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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : History

Undergraduate Course: Modern United States History (HIST08038)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 2 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryModern US History explores key themes in the development of the United States, from post-Civil War period to the 21st century. The course pays particular attention to the development and challenges of American democracy, particularly with regard to minorities. The course promotes the development of students' skills (both written and non-written) in historical research and analysis, especially focusing on historiographical engagement and the analysis of primary sources.
Course description Week 1
1. Introduction / The US Constitution
2. The Gilded Age
3. Radical responses to industrialisation

Week 2
1. Populism
2. American expansionism
3. Progressivism
Tutorial: Imperialism

Week 3
1. Theodore Roosevelt
2. World War I
3. First-Wave Feminism
Tutorial: Progressivism

Week 4
1. The 1920s
2. The Great Depression
3. The New Deal
Tutorial: The New Deal

Week 5
1. The origins of World War II
2. The United States during World War II
3. The origins of the Cold War
Tutorial: The Cold War

Week 6
1. The Red Scare
2. Dwight Eisenhower and the 1950s
3. Barry Goldwater and The Conscience of a Conservative
Tutorial: The Conscience of a Conservative

Week 7
1. The Cold War and the developing world
2. The civil rights movement
3. John F. Kennedy and the New Frontier
Tutorial: Civil rights

Week 8
1. Lyndon B. Johnson and the Great Society
2. Malcolm X and Black Power
3. Vietnam
Tutorial: Vietnam

Week 9
1. The counterculture
2. Richard Nixon and the new majority
3. Second-wave feminism
Tutorial: The 1960s

Week 10
1. Native Americans in the 20th Century
2. The 1970s
3. Ronald Reagan and the resurgence of conservatism
Tutorial: Nixon, Reagan, and the revitalisation of US conservatism

Week 11
1. The New Christian Right
2. The end of the Cold War
3. The United States since 9/11
Tutorial: Contemporary America
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements A pass in any first level course achieved no later than August of the previous academic year.
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should usually have at least 1 introductory level History course at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this) for entry to this course. We will only consider University/College level courses.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2017/18, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  246
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 33, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 10, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 151 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 40 %, Coursework 40 %, Practical Exam 20 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Non-written skills: 20%
Coursework (3,000 word essay): 40%
Exam (two-hour paper): 40%
Feedback Students will receive written feedback on their coursework, and will have the opportunity to discuss that feedback further with the Course Organiser during their published office hours or by appointment.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)2:00
Resit Exam Diet (August)2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate command of a substantial body of historical knowledge
  2. Demonstrate the ability to develop and sustain historical arguments in a variety of literary forms, formulating appropriate questions and utilizing evidence
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of the varieties of approaches to understanding, constructing, and interpreting the past; and where relevant, knowledge of concepts and theories derived from the humanities and the social sciences.
  4. Demonstrate the ability to address historical problems in depth, involving the use of contemporary sources and advanced secondary literature
  5. Demonstrate clarity, fluency, and coherence in written and oral expression
Reading List
Badger, Anthony J., The New Deal: The Depression Years, 1933-1940 (Basingstoke, 1989)
Evans, Sara M., Born for Liberty: A History of Women in America (New York, 1997)
Foner, Eric, Give me Liberty!: An American History, vol. 2 (New York, 2011)
Fairclough, Adam, To Redeem the Soul of America: The Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Martin Luther King, Jr. (Athens, 1987)
Goldwater, Barry, The Conscience of a Conservative (New York, 1960).
Herring, George C., From Colony to Superpower: U.S. Foreign Relations since 1776 (Oxford, 2008)
Hofstadter, Richard, The Age of Reform (New York, 1955)
Kennedy, David M., Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945 (New York, 1999)
Painter, Nell Irvin, Standing at Armageddon: The United States, 1877-1919 (New York, 1987)
Patterson, James T., Grand Expectations: The United States, 1945-1974 (New York and Oxford, 1996)
Wilentz, Sean, The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln (New York and London, 2005)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsMod US Hist
Course organiserDr Robert Mason
Tel: (0131 6)50 3770
Course secretaryMiss Alexandra Adam
Tel: (0131 6)50 3767
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