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Unit information: Race in America in 2021/22

Unit name Race in America
Unit code HISTM0084
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Stephen Mawdsley
Open unit status Not open




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

Description including Unit Aims

This unit examines the ideology of race in America and how it has shaped the nation from the antebellum era to the end of the twentieth century. Through a series of thematic case studies, students will explore the social construction of race and its consequences for laws, customs, and practices. The aim of this unit is to offer a nuanced account of race relations, by incorporating several types of sources and perspectives. Some example subjects that will be explored in this unit include:

  • Whiteness (construction and practice)
  • Identity (formation and activism)
  • Intersections (race, gender, class, and region)
  • Migration (domestic and international)
  • Sexuality (constructions and meanings)
  • Eugenics and the ‘science of race’
  • Violence

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Identify and analyse recent historiographical developments and longer-term trends in American history and the history of race.
  2. Analyse, synthesise and evaluate a range of primary sources using appropriate methodologies.
  3. Design and frame a research question within relevant historiographies, theories and methodologies.
  4. Compose an extended historical argument rooted in primary source analysis.

Teaching Information

Teaching will be delivered through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous sessions, including group seminar-style discussion and self-directed exercises.

Assessment Information

5000-word essay (100%). [ILOs 1-4].


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. HISTM0084).

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.