American studies

America in the 21st Century

Module code: T7051
Level 6
30 credits in spring teaching
Teaching method: Film, Seminar
Assessment modes: Dissertation, Coursework

You examine the state of 21st century America and assess the challenges the country faces - evaluating how it is represented globally. You examine a wide range of texts, media, documentary film, fiction, and cultural theory. 

You look at topics including: 

  • America as a civilisation
  • how American values and concepts have shaped social and cultural formation in American life
  • 9/11 and the War on Terror
  • community and civic decline in American public life
  • the 21st century American city
  • race and ethnicity in 21st century America
  • the contemporary American novel
  • the American West
  • political activism and protest
  • consumer culture and religion in 21st century America. 

Module learning outcomes

  • Critically analyse and interpret a variety of cultural documents and expressive forms, encompassing popular and elite expressions, the mass media and material culture.
  • Deploy both historical and contemporary perspectives in order to contextualize texts and materials in relation to the key social, political and cultural contexts relevant to the module.
  • Design and complete an interdisciplinary research project on themes and issues relevant to contemporary American experience.
  • Locate contemporary American social and cultural formations in relation to a wider global context.
  • Understand and assess significant current controversies and debates impacting public life in America.
  • Employ research skills in order to communicate a critically informed knowledge of 21st century American society and cultural in both written and oral form.