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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.

 

USA-MOOC-In -Page CROP

Northumbria has just launched its first MOOC (Massive Online Open Course) exploring the fascinating history and culture of the American South from colonial times to the 21st century.

Experience for free Northumbria's excellence in teaching and research with the University's Institute of Humanities, all from your own home.

Click the image to find out more.

 

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.

 

USA-MOOC-In -Page CROP

Northumbria has just launched its first MOOC (Massive Online Open Course) exploring the fascinating history and culture of the American South from colonial times to the 21st century.

Experience for free Northumbria's excellence in teaching and research with the University's Institute of Humanities, all from your own home.

Click the image to find out more.

 

Course Information

UCAS Code
T700

Level of Study
Undergraduate

Mode of Study
3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department
Humanities

Location
Lipman Building, Newcastle City Campus

City
Newcastle

Start
September 2019

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.


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 cinema

In 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.

Course in brief

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

Standard Entry

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:
120-128 UCAS Tariff points including one or more of the following:

GCE and VCE Advanced Level:
From at least 2 GCE/VCE A Levels

Edexcel/BTEC National Extended Diploma:
Distinction, Distinction, Merit

Scottish Highers:
BBBBC - BBBCC at Higher level, CCC - BBB at Advanced Higher

Irish Highers:
ABBBB  - BBBBB

IB Diploma:
120-128 UCAS Tariff points including minimum score of 4 in at least three subjects at Higher level

Access to HE Diploma:
Award of full Access to HE Diploma including 18 credits at Distinction and 27 at Merit

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 https://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 UK and EU undergraduate funding and scholarships 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 here for information on fee liability.

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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.

AM4001 -

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.

More information

AM4002 -

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).

More information

EL4003 -

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.

More information

EL4006 -

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 culture

During 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.

More information

HI4005 -

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.

More information

HI4007 -

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.

More information

YC5001 -

Academic Language Skills for Humanities & Social Sciences (Optional, 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.
• Speaking in seminar presentations.
• Presenting your ideas
• Giving discipline-related academic presentations, experiencing peer observation, and receiving formative feedback.
• Speed reading techniques.
• Developing self-reflection skills.

More information

AD5011 -

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.

More information

AM5001 -

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.

More information

AM5002 -

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.

More information

EL5005 -

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.

More information

EL5006 -

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.

More information

EL5007 -

Literature and Identity (Optional, 20 Credits)

On this module you will explore the concept of identity in relation to literary texts across a range of periods and genres. The module will address the relationship between identity formation and narration, drawing on approaches that might include narrative theory and psychoanalysis. You will be encouraged to consider how literary texts participate in the representation and production of gendered, racial, national, sexual, post-colonial and other identities. The module will extend your understanding of literary theory and its application to literary texts and prepare you for the study of theory-based modules at Level 6.

More information

EL5010 -

Historical Fiction (Optional, 20 Credits)

What is historical fiction? When and why did historical fiction begin to be written? How have later writers of historical fiction built on or surpassed early forms of historical fiction? What did or does historical fiction tell us about the world we live in? This module addresses these questions, with a survey of historical fiction from its origins in the 19th century to its varied forms in the 21st century. You will learn to contextualise each historical novel 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 the historical novel and short story at Level 4 (Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys and ‘The Love of a Good Woman’ by Alice Munro), and prefiguring your extended writing work for the dissertation and on Level 6 modules, this module will develop your understanding of historical fiction as a literary genre. This will involve looking at its origins with Walter Scott’s 12th Century Medieval Romance and Folklore and then moving to the Tudors, the French Revolution, the Victorian Era and the Black British history after the Second World War. You will be examining close links between fictional re-imaginings of the past and issues surrounding changing national identities and popular memory. Finally you will be exploring the relationship between the historical novel and a range of other subgenres such as fantasy, social realism, postmodernism, romance, psychoanalysis, the Gothic, biography, spiritualism, detective fiction and postcolonialism.

More information

HI5003 -

American Frontiers: The West in US History and Mythology (Optional, 20 Credits)

This module will provide you with an overview of the social, political and cultural development of the US West, including its transformations as both a place and a myth in the American imagination. Within a broad chronological and interdisciplinary framework, this module will challenge you to examine key themes within U.S. Western history and culture: race, gender, violence, and popular culture. Topics include white-Native American relations and conflicts, agricultural settlement, mining booms, vigilantism, cowboys in film and literature, and overseas expansion to Hawaii and Alaska. You will have the opportunity to engage with and evaluate key interpretations and debates in the scholarship on the U.S. West.

More information

HI5005 -

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.

More information

HI5009 -

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).

More information

HI5034 -

Setting America Right: Conservatism in the United States, 1933 - 2016 (Optional, 20 Credits)

This module will explore the history of conservatism in the United States of America from the 1930s to the present day. Beginning with opposition to Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal, this module will trace the evolution of American conservatism through the era of Republican presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, and all the way up to the emergence of Donald Trump and the ‘alt-right’. At the heart of this module is a simple question: did the U.S. ‘turn right’ during the twentieth century? In answering that question, you will grapple with the fundamental issue of what it means to be a ‘conservative’ in America and how that label has been used and fought over in different eras and contexts.

You will learn about developments in high politics and at the grassroots, and gain an understanding of conservative movements both within and without the Republican Party. As well as learning about crucial events in recent U.S. political history (such as Barry Goldwater’s transformational 1964 presidential campaign), you will learn about the ways that conservatives revolutionised the nation’s political culture, pioneering innovative electoral techniques such as direct mail and constructing formidable conservative media outlets like Fox News. The module is organised in a broadly chronological way, but you will also explore key themes and movements that span decades, such as the religious right, anti-feminism, and ‘colour-blind’ conservatism.

More information

MI5013 -

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 System
3. Sound and Music
4. Censorship
5. The B Movie
6. Politics and Hollywood
7. Stardom
8. Indiewood
9. Gender and Hollywood
10. High Concept Filmmaking and the Blockbuster
11. Global Hollywood

More information

YC5001 -

Academic Language Skills for Humanities & Social Sciences (Optional, 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.
• Speaking in seminar presentations.
• Presenting your ideas
• Giving discipline-related academic presentations, experiencing peer observation, and receiving formative feedback.
• Speed reading techniques.
• Developing self-reflection skills.

More information

AD5009 -

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.

More information

AD5010 -

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.

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AM6001 -

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.

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AM6003 -

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.

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EL6004 -

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.

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EL6005 -

Travel Writing (Optional, 20 Credits)

This module will explore some key topics in contemporary travel writing (such as the environment; the end of European colonialism; war and the Cold War; and tourism). In your explorations you will investigate the way in which travel writing reflects and contributes to contemporary conversations about politics, culture, the environment, and features of our contemporary world such as globalization, mass media, and global warming. You will look at a variety of forms including essays, books, radio broadcasts, and journalism, and will consider how these different forms are utilized by travel writers.

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EL6013 -

Violent Femmes: Women in Post-war Popular Culture (Optional, 20 Credits)

On this module you will examine the figure of the active female hero within popular fiction, film and television since the Second World War. Beginning in the 1950s with figures on screen such as Calamity Jane, the module will offer a selective survey of such representations through the 60s, 70s, 80s and so on. You will examine each example within the context of its form (ie film, television, popular fiction) and within the context of ongoing debates about the position and role of women in Britain and North America.

During the module you will become familiar with contemporary debates regarding the politics of gendered behaviours, engaging with feminist theory, film and television studies, cultural studies and literary theory. While the module will focus on the representation of women, discussion will also inevitably address relevant accounts of masculinity, sexuality and ethnicity.

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EL6015 -

American Gothic (Optional, 20 Credits)

On this module you will examine the gothic tradition of American writing from its inception in the eighteenth century to its contemporary expression in more recent fiction. You will become familiar with the symbolic conventions of the gothic genre such as the figure of the double, the uncanny and the tropes of disease, incarceration and death. In addition, you will also engage with the gothic as an encounter with and an interrogation of the history of the United States. You will learn about the ways in which the ‘imagined community’ of America is constructed in terms of liberty, freedom and equality and how gothic writing produces dark stories that counter this light-filled narrative of progress. More specifically, you will study the gothic in relation to the construction of ‘The South’, the history of slavery and anxieties concerning race, gender and social class.

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EL6018 -

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.

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EL6042 -

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.

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EL6047 -

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.

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HI6003 -

The Golden State: California (Optional, 20 Credits)

This module explores how California has developed as both a place and an idea in the American imagination, focusing on the transformative period from the 1840s to the 1960s. While historical, our approach will also be interdisciplinary, reflecting the ways in which cultural constructions and popular representations played a crucial role in California’s development. Visual culture and novels, advertisements, film, and music, will all be consulted at different points as key elements in the Golden State’s formation. Learning about the different ways in which we can see, understand and explain the development of California and the California Dream – including topics such as the Gold Rush, early Hollywood, and Japanese internment during the Second World War – will provide you with a better range of tools to understand region and identity in the United States. It will equip you to think critically about academic literature, primary sources, and historical interpretation.

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HI6004 -

The African American Freedom Struggle Since 1945 (Optional, 20 Credits)

In this seminar-based module you will study the roots, trajectory, and legacies of the African American Freedom Struggle since 1945. Although the primary focus will be on the movement for racial justice in the US South between roughly 1954 and 1968, that history will be placed in longer chronological and broader national and international contexts. More specifically you will study the grass-roots activities of African Americans engaged in various forms of resistance and protest alongside the histories of the major civil rights groups – the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). You will interrogate their tactics, examine their often fraught relationships with each other, and assess their achievements and failures in the face of widespread resistance to racial change. You will examine the contributions of the extraordinary ordinary people at the heart of the struggle, as well as those of nationally prominent leaders such as Martin Luther King. In this module you will also analyse the relationship between the civil rights movement and the federal government, address the role of the media and popular culture in shaping both the history and popular understandings of the post-war Freedom Struggle, and examine the international coordinates and impact of the struggles.

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HI6007 -

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.

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HI6030 -

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.

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IR6007 -

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’.

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IR6008 -

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?

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MI6005 -

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 Creole
2. Punk rock on film: The Great Rock n’ Roll Swindle
3. The revisionist musical: Von Trier, Lhurmann et al
4. Popular Music and national identity: The Commitments
5. Popular Music and ‘Race’ representation: 8 Mile
6. Gender play: Velvet Goldmine, In Bed with Madonna
7. The popular music / rock documentary
8. Dance and the male body: Saturday Night Fever
9. 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

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MI6007 -

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.

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MI6009 -

The Modern American Horror Film (Optional, 20 Credits)

The modern period in American horror cinema is generally seen as beginning in 1968 with the release of Night of the Living Dead. This module explores the wide range of American horror films produced since that date. It identifies key themes, formats and cycles, and it engages with the relation of the horror genre to changes in the American film industry and to broader social and historical change. It also explores the aesthetic innovations and challenges offered by new forms of horror. In taking the module, you will acquire an understanding of the critical and cultural issues raised by this important area of American culture and you will develop your own insights into such iconic films as The Exorcist, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (both versions), Carrie, Halloween, Silence of the Lambs, Candyman and Hostel, among others.

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MI6010 -

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.

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YC5001 -

Academic Language Skills for Humanities & Social Sciences (Optional, 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.
• Speaking in seminar presentations.
• Presenting your ideas
• Giving discipline-related academic presentations, experiencing peer observation, and receiving formative feedback.
• Speed reading techniques.
• Developing self-reflection skills.

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