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Undergraduate Courses 2017
Applying through clearing?
Clearing applicants and others planning to start in 2016 should view American Studies (History) for 2016 entry.

American Studies (History) - BA (Hons)

Canterbury

Overview

Kent provides a blend of established staples in American Studies such as the Civil War, slavery and contemporary politics, along with innovative modules on Native American literature, US environmental issues, and Latin American history and culture (including a Spanish language option).

This programme is a four-year degree (with one year abroad) and specialises in American history. We offer alternative American Studies degrees, all with the option of spending time at a US university. Each programme allows you to shape your degree into something unique and challenging. For more details, see 'related to this course' below.

You can take our three-year degree, with the option of spending one term at a US university in your third and final year. Each programme allows you to shape your degree into something unique and challenging.

The University of Kent has been teaching and researching in the field of American Studies since 1973. The programme is taught by an impressive range of internationally recognised scholars who specialise in American film, literature, history and politics. Students are encouraged to visit the United States or Latin America through our exchange system.

Please visit our website and feel free to contact us.

Independent rankings

American Studies at Kent was ranked 4th in The Guardian University Guide 2015 and 7th in The Complete University Guide 2015. In the National Student Survey 2014, 86% of American Studies students were satisfied with the quality of their course.

History at Kent was ranked 1st for research in The Complete University Guide 2015. And, in the National Student Survey 2014 93% of History students were satisfied with the quality of their course.

Course structure

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This listing is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.  Most programmes will require you to study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also have the option to take ‘wild’ modules from other programmes offered by the University in order that you may customise your programme and explore other subject areas of interest to you or that may further enhance your employability.

Stage 1

Possible modules may include:

EN303 - Introduction to American Studies (30 credits)

The aim of this module is to provide a broad introduction to the literature, art, history and sociology of the United States. Some of the themes to be explored are: the natural environment, colonial life, slavery, US political culture, Native American representation, the 20th Century novel and poem, American architecture, music and popular culture, America at the new millennium. The module establishes a firm base from which students can proceed to Stage 2 modules and ultimately go onto study at institutions in the United States. The emphasis throughout is in interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary thought. The module is loyal to the ethos of American Studies as a groundbreaking fusion of theories, pathways and academic criticism.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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HI390 - The Emergence of America:From European Settlement to 1880 (15 credits)

The module will focus primarily on the period from the 18th century onwards but will begin with an outline treatment of the British colonies in North America from initial European settlement. Interactions between Native American, African, African-American and European populations will be emphasised in the colonial period. Thereafter the module is pursued via the first anti-colonial revolution in modern history and the creation of a new nation and concludes with the reconstitution of the nation after a bloody civil war and on the eve of large-scale industrialisation. Themes include the causes and consequences of the Revolution, the new political system, the development of mass democracy, economic development and territorial expansion into the West, reform movements, sectional conflict between North and South, slavery, the Civil War and the re-establishment of a national order during Reconstruction.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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HI391 - The Rise of the United States Since 1880 (15 credits)

The module will introduce the students to the history of the U.S during its dramatic rise to industrial and international power. Beginning with the transformation of the U.S into an urban industrial civilisation at the end of the 19th Century, it ends with a review of the American position at the beginning of the 21st century. Themes include early 20th century reform, the rise to world power by 1918, prosperity and the Depression, the New Deal, war and Cold War, race relations, Vietnam, supposed decline and resurgence from Nixon to Reagan, the end of the Cold War, the Clinton Administration.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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MU327 - Understanding Popular Styles (15 credits)

This module examines the origins and development of the major popular musical styles that have emerged in the twentieth century, with a focus on the synthesis of African and European musical elements on the American continent. The module will explore the full complexities of the idea of the popular and the shifting and contested meanings of genre and style. Links between oral traditions of music making, musical literacy, technology and changes in popular musical styles will be made.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO305 - International History and International Relations (15 credits)

This module introduces first year undergraduate students to some of the key historical events of modern history, and related debates and questions that have occupied the discipline of International Relations (IR). The focus is on communicating a few key themes, ideas, issues and principles that recur throughout the history of the last hundred years, and that cut across various theoretical approaches and different schools of thought. These key ideas include: war, conflict, violence and terror; international reformism; the nature of international order under conditions of anarchy; the balance of power; the influence of ideology on international affairs and on theorising; the tension between order and justice in the international sphere; and the nature of imperialism and its effects. Exploration of these themes, ideas, and issues emerges through analysis of the World Wars, the Cold War, decolonisation and the emergence of the US as the world's sole superpower in the post-Cold War era. The course places an emphasis on historical events between the global North and South, as these events often led to dramatic shifts and changes in international relations and foreign policy. Students will be encouraged to identify significant continuities and changes in international politics across the period studied.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO327 - Introduction to Comparative Politics (15 credits)

The module introduces students to the empirical study of the key structures, institutions and processes in political life. It does so through the lens of the comparative method, in which political systems are compared and contrasted to test hypotheses about the factors producing similarities and differences across countries and over time. The module first introduces the comparative method, and then discusses the different ways in which political systems can be organized and classified. It focuses on the three key powers in all political systems – executive, legislative and judicial – the ‘intermediate’ actors that link people to their governments, namely political parties, interest groups and the media, and how citizens behave politically in relations to such institutions and actors. Throughout the module, students are encouraged to identify the factors and the processes leading to different political outcomes across states and over time and to use both qualitative and quantitative data to support their arguments.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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FI313 - Film Style (30 credits)

The course introduces students to the language of film, from aspects of mise-en-scène (setting, performance, costumes, props, lighting, frame composition) to framing (camera movement, shot scale, lenses), sound (fidelity, volume, timbre) and editing (from requirements for spatial orientation through matches on action, eyeline matches and shot-reverse-shot structures to temporal manipulations through ellipsis and montage). The study of these elements enables students to understand the spatial and temporal construction of films, as well as the stylistic, expressive and/or dramatic functions of specific strategies.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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FI314 - Hollywood Studios (30 credits)

The module studies the emergence and consolidation of the studio system in Hollywood, between the coming of sound in 1929 until the collapse of the studios in 1960.. Studied topics will include the rise of the star system; the emergence of genres; self-regulation and censorship; developments in technology; and changes in audience. Examination will be made of the development of the 'classic Hollywood cinema' style of film against the backdrop of varying contexts of production, distribution, exhibition and regulation. A focus on genres (such as the gangster film, western and musical) in their various phases of development and permutation will be a lens for student understanding of the importance of standardization. Studio development and collapse are also seen in broader historical and political contexts, enabling students to appreciate the forces that motivated film production, distribution and exhibition during the period.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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FI315 - Film Theory (30 credits)

This module approaches the "big questions" that have surrounded film and the moving image and puts them into historical context. Although specific topics will vary, representative topics may address competing definitions of film and its constitutive elements, the effects that cinema has on spectators, the social, cultural and political implications that moving images reproduce, and the status of the medium between art and entertainment. Students will debate seminal writings on the nature of film and bring their arguments to bear on exemplary film productions.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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FI316 - Film Histories (30 credits)

This course examines film history and historiography through a series of case studies. In carrying out this investigation students will be invited to work with secondary and primary sources held in the library and will be encouraged to evaluate the aesthetic, technological, economic, social and political histories presented in this module. Students will understand the role and value of the contextual study of film and will be given the opportunity to research and write on selected aspects of film historiography. The choice of case studies will depend upon the expertise of the module convenor and is not restricted to a particular national cinema or period; case studies may include, for instance, the history of film by means of the study of a particular theme and cultural context in the history of film.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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HA314 - Introduction to Contemporary Art (15 credits)

This course aims to draw on both the history and theory of art in order to present a wide range of contemporary forms of art and artistic practice, and to articulate some key distinctions useful for addressing the question of the place of art in culture. In particular, a discussion of ideas of the avant-garde, of modernity and postmodernism will be relevant here. The course will explore, through pursuing general themes and case studies of particularly controversial art objects, the different means by which our notions of art and of the artist are 'framed' today, and it will therefore both inform students' broader study of the history of art and complement their individual artistic practice.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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HA315 - Introduction to Contemporary Art (30 credits)

This course aims to draw on both the history and theory of art in order to present a wide range of contemporary forms of art and artistic practice, and to articulate some key distinctions useful for addressing the question of the place of art in culture. In particular, a discussion of ideas of the avant-garde, of modernity and postmodernism will be relevant here. The course will explore, through pursuing general themes and case studies of particularly controversial art objects, the different means by which our notions of art and of the artist are 'framed' today, and it will therefore both inform students' broader study of the history of art and complement their individual artistic practice.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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HA354 - Introduction to the History of Art (15 credits)

The module is intended as an introduction to the History of Art, as a body of visual artefacts and as an academic discipline. It is intended to be accessible to those with little or no previous experience, but also stimulating and informative to students with more background knowledge. The approach is chronological, focussing on a sequence of canonical works of art produced within the Western tradition. Such works provide a frame for introducing students to many of the basic analytical concepts and terms routinely deployed by art historians in describing, analysing and interpreting works of art: period, style, iconography, meaning, material/medium, technique, composition, creative process, representation, tradition, social function, patronage, genre etc.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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HA355 - Introduction to the History of Art (30 credits)

The module is intended as an introduction to the History of Art, as a body of visual artefacts and as an academic discipline. It is intended to be accessible to those with little or no previous experience, but also stimulating and informative to students with more background knowledge. The approach is chronological, focussing on a sequence of canonical works of art produced within the Western tradition. Such works provide a frame for introducing students to many of the basic analytical concepts and terms routinely deployed by art historians in describing, analysing and interpreting works of art: period, style, iconography, meaning, material/medium, technique, composition, creative process, representation, tradition, social function, patronage, genre etc.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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HA361 - Introduction to Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art (15 credits)

This course aims to provide students with an introduction to aesthetics and the philosophy of art. The first part of the course focuses on some of the major texts in the history of the philosophy of art in the western tradition (e.g., Plato's Republic, Aristotle’s Poetics, Hume’s Of the Standard of Taste and Kant’s Critique of Judgement). The second part of the course focuses on central contemporary debates in the philosophy of art (e.g., What is Art? Artistic and Aesthetic Evaluation and the problem of forgery, Intention and Interpretation, Ethical criticism of art, Art and Emotion, Art and Feminism.) The student will be encouraged to see connections between the two parts of the module and to understand how contemporary debates (both philosophical and those found in the public opinion and art criticism) can be traced back to or even helpfully illuminated by old and contemporary philosophical debates.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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HA362 - Introduction to Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art (30 credits)

This course aims to provide students with an introduction to aesthetics and the philosophy of art. The first part of the course focuses on some of the major texts in the history of the philosophy of art in the western tradition (e.g., Plato’s Republic, Aristotle’s Poetics, Hume’s Of the Standard of Taste and Kant’s Critique of Judgement). The second part of the course focuses on central contemporary debates in the philosophy of art (e.g., What is Art? Artistic and Aesthetic Evaluation and the problem of forgery, Intention and Interpretation, Ethical criticism of art, Art and Emotion, Art and Feminism.) The student will be encouraged to see connections between the two parts of the module and to understand how contemporary debates (both philosophical and those found in the public opinion and art criticism) can be traced back to or even helpfully illuminated by old and contemporary philosophical debates.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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HI426 - Making History: Theory and Practice (30 credits)

This module has two aims:



1) to contribute towards equipping the students with the necessary practical and intellectual skills for them to think and write as historians at an undergraduate level;



2) to encourage them to think reflectively and critically about the nature of the historical discipline, its epistemological claims, and why we, as historians, do what we do in the way we do it. This will be achieved through four blocks of seminars and lectures.



These will cover:

• The practice of history, introducing history at university level at both a practical and conceptual level.

• Historical methodology. This will cover the development of university history in the nineteenth century and how this differed from the study and writing of history that had gone before. It will also consider the impact of the Social Sciences on the historical profession during the twentieth century.

• The varieties of history. This will examine some of the major themes and approaches, such as Marxism or nationalism, in modern historical scholarship.

• Beyond history. The final block will consider the ‘linguistic turn’ and new ways of studying and writing history in the twenty-first century.



A fifth component, concentrated in the first three or four weeks of the module, will provide training in core, practical skills (library and bibliographic skills, IT skills and the use of MyFolio and PDP).

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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EN331 - Readings in the Twentieth Century (30 credits)

This module emphasizes the links between literature, history, and culture. It introduces students to the formative events, debates and struggles of the twentieth century, and how these have been addressed by different modes of creative and critical writing. Topics such as Modernism, the Holocaust, the US culture industry, postcolonial studies and neoliberalism will be considered and discussed in relation to fictional and critical literature, films, photography, graphic novels, music, and other media. Weekly screenings will run alongside lectures and seminar discussions. Literary works across all genres will be read in relation to visual material – such as paintings, photography, feature and documentary films – and a range of selected critical reading. The majority of writing samples are drawn from English, American and more broadly Anglophone writing, though several instances of writing in other languages will also be included (all taught in translation).

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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EN332 - Writing America (30 credits)

This module aims to emphasize connections between literature and culture in the USA, from early considerations of a distinct American literature to the present day. By way of six key themes or preoccupations, the module will introduce students to some of the major debates and antagonisms, and rhetorical and stylistic modes, that have formed and modified American literary and intellectual culture Questions of Belief, Gender, Race, Economy, Space, and Time will be approached through a range of textual forms set against their historical contexts and within the broader nexus of cultural production including the visual performing arts where appropriate. Students will be encouraged to examine the specific local, regional, and national frameworks within which these texts are produced, but also to look at the ways in which they resist and transcend national boundaries, in the development of an American register in world literatures for instance.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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EN333 - Romanticism and Critical Theory (30 credits)

This year-long course examines some of the most significant writing of the Romantic period (1780-1830) - a period in which the role and forms of literature were being redefined - alongside recent debates in critical theory. You will study a wide range of literary texts from the poetry of Blake, Wordsworth and Keats to the novels of Jane Austen and Mary Shelley, with reference to contemporary literary and political debates and against the backdrop of the period’s turbulent history. In parallel, this module explores fundamental critical questions about literature: Why read it? What is an author? What is the role of poetry in society? How is literature shaped by culture? What is ‘Art’? Continuities and disjunctions between Romantic writers’ answers to these questions and those provided by more recent literary theorists will be a central concern of the course.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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You have the opportunity to select wild modules in this stage


Stage 2

Possible modules may include:

EN665 - American Studies: Reputations (30 credits)

This module is designed to introduce students to a range of key themes of American culture during the middle years of the 20th century, with an additional emphasis on aspects of Latin American culture and the transnational. Taught via the traditional 2-hour seminar/1-hour lecture format, with additional film screenings, the module will build on the first year 'Introduction to American Studies' module in order to develop students’ understanding of twentieth-century American culture, give them a firm grounding in the interdisciplinary nature of American Studies, and begin the preparation for their final year interdisciplinary long essay. 'Topics in American Studies' draws on expertise from a range of areas of American Studies, addressing specific historical events through various cultural lenses. Topics to be considered on a week-by-week basis include:



The ‘Twenties.

Interwar Black culture

Mexico and modernism

Changing representations of the Agrarian South

World War II

Culture in the '50s

The New West

Castro and the intellectuals

Environmentalism

The '60s



Many of the above topics will pick up and expand on questions, themes, and problems considered on EN303, placing greater emphasis on cross-disciplinary methods and a deepening awareness of transnational and transcultural relationships. Presented here as a decade-by-decade lecture series the module will nevertheless challenge students to assimilate and navigate recurring comparisons and tensions across the middle portion of the twentieth century.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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HI5023 - The American Civil War Era 1848-1877 (30 credits)

This course will examine this key era of US history by examining the key political and social events, developments in the history of ideas and historiographical controversies from the victory over Mexico to the final withdrawal of US troops from the South. It will focus on the changes that occurred and the changing interpretations of them. Students will be able to see the interplay of forces and ideas that led to a conflict that few, if any, wanted and lasted for longer than anyone expected. Historical and fictional depictions in art and film will be evaluated for the ways they shape perspectives. The key historical topics include the rise of slavery as a public issue in the late 1840s, the attempts to find compromise within the Constitutional framework, the activities of the extremists, the changing nature and goals of the war, the effects the war had on both sides, the plans for the post-war period, the changing elite and popular attitudes, the nature of the final, pragmatic arrangements that the country accepted. Students will be able to pursue topics of their choice alongside and as part of these themes.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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HI6056 - The British Atlantic World c.1580-1763 (30 credits)

The curriculum works systematically through the exploration and settlement of different regions, with weekly material covering particular migratory pathways, including Chesapeake planters, New England puritans, pirates and settlers in the Caribbean, and other seminal cultural zones including attention to the Middle Colonies and the Lower South. Introductory coverage will explore the "prehistory" of British colonialism through an examination of the plantation of Ulster, and other aspects of migration and imperialism will be treated through engagement with the Scottish experiment at Darien and English attempts to gain footholds in West Africa. The curriculum will concentrate on particular themes to help sustain integrity across this diffuse oceanic domain: encounters with indigenous peoples, Atlantic imperialism, settlement demographics, and cultural folkways. The final weeks of the course will treat points of convergence and integration, including the growth of cities, religious movements, political commonalities, and the eighteenth-century wars for empire in the Atlantic, culminating in the Peace of Paris of 1763.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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HI795 - Inviting Doomsday: US Environmental (30 credits)

Condemned by the international community for refusing to sign the Kyoto Accords, rendered powerless by electricity blackouts, and stricken by the Hurricane Katrina disaster, the United States of America is today embroiled in a narrative of environmental controversy and catastrophe. This module explores to what extent the USA has been ‘inviting doomsday’ throughout the modern (twentieth-century) period. Commencing with an introductory session on writing and researching American environmental history, the module is then split into four sections: Science and Recreation, Doomsday Scenarios, Environmental Protest, and Consuming Nature. Over the twelve weeks we will consider a range of environmental issues that include wildlife management in national parks, pesticide spraying on prairie farms, nuclear testing in Nevada, and Mickey Mouse rides in Disneyland. By the end of the module, we will have constructed a comprehensive map of the United States based around themes of ecological transformation, assimilation and decay.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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You have the opportunity to select wild modules in this stage


Year abroad

Students on the four-year programmes spend a year between Stages 2 and 3 at one of our partner universities in the USA (or South America for students on the Latin American pathway) taking specialist courses. American Studies students spending a year in the USA do not have to pay American universities’ (often high) tuition fees.

Possible modules may include:

HU503 - Humanities Study Abroad Module (Year) (120 credits)

Spending a period as full-time student at an overseas university, students will follow teaching and tuition in their own subject areas as well as choosing from a range of available courses in the Humanities. The curriculum will vary according to the partner institutions. Additionally, students will usually be offered to take language classes and/or courses on the culture of the host country.

Credits: 120 credits (60 ECTS credits).

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Stage 3

Possible modules may include:

HI560 - American Studies Extended Essay (30 credits)

For details please see the Centre for American Studies course booklet.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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HI796 - Inviting Doomsday: US Environmental (30 credits)

Condemned by the international community for refusing to sign the Kyoto Accords, rendered powerless by electricity blackouts, and stricken by the Hurricane Katrina disaster, the United States of America is today embroiled in a narrative of environmental controversy and catastrophe. This module explores to what extent the USA has been ‘inviting doomsday’ throughout the modern (twentieth-century) period. Commencing with an introductory session on writing and researching American environmental history, the module is then split into four sections: Science and Recreation, Doomsday Scenarios, Environmental Protest, and Consuming Nature. Over the twelve weeks we will consider a range of environmental issues that include wildlife management in national parks, pesticide spraying on prairie farms, nuclear testing in Nevada, and Mickey Mouse rides in Disneyland. By the end of the module, we will have constructed a comprehensive map of the United States based around themes of ecological transformation, assimilation and decay.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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HI6063 - California: The Golden State (60 credits)

This special subject explores California history from Native American times to modern day. It charts the rise to power of the US Pacific Coast and the many complexities that come with mass immigration, technological innovation and cultural frontierism. The special subject does not provide a simple narrative of state history, but instead employs a series of case studies to illuminate key periods of California's past and present, auto-stops, if you will, to navigate the Golden State as both a place, an idea and, most significantly, an image. The case studies also facilitate an interdisciplinary approach to the topic, for example, the Great Depression in California is considered by a session on the life of the hobo, his music, migration, work and community in the period. Sources here include Nels Anderson’s classic sociological text 'On Hobos and Homelessness’ and collections of Okie/hobo music of the period. A number of movie showings will relate both the rise of Hollywood as a state industry as well as Hollywood’s own social commentary on the California experience. The California dream and the notion of California exceptionalism will be critiqued across the module. Students will be expected to immerse themselves in the culture industry of the state and truly explore what (if anything) makes California so special or Golden.

Credits: 60 credits (30 ECTS credits).

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HI5024 - The American Civil War Era 1848-1877 (30 credits)

This course will examine this key era of US history by examining the key political and social events, developments in the history of ideas and historiographical controversies from the victory over Mexico to the final withdrawal of US troops from the South. It will focus on the changes that occurred and the changing interpretations of them. Students will be able to see the interplay of forces and ideas that led to a conflict that few, if any, wanted and lasted for longer than anyone expected. Historical and fictional depictions in art and film will be evaluated for the ways they shape perspectives. The key historical topics include the rise of slavery as a public issue in the late 1840s, the attempts to find compromise within the Constitutional framework, the activities of the extremists, the changing nature and goals of the war, the effects the war had on both sides, the plans for the post-war period, the changing elite and popular attitudes, the nature of the final, pragmatic arrangements that the country accepted. Students will be able to pursue topics of their choice alongside and as part of these themes.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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HI5072 - The American Revolution (30 credits)

This source-based class challenges participants to consider the background, causes, and content of the American Revolution from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean from the Stamp Act debates to the election of Thomas Jefferson as President. Students will be asked to digest primary documents from political speeches in the British Parliament, to American political pamphlets. Students will consider the character and place of the American Revolution within European and American economic, political, and cultural development. The course will examine the conditions under which American Revolution emerged; the part played by empire, and the distinctive combination of ideological and theological strands that produced a compelling challenge to British Parliamentary authority for the first time.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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HI6039 - The Rights Revolution: The 20th Century US Supreme Court & Society (60 credits)

This course will look at the central theme of the "Rights Era"- the move in the U. S. from a customary deference to tradition and view of the mainstream to the enforcement of political equality with far less regard for mainstream views. It will examine competing views of what "equality" means and consider the numerous groups that have demanded it since 1945 and the way they both fought for their causes and created the turbulence and confrontation in American society after 1960. These groups include, but are not limited to, African Americans, Hispanic-Americans, women, the disabled, certain religious groups, those who have faced discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation, as well as other groups that followed similar legal strategies, such as environmentalists and those who seek greater guarantees of property rights, free speech rights, and gun rights. This not only is an essential topic for understanding the modern United States but as UK is currently undergoing similar legal changes, it has meaning for contemporary Britain.



This course assumes no prior knowledge of American law or of the courts in the United States. It can also include subjects of interest to students not listed above, assuming sufficient materials are available on those topics. It aims to places this groups & their activities in the context of the time and show how the strategies worked (or failed) and the reaction of both elite and general opinion to the claims.

Credits: 60 credits (30 ECTS credits).

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Teaching & Assessment

Stage 1 modules are usually taught by lectures and seminars. Stage 2/3 main modules are taught either by lectures and seminars, or by seminars alone. You usually have around ten hours of contact with staff each week. Depending on the modules you select, assessment varies from 100% coursework (extended essays or dissertation), to a combination of examination and coursework, usually in the ratio 50:50, 60:40 or 80:20.

Programme aims

The programme aims to:

  • develop an understanding of the history, culture and politics of the United States
  • provide a flexible but structured degree, with the opportunity to study abroad
  • provide teaching informed by research and scholarship about the United States
  • build on close ties within Europe with the United States through its year abroad of study
  • produce graduates of value to the region and the nation, in possession of key skills, enabling students to develop their capacity to learn, prepared for employment or further study
  • provide learning opportunities that are enjoyable experiences, involve realistic workloads within a research-led framework and offer appropriate support for students from a diverse range of backgrounds
  • encourage students to identify and develop their own interests and expertise in fields of the humanities, and develop independent critical thinking and judgement
  • introduce students to Area Studies, in an era of globalisation and multiculturalism.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • the history of the US from colonial times to the 20th century.
  • historiographical practice
  • the study of history in relation to other disciplines
  • terminology used in historical writing
  • the similarities and differences between areas, thus fostering cross-cultural and international perspectives
  • texts and other source materials, read both critically and empathetically while addressing questions of genre, content, perspective and purpose
  • the problems inherent in the historical record itself, and the limits within which interpretation is possible.

Intellectual skills

You gain the following intellectual abilities:

  • the application of the skills needed for academic study and enquiry
  • to evaluate research findings
  • the ability to synthesise information from a number of sources to gain a coherent understanding of critical theory and general methodology
  • the ability to discriminate and select relevant information from a wide source and large body of knowledge
  • exercise problem-solving skills.

Subject-specific skills

You gain specific skills in the following:

  • the close critical analysis of historical documents
  • an informed understanding of critical and theoretical approaches to the study of history
  • the ability to articulate knowledge and understanding of texts, concepts and theories relating to historical studies
  • appropriate scholarly practice in the presentation of formal written work
  • the ability to understand a multi-disciplinary academic subject, with its array of literature, history and other discourses
  • the ability to combine various academic discourses, such as literature and history, to forge an inter-disciplinary understanding
  • the ability to construct an independent, research-led argument, marked by an inter-disciplinary pedagogy.

Transferable skills

You gain transferable skills in the following:

  • communication: how to organise information clearly, respond to written sources, present information orally, adapt style for different audiences and the use of images as a communication tool
  • the ability to assimilate and organise substantial quantities of complex information
  • knowledge of IT skills to produce written documents, undertake online research and process information using databases
  • how to work co-operatively on group tasks and understand how groups function
  • to improve your own learning, explore personal strengths and weaknesses, time management, develop specialist learning skills and autonomy in learning
  • problem-solving: how to explore alternative solutions and discriminate between them.

Careers

Many employers view a graduate with overseas study experience as more employable. Studying American Studies gives you transferable skills, such as the ability to work independently, to assimilate and analyse information and to present that information clearly and concisely in written form, and orally, with passion and confidence. Our graduates have gone on to careers in business, further professional training, management, broadcasting and media, teaching and a variety of other occupations in Britain, Europe and the USA.

Entry requirements

Home/EU students

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications, typical requirements are listed below, students offering alternative qualifications should contact the Admissions Office for further advice. It is not possible to offer places to all students who meet this typical offer/minimum requirement.

Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
A level

ABB including History grade B

Access to HE Diploma

The University of Kent will not necessarily make conditional offers to all access candidates but will continue to assess them on an individual basis. If an offer is made candidates will be required to obtain/pass the overall Access to Higher Education Diploma and may also be required to obtain a proportion of the total level 3 credits and/or credits in particular subjects at merit grade or above.

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)

The University will consider applicants holding BTEC National Diploma and Extended National Diploma Qualifications (QCF; NQF;OCR) on a case by case basis please contact us via the enquiries tab for further advice on your individual circumstances.

International Baccalaureate

34 points overall or 16 points at HL inc History 5 at HL or 6 at SL

International students

The University receives applications from over 140 different nationalities and consequently will consider applications from prospective students offering a wide range of international qualifications. Our International Development Office will be happy to advise prospective students on entry requirements. See our International Student website for further information about our country-specific requirements.

Please note that if you need to increase your level of qualification ready for undergraduate study, we offer a number of International Foundation Programmes through Kent International Pathways.

Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.

General entry requirements

Please also see our general entry requirements.

Funding

Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. Our funding opportunities for 2017 entry have not been finalised. However, details of our proposed funding opportunities for 2016 entry can be found on our funding page.  

General scholarships

Scholarships are available for excellence in academic performance, sport and music and are awarded on merit. For further information on the range of awards available and to make an application see our scholarships website.

The Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence

At Kent we recognise, encourage and reward excellence. We have created the Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence. Details of the scholarship for 2017 entry have not yet been finalised. However, for 2016 entry, the scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of AAA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications as specified on our scholarships pages. Please review the eligibility criteria on that page. 

Enquire or order a prospectus

Resources

Read our student profiles

Contacts

Related schools

Enquiries

T: +44 (0)1227 827272

Fees

The 2017/18 tuition fees for this programme are:

UK/EU Overseas
Full-time £9250 £13810

As a guide only, UK/EU/International students on an approved year abroad for the full 2017/18 academic year pay an annual fee of £1,350 to Kent for that year. Students studying abroad for less than one academic year will pay full fees according to their fee status. Please note that for 2017/18 entrants the University will increase the standard year in industry fee for home/EU/international students to £1,350.

For students continuing on this programme fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* If you are uncertain about your fee status please contact information@kent.ac.uk

The Government has announced changes to allow undergraduate tuition fees to rise in line with inflation from 2017/18.

The University of Kent intends to increase its regulated full-time tuition fees for all Home and EU undergraduates starting in September 2017 from £9,000 to £9,250. This is subject to us satisfying the Government's Teaching Excellence Framework and the access regulator's requirements. The equivalent part-time fees for these courses will also rise by 2.8%.

Key Information Sets


The Key Information Set (KIS) data is compiled by UNISTATS and draws from a variety of sources which includes the National Student Survey and the Higher Education Statistical Agency. The data for assessment and contact hours is compiled from the most populous modules (to the total of 120 credits for an academic session) for this particular degree programme. Depending on module selection, there may be some variation between the KIS data and an individual's experience. For further information on how the KIS data is compiled please see the UNISTATS website.

If you have any queries about a particular programme, please contact information@kent.ac.uk.

The University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that the information contained in its publicity materials is fair and accurate and to provide educational services as described. However, the courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Full details of our terms and conditions can be found at: www.kent.ac.uk/termsandconditions.

*Where fees are regulated (such as by the Department of Business Innovation and Skills or Research Council UK) they will be increased up to the allowable level.

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The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ, T: +44 (0)1227 764000