BA American History

Video

American Studies at the University of East Anglia is recognised as one of the best departments in the UK. We offer our undergraduate students a broad range of courses and modules, allowing you to tailor your learning as you progress through your time with us. Most of our degrees also involve a year studying abroad. Throughout their course, our students develop skills that are highly attractive to employers.

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Key facts

(Guardian University Guide 2019)

Video

Understanding America in the 21st century is more essential than ever. At UEA we have one of the largest concentrations of American studies scholars in the country, covering the entirety of the field. Join us and discover new perspectives on some of the classic questions in this subject.

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"Many employers have expressed interest in my year abroad at interview, and I now feel more independent, experienced and ready for anything"

In their words

Kirsten Irving, American Studies Graduate who spent her year abroad at Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana.

Understanding the history of the world’s foremost superpower at this fascinating moment of flux and change is more essential than ever.

On this course, which includes a year abroad, you’ll explore America’s emergence as a world superpower and its influence on global culture. You’ll follow the American story from the Revolution through the years of slavery and Civil War, the conquest and settlement of the West, and the development of modern society. You’ll explore Native American history, the world of enslaved communities in the Old South, the struggles of black civil rights activists, and the crucial decisions of Presidents who, by the atomic age of the Cold War, held the fate of humanity in their hands. By the end of your degree, you’ll not only know the history of American in depth, you will also have a keen understanding of the way our world has been shaped by this young nation.

Overview

You’ll develop your skills as a historian through comprehensive study of one of the most intriguing and influential nations in the world.

You’ll have the chance to study with internationally renowned academics working in Native American, African American, gender, urban and diplomatic history. You’ll gain a detailed knowledge of the founding of the American nation, indigenous history and culture, the workings of the U.S. government and legal system, the black freedom struggle, as well as the Cold War and America’s role in the world. 

You’ll also gain first-hand experience of the US by spending your third year there before returning to UEA to complete your degree in your fourth year. Or you could add a comparative dimension to your understanding by studying in Canada or spending one semester of your year abroad in Australia, New Zealand, or Hong Kong and the other semester in the US.

Whichever path you choose through your studies, this degree will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of how America has shaped and been shaped by the world around us. You’ll learn about the relationship between culture and politics, while gaining an in-depth knowledge of the forces that transform societies and forge nations. An American History degree will not only provide you with the analytical tools to better comprehend the United States, but also to grapple with the key political issues that shape our society today.

Course Structure

Year 1

In your first year you’ll acquire a comprehensive historical overview of the United States. You’ll analyse a series of American icons - including the Stars and Stripes, the cowboy and the prison, using them as a way to think about important issues that have shaped the American national consciousness. You’ll explore key historical topics such as the American Revolution and the writing of the Constitution, the Civil War, the Jazz Age and Cold War. You’ll be encouraged to interrogate the meaning of history, how it has been written and interpreted, while cultivating the skills needed to study history at university level. 

Year 2

In your second year you’ll take one compulsory module in the Autumn semester – Exceptional States: U.S. Intellectual and Cultural History. This interdisciplinary module allows you to delve more deeply into the foundational ideas that have animated and shaped the construction of the American nation.

At this stage of your degree, you’ll also embark on academic specialisation, meaning that the remaining credits for the year will be drawn from modules you choose.

Modules currently on offer cover a broad range of topics such as gender and sexuality, US foreign policy, histories of power and protest as well as the cultural history of American music and film.

Year 3

You’ll spend your third year abroad; an invaluable academic and cultural experience, one that most students consider to be the highlight of their time at university.

For further details, visit our Study Abroad section of our website.

Year 4

In your fourth year you’ll be able to choose three optional modules relating to the research specialisms of academic staff within the department. You’ll also complete a dissertation on a topic of your choice guided by a supervisor.

Teaching and Learning

You’ll be taught through a combination of lectures and seminars. We pride ourselves on our small group seminar teaching, which allows a greater level of discussion between academic staff and students. In seminars, you’ll learn how to listen to and critique the ideas of others, as well as how to present and defend your own arguments effectively.

You’ll acquire vital skills needed for independent learning throughout your course and have access to dedicated sessions designed to help you make the most of UEA’s state of the art library facilities. Through these sessions and your academic modules, you’ll gain crucial research skills of uncovering resources and critically assessing sources. As you progress through your degree you’ll develop as a self-motivated researcher and independent, creative thinker.

In addition to timetabled lecture and seminar slots, each member of staff at UEA holds dedicated office hours where students can come and seek additional advice and guidance on a one-to-one basis. You’ll also be assigned an adviser who can support you through your studies by providing academic and career guidance.

During your time at UEA, you’ll be taught by academics working at the forefront of their fields. Our academics have been published widely on key issues that have shaped the development of American history.

Assessment

You’ll be assessed at the end of each semester through a mixture of coursework, portfolio work and examination. In your final year, you’ll write a dissertation on a topic of your choice with the support of your tutors. Your final degree result is determined by the marks you receive in your second and fourth years.

For every piece of assessment that you submit you’ll receive written and verbal feedback from tutors. These comments and reflections will help you identify the methods and strategies that will improve your work and help you get the most out of your studies.

Optional Study abroad or Placement Year

You’ll have the opportunity to spend your third year studying abroad. Our Year Abroad programme has been running for more than 30 years and is one of the largest in the UK for American Studies. We have a wide range of partner universities and colleges across the US and Canada - from New England to California, Alaska to Louisiana, Vancouver to Ottawa. We also have a great number of partner institutions in Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand where you can experience American Studies from a Pacific Rim point of view.

Your time abroad will be an invaluable academic and cultural experience, one that most students consider to be the highlight of their time at university. 

For further details, visit our Study Abroad section of our website.

After the course

As an American History graduate you’ll be well placed to enter a wide-range of professions and sectors. These include publishing, law, journalism, financial services, the civil service, marketing and advertising, the cultural industries, teaching or lecturing, public relations and research. Working across disciplines, studying abroad, and undertaking in-depth research will give you key skills that are highly regarded by employers. You’ll also graduate as an expert researcher and communicator, skilled in analysing data, and good at working in a team.

Career destinations

Examples of careers you could enter include:

  • Publishing
  • Law
  • Journalism
  • Financial services
  • Civil service
  • Marketing and advertising
  • Cultural industries
  • Teaching/lecturing
  • Public relations
  • Researcher

Course related costs

You are eligible for reduced fees during the year abroad. Further details are available on our Tuition Fee website.

There will be extra costs related to items such as your travel and accommodation during your year abroad, which will vary depending on location.

Please see Additional Course Fees for details of other course-related costs.

Course Modules 2019/0

Students must study the following modules for 120 credits:

Name Code Credits

AMERICAN HISTORY I: AGE OF REVOLUTIONS

The American Constitution opens with the phrase "We the People #". But who were "the people" being addressed by the Founders? Who was included and, equally importantly, who was excluded from this definition? And how does understanding these questions of inclusion and exclusion help us to better understand the formative years of American history? You'll explore the history of the United States from its founding to the end of the 19th Century, covering events from the American Revolution to the 'closing' of the frontier. Through a range of primary and secondary historical sources, you'll be introduced to key themes, ideas, events, and people in the early history of the US. And you'll develop a broad overview of the first century and a half of American history. Beginning with the revolutions which swept Europe as well as the United States in the late 18th Century, events which fundamentally altered the relationships between people and the political structures which governed them, you'll explore the ways in which these major national and international events spurred micro-level revolutions at all levels of society. Subjects you will discuss include the radical underpinnings of the American Constitution; the reconfiguration of gender identities and ideals in the post-revolutionary period; Native American resistance to white settlement; African American challenges to slavery and the construction of 'race' as a legal category; the Civil War as the second American Revolution and the subsequent abolition of slavery; Reconstruction as a lost opportunity to confirm the revolutionary intent of the Civil War; and the closing of the frontier and Native American response to continued assaults on their freedoms. By the end of the module you will have a better understanding of the history which shaped the modern United States. You will learn through a combination of lectures, seminars, and self-directed study. You will draw on and strengthen your skills in researching, reading, analysing, and discussing a wide range of primary and secondary source material. You will also develop your oral communication skills and your critical writing skills through class-based discussions and written assignments.

AMAF4008A

20

AMERICAN HISTORY II: THE AMERICAN CENTURY

In 1941, Henry Luce, publisher of Time Magazine, declared the 20th Century to be "the American Century." This module challenges you to consider whether Luce was right. In exploring the possible answers to this question, you'll consider the history of the United States from approximately 1900 through to the early 21st Century. Through a range of primary and secondary historical sources, you'll be introduced to key themes, ideas, events, and people in the history of the US since the early 20th Century. In doing so, you'll develop a deeper understanding of how American political and economic power developed and explore the challenges and opportunities Americans faced as the US became a superpower. Beginning with the massive social upheaval of industrialisation and mass immigration in the early 20th Century, you'll also explore, among other things, the impact of the 'Jazz Age' of the 1920s, the Great Depression and New Deal of the 1930s, the impact of World War Two and the coming of the Cold War, the 'Rights Revolution' of the 1960s, the Civil Rights Movement, and the re-emergence of political conservatism and its consequences in the late 20th Century. You'll discuss the legacy of racism in American society, changing gender roles and the consequences for society and politics, and the domestic political and cultural impact of the half-century long Cold War. You'll deepen your knowledge of modern American history and politics and explore the ways in which the legacy of the nation's earlier history runs through more recent events. You will learn through a combination of lectures, seminars, and self-directed study. You will draw on and strengthen your skills in researching, reading, analysing, and discussing a wide range of primary and secondary source material. You will also develop your oral communication skills and your critical writing skills through class-based discussions and written assignments.

AMAF4010B

20

AMERICAN STUDIES I: READING CULTURES I

How can we understand American culture? What role has America played in shaping our day-to-day lives? How can we study the United States? By analysing a series of American icons - including as flag, the cowboy and the prison - you will develop a broad understanding of U.S. culture, as well as the values that have underpinned the construction of the American national identity. On completion of this module, you will have the skills required to research, write and edit at university level. You will be able to think critically about the United States and understand the relationship between culture and politics.

AMAS4036A

20

AMERICAN STUDIES II: IDEAS AND IDEOLOGIES

How has American culture been shaped by categories of race, gender, class and sexuality? How can we unpick and understand the complex experiences that shape American identity? This module will enable you to develop and expand the research methods, writing skills, and oral skills you'll have acquired in 'Reading Cultures I: American Icons'. You'll continue your exploration of the contemporary United States, you'll be introduced to the work of critical theorists, and you'll be encouraged to think about America's changing position in the world. Classes will further facilitate skills in reading, writing, analysis and independent thinking, through which you will gain the confidence and the tools necessary to be a self-supporting learner, giving you a strong academic foundation for the rest of your degree programme.

AMAS4037B

20

THINKING THROUGH AMERICAN HISTORY I

This module will provide you with the basic practical and intellectual skills required for studying history at university. This will be done through a combination of close study of a key historical text, the literature and debates surrounding it, as well as a number of dedicated skills sessions. You will consider what it means to study history, while examining the ways in which historical scholarship has been shaped by contemporary political events. Seminars will provide an overview of major historiographical currents relating to US history, discuss different methodological approaches to the subject, and provide students with training in primary source research, analysis and interpretation.

AMAF4009A

20

THINKING THROUGH AMERICAN HISTORY II

This module asks you to consider the different ways that historians have approached the writing of American History. Covering different historiographical approaches (progressive history, labour history, gender history, transnational history, to name just a few) you will learn how the work of historians has been shaped by the context of their time and how history as a discipline has changed over time. On successful completion of the module, you will have greatly enhanced your understanding of how the discipline of history has developed over time. You'll also have the opportunity to refine your research, writing and presentation skills, so that you can communicate your ideas more effectively. Finally, this module will provide you with key analytical skills that will be essential for the second and final years of your degree.

AMAF4011B

20

Students must study the following modules for 20 credits:

Name Code Credits

EXCEPTIONAL STATES: US Intellectual and Cultural History

Exceptional States is designed to allow you to grapple with some of the distinctive, some have said exceptional, ways in which Americans have viewed the world, interpreted their own society, their own past, their own literary and artistic traditions#that is, their own culture. We aim to give you a key to understanding 'the American mind', or to put it another way, American ways of thinking. It is in a sense our intention to enable you to approach your subject#whether that be your own particular topic, your own discipline, or the field as a whole#with an ability to interpret it, understand its 'Americanness', and so understand the subtle nuances often lost on outsiders. We will, in short, give you a deeper insight into America, and also into the study of America. To that extent, your intellectual journey will be taken onward another stage. You will begin to see new meanings in past events, literary texts, images, films, and so on. You will be able to reach a deeper understanding of the complexities of the United States of America.

AMAS5028A

20

Students will select 20 - 40 credits from the following modules:

Name Code Credits

AMERICAN JUSTICE: THE SUPREME COURT

Consider any major social issue in American life since the turn of the 20th Century and the Supreme Court has almost always been involved in some way. Free speech, freedom of the press, the death penalty, abortion: the Court has been at the centre of the debate. Why? And how? What gives the Court the power and the authority to overturn laws passed by democratically-elected governments? And should it have such power? In this module you'll explore the answers to these questions and many others. You'll learn how the Court operates, how it gained and developed its power, and how it has become such a central part of American political life. You'll read Court opinions and learn to understand how they are created and what influences them. You'll explore the relationship between the cases heard by the Court and the politics of the time, using a range of primary and secondary source material. And you'll develop a deeper understanding of the role played by law and the Court in shaping American history. From holding that the state had no responsibility for the protection of individuals in the first two decades of the 20th Century to expanding the scope of "equal protection of laws" in the second half of the century, you will be challenged to think about the interconnection between law and politics in American history through the example of the Supreme Court. Through discussions of issues including freedom of speech, labour rights, race, civil rights, and criminal justice practices, you'll explore key issues in 20th and 21st Century US history and the role of the law and the Constitution in shaping them. In looking at the connections between law and policy you'll also consider how key legal "rights" have changed over time and what this tells us about the Court, the Constitution, and American society more broadly. You'll learn through self-directed study and seminars. By the end of the module you will have a better understanding of key issues in American history and politics. You will have developed your skills in using primary and secondary sources as historical resources. You will have strengthened your reasoning, analytical, and debating skills and further developed your writing and oral communication skills.

AMAH5034A

20

Black Freedom Struggles: Slavery, 1619-1865

Race is central to the history of the United States. The conversations about race in 21st century America have their origins in a system of slavery that developed from the early colonial period. This module excavates these roots and thereby enables you to look to current conversations and understand where these began. You will follow a chronological sequence on the module, allowing us to trace the course of racial slavery in North America from its inception in 1619 through to its abolition in 1865. You will consider the roots of racism in the colonial era that strengthened during the antebellum years and beyond and consider their relationship with racial slavery. You will engage with the developing historical scholarship of slavery in the United States, gaining a deeper understanding of contemporary (then and now) debates concerning race and racial identity. Employing a range of resources including written and visual primary sources, oral histories, cinematic depictions, and nineteenth century novels, will allow you to see the networks of power articulated though race and ideas of andquot;othernessandquot;. You'll learn through a mixture of seminars and self-directed study, often working with artifacts or source materials in seminars to enable you to think collectively about their meanings. Assessment will be entirely through coursework. The study of slavery in the United States will make you a better historian, whatever your area of interest. Concepts of race and ideas of andquot;othernessandquot; are so central to the study of history in the 21st century that the techniques and strategies of analysis employed on this module will enable you to think about the arguments of others more effectively and also position yourself within those debates.

AMAH5043A

20

GENDER AND SEXUALITY IN THE NEW REPUBLIC

Figures such as the self-made man, the domestic goddess, and the painted woman, are all familiar characters in the fictions we read about the United States. But these are not just works of the imagination to be found on the movie screen and in the work of novelists. These notable character types formed part of an emerging cultural landscape in the newly formed United States grounded in intersectional discourses of gender, race, class, and sexuality. You will examine the social construction of gender and sexuality in the newly formed United States, 1789-1861. Throughout your module you'll gain a detailed knowledge of post-revolutionary and antebellum America, and an awareness of the different characteristics of the northern and southern states during this period. You will also develop an in-depth historical and conceptual understanding of the extent to which gender interacted with other markers of difference, such as sexuality, race, class and ethnicity in the United States. You will also develop your ability to utilise, interpret and critically evaluate a wide range of source materials to explain and explore the historical context of particular gender stereotypes. You'll begin with an overview of the historical scholarship concerning gender more broadly. You will then explore various case studies each week tracing the models of gender that emerged in various contexts including consideration of region (North, South, and West), race (Native American, White and Black), and class (an emerging middle-class, the labouring poor, and elite southerners). You'll learn through weekly seminars and self-directed study. You'll be using a variety of resources including written and visual sources from the era, historical novels, and academic scholarship. You'll be assessed entirely through coursework on this module, with essay workshops and tutorials to guide you.

AMAH5002A

20

Students will select 40 - 60 credits from the following modules:

Name Code Credits

AMERICA IN THE WORLD: THE HISTORY OF U.S. FOREIGN RELATIONS

Has the United States helped or harmed the rest of the world during its rise to world power? Why has it been, and continues to be, involved in every corner of the globe? You will be offered a critical introduction to understanding the history of U.S. foreign relations. You will explore the key themes and traditions that have informed America's approach to international affairs, from foundational ideas in the 18th and 19th centuries to increasing influence in the 20th and 21st centuries. In addition to analysing traditional political and diplomatic issues, you will consider the link between foreign and domestic policies, and the role of various state and non-state actors that have shaped America's actions abroad. You will work with original primary sources, the latest secondary literature, and a range of cultural and political texts including speeches, newspapers, and editorial cartoons. This broader consideration of foreign relations history engages important contemporary trends in the historiography of U.S. foreign policy - regarding race, gender, and the "international" and "cultural" turns - and connects them to emerging trends in the fields of American history and international relations. As a result, you will gain a detailed understanding of the history of U.S. foreign relations and the legacies that continue to shape debates about America's role in the world today.

AMAH5051B

20

AMERICAN CULTURE, 1919-1946

The period between World War I and the Cold War was a period of dramatic change in the United States: from the seemingly endless prosperity of the twenties to the depression of the thirties; from isolationism to World War II; and from a population that lived in predominantly rural or small-town communities to one increasingly located in large urban centres or their suburban satellites. You will explore the changing economic, political and cultural history of this period, particularly through an examination of the cultural debates over the modernity of the twenties, the New Deal of the thirties and America's changing place in the world during this time. In order to explore these issues, you will engage with a wide range of sources that include political documents, literary texts and films.

AMAS5051B

20

BLACK FREEDOM STRUGGLES: THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT

The African American freedom struggle did not begin or end with the civil rights protests of the 1950s -1960s. Since the demise of slavery, black activists have been forcefully demanding racial equality. From 1865 to the present day, African Americans have not only asserted their rights as citizens, but have demanded an end to economic injustice, while questioning the actions of the U.S. government both at home and abroad. This module examines black political and cultural protest in the United States over the course of the 'long' civil rights movement. Covering the period from the first years of black freedom following the Civil War to the emergence of Black Lives Matter, you will learn about the breadth and diversity of African American activism. You will challenge popular narratives of the civil rights movement and uncover the radical impulses that have animated the freedom dreams of black America. You will cover how African Americans responded to disenfranchisement, racial violence and economic inequality. You will also learn about the lives of key figures in the black freedom struggle such as Booker T. Washington, Nannie Helen Burroughs, Marcus Garvey, Mary McLeod Bethune, Stokely Carmichael and Angela Davis. Ultimately, through the study of primary sources and secondary texts, you will grapple with the complexity of black political thought and develop a detailed understanding of how African Americans counteracted white supremacy. On successful completion of this module you will have a broad understanding of the major trends in African American political and cultural history from the nineteenth century to the present day. You will able be able to clearly articulate how African Americans have shaped our understanding of the American nation, democracy and the meaning of human rights. Finally, through the close study of a range of cultural and political texts including autobiographies, speeches, newspapers and film, you will develop key analytical skills that are vital to the interdisciplinary study of history and politics.

AMAH5050B

20

Students will select 0 - 20 credits from the following modules:

Name Code Credits

AMA UG INTERNSHIP

You will work within a creative/cultural/media organisation for a semester. The module emphasises industry experience, sector awareness and personal development through a structured reflective learning experience. You will have the opportunity to work within your host organisations and undertake tasks that will help you to gain a better understanding of professional practices within your chosen sector. Your assessment tasks will provide you with an opportunity to critically reflect on the creative and cultural sector in which you have worked, as well as providing opportunities to undertake presentations, gather evidence, and articulate your newly acquired skills and experiences.

AMA-5029A

20

AMERICAN MUSIC

The first book published in the New World was a hymn book. Music, sacred and profane, has been at the centre of American lives ever since. Distinctive American musical styles still dominate the globe, as they have done for decades. But how did American music develop into the genres that we recognise today? How did uniquely American sounds catch the ear of listeners all over the world? You will gain a thorough understanding of the development of American music. You will focus on a number of distinctive musical traditions - from minstrelsy to blues, jazz, and country; from rock and roll to hip hop - and consider the way that they have shaped popular music today. Throughout the course, you will encounter a rich variety of music and an extraordinary range of characters, from the most famous entertainers in modern culture, to the obscure, the forgotten and the neglected. Whilst exploring the development of American music, you will also examine the ways in which its growth tells a larger story about the history of America and its people. In particular, it will give you a different perspective on the issue of race in American life. Through seminar discussion, written coursework, and group presentations, you will develop your analytical and critical abilities - whether that means your ability to think about the significance of a song and its meaning for a particular historical moment, or the way that the shifting meaning of a genre of music can tell us many things about its wider social and cultural context.

AMAS5023A

20

POLITICS IN THE USA

The election of Donald Trump as President in 2016 has radically changed US politics. Yet to fully understand the current times, contemporary American politics needs to be put into context. This module covers the historical themes that exist in US politics from the eighteenth century to the present day. The emphasis will be on modern political history and contemporary politics, but this will be underpinned by a knowledge of the political philosophy at the time of the formation of the United States, the governmental structures, and political developments over historical time.

PPLX5164A

20

POWER AND PROTEST: AMERICAN RADICALS AND DISSENT

How do you speak truth to power? How do you challenge governments and transform society for the better? These questions have been at the heart of movements for social and political justice in the United States. By taking this module, you will develop a broad understanding of how American power has been protested throughout the twentieth century. Specifically, you'll learn how and why dissenting voices have challenged political, cultural and social conventions. Classes will examine state and non-state actors -- including intellectuals, activists, politicians, whistleblowers and cultural produces - who have sought to bring about the end of unjust political practices in the United States. While often marginalised or ostracised, these figures assumed pivotal roles in movements that were dedicated to achieving class, race, gender and sexual equality in America. You will be introduced to primary and secondary source material that illuminate key moments in the history of American dissent. In addition to this you will be asked to grapple with important questions relating to how radical politics should be defined, as well as considering how protest movements have been disrupted by the U.S. government. On successful completion of this module you will have a broad understanding of American political history and the development of social movements in the United States. You will also be able to clearly articulate how protest has shaped the American nation. Finally, through the close study of a range of cultural and political texts including autobiographies, speeches, newspapers and film, you will develop key analytical skills that are vital to the study of history and politics.

AMAH5037A

20

THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION

The legacy of the American Revolution reverberates throughout American history and culture. In addition to representing the nation's beginnings, the events and ideas of the revolutionary era have fundamentally shaped the way Americans think about themselves, their nation, and their history. Politics, law, popular culture, and literature have all drawn on the legacy of the American Revolution. But what exactly is that legacy and how has it been used? In this module you'll explore the answers to these questions. In addition to looking at the history of the Revolution itself, you'll consider the ways in which the legacy of those events has been shaped and reshaped over time. You'll use a range of primary and secondary sources, historical and cultural, to develop a deeper understanding of the events which led to the creation of the United States. And you'll discuss and debate the ways in which that history has been retold. You will be introduced to the history of the revolutionary era, from the end of the Seven Years' War in 1763, through the war against the British, writing the Constitution, to the election of Thomas Jefferson in the "revolution of 1800." The Revolution affected nearly all aspects of American life, including the political economy of slavery, gender relations, economic development, and the pace and pattern of white settlement, all of which you will explore in this module. You will also consider the extent to which the history of the Revolution is accurately (or otherwise) represented in contemporary discussions and ask what such representations might tell us about contemporary American politics and society. By the end of the module you will have a deeper understanding of the ideas, events, and people which shaped the founding of the United States and its subsequent history. You will also develop a critical understanding of some of the ways in which that history has been used to define core American values. You will strengthen your skills in researching, reading, analysing, and discussing a wide range of primary and secondary source material. You will also develop your oral communication skills and your critical writing skills through class-based discussions and written assignments.

AMAS5048B

20

THE FIRST BRITISH EMPIRE

Between the sixteenth and the early nineteenth centuries, the English crossed the oceans and claimed territory on every continent other than Antarctica. This module surveys the creation and growth of British Empire, examining its origins and its impact on an array of peoples. In the context of studying how the empire spread and functioned, we will consider the varied experiences of Africans, Native Americans, Aboriginal Australians, Protestant refugees from the continent of Europe, the peoples of India, the Irish, and British settlers across the globe. The complex, intimate, and often violent interactions of these groups led to ideological battles pitting loyalism against republicanism, for example, and imperial "civilization" against an array of indigenous cultural revivals. At first glance these struggles may seem to place the British against the subject peoples of their empire, but on closer examination it becomes apparent that they fractured nearly every population within the imperial domains. The creative energy of the British Empire stemmed in large part from collaborations between British groups and individuals and segments of their purported imperial subjects in building, reforming, or in some cases seeking to destroy the structures of imperialism.

HIS-5045A

20

Students will select 0 - 20 credits from the following modules:

Name Code Credits

FAKE NEWS! AMERICAN JOURNALISM, HISTORY AND PRACTICE.

How do we know what is real and what is fake? Previous generations, we are told, could reliably turn to "the news"#but is that really true? From the very beginning, American news was always synonymous with low scandal, scurrilous rumour, and fakery. And yet, there is no doubt that there have been crucial moments when journalists and journalism have gone beyond merely reporting events, to shape the public imagination. "The news" has always manipulated as much as informed its audiences, and in this module you will learn about how this in turn has shaped American life. In learning about the history of journalism and its cultural impact in America in the wider global context, you will have the opportunity to gain an understanding of the art of journalism, both critically and in practice. You will engage with questions surrounding print, broadcast and digital media#looking back to the past, reflecting on the present, and looking forward into the future of journalism. You will consider the ways in which marginalised peoples have sought to assert their voices through news media, by seizing the means by which our public understanding of reality is produced. The work will involve critical readings, engagement with primary source materials, seminar discussions, presentations, and critical writing with creative practice. You will have the opportunity to refine your communication skills, and especially the art of writing in different modes for different audiences.

AMAS5049B

20

LATIN AMERICA AND THE WORLD (LEVEL 5)

You'll study Latin America from a perspective that challenges the legacy of colonial rule, its political aftermath, and its cultural and economic consequences. You'll focus on topics such as indigenous politics, racism, environmentalism, gay rights, gender, religion, migration, urbanisation, the Chicano movement, narco-corridos, and various social and cultural movements. You'll examine these as examples of local responses to the colonial legacy and to dominant Western constructions of Latin America.

PPLH5156B

20

OF MICE AND KRAZY KATS: HISTORY AND ART OF AMERICAN COMICS

Are comics art? The answer is yes, and this module will show you why through an in-depth examination of American comics from early newspaper strips to contemporary graphic novels. You'll read a wide range of different comics, including the birth of superheroes, World War II propaganda comics, controversial horror comics, underground comix from the San Francisco counterculture, recent alternative comics, and the current boom in reality-based graphic novels. You'll learn about the complex history of American comics, including the specific contexts for the form's development as a mass medium and its frequent marginalisation in the cultural sphere, such as the great comic-book scare of the 1950s. In the process, you'll learn to pay special attention to form as well as content when reading comics, and will develop a critical vocabulary for evaluating the aesthetics of the form. In addition to a broad selection from the history of American comics, you'll also examine comics through different thematic perspectives, such as race, gender, and sexuality, and you'll read critical material that'll further inform your understanding of the form. You'll learn through seminars as well as through independent library study of the periods and themes that resonate the most with you, and you'll be assessed through coursework. At the end of the module, you'll have gained a deep understanding of the many historical and cultural issues that inform any appreciation of comics, and you'll have learned to consider the form as a unique and mature form of American art.

AMAS5050B

20

PROPAGANDA

This module introduces you to the history and theory of propaganda, and its role in society. You'll consider what constitutes and defines propaganda. Focusing on the 20th century, we examine propaganda in a range of political settings, both totalitarian and democratic, in the local context of the relationships of power and communications. The module is structured chronologically, starting with the development of propaganda during World War I and finishing with a consideration of propaganda in the 21st century.

HIS-5050B

20

THEY CAME FROM OUTER-THE-CLOSET: GENDER, SEXUALITY AND PANIC IN AMERICAN FILM

With a main focus on the 20th century, we will explore key moments of change or crisis in the century and consider the ways the panic caused by such changes is distinctly gendered and/or sexualised. We will concurrently examine gender and sexual resistance to dominant ideas of American identity and the subsequent creation and/or promotion of liberationist discourses and alternative communities. Film will provide the focus for this cultural study, and the module will range widely over a number of different genres including the western, sci-fi, detective and LGBT themed works.

AMAS5020B

20

Students must study the following modules for 120 credits:

Name Code Credits

AMERICAN STUDIES SEMESTER ABROAD: AMERICA

A semester spent at a North American (United States or Canada) university taking an approved course of study.

AMAY5027A

60

AMERICAN STUDIES SEMESTER ABROAD: AUSTRALIA

A semester spent at a university in Australia or New Zealand taking an approved course of study.

AMAY5026B

60

AMERICAN STUDIES YEAR ABROAD

A year spent at an American university taking an approved course of study.

AMAY5028Y

120

Students must study the following modules for 30 credits:

Name Code Credits

AMERICAN STUDIES DISSERTATION

You will complete an independent research project leading to a dissertation of 8,000 words to be submitted at the end of the semester. A member of American Studies faculty will supervise the dissertation.

AMAS6056B

30

Students will select 60 credits from the following modules:

Name Code Credits

AFRICAN AMERICANS AND EMPIRE

Racism knows no borders. African Americans have long been attuned to the international character of white supremacy. As the black intellectual and activist W.E.B. Du Bois noted at the dawn of the 20th century, racism in the United States "is but a local phase of a world problem." You will examine the global character of the black freedom struggle in the United States. Historically denied full citizenship rights in the United States, African Americans often looked abroad in their fight against racial prejudice - connecting the struggle against Jim Crow to calls for colonial independence around the world. Over the course of the semester, you will explore how and why black Americans forged transnational alliances that challenged racism on a local and a global level. Covering connections between African Americans and movements for racial justice in Europe, Africa, South Asia, the Caribbean and beyond, you will be asked to critically engage with the global political outlook of prominent black figures, including Marcus Garvey, Claudia Jones, Huey Newton and Barack Obama. On successful completion of your module, you will have a broad knowledge of the global forces that have shaped African American history. In addition to this, you will be able to identify and engage with theories relating to transnational, diaspora and black Atlantic history. Finally, you will be able to critically reflect on how people and cultures are connected throughout the world.

AMAH6041A

30

POLITICS AND FOREIGN POLICY OF THE ASIA-PACIFIC

This module will introduce you to important themes in international relations within the Asia Pacific, at a time when the region has assumed great importance. There will be a particular focus on the important historical periods in the relations between the USA, China and Japan. An understanding of elements of the trajectory of these relationships will be provided by taking a selection of historical subjects for analysis. While you will address the knowledge of history, and of long-term themes, in the latter part of the module you will consider contemporary political issues. This will require you to develop an understanding of the interaction of the United States with Asia, and China and Japan in particular.

PPLI6069A

30

RIGHTS TALK: AN AMERICAN HISTORY OF 'RIGHTS'

Does someone have the right to burn the American flag in protest against a president and his policies? How far does the right to own firearms extend? Can a state restrict access to reproductive health services on the grounds of "protecting women's health"? Here you'll explore the answers to these and other questions about the scope and extent of the "rights" Americans regularly claim for themselves. And you'll explore the ways in which battles over such rights have fundamentally shaped American history, politics, and society. Over the course of this module you'll explore the changing definitions of "rights" throughout American history, drawing on a range of legal, political, and historical sources. You'll learn to place legal changes in their political context and to consider the implications of legal and political debates about "rights" for those who were seeking greater protection, those to whom protection was denied, and to American society as a whole. You'll learn to read Supreme Court cases for their legal and political implications as well as gaining skills in managing a range of primary and secondary sources. Also, you'll develop your critical thinking and writing skills. "In America," Mary Ann Glendon has argued, "when we want to protect something, we try to get it characterized as a right." What and whose rights are deemed worthy of protection has been a central debate in American history. In this module you'll consider some of the major "rights" protected by the Bill of Rights and the controversial and complex issues they involve, including freedom of religion, freedom of the press, free speech and its limitations, the Second Amendment and the "right to bear arms," and battles over privacy, sexual freedom, and abortion. Taking rulings on these issues by the Supreme Court as a starting point, you'll explore the political and policy consequences of the resulting debates as well as considering how these debates help us better understand American politics and society. By the end of the module you'll have developed a deeper understanding of how law, policy, and politics have interacted to shape what and who are considered worthy of rights protection and see how this can help us better understand the contemporary United States. Learning will be through self-directed study and seminars. By the end of the module you will have a better understanding of key issues in American law, history, and politics. You will have strengthened your reasoning, analytical, and debating skills and further developed your writing and oral communication skills.

AMAH6047A

30

SLAVERY IN THE EARLY MODERN ATLANTIC WORLD

This module begins by surveying African, Native American and European labour regimes in the fifteenth century in order to establish a foundation for studying the transformations that followed European imperial expansion and the inauguration of the transatlantic slave trade. We will examine the process of enslavement in Africa, North America, and the Mediterranean; the ransom, exchange and sale of captives; and the development of slave markets in the European colonies in the Americas. We will study childhood and family life in various enslaved communities; the material lives of slaves; and the rise of distinct cultures within the African diaspora. We will compare the Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, French and British Empires with regard to the practice of slavery. We will also trace patterns of slave resistance, escapes, rebellions, and the creation of maroon communities. The semester will end with an examination of the tangled international politics surrounding the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade and the end of plantation slavery across the Atlantic World.

HIS-6081A

30

Students will select 30 credits from the following modules:

Name Code Credits

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT: A HISTORY OF AMERICAN CRIMINAL JUSTICE

"Law and order" has been a common refrain from American politicians in recent years, but what does it actually mean? What exactly is "law and order"? How have its meanings changed over time? And what are the consequences of "law and order" policies for those in the criminal justice system? Throughout the module you'll explore the changing nature of criminal justice in the United States, drawing on a range of legal, political, and historical sources. You'll learn to place legal changes in their political context and to consider the implications of legal and political debates about crime and punishment for those in the criminal justice system. You'll learn to read Supreme Court cases for their legal and political implications as well as gaining skills in managing a range of primary and secondary sources. You'll also develop your critical thinking and writing skills. In this module you'll take a tour through the American criminal justice system, beginning with police investigations and following through arrest, trial, and punishment. At each stage you'll consider how the process has changed over time, why those changes have taken place, and with what consequences. You'll explore legal and constitutional debates about the civil rights of suspects and the accused (including the so-called "right to silence" and the right to a lawyer), as well as considering contemporary political and policy debates which shaped those debates (for example, gangsters and Prohibition or the impact of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s). By the end of the module you'll have developed a deeper understanding of how law, policy, and politics interact to shape criminal justice and see how "justice" is a product of the times in which we live. You'll learn through self-directed study and seminars. By the end of the module you will have a better understanding of key issues in American history and politics. You will have strengthened your reasoning, analytical, and debating skills and further developed your writing and oral communication skills.

AMAH6045B

30

GENDER IN AMERICAN CULTURE

The Statue of Liberty is emblematic of the democratic ideals espoused since the American Revolution. Yet, the feminine figure that stands aloft in the New York skyline is also symbolic of discourses of gender: the ideals and expectations shaping men and women's lives as gendered beings. You will consider how traditional discourses of gender have shaped the identity of Americans and the American nation. You'll start with an overview of traditional conceptual models of masculinity and femininity in 21st century America. You'll then use a variety of case studies for the remainder of your module to enable you to think carefully and critically about how particular models of gender operated within certain contexts. These case studies will include debates around the body and representations of gender in iconographical form and visual culture, in addition to reflecting on gendered rhetoric in the political arena, the workplace, and institutions such as the military. You will consider how particular ideals of gender have been articulated in various contexts and how this has informed wider discourses central to the American nation. You'll learn through a mixture of seminars and self-directed learning, with a particular focus on class discussion in the sessions. You'll be asked to prepare and deliver a class presentation, either in a group or alone, for a particular session of your choosing. This can then form the basis of your ideas for later work if you'd like. You'll be assessed entirely through coursework. Throughout the module you will develop knowledge and skills to enable you to take forward either to postgraduate study or in your chosen career. You'll develop your communication skills, growing intellectually through the weekly discussions, which will enable you to effectively position an argument. You'll also expand your research, writing, and presentation skills.

AMAS6032B

30

US INTERVENTIONISM, THE CIA AND COVERT ACTION

Covert intervention represents the most controversial aspect of U.S. foreign relations. No agency is more closely associated with it than the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Supposedly hidden from view, the CIA is nonetheless known around the world and is regularly in the news and a fixture on our cultural landscape. We will reveal the hidden history of how and why the United States has manipulated abroad from the twentieth century to the present. We discover how we come to understand the "secret" world of covert action. After an introduction to the key conceptual and historical debates regarding covert action as a tool of U.S. foreign policy, you will examine key moments and cases of U.S. interventionism, from Europe, to Asia, to Africa, to Latin America, to the Middle-East, and in America itself. Have clandestine activities been consistent with official policies or do they represent a form of covert imperialism? How have they been resisted? You will gain a sound understanding of the institutions and processes behind covert action, especially the role of the CIA, and analyse how American interventionism is debated at home. You will work with previously classified sources, the latest secondary literature, and draw on fictional sources like films and novels to gain a fuller and richer understanding of the topic. As a result, you will be able to debate ongoing questions regarding covert American power and the nation's role in the world.

AMAH6003B

30

Disclaimer

Whilst the University will make every effort to offer the modules listed, changes may sometimes be made arising from the annual monitoring, review and update of modules and regular (five-yearly) review of course programmes. Where this activity leads to significant (but not minor) changes to programmes and their constituent modules, there will normally be prior consultation of students and others. It is also possible that the University may not be able to offer a module for reasons outside of its control, such as the illness of a member of staff or sabbatical leave. In some cases optional modules can have limited places available and so you may be asked to make additional module choices in the event you do not gain a place on your first choice. Where this is the case, the University will endeavour to inform students.

Further Reading

  • The Lost Ones

    In the late nineteenth century, as the federal government entered the final stages of US nation building with its accompanying conquest and dispossession of Native nations, a glaring question remained unanswered: what should be done with the surviving indigenous peoples who had withstood this onslaught.

    Read it The Lost Ones
  • Trump's challenge

    Trump’s challenge to the US legal system must be taken seriously.

    Read it Trump's challenge
  • UEA Award

    Develop your skills, build a strong CV and focus your extra-curricular activities while studying with our employer-valued UEA award.

    Read it UEA Award
  • Ask A Student

    This is your chance to ask UEA's students about UEA, university life, Norwich and anything else you would like an answer to.

    Read it Ask A Student

Entry Requirements

  • A Level BBB or ABC including a History related subject or BBC with an A in the Extended Project
  • International Baccalaureate 31 points including HL 5 History
  • Scottish Highers AABBB including a History related subject
  • Scottish Advanced Highers CCC including a History related subject
  • Irish Leaving Certificate 2 subjects at H2, 4 subjects at H3 including a History related subject
  • Access Course A Humanities & Social Sciences pathway is preferred. Pass the Access to HE Diploma with Merit in 45 credits at Level 3 including a History module.
  • BTEC DDM, alongside grade C in a History-related A-level (or equivalent qualification). Excludes BTEC Public Services and Business Administration
  • European Baccalaureate 70% including at least 70% in a History related subject

Entry Requirement

You are required to have Mathematics and English Language at a minimum of Grade C or Grade 4 or above at GCSE.

UEA recognises that some students take a mixture of International Baccalaureate IB or International Baccalaureate Career-related Programme IBCP study rather than the full diploma, taking Higher levels in addition to A levels and/or BTEC qualifications. At UEA we do consider a combination of qualifications for entry, provided a minimum of three qualifications are taken at a higher Level. In addition some degree programmes require specific subjects at a higher level.

Students for whom English is a Foreign language

We welcome applications from students from all academic backgrounds. We require evidence of proficiency in English (including writing, speaking, listening and reading):

  • IELTS: 6.5 overall (with no less than 6.0 in any component)

We also accept a number of other English language tests. Please click here to see our full list.

If you do not meet the academic and or English requirements for direct entry our partner, INTO University of East Anglia offers guaranteed progression on to this undergraduate degree upon successful completion of a preparation programme. Depending on your interests, and your qualifications you can take a variety of routes to this degree:

Interviews

The majority of candidates will not be called for an interview and a decision will be made via UCAS Track. However, for some students an interview will be requested. You may be called for an interview to help the School of Study, and you, understand if the course is the right choice for you.  The interview will cover topics such as your current studies, reasons for choosing the course and your personal interests and extra-curricular activities.  Where an interview is required the Admissions Service will contact you directly to arrange a convenient time.

Gap Year

We welcome applications from students who have already taken or intend to take a gap year.  We believe that a year between school and university can be of substantial benefit. You are advised to indicate your reason for wishing to defer entry and to contact admissions@uea.ac.uk directly to discuss this further.

Intakes

The School's annual intake is in September of each year.

Fees and Funding

Undergraduate University Fees and Financial Support

Tuition Fees

Information on tuition fees can be found here:

UK students

EU Students

Overseas Students

Scholarships and Bursaries

We are committed to ensuring that costs do not act as a barrier to those aspiring to come to a world leading university and have developed a funding package to reward those with excellent qualifications and assist those from lower income backgrounds. 

The University of East Anglia offers a range of Scholarships; please click the link for eligibility, details of how to apply and closing dates.

How to Apply

Applications need to be made via the Universities Colleges and Admissions Services (UCAS), using the UCAS Apply option.

UCAS Apply is a secure online application system that allows you to apply for full-time Undergraduate courses at universities and colleges in the United Kingdom. It is made up of different sections that you need to complete. Your application does not have to be completed all at once. The system allows you to leave a section partially completed so you can return to it later and add to or edit any information you have entered. Once your application is complete, it must be sent to UCAS so that they can process it and send it to your chosen universities and colleges.

The UCAS code name and number for the University of East Anglia is EANGL E14.

Further Information

If you would like to discuss your individual circumstances with the Admissions Office prior to applying please do contact us:

Undergraduate Admissions Office

Tel: +44 (0)1603 591515
Email: admissions@uea.ac.uk

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    Next Steps

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    telephone +44 (0)1603 591515