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2018/19 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

HIST2351 The American Century, 1941-1980

20 creditsClass Size: 42

Module manager: Dr Gina Denton

Taught: Semester 2 View Timetable

Year running 2018/19

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

In the February 1941 issue of Life magazine, American publisher Henry Luce declared that the twentieth century would be 'the American Century'. This course sets out to explore the major social, economic, political and cultural developments in American history from the Second World War to the election of Ronald Reagan. The course examines American foreign and domestic policy, presidential leadership, and the role of people's movements in American society. The Cold War, the civil rights movement, and the rise of the New Left and the New Right will feature prominently. Students will be encouraged to become familiar with some of the central historiographical debates, and documentary sources will be used as discussion aids.


Students completing this course should:
a) understand the major social, economic, political and cultural developments that have taken place in America during the years 1941-1980
b) be familiar with the important historical writings on the period
c) be able to express their ideas and arguments effectively in group discussions
d) have further developed their essay writing and presentation skills.

Skills outcomes
Enhances Common Skills listed below:

- High-level skills in oral and written communication of complex ideas.
- Independence of mind and self-discipline and self-direction to work effectively under own initiative.
- Ability to locate, handle and synthesize large amounts of information.
- Capacity to employ analytical and problem-solving abilities.
- Ability to engage constructively with the ideas of their peers, tutors and published sources.
- Empathy and active engagement with alternative cultural contexts.


'The American Century' examines the major social, cultural and political developments in the United States from World War Two to the election of Ronald Reagan. It focuses in on key themes and moments - including the origins of the Cold War, the modern civil rights movement, the student protests of the 1960s, and the rise of the New Right.

In addition to familiarizing students with the most important scholarly debates, the analysis and discussion of primary sources will be central to the delivery of this course.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours180.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

- Exam preparation
- Researching, preparing, and writing assignments
- Undertaking set reading
- Self-directed reading around the topic

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

- Contributions to class discussions
- An assessed exercise or exercises worth 10% of module marks
- An assessed essay.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1 x 2,000 word assessed essay due by 12 noon on Monday of teaching week 840.00
Online Assessment1 x 500 word Online Source Commentary10.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)2 hr 00 mins50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/04/2018


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