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

Undergraduate Course: The Rights Revolution: American Society and the Supreme Court, c.1935-c.1990 (HIST10111)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course investigates debates surrounding a set of greatly important and unceasingly controversial issues in U.S. society, via their treatment over time by the Supreme Court. It explores the role of the Constitution in American society, considering the place of the Supreme Court as an engine, or a facilitator, of social change, through an analysis of the 'Rights Revolution'. In doing so, the course seeks to illuminate how groups and individual initiate activity, whether successful or unsuccessful, in support of a particular goal by taking Constitution-based claims to the Supreme Court.
Course description The course begins with an introduction to the American judiciary and with a chronological overview of key developments in the history of protections for individual rights and group rights between about 1935 and about 1990. The approach is then thematic, with investigations of key issues such as race, civil liberties during times of war, gender equality, defendants' rights, capital punishment, privacy, gay rights, and abortion. For each issue, the course investigates key Supreme Court cases, and it explores reactions to them among the public, among interest groups, and among politicians. The course includes a sampling of work by prominent theorists about the issue in question. The final part of the course discusses conclusions about the origins of the 'rights revolution' and its overall impact on American politics and society.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking The American Civil Rights Movement (HIST10155)
Other requirements A pass or passes in 40 credits of first level historical courses or equivalent and a pass or passes in 40 credits of second level historical courses or equivalent.
Before enrolling students on this course, Directors are asked to contact the History Honours Admission Secretary to ensure that a place is available (Tel: 503783).
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2017/18, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  50
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 172 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 67 %, Coursework 33 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) One essay of about 3000 words (one third of overall assessment); one two-hour examination paper (two-thirds of overall assessment).

Visiting Student Variant Assessment
One essay of about 3000 words (one third of overall assessment); one take home examination paper (two-thirds of overall assessment).
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
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, command of the body of knowledge considered in the course;
  2. Demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, an ability to read, analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship;
  3. Demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, an ability to understand, evaluate and utilise a variety of primary source material;
  4. Demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, the ability to develop and sustain scholarly arguments in oral and written form, by formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence;
  5. Demonstrate independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to evaluate the work of others, including peers.
Reading List
Henry J. Abraham and Barbara A. Perry, Freedom and the Court: Civil Rights and Liberties in the United States, seventh ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998)

Bruce A. Ackerman, We the People, vol. 3: The Civil Rights Revolution (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2014)

Kermit L. Hall, ed., Major Problems in American Constitutional History: Documents and Essays, vol.2 (Lexington, MA: D. C. Heath, 1992)

Peter Charles Hoffer, Williamjames Hull Hoffer, and N. E. H. Hull, The Supreme Court: An Essential History (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2007)

Peter Irons, A People's History of the Supreme Court (New York: Viking, 1999)

Edward H. Lazarus, Closed Chambers: The First Eyewitness Account of the Epic Struggles inside the Supreme Court (New York: Times Books, 1998)

Robert G. McCloskey, The American Supreme Court, fifth edition, revised by Sanford Levinson (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010)

Robert J. McKeever, Raw Judicial Power? The Supreme Court and American Society, second ed. (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1995)

Earl M. Maltz, The Chief Justiceship of Warren Burger, 1969-1986 (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2000)

Lucas A. Powe, Jr., The Warren Court and American Politics (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2000)

Bernard Schwartz, ed., The Burger Court: Counter-revolution or Confirmation? (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988)

Melvin I. Urofsky, The Continuity of Change: The Supreme Court and Individual Liberties, 1953-1986 (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 1991)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Robert Mason
Tel: (0131 6)50 3770
Course secretaryMiss Lorna Berridge
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