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top 10 in the uk for research quality

What is American Studies?

American Studies is a vibrant interdisciplinary field of study that explores the complexities of American culture, society, and history. It involves examining the United States from a variety of perspectives, including history, literature, politics, environment, sociology, film, music, and art, among many others.

Take your interest in History across the pond!

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 significance.

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.

Why choose Northumbria to study American Studies? 

  • 90% of our research publications are internationally excellent and world-leading (REF, 2021).
  • American Studies at Northumbria ranked top 5 in the UK across all student survey categories, including 1st for 'Teaching On My Course', 'Academic Support', and  ‘Learning Resources’ (NSS, 2023).

top 10 in the uk for research quality

What is American Studies?

American Studies is a vibrant interdisciplinary field of study that explores the complexities of American culture, society, and history. It involves examining the United States from a variety of perspectives, including history, literature, politics, environment, sociology, film, music, and art, among many others.

Take your interest in History across the pond!

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 significance.

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.

Why choose Northumbria to study American Studies? 

  • 90% of our research publications are internationally excellent and world-leading (REF, 2021).
  • American Studies at Northumbria ranked top 5 in the UK across all student survey categories, including 1st for 'Teaching On My Course', 'Academic Support', and  ‘Learning Resources’ (NSS, 2023).

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
City Campus, Northumbria University

City
Newcastle

Start
September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

News / Humanities

Find out what our Humanities students and staff are taking part in and achieving.

To get inspired check out our gallery below of our humanities students social posts to find out what it’s like to be part of the Northumbria community.

Humanities at Northumbria University

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

Department / Humanities

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

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Department

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Study

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 BA (Hons). Speak to staff and students from the course and get a tour of the facilities.

Entry Requirements 2024/25

Standard Entry

112 UCAS Tariff points

From a combination of acceptable Level 3 qualifications which may include: A-level, T Level, BTEC Diplomas/Extended Diplomas, Scottish and Irish Highers, Access to HE Diplomas, or the International Baccalaureate.

Find out how many points your qualifications are worth by using the UCAS Tariff calculator: www.ucas.com/ucas/tariff-calculator

Northumbria University is committed to supporting all individuals to achieve their ambitions. We have a range of schemes and alternative offers to make sure as many individuals as possible are given an opportunity to study at our University regardless of personal circumstances or background. To find out more, review our Northumbria Entry Requirement Essential Information page for further details www.northumbria.ac.uk/entryrequirementsinfo

Subject Requirements:

There are no specific subject requirements for this course.

GCSE Requirements:

Applicants will need Maths and English Language at minimum grade 4/C, or an equivalent.

Additional Requirements:

There are no additional requirements for this course.

International Qualifications:

We welcome applicants with a range of qualifications which may not match those shown above.

If you have qualifications from outside the UK, find out what you need by visiting www.northumbria.ac.uk/yourcountry

English Language Requirements:

International applicants should have a minimum overall IELTS (Academic) score of 6.0 with 5.5 in each component (or an 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 in our English Language section: www.northumbria.ac.uk/englishqualifications

Entry Requirements 2025/26

Standard Entry

112 UCAS Tariff points

From a combination of acceptable Level 3 qualifications which may include: A-level, T Level, BTEC Diplomas/Extended Diplomas, Scottish and Irish Highers, Access to HE Diplomas, or the International Baccalaureate.

Find out how many points your qualifications are worth by using the UCAS Tariff calculator: www.ucas.com/ucas/tariff-calculator

Northumbria University is committed to supporting all individuals to achieve their ambitions. We have a range of schemes and alternative offers to make sure as many individuals as possible are given an opportunity to study at our University regardless of personal circumstances or background. To find out more, review our Northumbria Entry Requirement Essential Information page for further details www.northumbria.ac.uk/entryrequirementsinfo

Subject Requirements:

There are no specific subject requirements for this course.

GCSE Requirements:

Applicants will need Maths and English Language at minimum grade 4/C, or an equivalent.

Additional Requirements:

There are no additional requirements for this course.

International Qualifications:

We welcome applicants with a range of qualifications which may not match those shown above.

If you have qualifications from outside the UK, find out what you need by visiting www.northumbria.ac.uk/yourcountry

English Language Requirements:

International applicants should have a minimum overall IELTS (Academic) score of 6.0 with 5.5 in each component (or an 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 in our English Language section: www.northumbria.ac.uk/englishqualifications

Fees and Funding 2024/25 Entry

UK Fee in Year 1: £9,250

* The maximum tuition fee that we are permitted to charge for UK students is set by government. Tuition fees may increase in each subsequent academic year of your course, these are subject to government regulations and in line with inflation.


EU Fee in Year 1: £18,250

International Fee in Year 1: £18,250


Please see the main Funding Pages for 24/25 scholarship information.

 


ADDITIONAL COSTS

There are no Additional Costs

Fees and Funding 2025/26 Entry

UK Fee in Year 1*: TBC

* The maximum tuition fee that we are permitted to charge for UK students is set by government. Tuition fees may increase in each subsequent academic year of your course, these are subject to government regulations and in line with inflation.



EU Fee in Year 1: **TBC


International Fee in Year 1: TBC

ADDITIONAL COSTS

TBC

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How to Apply

Please use the Apply Now button at the top of this page to submit your application.

Certain applications may need to be submitted via an external application system, such as UCAS, Lawcabs or DfE Apply.

The Apply Now button will redirect you to the relevant website if this is the case.

You can find further application advice, such as what to include in your application and what happens after you apply, on our Admissions Hub Admissions | Northumbria University



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

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.

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EL4006 -

Concepts in Criticism and Culture (Core,20 Credits)

This module introduces you to literary studies at university, past and present. You will learn how the formation of (English) Literature as a degree subject played into approaches to the study of literature from the early twentieth century, and still influence popular understandings of what it is we (lecturers and students) really do when we ‘study literature’. Early discussions will include case studies to help explain some of the debates about the nature of literary studies. We will then work with a text that has been labelled as ‘canonical’ (e.g. Shakespeare’s Hamlet) to critique the concept of canonicity and ask what it is we do when we go ‘beyond the basics’ of textual engagement. That text will then become the central point of reference across the rest of the module, as we investigate different theoretical and critical approaches.

During the module you will be asked to read a range of critical essays, discussing them in individually and in relation to each other. The module aims to foster your skills in close textual analysis, informed by key theoretical perspectives and independent reflective practice.

More information

EL4017 -

Gothic Stories: Nineteenth Century to the Present (Core,20 Credits)

In this module you will be given the opportunity to study a range of gothic texts from the nineteenth century to the contemporary period. This will provide you with the opportunity to explore the conventions of the genre as well as some of the ways in which gothic writing reflects and/or questions assumptions about race, gender, social class and sexuality. You will learn about the cultural significance of many familiar gothic motifs and figures such as ghosts, uncanny doubles, haunted houses and vampires.

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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 five ‘core skills’ blocks (Writing History, Handling Sources, 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 how to study and write history through an analysis of the historian’s key skills. The block also develops skills in three areas: (1) writing history; (2) reading history (3) researching history. The second block examines key approaches to historical sources. In addition to allowing you to demonstrate the skills gained in block one, the block concentrates on how to find primary sources, how to read them, and how to deploy them in written work. Block three considers key conceptual approaches to the past, including race, class and gender. Block four draws the skills you have learnt in a concentrated study of a single secondary source book. . 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 and 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.
• 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 abroad at a partner university equivalent to 60 UK credits. 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

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.

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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.

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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 and in relation to contemporary debates around identity politics and the so-called culture wars. The module will address the relationship between identity and literary representation, drawing on approaches that might include intersectionality, narrative theory and gender studies. 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 and their discussion and perception in the public sphere, from the classroom to the media. The module will extend your understanding of to the links between literary texts and real-world cultural, social and political debates, preparing you for the study of contemporary literature modules at Level 6.

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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

HI5004 -

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

Historians and other researchers have often used the terms of ‘affluence’ and ‘anxiety’ to describe US history and culture from 1920 to 1960. According to a traditional narrative, Americans enjoyed unprecedented ‘affluence’ in the 1920s and in the postwar period, while experiencing great ‘anxiety’ in the context of the Cold War. While useful, these narratives do not fully account for the complexity of this period. In this module, we will ask questions such as: Who took advantage of affluence (pre- and post-WW2)? Who was excluded from it and how? How did American conceptions of affluence fundamentally shape our current climate crisis? Beyond Cold War anxieties, what were Americans, in their diversity, worried about? How did foreign policy anxieties reveal themselves at home? And how did racial and gender anxieties shape US politics and culture?

With these questions in mind, we will assess and analyse major developments and events of the period, including, but not limited to: the roaring 1920s, the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, the New Deal, World War II, the Cold War, the postwar “economic miracle,” the suburban boom, and the beginnings of the Civil Rights Movement. By narrowing our focus on four crucial decades of the 20th century, we will be able to look at these events from various angles. In accordance with recent developments in the field, we will pay particular attention to historiographical interpretations that emphasize race, gender, sexuality, and class, as well as the environment. This will mean, for instance, that you will not only learn about the anti-communist ‘Red Scare’ of the 1950s, but also about the lesser known ‘Lavender Scare’ that targeted gay men and women working for the US government. Similarly, we will study Rosa Parks’ efforts to desegregate the buses in 1950s Birmingham, but we will also pay attention to ordinary actors of the Civil Rights Movement, such as the African-American youths who desegregated swimming pools and amusement parks.

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.

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HI5005 -

America in the 1960s (Core,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.

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HI5009 -

Your Graduate Future (Optional,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. This module now includes a “Standard Pathway” and a “Law Pathway”, delivered in collaboration with Northumbria School of Law. For the Standard Pathway, 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). Students in the Law Pathway will also attend the lectures, and will follow a bespoke schedule of workshops, seminars, a field visit to The National Archives in London including archival training and a private tour of the archives. They will also undergo two specialised training sessions in Newcastle. Students in both pathways will follow the same assessment pattern, but those in the Law Pathway will work alongside students from the Law School to investigate a historical legal case using original archival material from The National Archives and Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, and their group project will see them produce public facing history outputs for these external clients, including exhibitions, website blogs, and contributions to their official social media channels. In Semester 2, the ‘Placement’ element will work with Law students to design and stage a reconstruction of the trial itself.

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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.

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HI5040 -

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.

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HI5052 -

History/Film: Using Popular Film as Historical Evidence (Optional,20 Credits)

We know you like films, and we know that you like using them as historical evidence. But are you aware that you need a very particular skill set in order to analyse and write about films properly? If you weren’t but are interested in finding out more, and particularly if you are thinking of using film in your final-year dissertation, then this is the module for you.

This team-taught module invites you to consider a variety of popular film genres, with a specific view towards considering their value to the historian, both as sources about the past AND sources from the past. Key genres that we’ll examine include documentaries, historical dramas, biopics, science fiction, and more. The module tutors will provide you with leading-edge theoretical and methodological approaches through which you will learn how to analyse cinema as a historian.

Learning about the ways in which we might dissect a film will provide you with a range of tools that you can bring to bear on the world around you. For example, you will be able to demonstrate how popular film reflects and attempts to shape popular opinion about key political issues of the time, and how the semiotics of film enable us to move beyond simply responding to film’s plot or its cast.

As this suggests, the module requires you to develop additional analytic skills to those that you would wield when analysing textual documents. It will enable you to move beyond issues pertaining to a film’s factual accuracy (or lack thereof) to consider its emotional truths, its ideological standpoints, the ways in which the filmmakers attempt to convey and disguise political messages, and the way in which audiences are able to absorb, reject, or transform these messages as they see fit. Naturally, it will encourage you to consider the complicated relationship between the past, film, history, Film Studies, and the discipline of History itself. It might even do more…

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HI5054 -

Field Notes: Politics and Policy Making in Place (Optional,20 Credits)

“Field Notes” will take you out of the classroom to immerse you in the major issues facing the contemporary world. The North East is a region alive with controversy and contested spaces which speak to larger challenges facing the nation and the global community in the 21st century. Landscapes throughout the region, from the coast to the Northumberland National Park, Newcastle city centre to the banks of the River Tyne, are inscribed with complex histories which intersect with, and inform, ongoing battles over how to manage, protect, and develop these spaces for a future informed by severe social and economic challenges and the upheaval caused by climate change. You will be taken to four different local sites that are at the centre of these larger environmental-social-political and economic battles and learn how to unravel the complex dynamics that underpin these spaces (from the choices made by policy makers at the local, national, and global level, to the role of communities, activist groups, and other stakeholders in shaping these places). You will be asked to complete a range of assessments from a group presentation to a public poster and site report responding to these field trips. Through the module, therefore, you will be taught how to understand the dynamics of place and policy making and most importantly how to apply historical research to contemporary social issues that impact our world today.

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HI5056 -

Al-Andalus to America: Spain and the New World (Optional,20 Credits)

In this module you will acquire in-depth knowledge about the Spanish late medieval period, with all of its captivating myths and influential realities. You will become critically familiar with exciting passages of universal history, including the end of the Reconquest (with the rise of the Spanish Inquisition and the expulsion of Jews and Muslims), the discovery of America, often referred to as an “encounter” of civilisations, and the development of the modern world from an Iberian perspective. You will explore the concepts of religious persecution and clash of civilisations, establishing the links between the political role of the Catholic Church and the development of a “new” continent in America from 1492. Moreover, you will gain an expert understanding of coexistence and conflict between Muslims, Jews and Christians in Spain, including the transformational cultural legacies that Europe and the West owe to Al-Andalus and Sefarad (Muslim and Jewish Spain). You will also gain a nuanced understanding of imperial dynamics between indigenous civilisations, including the Inca and the Azteca, and European settlers in the New World. You will learn about Spain’s Christian and Imperial mandates by using a wide range of translated primary sources, which will include, amongst many others, the Lead Books of Granada, Hernán Cortés’s Letters from Mexico, and Álvar Núnez’s account of his ten years journey from Florida to California, Castaways. You will also be able to evaluate the role of propaganda, from a comparative history perspective, when assessing the key events that took place before and after 1492, and how these shaped the course of modern history.

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IR5010 -

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 and China foreign policy.

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ML5001 -

Unilang - Languages for all - Level 5 Placeholder (Optional,20 Credits)

The 20-credit yearlong Unilang modules (stages 1 – 5 depending on language) aim to encourage a positive attitude to language learning and to develop and practise the four language skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing introducing the basic/increasingly complex grammatical structures and vocabulary of the spoken and written language (depending on stage) and developing your ability to respond appropriately in the foreign language in spoken and written form in simple and increasingly complex everyday situations.

These modules also introduce you to the country and the culture of the country. In doing this, Unilang modules are intended to encourage and support international mobility; to enhance employability at home and abroad; to improve communication skills in the foreign language as well as English; to improve cultural awareness and, at the higher stages, to encourage access to foreign sources.

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MP5022 -

Cultural Identities on Screen (Optional,20 Credits)

The module will focus on the televisual representation and articulation of cultural identities in Britain and the US. We will look at how gender, ethnicity, national and regional identities are constructed through an examination of different genres and areas of screen media, such as drama, comedy and current affairs. We will explore issues such as class, gender and racial stereotypes, visibility of minority groups and integration. Throughout the course we will also consider the function of television, considering what its role might be in the construction of cultural identities.

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YC5001 -

Academic Language Skills for Humanities and 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.
• 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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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.

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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 abroad at a partner university equivalent to 120 UK credits. 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 (Optional,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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AM6005 -

Red, White and Green: The American Environment Through Time (Core,20 Credits)

The US is a paradox when it comes to nature: it is both the country that invented the national park concept and the biggest carbon dioxide emitter historically; it was the first country to celebrate Earth Day in 1970, but it is also where the hyper consumerist lifestyle first emerged; it is the birthplace of some of the oldest and most important environmental NGOs and of climate denial. How can we make sense of the US and its relationship to nature? Are Americans doomed to destroy the natural wonders of their nation? Can we envision a red, white and green nation that would put science and technology at the service of sustainability and environmental justice?

The module will answer these questions by examining the US’ complicated relationship to nature chronologically. In doing so, we will re-examine and challenge conventional narratives of US history by integrating the role of nature as a historical actor in its own right. Examples of themes covered include: nature and conquest; Native American environments; nature and technology; the wilderness myth; animals in US history; environmental disasters; urban nature; the rise of environmentalism; environmental justice and environmental racism; waste and pollution; toxicities, etc.

The module will approach these themes using the tools of the environmental humanities. Combining historical, visual and literary analysis with insights from ecology and other ‘hard’ sciences, we will achieve a thorough understanding of environmental phenomena in their full complexity.

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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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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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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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HI6031 -

Recording the Past: Making Your Own History Documentary (Optional,20 Credits)

This module will appeal to anyone interested in telling stories. It will help you think about how your existing historical skills can be applied beyond university, while equipping you with experience of project management, team building, and working with a range of non-university stakeholders. This module gives students the opportunity to make their own short audio documentary. Students pitch, script, record, and edit their own documentaries using audio equipment and free, open-source, cross-platform audio software. Students will be given a broad theme (such as the 1970s and the Northeast of England) and will then generate a proposal and ‘pitch’ this to the class. Following selection, groups will then work on developing a script and identifying interviewees. Teams will produce their documentaries by dividing up the production responsibilities, so that students gain not only experience of teamwork but also of making a specific contribution to the project. Across the semester, the class will progress through the stages of pre- and post-production together week-by-week. Portable recording equipment will be made available and students will be (i) instructed on using industry-standard audio equipment; (ii) classes on ethics and oral history techniques; (ii) training on how to use editing software. At the same time, the class will both engage with relevant literature and listen to a range of audio documentary in order to better understand creative and production issues. The emphasis in this module will be both on the finished documentary but also on the process involved and the skills acquired along the way.

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HI6047 -

Dissertation with Public History (Optional,40 Credits)

In this module, you will be provided with the skills to complete a written dissertation and a public-facing output on a topic that you will agree with your supervisors. The dissertation with public history represents an opportunity to apply the skills you have acquired at earlier levels, as well as a chance to develop new skills, both theoretical and practical, associated with public history. In Semester One you will produce the written piece of work. This written piece, which can take the form of a ‘short dissertation’ or ‘extended essay’, may be an analysis of a discrete body of primary sources, a discussion of historiographical controversy, or an intervention in a current debate about the public understanding of the past. In Semester Two you will work with your supervisors to produce a public output (the ‘knowledge exchange’ component), such as a digital exhibition or public history podcast, based on your research for the short dissertation/extended essay. The knowledge exchange aspect may include work with an external partner. The ‘Dissertation with public history’ is an exercise in research and public engagement and is intended to develop your research and communication skills, as well as your ability to work independently. Topics will be supervised by two appropriate tutors, one with subject-specific knowledge, the second with knowledge exchange experience.

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HI6048 -

From the Campus to the Streets: Student Activism and Youth Movements since 1900 (Optional,20 Credits)

In this module, we will consider how young people have responded to, and in some cases shaped, major episodes and developments in modern and contemporary history. In examining youth action, we will cover a variety of movements and campaigns. For example, we will discuss the role of communist and fascist youth organisations in the 1920s and 1930s as well as the involvement of students in anti-colonial and anti-racist struggles. Moreover, we will investigate youth politics in the Cold War, the impact of student protests in the 1960s as well as young people’s efforts to address issues such as gender equality or the fate of the environment.

The scope of the module is international, with examples that cover cases from Europe (France, Germany, Russia), Africa (Ghana, South Africa), Asia (China, Japan) and the Americas (Brazil, Mexico, the United States). We will pay particular attention to global aspirations and connections, as we will trace how young activists sought to build ties across national borders. Such efforts will also allow us to consider how various movements imagined and pursued the quest for a different world and a better future.

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IR6005 -

Media Power and Propaganda (Optional,20 Credits)

Most people find out about politics, and what is going on in the wider world, through the media. It is therefore critical to understand how the media functions in contemporary society. This module focuses upon the debate about the role of the media in liberal democracies: is it an independent check on the exercise of power or an instrument by which the powerful manipulate the masses? What is the impact of the media upon individuals: does it inform us or brainwash us? How are the Internet and other new technologies affecting individual’s ability to access alternative sources of information to the established media? What implications do these new media have for states that seek to direct, if not control, the public’s access to information? What role, if any, should propaganda play in a liberal democracy? Using concepts, such as power, and theories of media effects, media performance and interpersonal communication, students will be encouraged to engage with these fundamental questions.

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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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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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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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MI6022 -

The Modern Horror Film (Optional,20 Credits)

The modern period in 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 horror films produced since that date, primarily in the US but also considering the development and influence of horror film production in Italy, Japan and the UK. Through this exploration, the module will identify key themes, formats and cycles, and engages with the relation of the horror genre to changes in the film industry and to broader social and historical change. It also explores the aesthetic innovations and challenges offered by a range of forms of horror, and the creative ways in which the genre has experimented with film form and style. In taking the module, you will acquire an understanding of the critical and cultural issues raised by this important area of American and global culture and you will develop your own critical and analytic insights into a range of iconic horror films produced between 1968 and the present.

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MP6029 -

Cinema and Society (Optional,20 Credits)

In this module, you will critically examine the relationship between US filmic institutions (films and industrial bodies – hereafter “cinema”) and different social contexts, including, for example: changes to the Hollywood Studio System (and the birthing of the “New Hollywood”), cinema’s responses to war and global trauma, and cinema’s engagement with issues surrounding race, gender and sexuality. Taught through lectures, demonstrations (film screenings) and student-led seminars, the course explores many of the ways cinema has engaged with key societal concerns.

You will be required to read and reflect on specific theoretical and empirical academic work by leading scholars and commentators and, using your analytical and interpretive skills, relate this work to the issues raised in class and by the accompanying film screenings. The module is assessed by a 3000 word essay which is designed to test your knowledge of film history and industry (one of the world's major mass communications industries), to evidence a sophisticated understanding of the issues under scrutiny, and your ability to work to a deadline. Ultimately, the module asks you to consider: What is the significance of studying cinema as a mass communications industry, an outlet for personal expression, and as a political tool? What can cinema tells us about history? What can cinema tell us about ourselves?

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YC6001 -

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).
• Dissertation writing requirements
• Research Skills
• Ethical considerations
• Understanding research limitations
• 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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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.

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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.

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EL4006 -

Concepts in Criticism and Culture (Core,20 Credits)

This module introduces you to literary studies at university, past and present. You will learn how the formation of (English) Literature as a degree subject played into approaches to the study of literature from the early twentieth century, and still influence popular understandings of what it is we (lecturers and students) really do when we ‘study literature’. Early discussions will include case studies to help explain some of the debates about the nature of literary studies. We will then work with a text that has been labelled as ‘canonical’ (e.g. Shakespeare’s Hamlet) to critique the concept of canonicity and ask what it is we do when we go ‘beyond the basics’ of textual engagement. That text will then become the central point of reference across the rest of the module, as we investigate different theoretical and critical approaches.

During the module you will be asked to read a range of critical essays, discussing them in individually and in relation to each other. The module aims to foster your skills in close textual analysis, informed by key theoretical perspectives and independent reflective practice.

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EL4017 -

Gothic Stories: Nineteenth Century to the Present (Core,20 Credits)

In this module you will be given the opportunity to study a range of gothic texts from the nineteenth century to the contemporary period. This will provide you with the opportunity to explore the conventions of the genre as well as some of the ways in which gothic writing reflects and/or questions assumptions about race, gender, social class and sexuality. You will learn about the cultural significance of many familiar gothic motifs and figures such as ghosts, uncanny doubles, haunted houses and vampires.

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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.

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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 five ‘core skills’ blocks (Writing History, Handling Sources, 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 how to study and write history through an analysis of the historian’s key skills. The block also develops skills in three areas: (1) writing history; (2) reading history (3) researching history. The second block examines key approaches to historical sources. In addition to allowing you to demonstrate the skills gained in block one, the block concentrates on how to find primary sources, how to read them, and how to deploy them in written work. Block three considers key conceptual approaches to the past, including race, class and gender. Block four draws the skills you have learnt in a concentrated study of a single secondary source book. . 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.

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YC5001 -

Academic Language Skills for Humanities and 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.
• 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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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 abroad at a partner university equivalent to 60 UK credits. 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.

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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.

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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.

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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 and in relation to contemporary debates around identity politics and the so-called culture wars. The module will address the relationship between identity and literary representation, drawing on approaches that might include intersectionality, narrative theory and gender studies. 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 and their discussion and perception in the public sphere, from the classroom to the media. The module will extend your understanding of to the links between literary texts and real-world cultural, social and political debates, preparing you for the study of contemporary literature modules at Level 6.

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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.

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HI5004 -

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

Historians and other researchers have often used the terms of ‘affluence’ and ‘anxiety’ to describe US history and culture from 1920 to 1960. According to a traditional narrative, Americans enjoyed unprecedented ‘affluence’ in the 1920s and in the postwar period, while experiencing great ‘anxiety’ in the context of the Cold War. While useful, these narratives do not fully account for the complexity of this period. In this module, we will ask questions such as: Who took advantage of affluence (pre- and post-WW2)? Who was excluded from it and how? How did American conceptions of affluence fundamentally shape our current climate crisis? Beyond Cold War anxieties, what were Americans, in their diversity, worried about? How did foreign policy anxieties reveal themselves at home? And how did racial and gender anxieties shape US politics and culture?

With these questions in mind, we will assess and analyse major developments and events of the period, including, but not limited to: the roaring 1920s, the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, the New Deal, World War II, the Cold War, the postwar “economic miracle,” the suburban boom, and the beginnings of the Civil Rights Movement. By narrowing our focus on four crucial decades of the 20th century, we will be able to look at these events from various angles. In accordance with recent developments in the field, we will pay particular attention to historiographical interpretations that emphasize race, gender, sexuality, and class, as well as the environment. This will mean, for instance, that you will not only learn about the anti-communist ‘Red Scare’ of the 1950s, but also about the lesser known ‘Lavender Scare’ that targeted gay men and women working for the US government. Similarly, we will study Rosa Parks’ efforts to desegregate the buses in 1950s Birmingham, but we will also pay attention to ordinary actors of the Civil Rights Movement, such as the African-American youths who desegregated swimming pools and amusement parks.

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.

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HI5005 -

America in the 1960s (Core,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.

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HI5009 -

Your Graduate Future (Optional,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. This module now includes a “Standard Pathway” and a “Law Pathway”, delivered in collaboration with Northumbria School of Law. For the Standard Pathway, 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). Students in the Law Pathway will also attend the lectures, and will follow a bespoke schedule of workshops, seminars, a field visit to The National Archives in London including archival training and a private tour of the archives. They will also undergo two specialised training sessions in Newcastle. Students in both pathways will follow the same assessment pattern, but those in the Law Pathway will work alongside students from the Law School to investigate a historical legal case using original archival material from The National Archives and Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, and their group project will see them produce public facing history outputs for these external clients, including exhibitions, website blogs, and contributions to their official social media channels. In Semester 2, the ‘Placement’ element will work with Law students to design and stage a reconstruction of the trial itself.

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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.

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HI5040 -

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.

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HI5052 -

History/Film: Using Popular Film as Historical Evidence (Optional,20 Credits)

We know you like films, and we know that you like using them as historical evidence. But are you aware that you need a very particular skill set in order to analyse and write about films properly? If you weren’t but are interested in finding out more, and particularly if you are thinking of using film in your final-year dissertation, then this is the module for you.

This team-taught module invites you to consider a variety of popular film genres, with a specific view towards considering their value to the historian, both as sources about the past AND sources from the past. Key genres that we’ll examine include documentaries, historical dramas, biopics, science fiction, and more. The module tutors will provide you with leading-edge theoretical and methodological approaches through which you will learn how to analyse cinema as a historian.

Learning about the ways in which we might dissect a film will provide you with a range of tools that you can bring to bear on the world around you. For example, you will be able to demonstrate how popular film reflects and attempts to shape popular opinion about key political issues of the time, and how the semiotics of film enable us to move beyond simply responding to film’s plot or its cast.

As this suggests, the module requires you to develop additional analytic skills to those that you would wield when analysing textual documents. It will enable you to move beyond issues pertaining to a film’s factual accuracy (or lack thereof) to consider its emotional truths, its ideological standpoints, the ways in which the filmmakers attempt to convey and disguise political messages, and the way in which audiences are able to absorb, reject, or transform these messages as they see fit. Naturally, it will encourage you to consider the complicated relationship between the past, film, history, Film Studies, and the discipline of History itself. It might even do more…

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HI5054 -

Field Notes: Politics and Policy Making in Place (Optional,20 Credits)

“Field Notes” will take you out of the classroom to immerse you in the major issues facing the contemporary world. The North East is a region alive with controversy and contested spaces which speak to larger challenges facing the nation and the global community in the 21st century. Landscapes throughout the region, from the coast to the Northumberland National Park, Newcastle city centre to the banks of the River Tyne, are inscribed with complex histories which intersect with, and inform, ongoing battles over how to manage, protect, and develop these spaces for a future informed by severe social and economic challenges and the upheaval caused by climate change. You will be taken to four different local sites that are at the centre of these larger environmental-social-political and economic battles and learn how to unravel the complex dynamics that underpin these spaces (from the choices made by policy makers at the local, national, and global level, to the role of communities, activist groups, and other stakeholders in shaping these places). You will be asked to complete a range of assessments from a group presentation to a public poster and site report responding to these field trips. Through the module, therefore, you will be taught how to understand the dynamics of place and policy making and most importantly how to apply historical research to contemporary social issues that impact our world today.

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HI5056 -

Al-Andalus to America: Spain and the New World (Optional,20 Credits)

In this module you will acquire in-depth knowledge about the Spanish late medieval period, with all of its captivating myths and influential realities. You will become critically familiar with exciting passages of universal history, including the end of the Reconquest (with the rise of the Spanish Inquisition and the expulsion of Jews and Muslims), the discovery of America, often referred to as an “encounter” of civilisations, and the development of the modern world from an Iberian perspective. You will explore the concepts of religious persecution and clash of civilisations, establishing the links between the political role of the Catholic Church and the development of a “new” continent in America from 1492. Moreover, you will gain an expert understanding of coexistence and conflict between Muslims, Jews and Christians in Spain, including the transformational cultural legacies that Europe and the West owe to Al-Andalus and Sefarad (Muslim and Jewish Spain). You will also gain a nuanced understanding of imperial dynamics between indigenous civilisations, including the Inca and the Azteca, and European settlers in the New World. You will learn about Spain’s Christian and Imperial mandates by using a wide range of translated primary sources, which will include, amongst many others, the Lead Books of Granada, Hernán Cortés’s Letters from Mexico, and Álvar Núnez’s account of his ten years journey from Florida to California, Castaways. You will also be able to evaluate the role of propaganda, from a comparative history perspective, when assessing the key events that took place before and after 1492, and how these shaped the course of modern history.

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IR5010 -

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 and China foreign policy.

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ML5001 -

Unilang - Languages for all - Level 5 Placeholder (Optional,20 Credits)

The 20-credit yearlong Unilang modules (stages 1 – 5 depending on language) aim to encourage a positive attitude to language learning and to develop and practise the four language skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing introducing the basic/increasingly complex grammatical structures and vocabulary of the spoken and written language (depending on stage) and developing your ability to respond appropriately in the foreign language in spoken and written form in simple and increasingly complex everyday situations.

These modules also introduce you to the country and the culture of the country. In doing this, Unilang modules are intended to encourage and support international mobility; to enhance employability at home and abroad; to improve communication skills in the foreign language as well as English; to improve cultural awareness and, at the higher stages, to encourage access to foreign sources.

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MP5022 -

Cultural Identities on Screen (Optional,20 Credits)

The module will focus on the televisual representation and articulation of cultural identities in Britain and the US. We will look at how gender, ethnicity, national and regional identities are constructed through an examination of different genres and areas of screen media, such as drama, comedy and current affairs. We will explore issues such as class, gender and racial stereotypes, visibility of minority groups and integration. Throughout the course we will also consider the function of television, considering what its role might be in the construction of cultural identities.

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YC5001 -

Academic Language Skills for Humanities and 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.
• 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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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.

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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 abroad at a partner university equivalent to 120 UK credits. 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 (Optional,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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AM6005 -

Red, White and Green: The American Environment Through Time (Core,20 Credits)

The US is a paradox when it comes to nature: it is both the country that invented the national park concept and the biggest carbon dioxide emitter historically; it was the first country to celebrate Earth Day in 1970, but it is also where the hyper consumerist lifestyle first emerged; it is the birthplace of some of the oldest and most important environmental NGOs and of climate denial. How can we make sense of the US and its relationship to nature? Are Americans doomed to destroy the natural wonders of their nation? Can we envision a red, white and green nation that would put science and technology at the service of sustainability and environmental justice?

The module will answer these questions by examining the US’ complicated relationship to nature chronologically. In doing so, we will re-examine and challenge conventional narratives of US history by integrating the role of nature as a historical actor in its own right. Examples of themes covered include: nature and conquest; Native American environments; nature and technology; the wilderness myth; animals in US history; environmental disasters; urban nature; the rise of environmentalism; environmental justice and environmental racism; waste and pollution; toxicities, etc.

The module will approach these themes using the tools of the environmental humanities. Combining historical, visual and literary analysis with insights from ecology and other ‘hard’ sciences, we will achieve a thorough understanding of environmental phenomena in their full complexity.

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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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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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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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HI6031 -

Recording the Past: Making Your Own History Documentary (Optional,20 Credits)

This module will appeal to anyone interested in telling stories. It will help you think about how your existing historical skills can be applied beyond university, while equipping you with experience of project management, team building, and working with a range of non-university stakeholders. This module gives students the opportunity to make their own short audio documentary. Students pitch, script, record, and edit their own documentaries using audio equipment and free, open-source, cross-platform audio software. Students will be given a broad theme (such as the 1970s and the Northeast of England) and will then generate a proposal and ‘pitch’ this to the class. Following selection, groups will then work on developing a script and identifying interviewees. Teams will produce their documentaries by dividing up the production responsibilities, so that students gain not only experience of teamwork but also of making a specific contribution to the project. Across the semester, the class will progress through the stages of pre- and post-production together week-by-week. Portable recording equipment will be made available and students will be (i) instructed on using industry-standard audio equipment; (ii) classes on ethics and oral history techniques; (ii) training on how to use editing software. At the same time, the class will both engage with relevant literature and listen to a range of audio documentary in order to better understand creative and production issues. The emphasis in this module will be both on the finished documentary but also on the process involved and the skills acquired along the way.

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HI6047 -

Dissertation with Public History (Optional,40 Credits)

In this module, you will be provided with the skills to complete a written dissertation and a public-facing output on a topic that you will agree with your supervisors. The dissertation with public history represents an opportunity to apply the skills you have acquired at earlier levels, as well as a chance to develop new skills, both theoretical and practical, associated with public history. In Semester One you will produce the written piece of work. This written piece, which can take the form of a ‘short dissertation’ or ‘extended essay’, may be an analysis of a discrete body of primary sources, a discussion of historiographical controversy, or an intervention in a current debate about the public understanding of the past. In Semester Two you will work with your supervisors to produce a public output (the ‘knowledge exchange’ component), such as a digital exhibition or public history podcast, based on your research for the short dissertation/extended essay. The knowledge exchange aspect may include work with an external partner. The ‘Dissertation with public history’ is an exercise in research and public engagement and is intended to develop your research and communication skills, as well as your ability to work independently. Topics will be supervised by two appropriate tutors, one with subject-specific knowledge, the second with knowledge exchange experience.

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HI6048 -

From the Campus to the Streets: Student Activism and Youth Movements since 1900 (Optional,20 Credits)

In this module, we will consider how young people have responded to, and in some cases shaped, major episodes and developments in modern and contemporary history. In examining youth action, we will cover a variety of movements and campaigns. For example, we will discuss the role of communist and fascist youth organisations in the 1920s and 1930s as well as the involvement of students in anti-colonial and anti-racist struggles. Moreover, we will investigate youth politics in the Cold War, the impact of student protests in the 1960s as well as young people’s efforts to address issues such as gender equality or the fate of the environment.

The scope of the module is international, with examples that cover cases from Europe (France, Germany, Russia), Africa (Ghana, South Africa), Asia (China, Japan) and the Americas (Brazil, Mexico, the United States). We will pay particular attention to global aspirations and connections, as we will trace how young activists sought to build ties across national borders. Such efforts will also allow us to consider how various movements imagined and pursued the quest for a different world and a better future.

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IR6005 -

Media Power and Propaganda (Optional,20 Credits)

Most people find out about politics, and what is going on in the wider world, through the media. It is therefore critical to understand how the media functions in contemporary society. This module focuses upon the debate about the role of the media in liberal democracies: is it an independent check on the exercise of power or an instrument by which the powerful manipulate the masses? What is the impact of the media upon individuals: does it inform us or brainwash us? How are the Internet and other new technologies affecting individual’s ability to access alternative sources of information to the established media? What implications do these new media have for states that seek to direct, if not control, the public’s access to information? What role, if any, should propaganda play in a liberal democracy? Using concepts, such as power, and theories of media effects, media performance and interpersonal communication, students will be encouraged to engage with these fundamental questions.

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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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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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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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MI6022 -

The Modern Horror Film (Optional,20 Credits)

The modern period in 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 horror films produced since that date, primarily in the US but also considering the development and influence of horror film production in Italy, Japan and the UK. Through this exploration, the module will identify key themes, formats and cycles, and engages with the relation of the horror genre to changes in the film industry and to broader social and historical change. It also explores the aesthetic innovations and challenges offered by a range of forms of horror, and the creative ways in which the genre has experimented with film form and style. In taking the module, you will acquire an understanding of the critical and cultural issues raised by this important area of American and global culture and you will develop your own critical and analytic insights into a range of iconic horror films produced between 1968 and the present.

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MP6029 -

Cinema and Society (Optional,20 Credits)

In this module, you will critically examine the relationship between US filmic institutions (films and industrial bodies – hereafter “cinema”) and different social contexts, including, for example: changes to the Hollywood Studio System (and the birthing of the “New Hollywood”), cinema’s responses to war and global trauma, and cinema’s engagement with issues surrounding race, gender and sexuality. Taught through lectures, demonstrations (film screenings) and student-led seminars, the course explores many of the ways cinema has engaged with key societal concerns.

You will be required to read and reflect on specific theoretical and empirical academic work by leading scholars and commentators and, using your analytical and interpretive skills, relate this work to the issues raised in class and by the accompanying film screenings. The module is assessed by a 3000 word essay which is designed to test your knowledge of film history and industry (one of the world's major mass communications industries), to evidence a sophisticated understanding of the issues under scrutiny, and your ability to work to a deadline. Ultimately, the module asks you to consider: What is the significance of studying cinema as a mass communications industry, an outlet for personal expression, and as a political tool? What can cinema tells us about history? What can cinema tell us about ourselves?

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YC6001 -

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).
• Dissertation writing requirements
• Research Skills
• Ethical considerations
• Understanding research limitations
• 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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To start your application, simply select the month you would like to start your course.

American Studies BA (Hons)

Home or EU applicants please apply through UCAS

International applicants please apply using the links below

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A blog on all manner of research, publications, lectures, conferences, symposia, and more from Northumbria University's History and American Studies programmes.

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Department of Humanities Research

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.

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