Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
Britain and the Usa: Cultural and Political Connections and Disconnections 1945-1970.
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials 10 x 2-hour seminars
Workload Breakdown 20 hours seminars 2 hour tutorial support including individual essay returns 178 hours independent study and essay preparation 200 hours total


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Essay 1  2,500/3,000 word essay  50%
Semester Assessment Essay 2  2,500/3,000 word essay  50%
Supplementary Assessment Essay 1  2,500/3,000 word essay  50%
Supplementary Assessment Essay 2  2,500/3,000 word essay 

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

Demonstrate a critical understanding of relevant themes and approaches in the history and historiography of the Anglo-American relationship in the decades after World War Two

Evaluate differing ways of understanding the relationship between the past and both its political and its cultural representation.

Marshal and understand the use of appropriate evidence in formulating historical arguments regarding the history Britain and the USA since the Second World War.

Demonstrate through written work an ability to integrate methodological themes into their own research.


1. Introduction
2. The Special Relationship: British and American Politics
3. Transmitting Transatlantic Culture: film, TV and advertising
4. US influences on the UK: ‘Americanisation’ of Fashion, Popular Music in the 1950s
5. UK influences on the US: The British Invasion in the 1960s
6. Everyday Life
7. Creating the Teenager: Youth and Counter/Sub-cultures
8. Little Rock to Notting Hill: Civil Rights, Immigration and the Race Question
9. Women’s Liberation
10. Conclusions: Was it really the American Century?

Brief description

Academic rationale of the proposal:

The module will examine the relationship between Britain and the USA during the quarter century following the Second World War. During this period America loomed large in the British consciousness at a number of levels. In terms of geo-politics the USA was establishing itself in its expanding Cold War role, while Britain was adjusting to the loss of Empire and an adjusted world role. In the fields of technology and industry, including the aerospace, computing and nuclear sectors, a prolonged struggle for leadership unfolded. Against this background a range of cultural interactions and influences developed, ebbing and flowing across the Atlantic ? including youth cultures and alternative ideologies, in music, fashion, cinema and theatre, and TV for example. The course will confront the methodological and historiographical challenges involved in unraveling the precise relationship, at a number of levels, between the USA and Britain during this key transitionary period. Students will be introduced to key primary and secondary sources relating to a range of histories from political, cultural and social fields.

Brief Description:

The module will be comprised of a series of ten sessions which will outline various aspects of the unfolding relationship between Britain and the USA, at a number of inter-related levels in the decades following World War Two. Clearly Britain and America have a great deal of historical interconnection, maybe even synergy. The so-called `Special relationship?. Yet this relationship has ebbed and flowed in terms of its utility, strength, understanding etc., and has historically been a question of intense debate. The period examined here is a central one in this relationship which saw the USA seemingly in the ascendency, and accelerating away from Britain, in for example, world political influence, science, technology and military power, and, importantly, in terms of popular culture. This is a process spanning the twentieth century and beyond, but the years in question threw this process into sharp focus, as the USA either challenged Britain, or provoked adulation, on all fronts from aerospace to rock `n? roll. Reaction in Britain was complex, and it is this complexity which forms the basis of the module. Combining political histories and sources with those of social and cultural perspectives the module will attempt to delineate the real influence of the USA in British society in the decades after 1945.


1. Introduction: The rise of the USA, the decline of Britain?
2. War and reconstruction, science and technology. The USA and Britain'r White Heat.
3. The media is the persuader; film, TV, advertising and the transmission of TransAtlantic culture after 1950.
3. Dressing the part ? TransAtlantic fashions and the Americanisation of teenage in the 1950s.
4. The Rock `n? Roll Hegemony: US influences on popular music cultures in the 1950s.
5. The Empire Strikes Back? I. Pop music and the British invasion of the 1960s.
6. The Empire Strikes Back? II. Fashion and the British invasion of the 1960s
6. Make Love Not War?: The British peace movement from Aldermaston to Grosvenor Square.
7. Opening the Doors: Drugs, Religion and the Eastward Gaze.
8. Playing Greece to America'r Rome. Global political ambitions in Britain in the 1960s
9. Fighting off the American Challenge. Alternatives to US multinational capitalism in Britain.
10 Conclusions: Was it really the American Century?

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Through understanding of statistical and other numerical data as it relates to the topics under review
Communication Through seminar discussion and essay writing. Latter only is formally assessed.
Improving own Learning and Performance By guided reflection during seminars and feedback sessions following submission of written work.
Information Technology Through data retrieval exercises for research purposes and word-processing for essay writing purposes.
Personal Development and Career planning Through furthering understanding of single and interdisciplinary approaches to the social and cultural history of the period, and the opportunity this offers for research and history related careers.
Problem solving By understanding how historians seeking to explore the political and cultural dimension of the Anglo-US relationship after 1945 employ variety of different methodological approaches towards understanding problems within their field.
Research skills By learning how to identify appropriate primary and secondary sources and utilising that material in their work.
Subject Specific Skills By enhancing methodological understanding of 20th century political and cultural history, in particular with respect to questions of history, politics and popular culture, and an awareness of key texts and approaches.
Team work Through seminar work.


This module is at CQFW Level 7