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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Postgraduate (History, Classics and Archaeology)

Postgraduate Course: Conservatism in the United States, c.1930-c.1990 (PGHC11190)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryIn 1994, Alan Brinkley observed that historians of the United States during the twentieth century had largely failed to explain the strength of conservative politics, generally choosing to focus instead on liberals and liberalism. Over the past decade, this literature has undergone a significant transformation, as historians have tackled many of the oversights identified by Brinkley and have pursued other research questions as well. This course will encourage students to explore the historiography of modern American conservatism and to engage with key debates within this literature. The course will investigate the modern history of conservative ideas in the United States, the strategies of conservative politicians in pursuit of power and their actions once they won power, and the development of movements that sought to mobilise grass-roots support for conservative ideas. Among the themes under consideration will be the nature of conservatism in the American South and the emergence of the Republican party there. The most intensely contested debate that the course analyses involves the reasons for the decline of liberalism and the rise of conservatism from the 1960s onwards.

By taking the course, students will develop an understanding of key arguments about one of the central topics in twentieth-century U.S. political history. The course will explore methodologies and approaches taken by scholars - including not only historians but also those working within other disciplines, notably that of politics - to their investigations of the subject. It will also explore the nature of the material available to historians in studying different aspects of the subject.
Course description Not entered
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2014/15, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  10
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 22, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) One essay of 3000 words.
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
Students who successfully complete the course will have acquired an advanced knowledge and understanding of key aspects of the study of political conservatism in the United States between the arrival of the Great Depression and the end of the Reagan years. In particular, they will:

(a) be able to analyse independently historical evidence concerning this topic;
(b) engage in historical arguments in relation to twentieth-century U.S. conservatism, together with some arguments within the literature of political science;
(c) develop an appreciation of how the study of a key topic in historiography can widen their historical horizon and research agenda;
(d) set their own historical research agenda in relation to the historiography of modern American conservatism;
(e) prepare and present their own work for seminars and workshops;
actively participate in group discussion;
(f) and be able to make efficient use of library and IT resources.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsConservatism United States
Course organiserDr Robert Mason
Tel: (0131 6)50 3770
Course secretaryMrs Lindsay Scott
Tel: (0131 6)50 9948
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