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Unit information: The American Century in 2021/22

Unit name The American Century
Unit code HIST10044
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Costaguta
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of History (Historical Studies)
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

The ‘American Century’ explores a remarkable period of history in the United States. The country transformed into one of the most powerful and wealthy nations the world has ever known, yet one that still grappled with fundamental questions over what kind of society it aspired to be at home. The unit explores this dynamic period through key themes such as American exceptionalism; race, ethnicity and immigration; gender and sexuality; government and politics; economy and society; popular culture and consumerism; and violence in all its forms. The unit examines social developments and political tensions that shaped the modern United States, including: visions of early century reform; the emergence of mass society and the ‘new woman’; the redefined role of the State in the aftermath of the Great Depression and in World War II; racial reform and the white supremacist backlash in the 20s and 60s; sexual liberation and counterculture in the 60s; the renewed power of Conservatism in the 70s and 80s; and the crises and culture wars of the late twentieth century.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Successful students will be able to:

  1. Identify and analyse key themes and concepts in twentieth-century U.S. history
  2. Discuss and evaluate these themes within appropriate historiographical debates that surround the topic
  3. Interpret primary sources and select pertinent evidence in order to illustrate specific and more general historical points
  4. Present their research and judgements in written forms and styles appropriate to the discipline and to level C.
  5. Demonstrate an understanding of the political, economic, social, cultural, and technological changes associated with twentieth-century U.S. History.

Teaching Information

Classes will involve a combination of long- and short-form lectures, class discussion, investigative activities, and practical activities. Students will be expected to engage with readings and participate on a weekly basis. This will be further supported with drop-in sessions and self-directed exercises with tutor and peer feedback.

Assessment Information

Summative assessments:

1 x 1000-word essay (33%) [ILOs 1-5]

1 x 2000-word essay (67%) [ILOs 1-5]


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. HIST10044).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.