Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 1

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials Two hour weekly seminar


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 X 4000 WORD ESSAY  60%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   2 HOUR EXAMINATION  Two questions from any section but students must not answer on semester essay question  40%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmit or resit failed elements and/or make good any missing elements 

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Critically analyse and evaluate a range of key historical developments in United States society since 1968 and their influence on the contemporary USA;

2. Demonstrate an ability to use critically and engage with the perspectives of history, politics, and literary and film studies to study key aspects of American culture in the late 20th century and early 21st century;

3.Review, summarize and critique contemporary debates about the definition of American culture in the late 20th century and early 21st century

4. Demonstrate developing skills in critical analysis using appropriate interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary resources


Seminar Programme

Section A
1. Introduction: Representing the Vietnam War
Required Reading/Viewing: Text extracts in seminar; clips from Apocalypse Now (Dir. Francis Ford Coppola, 1979)

2. The U.S. and Vietnam, 1945-1975
Required Reading/Viewing: Full Metal Jacket (Dir. Stanley Kubrick, 1987); Michael Herr, Dispatches (Picador 1979)

3. The Nature of the Conflict in Vietnam
Required Reading: Tim O'Brien, In the Lake of the Woods (Flamingo 1994)

Section B
4. Multiculturalism I
Required Reading: Helena Maria Viramontes, Under the Feet of Jesus (1996)

5. Multiculturalism II
Required Reading/Viewing: Spike Lee, Do the Right Thing (Dir. Spike Lee, 1989); Terry McMillan, Waiting to Exhale (1995)

Section C
6. Urbanism I: Blank Generations
Required Reading/Viewing: Douglas Coupland, Generation X (1991); American Psycho (Dir. Mary Harron, 2000)

7. Urbanism II: The American Pastoral
Required Reading/Viewing: American Beauty (Dir. Sam Mendes, 1999); Ann Beattie, Park City (1999)

Section D
8. 9/11
Required Reading: Chapters from Tim Dunne and Ken Booth, eds. Worlds in Collision (2002); Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2005)

9. 9/11
Required Reading/Viewing: United 93 (Dir. Paul Greengrass); Attention to various websites

10. Whither America in C21?
Conclusion and overview

Brief description

This module is structured upon four focal points. Firstly, there is the chain reaction to the events of the 1960s, in particular the Vietnam War, that characterised American politics and culture in the 1970s and 1980s; secondly, there is the impact of immigration and multiculturalism in contemporary culture; thirdly, there is urbanism and suburbanism; and finally, there is the assessment of the state of America and its standing in the world at the end of the Cold War.


This module aims:
1. To build upon the knowledge gained by students in Part 1 American Studies by familiarising students with crucial events and important changes in U.S. society since the 1970s.
2. To offer students an interdisciplinary approach to American Studies. The perspectives of history, literary and film studies, and politics will be brought to bear on a series of common topics in a way that will enhance understanding of the subject matter under investigation, as well as demonstrating the conceptual benefits (and problems) of interdisciplinary study.
3. To supplement the existing range of modules in American Studies and thereby enhance students' overall understanding of American culture.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number n/a
Communication Students' writing in an academic context will be developed and assessed in the coursework and examination assignments. Oral skills will be developed in individual and group work in seminars, but not assessed
Improving own Learning and Performance This will be developed during the course of the seminars and in the assessment tasks
Information Technology Students will be expected to present their work in word processed form (and will edit PC generated text); they will also be required to make use of computerized library resources
Personal Development and Career planning This will be addressed in the module¿s emphasis on independent and group work, and its attempt to develop professional presentational skills
Problem solving This will be developed during the course of the seminars and in the assessment tasks
Research skills This will be developed during the course of the seminars and in the assessment tasks
Subject Specific Skills Working with a multi- and interdisciplinary focus will be developed in seminars and in the assessed work
Team work This is built into the pedagogy of the module - all students will work in pairs and/or groups to comment on theories in relation to texts


This module is at CQFW Level 6