Summary module description:

Aims:
Topics involve the study of specific periods, subjects or types of history. This topic aims to examine how significant and wide-ranging have been attempts to procure political and social change in America in the years between the Great Depression and the election of Ronald Reagan.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module it is expected that the student will be able to:

  • identify and explain the main issues and events studied
  • acquire a detailed knowledge of the events through extensive reading in specialised literature
  • locate and assemble information on the subject by independent research
  • appraise critically the primary sources and historical interpretations of the subject
  • organise material and articulate arguments effectively in writing, both under timed conditions and in assessed essays.

Additional outcomes:
The module also aims to encourage the development of oral communication skills and the student's effectiveness in group situations. Students will also develop their IT skills by use of relevant web resources.

Outline content:
This module will investigate how far deep social tensions have manifested themselves in American political life, and the degree to which its development since the 1930s has allowed for the equal representation of all American citizens. Students will consider how participatory protest movements of all kinds have been, and how far their demands have been realised. Examples include the rise of the mass labour movement, anti-Cold War movements, Black Power, the New Left, and the 1970s Right. It will also focus on mainstream political parties, reflecting on whether they have acted as democratic, participatory bodies, or as unrepresentative tools of special interests. The political activity of the period will be considered thematically as well as chronologically, in order to answer broad questions about the nature of the American political system and its relationship to the distinctive contours of modern American society.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Seminars for which students must carry out full preparatory reading and research. Seminars rely on structured group discussion and may also include: seminar papers by students; discussion of evidence; team-based exercises and debates; study visit to a relevant location. Students are expected to carry out self-directed revision in the Summer term. Staff will be available for consultation as necessary.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 30
Project Supervision 1
Guided independent study 169
       
Total hours by term 200.00
       
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 67
Written assignment including essay 33

Other information on summative assessment:
Students will write one essay of not more than 2,500 words, to be submitted electronically via Blackboard and in hard copy to the History office, by 12 noon on the Friday of week 8 of the term.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:
    One two-hour paper requiring two answers to be taken at the time of the Part 3 examinations.

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Students who fail Part Three are permitted one further attempt at a resit in each module they have failed. Students who fail Part Three will no longer be eligible for an Honours Degree but, assuming the necessary threshold after the resit (normally an overall average of 35% or above) is achieved, students will obtain a Pass Degree. Where a re-sit is permitted, students will be assessed on the failed element(s) ONLY in August. These will be capped at a maximum mark of 40%. Any element(s) already passed will be carried forward if it bears a confirmed mark of 40% or more. Failed coursework must be re-submitted by 12 noon, on the last Friday of August.

    Last updated: 8 October 2014

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