Module Identifier AS20020  
Academic Year 2006/2007  
Co-ordinator Dr Martin Padget  
Semester Semester 1  
Other staff Dr Helena Grice, Professor Timothy S Woods  
Pre-Requisite EN11120 , EN11020  
Course delivery Seminars / Tutorials   Two hour weekly seminar  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Assessment 2 x 2000 word essays 50% for each piece of work  100%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmit any failed elements and/or make good any missing elements. Where this involves resubmission, a new topic must be selected.   

Learning outcomes

On completion of the module students should be able to:
demonstrate a knowledge of key historical developments in United States society since 1945 and their influence on the politics and culture of late 20th and early 21st century America;

display a capacity for significant judgement across a broad range of perspectives in the history, politics, literature and film studies of postwar American culture;

review and summarize contemporary debates about the definition of American culture in the 1950s and 1960s;

formulate responses to well defined and abstract problems using appropriate interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary resources.

Brief description

This module offers an opportunity to examine in depth certain selected themes in American life and culture between 1945 and 1969: America's relationship with the rest of the world in the aftermath of World War II; the impact of that relationship on American politics, society and culture, especially as evidenced in the McCarthyite 'witch hunts'; and contests over the definition of American culture during the 1950s and 1960s.


Seminar Programme

1. Introduction
Module introduction and overview of assessment

2. McCarthyism
Required Viewing: Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Dir. Don Siegel, 1955)

3. Cold War
Required viewing: Dr Strangelove (Dir. Stanley Kubrick, 1964)

4. Countercultures I
Required Reading: Ann Charters, ed, The Penguin Book of the Beats (selections)

5. Countercultures II
Required Reading/Viewing: Ken Kesey, One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest (1970); One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (Dir. Milos Forman, 1975)

6. Youth Cultures
Required Reading/Viewing: Rebel Without a Cause (Dir. Nicholas Ray, 1955); J. D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye (1958)

7. Suburbanisation
Required Reading/Viewing: John Cheever, from The Stories of John Cheever (1990) (i.e. `The Swimmer', `The Wrysons', `The Housebreaker of Shady Hill'); The Swimmer (Dir. Frank Perry, 1968)

8. Women in Post-War Society
Required Reading: Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique (1963)

9. The Civil Rights Movement I: From Brown to Selma
Required Reading: Anne Moody, Coming of Age in Mississippi (1968)

10. The Civil Rights Movement II: From Civil Rights to Black Power
Required Reading: Alice Walker, Meridian (1976)


1. To familiarise students with crucial events and important changes in U.S. society between 1945 and 1969;
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 build on Part 1 American Studies and to supplement the existing range of modules in American Studies at Part 2, thereby enhancing students' overall understanding of American culture.

Module 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  
Communication Students' writing in an academic context will be developed and assessed in the coursework. 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  
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  
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  
Application of Number n/a  
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.  
Subject Specific Skills Working with a multi- and interdisciplinary focus will be developed in seminars and in the assessed work  

Reading Lists

** Essential Reading
Charters, Ann The Penguin Book of the Beats (Selections)
Friedan, Betty (1963) The Feminine Mystique
Kesey, Ken (1970) One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest
Moody, Anne (1968) Coming of Age in Mississippi
Salinger, J. D. (1958) Catcher in the Rye
Walker, Alice (1976) Meridian


This module is at CQFW Level 5