62-68)

  • Information: detailed, accurate, relevant;
  • Structure: generally clearly argued and logical;
  • Analysis and Interpretation: attempts to go beyond the ideas presented in secondary literature;
  • Use of relevant and accurate Evidence: most points illustrated with relevant and accurate evidence;
  • Presentation Skills: generally clear, lively; use of appropriate visual aids;
  • Time Management: well organised, more or less to time;
  • Group Skills: attempts to engage with group and responds reasonably well to questions.

2.2 Lower Second (52-58)

  • Information: generally accurate and relevant, but perhaps some gaps and/or irrelevant material;
  • Structure: not always clear or logical; may be overly influenced by secondary literature rather than the requirements of the topic;
  • Analysis and Interpretation: little attempt to go beyond or criticise secondary literature;
  • Use of relevant and accurate Evidence: some illustrative material, but not critically evaluated and/or some inaccuracies and irrelevancies;
  • Presentation Skills: conveys meaning, but sometimes unclear or clumsy;
  • Time Management: more or less right length, but some material not covered properly as a result, OR, significantly over-runs;
  • Group Skills: responds reasonably well to questions, but makes no real attempt to engage with group or promote discussion

Third (42-48)

  • Information: limited knowledge, with some significant gaps and/or errors;
  • Structure: argument underdeveloped and not entirely clear;
  • Analysis and Interpretationfairly superficial and generally derivative and uncritical;
  • Use of relevant and accurate Evidence: some mentioned, but not integrated into presentation or evaluated; the evidence used may not be relevant or accurate
  • Presentation Skills: not always clear or easy to follow; unimaginative and unengaging;
  • Time Management: significantly over time; material fairly disorganised and rushed;
  • Group Skills: uncomfortable responding to questions; no attempt at engaging with group.

Fail (0-40)

  • Information: very limited, with many errors and gaps;
  • Structure: muddled, incoherent;
  • Analysis and Interpretation: entirely derivative, generally superficial;
  • Use of relevant and accurate Evidence: little or no evidence discussed; or irrelevant and inaccurate.
  • Presentation Skills: clumsy, disjointed, difficult to follow, dull;
  • Time Management: significantly under or over time; has clearly not tried out
  • material beforehand; disorganised;
  • Group Skills: poor.