American Studies BA (Hons)

Northumbria University
Posted on

Type

Bachelor's programs

I Accept

  • International

    Students from all over the world choose Northumbria University for many reasons; our academic excellence, and that they will benefit from a fantastic student experience.

  • Business

    The world is changing faster than ever before. The future is there to be won by organisations who find ways to turn todays possibilities into tomorrows competitive edge. In a connected world, collaboration can be the key to success.

  • Research

    Northumbria is a research-rich, business-focused, professional university with a global reputation for academic quality. We conduct ground-breaking research that is responsive to the science & technology, health & well being, economic and social and arts & cultural needs for the communities

  • About Us

    Northumbria University is based in the heart of Newcastle upon Tyne, which is regularly voted the best place in the UK for students who are attracted by our excellent academic reputation, our top 10 graduate employment record and our outstanding campus and sports facilities.

  • Alumni

    Northumbria University Alumni Association provides graduates with a lifelong link to the University, our global network has more than 194,000 members in 167 countries worldwide.

* By submitting your information you are consenting to your data being processed by Northumbria University (as Data Controller) and Campus Management Corp. (acting as Data Processor). To see the University's privacy policy please click here

American Studies is the perfect course if you want to learn more about the history, literature, politics, film, art and popular culture of the United States. Whether your interests lie in the Civil War or the War on Terror, Walt Whitman or Walt Disney, this course will help you to develop your critical and imaginative skills in the context of the American experience and its global significances.

If you want to gain an in-depth understanding of US society and how it has come to exert such a powerful influence on the modern world, Northumbria is the university for you. We have one of the largest concentrations of US specialists working outside North America. We also offer opportunities to spend a semester or a whole year at at one of our partner institutions located throughout the US, from New York to California. The cornerstones of American Studies are History and English, meaning our graduates have excellent employment prospects similar to students from those disciplines. Possible careers after successful completion of the course include journalism, publishing, teaching and government service.

American Studies is the perfect course if you want to learn more about the history, literature, politics, film, art and popular culture of the United States. Whether your interests lie in the Civil War or the War on Terror, Walt Whitman or Walt Disney, this course will help you to develop your critical and imaginative skills in the context of the American experience and its global significances.

If you want to gain an in-depth understanding of US society and how it has come to exert such a powerful influence on the modern world, Northumbria is the university for you. We have one of the largest concentrations of US specialists working outside North America. We also offer opportunities to spend a semester or a whole year at at one of our partner institutions located throughout the US, from New York to California. The cornerstones of American Studies are History and English, meaning our graduates have excellent employment prospects similar to students from those disciplines. Possible careers after successful completion of the course include journalism, publishing, teaching and government service.

Course Information

Department

City

Department / Humanities

Our Department of Humanities includes the subject areas of History, English Literature, English Language and Linguistics, Creative Writing and American Studies.

Humanities Video Gallery

Discover more about what you will learn on the course, more about our academics research interests, and hear from current students by watching our videos.

Book an Open Day / Experience American Studies BA (Hons)

Visit an Open Day to get an insight into what it's like to study American Studies. Speak to staff and students from the course and get a tour of the facilities.

You will be taught by specialists who will use a variety of teaching methods including lectures, tutorials and seminars. The seminars will include discussions and small group exercises which, alongside individual tutorials, will allow extensive peer and tutor feedback to be built into your learning.Our assessment strategy is carefully designed to support student-centred learning, based on our understanding that everyone has different needs, strengths and enthusiasms. We use coursework to assess most modules and this can take a variety of forms, including essays of different lengths, reports, research projects, oral presentations, blogging exercises and a dissertation.

A wide range of option modules are offered on this course. To ensure the quality of the student learning experience, some modules are subject to minimum and maximum student numbers.

Book an Open Day / Experience American Studies BA (Hons)

Visit an Open Day to get an insight into what it's like to study American Studies. Speak to staff and students from the course and get a tour of the facilities.

Northumbria University has brought together expert academic staff to ensure that your student experience is intellectually challenging and hugely enjoyable. Members of the team play an active role in the British Association for American Studies, which promotes and supports the study of the USA. Professor Brian Ward serves as the Association’s vice chair while Dr Joe Street organised its 60th anniversary conference, held right here at Northumbria University. Our commitment to teaching excellence has been recognised via the Student Union’s Student-Led Teaching Awards. Many members of the American Studies staff were commended for their engaging teaching and overall commitment to their students’ education.

Staff / Meet the Team

Our students learn from the best inspirational academic staff with a genuine passion for their subject. Our courses are at the forefront of current knowledge and practice and are shaped by world-leading and internationally excellent research.

Book an Open Day / Experience American Studies BA (Hons)

Visit an Open Day to get an insight into what it's like to study American Studies. Speak to staff and students from the course and get a tour of the facilities.

Technology Enhanced Learning is embedded throughout the course with tools such as the ‘Blackboard’ eLearning Portal and electronic reading lists. The academic team is constantly experimenting with new ways of facilitating interaction, including the use of mobile technology and social media.The excellent digital resources for your learning include electronic versions of historical newspapers like the New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Washington Post, as well as thousands of documents relating to the American Civil War, the civil rights and black power movements, popular culture, politics, and other key themes and periods in US history, culture and politics.

Throughout your course you will have a Personal Guidance Tutor who will provide support for your personal and academic development. Your Tutor will help you manage the transition to university smoothly and successfully, and will continue to arrange regular meetings during which you can discuss any aspect of university life.

University Library

At the heart of each Northumbria campus, our libraries provide a range of study space and technology to suit every learning style.

Book an Open Day / Experience American Studies BA (Hons)

Visit an Open Day to get an insight into what it's like to study American Studies. Speak to staff and students from the course and get a tour of the facilities.

At Northumbria, your learning will be directly impacted by the teaching team’s passion for making new discoveries and offering fresh interpretations of things we thought we already understood. This research-rich approach is fundamental to the University’s dynamic and invigorating student experience.Our areas of specialist interest include:• Civil rights and the Black Power movements• Anglo-American cultural relations including transatlantic literary connections• Politics and culture in 20th century America• American popular music, cultural history and religious movements• American modernist fiction and poetry• The American West and California• Hollywood cinemaIn each year of your course, we will develop your research skills as you undertake your own independent research projects under the supervision of experts in the field.

 

Book an Open Day / Experience American Studies BA (Hons)

Visit an Open Day to get an insight into what it's like to study American Studies. Speak to staff and students from the course and get a tour of the facilities.

As an American Studies student at Northumbria, you will develop the kinds of analytical and communication skills that are invaluable in any number of careers. If you take up the opportunity to spend time in a partner institution in North America, you will gain a broader cultural exposure that is attractive to potential employers. For those who stay in the UK, you will undertake a module called ‘Your Graduate Future’ which includes a work placement and which will help you to develop additional skills focused specifically on employment. All students will be able to take advantage of the services of our Careers and Employment Service, which offers CV advice, interview preparation and portfolio development.

 

Student Life

A great social scene can be found at the heart of our campuses, featuring award-winning bars and a huge range of clubs and societies to join you'll be sure to meet people who share your enthusiasms.

Book an Open Day / Experience American Studies BA (Hons)

Visit an Open Day to get an insight into what it's like to study American Studies. Speak to staff and students from the course and get a tour of the facilities.

At the end of a thoroughly enjoyable educational experience, you will emerge from your time at university with the characteristics of a Northumbria graduate. These include critical reflection and self-learning, collaboration and curiosity, and the ability to apply your knowledge to solve problems in ways that are sustainable and ethical. American Studies graduates are especially valued because of their excellent communication skills and the way they think intelligently, critically and laterally as they draw on a wide range of disciplinary perspectives. You'll be attractive to employers in the areas of teaching, publishing, journalism, cultural administration, advertising, public relations, the civil service, heritage management, social research, non-governmental organisations, public history and the diplomatic service.

Book an Open Day / Experience American Studies BA (Hons)

Visit an Open Day to get an insight into what it's like to study American Studies. Speak to staff and students from the course and get a tour of the facilities.

Who would this Course suit?

Both intellectually challenging and enjoyable, American Studies is an ideal subject to study at university if you want to learn more about American life and culture, wish to develop your critical and imaginative skills, and have an interest in multi- and inter-disciplinary approaches to studying the American experience and its global significances.

Entry Requirements 2019/20

GCSE Requirements: A good GCSE profile is expected including Maths and English Language at minimum grade C or equivalent.  If you have studied for a new GCSE for which you will be awarded a numerical grade then you will need to achieve a minimum grade 4.UCAS Tariff Points:GCE and VCE Advanced Level: From at least 2 GCE/VCE A Levels Edexcel/BTEC National Extended Diploma:Irish Highers:IB Diploma: 120-128 UCAS Tariff points including minimum score of 4 in at least three subjects at Higher levelAccess to HE Diploma:Qualification combinations: The University welcomes applications from students studying qualifications from different qualification types - for example A level and a BTEC qualification in combination, and if you are made an offer you will be asked to achieve UCAS Tariff points from all of the qualifications you are studying at level 3.  Should the course you wish to study have a subject specific requirement then you must also meet this requirement, usually from GCE A level.

Plus one of the following:

  • International/English Language Requirements:

    Applicants from the EU: Applicants from the EU are welcome to apply and if the qualification you are studying is not listed here then please contact the Admissions Team for advice or see our EU Applicants pages here www.northumbria.ac.uk/international/european-union/eu-applications/ International Qualifications: If you have studied a non UK qualification, you can see how your qualifications compare to the standard entry criteria, by selecting the country that you received the qualification in, from our country pages. Visit www.northumbria.ac.uk/yourcountry English Language Requirements: International applicants are required to have a minimum overall IELTS (Academic) score of 6.0 with 5.5 in each component (or approved equivalent*). *The university accepts a large number of UK and International Qualifications in place of IELTS. You can find details of acceptable tests and the required grades you will need in our English Language section. Visit www.northumbria.ac.uk/englishqualifications

Fees and Funding 2019/20 Entry

UK/EU Fee in Year 1**: £9,250

International Fee in Year 1: £15,000

ADDITIONAL COSTS

While books are made available via the University Library, you may wish to purchase additional primary texts throughout the duration of your course. An approximate cost would be in the range of £120-£220.

FUNDING INFORMATION

Click here for International undergraduate funding and scholarships information.

Click here for UK/EU undergraduate tuition fee information**.

Click here for International undergraduate tuition fee information.

Click here for additional costs which may be involved while studying.

Click herefor information on fee liability.

* By submitting your information you are consenting to your data being processed by Northumbria University (as Data Controller) and Campus Management Corp. (acting as Data Processor). To see the University's privacy policy please click here

Modules Overview Modules

Module information is indicative and is reviewed annually therefore may be subject to change. Applicants will be informed if there are any changes.

Introduction to American Studies (Core,20 Credits)

This module offers a practical and historical introduction to American Studies as a distinct, multifaceted, and evolving discipline, while also allowing you to acquire and practice key learning, research, and communication skills which will be of use throughout your university career and beyond. The module is content driven, with readings and themes drawn from across the entire range of American history, literature, politics, and popular culture, but particular emphasis will be placed on helping you to understand and master the basic tools and protocols of academic scholarship, thereby helping you to make the transition from school to university level work.The skills which this module will help you to develop will include finding, reading and evaluating various kinds of primary and secondary sources; understanding the ways in which scholarship advances through constructive criticism and debate; correct referencing; finding an effective academic writing style; making oral presentations; and designing, researching and writing an independent research project.

Contemporary America (Core,20 Credits)

This module will introduce you to key aspects of contemporary US culture, history, and politics. Chronologically the course focuses on the period from 1992 to the present; in disciplinary terms it embraces economics, film, history, international relations, literature, music, performance, politics, sexuality, and visual culture; thematically, the module emphasizes the importance of racial, ethnic, gender, class and religious identities, consumerism and globalization, domestic and international configurations of US political, social, economic, and cultural power, and the politics of cultural representation in the media and popular culture. Adopting a variegated, multi- and interdisciplinary approach, the module enable you to combine an enhanced empirical knowledge of the contemporary US to useful interpretive frameworks such as postmodernism, queer theory, and globalization theory. The module is organized around a mixture of broad thematic surveys (e.g. Major Trends in Contemporary US Literature) and narrower case studies (e.g. The Challenges of Post-9/11 Literature).

Representing the US: From Slavery to Terrorism (Core,20 Credits)

This module focusses on US literature, film and television and it asks you to think about US culture at large; it will introduce you to a range of significant US texts from the nineteenth century to the present. You will make connections between diverse texts ranging from writings of slaves in the nineteenth century to fiction that responds to the trauma of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. You will enjoy US literature, film and television across a range of periods – work from the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries will be covered – and you will examine fiction, poetry, drama, film, and television in relation to the idea of a national literary canon and in the context of social and political change, from the Civil War to the War on Terror. As a survey module, it encourages you to examine how key works engage with questions of identity, slavery, the American Dream, trauma, freedom, and national security.

Concepts in Criticism and Culture (Core,20 Credits)

This module introduces you to key critical concepts in literary studies and asks how those concepts may be applied to the study of less canonical forms of writing and other media. You will be introduced to theoretical and critical material, addressing key issues about literature and culture such as:• how is the literary canon is constructed• how might our gender, race or class background affect how we value and understand literature and popular cultureDuring the module you will be encouraged to evaluate the significance of debates about authorship, identity and literary value. You will be asked to read a range of key academic essays, discussing them in relation to a range of examples from popular culture as well as literature. You will be asked to think about the values attached to these different forms of cultural production. The module aims to foster your skills in close textual analysis, informed by key theoretical perspectives and independent reflective practice.

From Sea to Shining Sea: US History from 1776 to 2008 (Core,20 Credits)

This module will provide you with an overview of the social, political and cultural development of the United States from revolutionary period to the present day. Within a broad chronological framework, this module will introduce you to key themes within modern American history: race, gender, ethnicity, class, regionalism, the media, and foreign policy. Topics include the American Constitution, Jacksonian America, the antebellum and Civil War period, Reconstruction, the New Deal, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Cold War. You will have the opportunity to consider the major controversies in American history, key concepts, and the nation’s transformation from a colony to a superpower.

Making History (Core,20 Credits)

History is not only characterised by knowledge and understanding of past developments, but also by a broad range of skills and methods that are directly applicable to academic research. Within this wider context, this module will give you a firm grounding in the skills and methods needed for the study of history, introducing you to a range of source materials from a broad chronological spectrum. In so doing, the module explores traditions in criticism and explains the ways in which sources can be read and utilised. The module is structured along four ‘core skills’ blocks (Studying & Presenting History, Approaches to History, Researching & Interpreting History, and Feedback and Careers) which progress logically from each other and provide students with ample opportunities to engage with how historians make history. The first block introduces you to the study of History, specifically the questions of what a historian does, why society values historians, and the key skills of historians. The block also develops skills in three areas: (1) writing history; (2) reading history; (3) presenting history. The second block examines key approaches to the study of the past and allows you to demonstrate the skills gained in block one. Block three concentrates on how to find primary sources, how to read them, and how to deploy them in written work. The final block introduces you to careers in and beyond History, and asks you to reflect on your progress over the year. You will develop a critical capacity to scrutinize sources and interpretations of the past.

Academic Language Skills for Humanities & Social Sciences (Core – for International and EU students only,0 Credits)

Academic skills when studying away from your home country can differ due to cultural and language differences in teaching and assessment practices. This module is designed to support your transition in the use and practice of technical language and subject specific skills around assessments and teaching provision in your chosen subject. The overall aim of this module is to develop your abilities to read and study effectively for academic purposes; to develop your skills in analysing and using source material in seminars and academic writing and to develop your use and application of language and communications skills to a higher level. The topics you will cover on the module include:• Understanding assignment briefs and exam questions.• Developing academic writing skills, including citation, paraphrasing, and summarising.• Practising ‘critical reading’ and ‘critical writing’• Planning and structuring academic assignments (e.g. essays, reports and presentations).• Avoiding academic misconduct and gaining credit by using academic sources and referencing effectively.• Listening skills for lectures.• Speed reading techniques.

Humanities Study Abroad (60 credit) (Optional,60 Credits)

The Study Abroad module is a semester based 60 credit module which is available on degree courses which facilitate study abroad within the programme. You will undertake a semester of study abroad at a European University under the ERASMUS+ exchange scheme or at an approved partner University elsewhere. This gives you access to modules from your discipline taught in a different learning culture and so broadens your overall experience of learning. The course of study abroad will be constructed to meet the learning outcomes for the programme for the semester in question, dependent on suitable modules from the partner and will be recorded for an individual student on the learning agreement signed by the host University, the student, and the home University (Northumbria). The module will be assessed by conversion of graded marks from the host University and, where appropriate, complementary activities as agreed between the student and module tutor. Learning outcomes on the year-long modules on which the student is unable to attend the home institution must be met at the host institution, and marks from the host are incorporated into the module as part of the overall assessment.

The San Francisco Bay Area (Explorations in American Studies II) (Core,20 Credits)

This module will introduce students to the concept of ‘place’ within an American Studies framework. It explores a particular geographical site (for example, a neighbourhood, a city, or a state) in North America, or a geographically bounded zone which incorporates part of North America (for example, the Pacific Rim, the Caribbean), from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. The module provides students with a nuanced understanding of the ‘place’ in question and of its broader significance within the American Experience. It encourages students to analyse and engage with the interdisciplinary nature of American Studies. The specific case study may change in any given year but the aims, outcomes and outline structure of the module will remain the same. Indicative topics include: the San Francisco Bay Area; the South; the Rust Belt; Harlem; the Mississippi River; the Atlantic World.

American Studies Extended Essay (Core,20 Credits)

The American Studies Extended Essay is designed as an opportunity for you to apply and build on the skills you have acquired in Level Four core modules and prepare yourself for the demands of the American Studies Dissertation in Level Six. It is an exercise in independent research and is intended to be a piece of work that utilises an interdisciplinary approach to a selection of primary and secondary sources. Extended Essay topics will be developed in conjunction with an appropriate subject specialist.

Geneses of English Literature (Optional,20 Credits)

What are the mythological frameworks of western culture, and how have they influenced and informed literary texts? This module will introduce you to poems, plays, and novels which adapt classical and biblical narratives – including mythologies of ‘genesis’ (Eden, Troy), ‘metamorphosis’ (Actaeon, Christ), and ‘underworlds’ (Orpheus and Eurydice, Satan) – unpacking and analysing some of the most central narratives of British and American literature. Using cultural theory relevant to appropriation studies, you will learn how to locate and analyse classical and biblical narratives in literary texts in meaningful ways. Reading beyond literature, you will also learn about how these narratives are employed in popular music, film, television, advertising, and wider popular cultures.Building upon work completed at Level 4 in narrative and appropriation studies on modules such as EL4006 ‘Concepts in Criticism and Culture’, this module offers you a more focused and in depth opportunity to read core narrative and mythology ‘types’ in a range of twentieth and twenty-first century texts. The module fosters key skills in textual analysis, and your tutor-led and independent reading and research tasks will supplement and support learning at Level 6.

Poetry: Tradition and Experiment (Optional,20 Credits)

In this module you will focus on key moments in the development of poetic theory and practice, from the early modern period to the present day. In this module you will examine poems as sites at which tradition and experiment collide and intertwine. Through the close analysis of a small number of individual poems by ground-breaking poets, you will develop your understanding of the dynamic relationship between poetic form and content. In doing so, you will reflect upon and interrogate the complex ways in which poetic texts engage with, and intervene in, broader cultural debates about nation, class, race, and gender. You will consider how the evolution of poetry and poetics coalesces with questions of aesthetics and ideology.

Tragedy (Optional,20 Credits)

What was or is tragedy? When and why did tragic drama begin to be written and performed? How have later writers of tragedy built on or surpassed early forms of tragedy? What did or does tragedy tell us about the world we live in? This module addresses these questions, with a survey of tragic drama from the classical past, through the early modern period, to the twentieth century. You will learn to contextualise each tragedy in relation to the conflicts and strains of the period in which it was made and consumed, while also thinking about the relations between writing, gender, religion, and politics, issues of literary influence, and the function of art in times of crisis, past and present. Building on your work correlating Shakespearean tragedy and modern drama at Level 4 (Titus Andronicus and Blasted), and prefiguring your extended writing work for the dissertation and on drama-based modules such as Marlowe in Context at Level 6, this module will develop your understanding of the dramatic genre of tragedy. This will involve looking at tragedy’s earliest forms, the early modern revival and revision of such forms, and modern reworkings of the genre and its concerns.

Literature and Adaptation (Optional,20 Credits)

This module explores adaptations of literary texts in modern culture. It focuses on the ways in which classic texts are retold and appropriated in a variety of popular genres, media, and formats. The module thus builds on the knowledge and skills developed at Level 4, particularly those concerning the notion of canonicity and the relations between ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture. The module introduces you to the current theories of adaptation and teaches you the knowledge and skills necessary for critical analysis of adaptations. It also provides you with the terminology and skills needed for the study of film and other media, as well as non-canonical (popular) literary genres.

Affluence and Anxiety: The US from 1920 to 1960 (Optional,20 Credits)

In this module you will study the ways historians and other researchers have studied US history and culture from the 1920s to through the 1950s. You will assess and analyse the major developments in the United States, including, but not limited to: the 1920s economic boom, the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, the New Deal, World War II, the Cold War, the postwar “economic miracle,” and American society and culture in flux. The course will cover this period of profound change by examining the role of the US as an emerging global super power and the critical social and political transformations that altered the nation over the past 90 years. Major historiographical interpretations will be emphasized as well. The United States’ involvement in world affairs and the tension between international engagement and isolationism will also be stressed. Primary and secondary source readings, along with classroom activities, will help you to critically engage this key era of American development and develop the interpretive skills of a historian.

America in the 1960s (Optional,20 Credits)

This module offers you the opportunity to study the domestic social, cultural, political, and economic history of the United States during the “long 1960s” (roughly 1956-1974). Interdisciplinary in approach the module allows you to examine a range of secondary and primary sources – including television, literature, music, film and visual culture – that illuminate the history and culture of the US during this period. The module also encourages you to consider the perils and advantages of dealing with the 1960s as a discrete historical period, involves you in some of the most important scholarly debates in the field, and asks you to consider how the decade has been remembered and misremembered in popular consciousness by exploring later cultural representations and political uses of the 1960s. Key topics include the Cold War and Vietnam; consumerism; the civil rights and black power movements; national and local politics; science, technology and the environment; youth culture; gender and sexuality; identity politics; regionalism; the New Left and the Counterculture; conservatism and the New Right; mass media and popular music.

Your Graduate Future (Core,20 Credits)

This module aims to ensure that you will be equipped with employability-related skills appropriate to graduates of History and associated degrees. The module adapts to your interests, whether you choose to pursue postgraduate study, enter the job market seeking graduate level employment, or establish your own enterprise. One of the purposes of Your Graduate Future is to raise your awareness of the wide range of possibilities, and to equip you with the knowledge, the skills and the experiences that may enable you to respond effectively to future opportunities. In semester 1 you will attend lectures and participate in seminars that will present the intricacies of contemporary job seeking in different sectors. These will include guest lectures. You will then work with a group of your peers on an outward-looking project that will enable you to display your specific skills, to establish and nurture internal and external contacts, and to express your interests in a public outcome of your choice. In semester 2, you will develop your CV and further explore your evolving skillsets by means of engaging on your choice of work experience, volunteering, enterprise planning or a placement abroad. These will take the shape of supported independent activities. Assessment consists of a group project with a public outcome, an individual report reflecting on the scholarly basis of your project and your assessment of the process, and a placement report (at the end of semester 2).

At Home in America: Society, Politics and Environment in the Home, 1860 to the present (Optional,20 Credits)

This module will consider the wider social, political and environmental factors that shaped where, how, and in what type of home Americans have lived since 1860. Within the module, you will look at the forces that transformed and challenged the boundaries of the American home---from debates about poverty and social welfare, to economic policies surrounding homeownership, the mechanisms of racial segregation, new sex and gender roles as well as the rise of domestic consumption and its impact on the environment. The module will introduce you to a range of American homes, from the suburban and model homes of the American dream to the tenement flats, trailer parks and make-shift homes of ‘skid row’ – which tell a different story about what it means to be ‘at home in America’. The module will complicate definitions and understandings of the American home---revealing its contested meanings, construction, and lived experience across different races, genders and classes. In asking these questions the module shall probe how far being ‘at home in America’ has depended upon changing understandings of the home, and its relationship to American identity. Through the module, you will learn about developments in politics and policy as well as broader social, cultural and environmental transformations since 1860. The module will open you up to a broad range of material in American history, from key social policies such as the Federal Housing Act, to broader social changes including the gender revolution accelerated by new domestic technologies, for instance the washing machine. The module will be broadly chronological, but subjects will also be approached though key themes that span decades.

Dictatorship and Development: Central America, 1912–1996 (Optional,20 Credits)

The tiny countries of Central America form a narrow land bridge between the continents of North and South America. For centuries a quiet backwater, the region gained international importance in the twentieth century, thanks to the United States’ growing interest in its ‘backyard’ to the south. In this module, you will explore Central America’s tumultuous twentieth century via a variety of primary sources. You will use US military archives to explore the US occupation of Nicaragua from 1912 to 1933, and discover how historians have used oral history to rescue memories of the El Salvadoran massacre of 1932. In the second half of the course, you will look at how ideas about development intersected with U.S. informal empire in the region, using CIA and State Department documents to uncover the roots of the civil wars which wracked the isthmus in the 1980s. Finally, you will learn about the controversy surrounding Rigoberta Menchú’s memoir of the Guatemalan civil war, and consider how historians navigate conflicting documents and imperfect, contested memories to create credible accounts of past events.

Foreign Policy Analysis (Optional,20 Credits)

You will learn about the most significant issues and challenges of our times in the domain of foreign policy. While grounded in IR theory, you will be introduced to foreign policy analysis (FPA)-specific frameworks and levels of analysis such as to systems of governance, decision making structures and models, leadership analysis, the role of the media, public opinion and special interest groups. Empirically, you will learn about the foreign policy of key actors in the international system towards a region or set of issues such as, for example, US foreign policy towards the Middle East or international cooperation in the war against the Islamic State.

Hollywood Cinema (Optional,20 Credits)

This module will encourage students to explore key aesthetic, economic, ideological and historical issues in relation to Hollywood cinema. These include analysing the formation of the studio system in the late teens and how this led to Hollywood becoming a global, dominant force; how Hollywood representations can be linked to broader ideologies; how aesthetics and representations are influenced by censorship; and how Hollywood has changed historically in relation to social factors. The latter will lead to an understanding of periodisation (such as classical and post-classical Hollywood); of technical innovations and their impacts (such as the introduction of sound and colour); the changing nature of stardom; the increasing acceptance of Hollywood as an art form; and how Hollywood has absorbed international trends and personnel. An indicative syllabus is as follows:1. Archival Research on Hollywood Cinema 2. The Studio System11. Global Hollywood

Academic Language Skills for Humanities & Social Sciences (Core – for International and EU students only,0 Credits)

Academic skills when studying away from your home country can differ due to cultural and language differences in teaching and assessment practices. This module is designed to support your transition in the use and practice of technical language and subject specific skills around assessments and teaching provision in your chosen subject. The overall aim of this module is to develop your abilities to read and study effectively for academic purposes; to develop your skills in analysing and using source material in seminars and academic writing and to develop your use and application of language and communications skills to a higher level. The topics you will cover on the module include:• Understanding assignment briefs and exam questions.• Developing academic writing skills, including citation, paraphrasing, and summarising.• Practising ‘critical reading’ and ‘critical writing’• Planning and structuring academic assignments (e.g. essays, reports and presentations).• Avoiding academic misconduct and gaining credit by using academic sources and referencing effectively.• Listening skills for lectures.• Speed reading techniques.

Humanities Work Placement Year (Optional,120 Credits)

The Work Placement Year module is a 120 credit year-long module available on degree courses which include a work placement year, taken as an additional year of study at level 5 and before level 6 (the length of the placement(s) will be determined by your programme but it can be no less than 30 weeks. You will undertake a guided work placement at a host organisation. This is a Pass/Fail module and so does not contribute to classification. When taken and passed, however, the Placement Year is recognised in your transcript as a 120 credit Work Placement Module and on your degree certificate in the format – “Degree title (with Work Placement Year)”. The learning and teaching on your placement will be recorded in the work placement agreement signed by the placement provider, the student, and the University.Note: Subject to placement clearance; this is a competitive process and a place on the module cannot be guaranteed.

Humanities Study Abroad Year (Optional,120 Credits)

The Study Abroad Year module is a full year 120 credit module which is available on degree courses which include a study abroad year which is taken as an additional year of study at level 5 and before level 6. You will undertake a year of study abroad at a European University under the ERASMUS+ exchange scheme or at an approved partner University elsewhere. This gives you access to modules from your discipline taught in a different learning culture and so broadens your overall experience of learning. The course of study abroad will be dependent on the partner and will be recorded for an individual student on the learning agreement signed by the host University, the student, and the home University (Northumbria). Your study abroad year will be assessed on a pass/fail basis. It will not count towards your final degree classification but, if you pass, it is recognised in your transcript as a 120 credit Study Abroad Module and on your degree certificate in the format – “Degree title (with Study Abroad Year)”.Note: Subject to placement clearance; this is a competitive process and a place on the module cannot be guaranteed.

Dissertation (Core,40 Credits)

The American Studies dissertation is the most substantial piece of work you will produce during your undergraduate career. It will enable you to apply the skills you acquired at earlier levels to a discrete body of primary sources related to an identifiable area of scholarly enquiry. Dissertation topics will normally be chosen from an area you have studied before or are studying at Level 6 and be supervised by an appropriate tutor. Whereas the American Studies Extended Essay at Level 5 is explicitly interdisciplinary, Dissertations may utilise a single-disciplinary approach to the chosen subject, in line with each student’s developing interests and disciplinary inclinations.

States of Nature: An Environmental History of the Americas (Explorations in American Studies III) (Core,20 Credits)

Focusing on North and South America, this module examines the interaction between humans and the environment throughout history. We will discuss the ways in which various peoples experienced their environment: how they attempted to change it, how they were limited by it, and how they thought about nature. In doing so, we will consider historical change at several levels:1. Material and ecological: the physical changes that humans in the American have wrought over the past 10,000 years.2. Social and political: the connection between peoples’ use of the environment and the way in which American societies developed.3. Intellectual and ideological: how individuals and societies have understood nature at various points throughout history and how this understanding has shaped their actions.You will find out about the relationship between humans and nature in the period before European expansion in the Americas and, following on from this, you will consider the ecological impact of European colonialism. The module content covers human activities such as farming and mining, but also the impact of floods, hurricanes and climate change. You will consider the spread of cities, the role of their hinterlands and the creation of national parks. In the final sections of the module, you will examine the manifold impacts of consumer culture (including waste and pollution) as well as the rise of environmentalist movements that were critical of humans’ ecological footprint.

Vamps and Virgins: Gothic Sexualities (Optional,20 Credits)

From Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Christabel (1816) to Alan Ball’s True Blood (2008-), this module invites you to explore the dark, shadowy world of the Gothic in relation to a diverse range of literary texts and modern media. Combining the study of familiar canonical fictions with new and challenging material, we will train our focus on the enigmatic figure of the vampire, examining its various transitions and developments through the lens of critical and cultural theory. Through an analysis of the Gothic, the module aims to develop your critical thinking, as well as your existing knowledge of literature, film, and television dating from 1816 to the present day. In doing so, it will encourage you to reflect on and interrogate the complex ways in which Gothic texts engage with, and intervene in, broader cultural debates about gender and sexuality.

The Black Atlantic: Literature, Slavery and Race (Optional,20 Credits)

This module will introduce you to a range of texts which have been created out of, or about, the experience of African peoples in the diaspora from the seventeenth century to the present. It will encourage you to relate your understanding of the texts to the cultural and historical background from which they developed. Following on from level four core modules this module will develop your understanding of the concept of the ‘Atlantic World’ and theories of local, national and global cultures as well as theories of race and postcolonial theory. You will be encouraged to recognise the activity of the slave trade as the beginning point of the Atlantic World as an imagined space that challenges national and chronological boundaries and speaks of the powerful and enduring legacies of slavery.

Postwar US Writing (Optional,20 Credits)

This module will enhance your understanding of postwar American literary culture in its broader social, political, and economic contexts. Mid-century America was a time of profound contradictions: while US citizens lived under the shadow the bomb, many experienced unprecedented economic prosperity and access to new material comforts. We will explore how national paranoia about the spread of communism and the nuclear arms race sat alongside – and fed into – the postwar image of the American ‘good life’, an image of suburban conformity underpinned by the growth of advertising and consumer culture. We will consider how postwar fiction and poetry challenges this demand for conformity in both content and form: through its complex representations of the American cold war experience and its innovative narrative and poetic strategies. The texts on this module offer insights into postwar attitudes towards a diverse range of topics, including national and international politics, work, leisure, and domesticity, gender and sexuality, and race and ethnicity.

Twenty First Century Literature: Writing in the Present (Optional,20 Credits)

From Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale (1985) and its popular television adaptation (2017) to Yorgos Lanthimos’ film The Lobster (2015), this module invites you to explore a wide and diverse range of novels, short stories and other media in order to promote and analyse the study of contemporary theoretical debates on gender, love, the body and sexuality. Through the theoretical lens of feminism, psychoanalysis, queer theory and postmodernism, the module aims to develop your critical thinking and your existing knowledge of literature, film and television, from 1985 to the present day. It will encourage you to explore the complex issues raised by diverse critical theory and close analysis of a range of late twentieth and twenty-first century literature, film and television adaptation. By doing so, you will reflect on the ways that twenty-first literature and other media engages with, interrogates and often offers alternative narratives on present debates about gender, love, the body and sexuality.

Contemporary Genre Fiction (Optional,20 Credits)

This module explores contemporary (post-millennial) genres of fiction with an emphasis on their innovativeness, contemporaneity and their interaction with socio-cultural developments of the new millennium. You will engage with cutting edge texts to study their innovations in and interactions with the contemporary world. Module content will focus on theorizing relationships between audiences, genres and critics and will encourage you to view yourself as part of the process of re-defining contemporary genres in terms of themes, cultural contexts and theoretical models. Genres under discussion will include: millennial text, 9/11 literature, digital writings, post-apocalyptic, crunch lit, the new erotica, Nordic noir and Brexit literature. Module teaching will explore innovations in genres of the contemporary period, consider the challenges of new technologies and media, and examine the political, economic and cultural contexts of contemporary genres. Taking in a broad range of theoretical approaches – including late modernism, postmodernism, globalisation and post 9/11 theory – the module will critically engage with the extent to which C21 genre fictions actively shape our understanding of twenty-first century society.

The Black Panther Party (Optional,20 Credits)

The module examines the history and significance of the Black Panther Party (BPP), a radical protest group formed in Oakland, California in 1966. It locates the BPP within its intellectual, political, geographical, and social context, giving students the opportunity to engage with important texts that influenced the BPP while also considering the BPP’s contribution to ideas about political struggle. The module details the history of the BPP from formation until its decline into irrelevance in the late 1970s, spending considerable time focusing on key individuals such as Huey P. Newton and Eldridge Cleaver, the FBI repression which resulted in the deaths of numerous BPP members, gender relations in the Party, and the BPP’s political and intellectual development. Students may start the module thinking that the BPP simply represented a violent response to African American oppression dominated by guns, leather jackets and Afro haircuts but they will end the module with a nuanced understanding of the profound contribution of the BPP to American history.

Civil War and Reconstruction (Optional,20 Credits)

You will learn about the causes, events, and results of the U.S. Civil War, a war which took over 620,000 lives; the bloodiest in American history. The Civil War and its aftermath are considered the dividing line between early and modern US history. The War ended the South’s dominance of American politics. It also led to three major constitutional amendments which ended slavery, defined American citizenship, and provided for African American votes respectively which still have implications in American life in the 21st century. The course begins in 1850 by looking at American sectionalism and how and why that caused the founding of the Republican party and the eventual secession of eleven southern states. It then examines the military aspects of the war and explores its social, political, economic, and diplomatic effects. The end of the term will be spent on the political and social aspects of the post-War period known as ‘Reconstruction.’ It will explain how American national identity became redefined during this tumultuous time, especially in popular memory around public commemorations, art, literature and film. You will also analyse the controversial historiography of this period throughout the semester.

Law and Order USA: Police, Prisons, and Protest in Modern America (Optional,20 Credits)

This module will explore the history of ‘law and order’ politics (broadly defined) in the United States since 1900. You will learn about the creation of the law enforcement and judicial state at the federal, state, and local level (including, for instance, the establishment of the FBI and the rise of the carceral state), and the social movements that resisted and challenged that state. The module will cover such diverse topics as Prohibition, the Stonewall riot and the early LGBTQ movement, the prison reform and prisoners’ rights movements, the War on Drugs, anti-death penalty activism, and Black Lives Matter. This module will deal with fundamental questions of order and justice, how they have been contested in American society, and how they have intersected with issues of race, class, and gender.

Politics of Oil and Global Warming (Optional,20 Credits)

Two of the most important problems facing humanity are climate change and energy security. In terms of solutions, a number of very different approaches have been suggested that range from the technological to the radical; how we address and solve these problems is therefore political. This module highlights how energy and resource intensive the average Western way of life is and what this means for climate change and energy security; explores the debate about peak oil (i.e. the point at which cheap and easily accessible oil starts to run out) and considers its political implications; investigates how Western foreign policy has been influenced by the desire to access, if not control, energy sources (e.g. Middle Eastern oil); evaluates the debate about climate change and how politicians have, and could, respond; and assesses the debate about energy policy and how politicians have, and could, respond to the twin demands of tackling global warming while ‘keeping the lights on’.

Terrorism (Optional,20 Credits)

In this module I will analyse how ideas of terrorism have evolved throughout the twentieth century. This module offers me an opportunity to study in some depth the modern terrorism phenomenon and the methods currently being undertaken to counter it. I will focus essentially on two questions: what, exactly, is terrorism and what can be done about it?

Popular Music on Film and Television (Optional,20 Credits)

This module is concerned with popular music culture and its relationship to film, an area much neglected in academic film studies, television studies and popular music studies. As such, it seeks to address this absence by looking at a number of key junctures where popular music culture, the cinema and television inter-relate, exploring debates about gender representation, authorship, genre and music in performance, as well as how the films studied relate to context of their production and reception. The module, therefore, covers topics such as the following in a largely chronological fashion. An indicative syllabus is as follows:1. Early moments: The significance of the early Elvis Films: King Creole2. Punk rock on film: The Great Rock n’ Roll Swindle3. The revisionist musical: Von Trier, Lhurmann et al4. Popular Music and national identity: The Commitments5. Popular Music and ‘Race’ representation: 8 Mile6. Gender play: Velvet Goldmine, In Bed with Madonna7. The popular music / rock documentary8. Dance and the male body: Saturday Night Fever9. The concert film" from Wadleigh's Woodstock to Godard's One plus One. 10. Critical approaches to music video: Corbijn, Cunningham et al. 11. Nostalgia and the popular musical biopic: Control

Cult Film and Television (Optional,20 Credits)

You will learn to understand how the term ‘cult’ has been applied to film and television programmes in different ways, and how the concept has developed across history. The module will enable you to critically examine the ways that cult has been theorised both in relation to films and television programmes, and some of the key differences between cult television and cult film. You will understand how cult can be applied to both films, the reception of films, as well as how it has increasingly infiltrated marketing discourses. Case studies on the module include midnight movies, authorship and cult, fandom, telefantasy, censorship and controversy, exploitation cinema and global cult cinema.

Adaptations on Film and TV (Optional,20 Credits)

In ‘Adaptations on Film and TV’ you will examine the practical and theoretical debates around the translation of a variety of texts into films and television programmes. A broad-range of case studies is covered, from adaptations of ‘high art’ such as Shakespeare and literary fiction, to the conversion of popular fiction, comic-books and supposedly ‘unfilmable’ sources. As well as considering issues of authorship and originality, you will consider the complex relationship between film, television and other media forms, from music and video-gaming to theme-park rides. Films and programmes under discussion are likely to include examples such as Adaptation, William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet, Sherlock, Doom, The Walking Dead, Band of Brothers, Star Trek amongst others.

Academic Language Skills for Humanities & Social Sciences (Core – for International and EU students only,0 Credits)

Academic skills when studying away from your home country can differ due to cultural and language differences in teaching and assessment practices. This module is designed to support your transition in the use and practice of technical language and subject specific skills around assessments and teaching provision in your chosen subject. The overall aim of this module is to develop your abilities to read and study effectively for academic purposes; to develop your skills in analysing and using source material in seminars and academic writing and to develop your use and application of language and communications skills to a higher level. The topics you will cover on the module include:• Understanding assignment briefs and exam questions.• Developing academic writing skills, including citation, paraphrasing, and summarising.• Practising ‘critical reading’ and ‘critical writing’• Planning and structuring academic assignments (e.g. essays, reports and presentations).• Avoiding academic misconduct and gaining credit by using academic sources and referencing effectively.• Listening skills for lectures.• Speed reading techniques.

Any Questions?

Contact Details for Applicants:

Current, Relevant and Inspiring

We continuously review and improve course content in consultation with our students and employers. To make sure we can inform you of any changes to your course register for updates on the course page.

Your Learning Experience find out about our distinctive approach at 

Fees and Funding - northumbria.ac.uk/fees

Get a downloadable PDF of this course and updates from Humanities

Enter your details to receive an email with a link to a downloadable PDF of this course and to receive the latest news and information from Northumbria University

* By submitting your information you are consenting to your data being processed by Northumbria University (as Data Controller) and Campus Management Corp. (acting as Data Processor). To see the University's privacy policy please click here

++

Research in Humanities is divided across two distinct areas: English (Literature, Language and Linguistics and Creative Writing) and History. Alongside these research areas we also have our American Studies research grouping, which draws on researchers from both English Literature and History.

+

© Copyright 2019 Northumbria University.

More Information

Posted on

Type

Bachelor's programs

Newcastle%20upon%20Tyne%2C%20United%20Kingdom

Newcastle upon Tyne , United Kingdom