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2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

HIST3450 American History, American Historians

20 creditsClass Size: 28

Module manager: Professor Simon Hall

Taught: Semester 1 View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module explores approaches to the writing of American history from the advent of professionalization in the late nineteenth century through the culture wars of the 1980s and 1990s. It focuses on some of the major interpretative schools in, and most influential practitioners of, American history.A central theme of the module will be the debate over whether 'objectivity' should be a cornerstone of the historian's craft, and students will consider the extent to which historians, and historical writing, have been influenced by the concerns of the present.As well as introducing students to some of the most influential scholarship in American historiography, the module will also encourage reflection on their own approach to studying and writing about the past.


On completion of this module students should:
- have developed a detailed understanding of the evolution of the American historical profession;
- be familiar with the writings of many of the most influential scholars of American history;
- understand, and be able to reflect critically upon, the continuing debate over the attainability and desirability of objectivity within historical scholarship;
- be able to evaluate and understand the complex relationship between current events and the writing of history;
- have developed an awareness of how and why historians have dealt with diversity (racial, sexual, gender, class) in their work.

Learning outcomes

Skills outcomes
Further 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 module will study a range of work from American historiography, including:
- Progressive historians
- Consensus School
- New Left history
- Gender and sexuality
- History under attack.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours178.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

- Monitoring of student performance in seminar class; feedback on online postings and biographical sketch;
- Discussion and evaluation of assessed essay plans;
- Formative feedback on first essay; summative feedback on final essay.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay2,000 words to be submitted by 12 noon on Monday of teaching week 930.00
Essay3,000 words to be submitted by 12 noon on Monday of week one of the January examination period45.00
Presentation1 x group presentation10.00
Written Work1 x 1,000 dialogue to be submitted by 12 noon Monday of week 1115.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Note: individual students/groups of students will be set a variety of online tasks throughout the semester, which will be due in advance of the seminar in which they are to be discussed/used by the class.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 19/08/2019


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