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2019/20 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

HIST5842M Patriotic Protest: Social Movements and Political Dissent in the United States of America

30 creditsClass Size: 10

Module manager: Professor Simon Hall

Taught: Semester 2 View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

Module replaces


This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

From its beginnings America has seen itself not simply as another nation but as a beacon of freedom for the world as a whole. With its claim that "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness", the Declaration of Independence encapsulates the essence of 'Americanism'. In the two centuries since the nation's birth, Americanism has had a rich association with political protest and the dissenting tradition. Political agitators, reformers and protesters of various stripes - including abolitionists, gay rights activists, and opponents of abortion rights - have attempted to marshal the language of Americanism in advance of their cause.


On completion of this module, students should have:
- developed an appreciation for, and an understanding of, the theoretical concepts of 'Americanism' and 'American exceptionalism';
- a detailed knowledge of a range of political protest movements and a critical understanding of their tactics and rhetorical style;
- developed further the ability to construct lucid, cogent arguments that engage with historiography and utilize primary sources.

Skills outcomes
Will develop the 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;
- ability to employ analytical, problem-solving abilities;
- ability to engage constructively with the ideas of their peers, tutors and published sources;
- empathy and active engagement with different cultural contexts.


This course will explore a range of social movements and political dissent during the 19th and 20th centuries, focusing specifically on the complex relationships between patriotism and protest.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours278.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

Researching, preparing and writing assignments; undertaking set reading; and reading around the topic: 278 hours.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Contributions to class discussions, assessed and/or non-assessed written exercises.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Written Work1 x 2,000 historiographical review to be submitted by 12 noon Monday of teaching week 833.00
Essay1 x 4,000 research essay to be submitted by 12 noon Monday of examination week 267.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

The first assessment will be a historiographical review, of about 2,000 words in length, which summarizes and evaluates scholarship on Americanism/American exceptionalism. The second assessment will be a research essay, of about 4,000 words in length, which explores a particular case-study in some detail. This research piece should be at least partially based on primary sources.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/04/2019


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