BA American Studies

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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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"American Studies was a great way for me to experience an English Literature style course that focused on the American culture I was already interested in at school."

In their words

Henry Burrell, BA American Studies

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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 America in the 21st century is more essential now than ever. Studying the world’s most significant superpower at this fascinating moment of flux and change opens up a panorama of academic and career options.

The department of American Studies at UEA is one of the most well-established and highly-regarded departments of its kind in the UK, with a long heritage of researching and teaching all aspects of life and culture in the United States. You’ll be taught by scholars who are carrying out cutting-edge research in the fields of American literature, history, politics and cultural studies. And having chosen from a broad range of modules exploring the history, literature, politics and culture of the United States, you’ll enhance your understanding of them with a year spent studying abroad. 

Overview

On this degree you’ll study the United States from a literary and historical perspective. Through the exploration of great novels, landmark historical events, film, comic books, photographs and paintings, you will gain a detailed knowledge of the key moments and debates that have shaped the United States. You’ll get to grips with race, gender and civil liberties in America and examine how US power has been projected around the world. You’ll consider the nation’s relationship with the history of the American West. And you’ll delve into anything from popular culture to the counterculture and the avant-garde.

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. The interdisciplinary approach at the heart of American studies 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 and literary 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 the Cold War. Through lectures and seminars you’ll also cover the often fiercely contested development of a national literature in the United States. You’ll trace the ways in which a multitude of voices – including Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Charlotte Perkins Gilman and William Faulkner – have interpreted the nation. Throughout the year you’ll cultivate and hone the key academic and practical skills needed to study 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, race and racism, the counterculture, youth and rebellion, and 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, you’ll be able to take an interdisciplinary approach to your chosen topic or specialise in an aspect of American history or literature.

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 Studies.

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.

Study abroad or Placement Year

You’ll 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 Studies 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 2020/1

Students must study the following modules for 120 credits:

Name Code Credits

AMERICA LITERATURE II: MAKING IT 'NEW'

On this module you will learn the central currents of American Literature, from after the American Civil War, through the turn of the century and into modernism and the early 20th century, finishing at the close of World War II. You will follow the - often fiercely contested - development of a national literature, tracing the way this multitude of voices differs from place to place, from decade to decade, and from writer to writer. Writers studied on this module in past years have included: Henry James, Mark Twain, Nella Larsen, Langston Hughes, Kate Chopin, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, T.S. Eliot and William Faulkner. You will be introduced to these vibrant voices through reading and discussing short stories, novels, poetry, non-fiction and critical work. You will attend lectures, and take part in follow-up discussion-based seminars. Each week you will consider the context of the texts you read, as well as working to analyse and explain how they work on the reader and in society at large. You will encounter debates about the meaning of freedom in life and in art, what it might mean to be modern (or to refuse that modernity), about the responsibilities of citizenship to other people and to the environment, and about what it might mean to write and be read in the modern United States of America. By the end of this module you will be familiar with a wide range of late 19th century and early 20th century American texts and writers. You will learn the major movements in American literature from the fin de siecle through to the Second World War, and will be able to talk about the issues surrounding the development of a national and literary culture. Through doing this, you will improve your ability to read and analyse literary texts, to describe how language works in history and on the reader, and to identify and present new and exciting patterns in what you read.

AMAL4031B

20

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 LITERATURE I: IMAGINING AMERICA

How did American literature become American? How did literature help to shape the idea of America? This module will provide you with some answers to those questions with a thorough introduction to early American Literature. From the earliest moments of European colonization of the New World through to the bloody Civil War that Americans fought over slavery in the middle of the 19th century, you will explore the ways that a diverse group of writers helped shaped a literary culture that was distinctively American. You will encounter a rich variety of American writers and texts - travellers, novelists, poets, biographers, philosophers - and think about the role that literature played in the creation of a new nation. From puritans to politicians, from revolutionaries to romantics, from slavery to emancipation, you will explore the work of the men and women who shaped our ideas of what American Literature was, is, and might be. Each week, through lectures and seminar discussion, you will also consider the other forces that shaped these texts, and develop your ability to analyse a range of literary styles. As America was colonised, achieved independence, expanded westwards and fought a Civil War, how did American writers respond to the extraordinary tensions running through a newly born nation?

AMAL4033A

20

AMERICA NOW, AMERICA THEN.

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

Students must study the following modules for credits:

Name Code Credits

Students will select 40 credits from the following modules:

Name Code Credits

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

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

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 comics 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.

AMAS5050A

20

THE COLD WAR

What was the Cold War? When did it start? Where was it fought, how was it waged, and why did it last so long? Such seemingly straightforward questions belie that the conflict was neither "cold" nor a "war," and lacks a clearly defined start and end. Indeed, the subject has produced a vast range of arguments but continues to defy easy answers. We will examine these questions in an international context to uncover how and why the United States and Soviet Union waged a "cold war" in every corner of the globe during the twentieth century. You will consider nations and peoples who aligned with the superpowers or, as was increasingly the case, with neither. You will look at the multiple ways in which this unique "war short of total war" influenced all aspects of life, from diplomacy and politics, to economics, to culture and values, to bombs and warfare, to societal norms, to questions of race and sexuality. Examining the role of a range of state, private, and transnational actors, we will present a global and international history of the Cold War. You will work with original primary sources, the latest secondary literature, and consider fictional sources like films and novels to gain a full and rich understanding of the topic. You will engage a rich historiography on the changing ways that historians have written about the cold war. As a result, you will be able to debate how one of the most powerful historical narratives of the twentieth century continues to shape America and the world today.

AMAS5044A

20

Students will select 40 credits from the following modules:

Name Code Credits

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

BREAKING 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

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

VISUALISING RACE IN THE USA

Using still photographs, this module will explore how representations of race are produced and circulate in the USA. The main focus will be on Indigenous Americans and African Americans, along with other racialized groups. The module aims to introduce students to strategies and techniques for exploring and analysing photographs and, more specifically, using the visual record to study and illuminate the racial history of the USA. Viewed here as sites of historical evidence, photographic portraits, family albums, monuments, anthropological illustrations, lynching postcards, advertisements, food packaging, fashion photos, are just some of the images that we will "read" and evaluate. We will explore how visual texts can contribute to our understanding of race (often inseparable from nationhood, class, sexuality, identity) in the USA. The invention of photography changed ways of looking and seeing, from the nineteenth century up to the present day. Opening sessions will focus on ways of "reading" visual texts. Students will gain skills and techniques to enable them to recruit photographs as evidence, for work in this and future modules. Most of the semester will be devoted to analysing how photographic images both reflect and contribute to constructions of race in the USA. [No previous experience of working with images is necessary. A grounding in American history would be beneficial.

AMAH5057B

20

Students will select 20 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 "otherness". You'll learn through a mixture of seminars and self-directed study, often working with artefacts 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 "otherness" 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

LGBT AND BEYOND: SEXUAL CULTURES, QUEER IDENTITIES, AND THE POLITICS OF DESIRE

How do notions of gender and sexuality shape culture, and how are in turn our understanding and experiences of gender and sexuality shaped by cultural production? How important are other times, places and identifications - associated with class, race, ethnicity - to these understandings and experiences? And to what extent can a film, an image, a testimony, or a place capture such complexity? Addressing these questions from an interdisciplinary approach, the aim of the module is to explore the ways in which gender and sexuality are constituted through a broad array of experiences, practices, and cultural products. The module focuses on issues raised in classical and contemporary research in history, politics, media, cultural studies and visual cultures such as: representation and cultural production; subjectivity; identity; identification; bodies and embodiment; performance and performativity; among others. Overall, by exploring theory in conjunction with queer cultural production that explores questions of power, identity, and desire across different racial, national, and cultural landscapes, the module aims to problematise how gender and sexuality are not stable identities or classifications but are instead processes involving normalisations, hierarchies and relations of domination that can be challenged, troubled and/or queered.

HUM-5007A

20

LIVING ON THE HYPHEN: Multi-ethnic American Literatures

America has long been interpreted as the location of social possibility founded upon a desire to assimilate and negate ethnic 'others'. In this module, you'll trace and explore the literary responses of distinct 'American' cultures: including Native American; African American; Asian American; and Latin American. Through studying each distinct group of texts, you'll engage with the specific historical, cultural and political relationships between the US and each author's country of origin or national/cultural history, across the 20th and 21st centuries. You'll also make connections between these distinct groups of writers, to consider topics such as race and racism, exile, return, family, belonging, identity, language and memory, colonisation, imperialism, slavery, segregation, immigration, and illegality/invisibility, with an emphasis upon contemporary experiences. Via important multi-ethnic writers and texts, you'll explore what constitutes American literature aesthetically, temporally, geographically, and culturally, evaluate the value of the term 'multi-ethnic' and its place within American literary studies, and engage critically with questions of American literature as 'World literature'. Through seminar based discussions, you'll develop your ability to evaluate literary texts as contributions to historical revisions and debates, and also as representations of identity, belonging, the nation state, politics, and culture. You will be assessed through coursework, while gaining experience of communicating your ideas via seminar discussion and group presentation, and you'll have the opportunity to engage in peer to peer assessment practices. On successful completion of the module, you'll have the knowledge and skills to consider the diversity of American literature and the complexities of American cultural and national identity.

AMAL5077A

20

Students will select 20 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

ARTS AND HUMANITIES PLACEMENT MODULE

This module will provide you with the opportunity work within a creative/cultural/charity/ heritage/media or other appropriate organisation in order to apply the skills you are developing through your degree to the working world and to develop your knowledge of employment sectors within which you may wish to work in the future. The module emphasises industry experience, sector awareness and personal development through a structured reflective learning experience. Having sourced and secured your own placement (with support from Career Central), you work within your host organisation undertaking tasks that will help you to gain a better understanding of professional practices within your chosen sector. Taught sessions enable you to acquire knowledge of both the industries in which you are placed as well as focusing on personal and professional development germane to the 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.

HUM-5004B

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

CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN FICTION

Writers who want to address the contemporary scene confront a dilemma: as soon as you try to capture it on the page, you've already fallen behind the present moment. You'll explore how contemporary American writers nonetheless respond to this challenge. You'll consider the issues they identify as pressing in American culture, as well as the literary strategies used to explore those issues. As you progress in the module, you'll acquire understanding of a number of important concepts associated with contemporary American fiction, such as postmodernism, metafiction, identity, globalisation, and memory. When you've completed the module, you'll be familiar with a number of literary and cultural debates relating to contemporary American culture, and have detailed knowledge of some of the most exciting writers working today. You'll be able to explain why it is difficult to define, and write about, the 'contemporary.' And in the course of your assessed work and seminar discussions, you will develop your communication, writing, and research skills.

AMAL5079B

20

VISUALISING RACE IN THE USA

Using still photographs, this module will explore how representations of race are produced and circulate in the USA. The main focus will be on Indigenous Americans and African Americans, along with other racialized groups. The module aims to introduce students to strategies and techniques for exploring and analysing photographs and, more specifically, using the visual record to study and illuminate the racial history of the USA. Viewed here as sites of historical evidence, photographic portraits, family albums, monuments, anthropological illustrations, lynching postcards, advertisements, food packaging, fashion photos, are just some of the images that we will "read" and evaluate. We will explore how visual texts can contribute to our understanding of race (often inseparable from nationhood, class, sexuality, identity) in the USA. The invention of photography changed ways of looking and seeing, from the nineteenth century up to the present day. Opening sessions will focus on ways of "reading" visual texts. Students will gain skills and techniques to enable them to recruit photographs as evidence, for work in this and future modules. Most of the semester will be devoted to analysing how photographic images both reflect and contribute to constructions of race in the USA. [No previous experience of working with images is necessary. A grounding in American history would be beneficial.

AMAH5057B

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 credits:

Name Code Credits

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

GENDER AND AGE IN AMERICAN CULTURE

This module will focus on two key concepts in American culture, ageing and gender. It will consider the ways in which these two concepts are deeply integral to each other, shaping the identity of men and women as gendered beings always in the process of "ageing". The module will consider the intersections of age and gender in American Society and how these narratives engage with ideas of class and race in certain spaces in American culture. It will consider a wide variety of case studies including debates around the body, citizenship and representations of age and gender in memoir and visual culture. In addition, it will also reflect on rhetoric around ageing and gendered beings in public spaces such as the political arena and the workplace, allowing us to reflect how central these concepts are to the nation's narrative.

AMAS6068A

30

NEW AMERICAN CENTURY: CULTURE AND CRISIS

On the eve of the twenty-first century it appeared that the United States of America was indeed entering into a new American Century with its role as global leader as strongly defined as it was a century earlier. However, the last decade and a half has been witness to a nation in turmoil and crisis, from the conflict between a universalising (Americanising) globalisation and an introspective nationalism; the war on terror and the conflicts in Afghanistan Iraq and Syria; environmental crisis and disaster; the conflict surrounding immigration and national identity, to the present financial crisis. The renewed and vigorous return to rhetoric of national 'unity' that characterised the campaign and election of Barack Obama as President of the United States in 2008, and the election of Donald J Trump in 2016, serves to highlight the historical divisions and crises of American society and underscores that contemporary America is in crisis geopolitically, economically, democratically, environmentally, and culturally.

AMAS6052A

30

WE'RE HERE, WE'RE QUEER: GLOBAL SEXUALITIES AND CONTEMPORARY QUEER CULTURES

The transnational movement of bodies, images, and capital has transformed modern conceptualisations of gender and sexuality. Sexual practices, identities, and subcultural formations have been altered through processes of migration and globalisation, as well as by the advent of new media technologies and the wide-reaching circulation of categories such as gay, lesbian, and transgender. In this context, this module aims to situate categories of gender and sexual difference within specific cultural and political contexts, and investigate non-normative gender and sexual formations in relation to emerging discourses on race and class and to anti-colonial theories of modernity and global capitalism. At the centre of the module sit questions such as: How have queer subjects been incorporated into nationalist projects and consumer culture? How has the liberal framework of human rights reshaped the struggles of queer movements outside the West? In what ways have transnational discourses on multiculturalism reshaped notions of queer community and belonging in global cities and in postcolonial metropolitan spaces? What role have media technologies and various forms of visual culture played in the reconstitution of gender and sexual identities and of representations of queer desire, affect, and kinship? Addressing these questions from an interdisciplinary perspective, and drawing on case studies from different geographical regions and from different disciplinary fields, the overall aim of the module is to explore the varied ways local histories and geographies interact with the forces of political, economic, and cultural globalisation, focusing especially on the experiences of sexual minorities in the Global South and of queer diasporas in the Global North.

HUM-6005A

30

Students will select 60 credits from the following modules:

Name Code Credits

"QUEERS READ THIS": GENDER, SEXUALITY AND NARRATIVE

Ideas and ideals of gender and sexuality in US culture and society are all around - in advertising, film, literature and more. Most Americans engage in the performative matrix of expected patterns of gender and sexuality without really ever thinking about it; for others they can be, often painfully, aware of the limitations and impositions of such expectations. This module will see students engage with narrative theory as a means to interrogate the sustained construction and dissemination of these patterns of gender and sexuality, as well as explore those points of challenge that create fissures and changes in such patterns.

AMAS6061B

30

AMERICAN APOCALYPSE: TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY CLIMATE CHANGE FICTION

In the 21st century, the threat of global warming and climate change is quite literally 'game-changing'. Engaging with Naomi Klein's contention that "this changes everything", this module considers how the apocalyptic dangers of climate change are being addressed by 21st-century American fiction. Climate change fiction, or 'cli-fi', has recently emerged as a distinct genre, directly responding to the dangers that global warming poses to human and non-human societies. In this module, you will consider how fiction offers us ways to assess, understand, and address the phenomenon of global warming, and the impact of humans on their environments. You will evaluate ongoing debates about the 'facts' of climate change and global warming, including the evidence being produced by scientists, and the emergence of 'climate change denial' as a feature both of popular culture and at the highest levels of government in the United States. Exploring American novels published since 2010, you will develop a broad understanding of how American climate change fiction represents the profound dangers of climate change, through its depiction of drought, flood, deforestation, species extinction, intelligent biotech, and the impact of global capitalism. Through seminar-based discussion, you will gain insights into the ways that writers are engaging with the fact of climate change to shape both popular awareness and popular debates, and consider how cli-fi is imagining possible futures for human and all other life on Earth. You will be assessed through coursework, reflective reports, and student-led workshops, and gain expertise in communicating your ideas via student-led group work and seminar discussion. On successful completion of the module, you will have the knowledge and skills to assess the complexities of climate change fiction as a new literary genre, discuss the emotive reach and influence of fiction in this context, and evaluate the strategies of contemporary cli-fi writers.

AMAL6012B

30

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

LITTLE WOMEN AND BAREFOOT BOYS: INVENTING AMERICAN CHILDHOODS

American children's literature in the nineteenth century invented the idea of modern childhood. It was also responsible for some of the most iconic characters in American literary history - from the March sisters to Tom Sawyer. Yet while contemporary audiences are as familiar with these texts as their historic counterparts, the story of the development of writing for children in America in this period is itself much less understood. This module, then, will explore the ways in which American writers addressed young audiences across a century of social and cultural change. Taking in iconic texts like Little Women and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, it will also explore a diverse range of books written for children across this period. It will analyse their engagement with events like the Civil War, issues of national and social identity, and broader social and cultural issues relating to the shifting idea of childhood in America. More broadly, it will think about the development of children's writing in America in relation to the wider issues of American literary history, and open up debates about what it meant to write for a young audience, then and now.

AMAL6052B

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

Important Information

The University makes every effort to ensure that the information within its course finder is accurate and up-to-date. Occasionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, informing students and will also keep prospective students informed appropriately by updating our course information within our course finder.

In light of the current situation relating to Covid-19, we are in the process of reviewing all courses for 2020 entry with adjustments to course information being made where required to ensure the safety of students and staff, and to meet government guidance.

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 English Literature or History or BBC including English Literature or History with an A in the Extended Project
  • International Baccalaureate 31 including HL 5 in English or History
  • Scottish Highers AABBB including English Literature or History
  • Scottish Advanced Highers CCC including English Literature or History
  • Irish Leaving Certificate 2 subjects at H2, 4 subjects at H3 including English Literature or History
  • Access Course Access to Humanities & Social Sciences pathway. Pass the Access to HE Diploma with Merit in 45 credits at Level 3 including 12 credits in English Literature or History
  • BTEC DDM, alongside grade B English Literature or History A-level. Excludes BTEC Public Services, BTEC Uniformed Services and BTEC Business Administration.
  • European Baccalaureate 70% including 7 in English Literature or History

Entry Requirement

If you do not meet the academic requirements for direct entry, you may be interested in one of our Foundation Year programmes.

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 5.5 in any component)

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

INTO University of East Anglia

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

Most applicants will not be called for an interview and a decision will be made via UCAS Track. However, for some applicants an interview will be requested. Where an interview is required the Admissions Service will contact you directly to arrange a 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 on your UCAS application.

Intakes

The annual intake is in September each year.

Alternative Qualifications

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.

GCSE Offer

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

Course Open To

UK and Overseas applicants.

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

Entry Requirement

If you do not meet the academic requirements for direct entry, you may be interested in one of our Foundation Year programmes.

Students for whom English is a Foreign language

Applications from students whose first language is not English are welcome. We require evidence of proficiency in English (including writing, speaking, listening and reading):

  • IELTS: 6.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each component

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

INTO University of East Anglia  

If you do not yet meet the English language requirements for this course, INTO UEA offer a variety of English language programmes which are designed to help you develop the English skills necessary for successful undergraduate study: 

INTO University of East Anglia

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

Most applicants will not be called for an interview and a decision will be made via UCAS Track. However, for some applicants an interview will be requested. Where an interview is required the Admissions Service will contact you directly to arrange a 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 on your UCAS application.

Intakes

The annual intake is in September each year.

Alternative Qualifications

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.

GCSE Offer

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

Course Open To

UK and overseas applicants.

Fees and Funding

Undergraduate University Fees and Financial Support

Tuition Fees

Information on tuition fees can be found here:

UK 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 application 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 is sent to UCAS so that they can process it and send it to your chosen universities and colleges.

The Institution code for the University of East Anglia is E14.

FURTHER INFORMATION

Please complete our Online Enquiry Form to request a prospectus and to be kept up to date with news and events at the University. 

Tel: +44 (0)1603 591515

Email: admissions@uea.ac.uk

    Next Steps

    We can’t wait to hear from you. Just pop any questions about this course into the form below and our enquiries team will answer as soon as they can.

    Admissions enquiries:
    admissions@uea.ac.uk or
    telephone +44 (0)1603 591515