American Studies and Politics (with a study abroad year) BA

Politics

Key information

Duration:
4 years full time
Typical A-level offer:
AAB-ABB
UCAS code:
TL7F
Start date:
September 2018

An understanding of modern politics cannot be complete without considering the influence of America.

With our American Studies and Politics BA, you explore the literature, history and culture of a global powerhouse. And you learn from leading political experts who influence debate on topics ranging from corruption to international governance.

You’ll join a politically engaged community in one of the UK’s most politically diverse cities. Plus, with your year abroad, you gain first-hand experience of American culture and politics.

I chose Sussex so that I could learn from academics who have made groundbreaking contributions to their fields.”Oliver Hypolite-Bishop
American Studies BA 

Entry requirements

A-level

Typical offer

AAB-ABB

GCSEs

You should have a broad range of GCSEs (A*-C), including good grades in relevant subjects.

Extended Project Qualification

We take the EPQ into account when considering your application and it can be useful in the summer when your results are released if you have narrowly missed the conditions of your offer. We do not routinely include the EPQ in the conditions of your offer but we sometimes offer alternative conditions that include the EPQ. If you wish to discuss this further please contact Admissions at ug.enquiries@sussex.ac.uk

Other UK qualifications

Access to HE Diploma

Typical offer

Pass the Access to HE Diploma with 45 level 3 credits at Merit or above, including 24 at Distinction.

Subjects

The Access programme should be in the humanities or social sciences.

International Baccalaureate

Typical offer

32 points overall from the full IB Diploma.

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma)

Typical offer

DDD

GCSEs

You should have a broad range of GCSEs (A*-C), including good grades in relevant subjects.

Scottish Highers

Typical offer

AABBB

Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced

Typical offer

Grade B and AB in two A-levels.

GCSEs

You should have a broad range of GCSEs (A*-C), including good grades in relevant subjects.

International baccalaureate

Typical offer

32 points overall from the full IB Diploma.

European baccalaureate

Typical offer

Overall result of at least 77%

Other international qualifications

Australia

Typical offer

Relevant state (Year 12) High School Certificate, and over 85% in the ATAR or UAI/TER/ENTER. Or a Queensland OP of 5 or below.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Austria

Typical offer

Reifeprüfung or Matura with an overall result of 2.2 or better for first-year entry. A result of 2.5 or better would be considered for Foundation Year entry.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Belgium

Typical offer

Certificat d'Enseignement Secondaire Supérieur (CESS) or Diploma van Hoger Secundair Onderwijs with a good overall average. 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Bulgaria

Typical offer

Diploma za Sredno Obrazovanie with excellent final-year scores (normally 5.5 overall with 6 in key subjects).

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Canada

Typical offer

High School Graduation Diploma. Specific requirements vary between provinces.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

China

Typical offer

We usually do not accept Senior High School Graduation for direct entry to our undergraduate courses.

However, we may consider you if you have studied one year or more of Higher Education in China at a recognised degree awarding institution, or if you are following a recognised International Foundation Year.

If you want to apply for a business-related course which requires an academic ability in Mathematics, you normally also need a grade B in Mathematics from the Huikao or a score of 90 in Mathematics from the Gaokao.

If you have the Senior High School Graduation, you may be eligible to apply for our International Foundation Year. If you successfully complete an International Foundation Year, you can progress on to a relevant undergraduate course at Sussex.

Check which qualifications the International Study Centre accepts for the International Foundation Year.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Croatia

Typical offer

Maturatna Svjedodžba with an overall score of at least 4-5 depending on your degree choice.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Cyprus

Typical offer

Apolytirion of Lykeion with an overall average of at least 18 or 19/20 will be considered for first-year entry.

A score of 15/20 in the Apolytirion would be suitable for Foundation Year entry. Find out more about Foundation Years.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Czech Republic

Typical offer

Maturita with a good overall average.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Denmark

Typical offer

Højere Forberedelseseksamen (HF) or studentereksamen with an overall average of at least 7 on the new grading scale.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Finland

Typical offer

Finnish Ylioppilastutkinto with an overall average result in the final matriculation examinations of at least 6.0.

France

Typical offer

French Baccalauréat with an overall average result of at least 13/20.

Germany

Typical offer

German Abitur with an overall result of 2.0 or better.

Greece

Typical offer

Apolytirion with an overall average of at least 18 or 19/20 will be considered for first-year entry.

A score of 15/20 in the Apolytirion would be suitable for Foundation Year entry. Find out more about Foundation Years.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Hong Kong

Typical offer

Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) with grades of 5, 4, 4 from three subjects including two electives. 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Hungary

Typical offer

Erettsegi/Matura with a good average.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

India

Typical offer

Standard XII results from Central and Metro Boards with an overall average of 75-80%. 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Iran

Typical offer

High School Diploma and Pre-University Certificate.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Ireland

Typical offer

Irish Leaving Certificate (Higher Level) at H1,H2,H2,H3,H3

.

Israel

Typical offer

Bagrut, with at least 8/10 in at least six subjects, including one five-unit subject.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Italy

Typical offer

Italian Diploma di Maturità or Diploma Pass di Esame di Stato with a Final Diploma mark of at least 81/100.

Japan

Typical offer

Upper Secondary Leaving Certificate is suitable for entry to our Foundation Years. Find out more about Foundation Years.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Latvia

Typical offer

Atestats par Visparejo videjo Izglitibu with very good grades in state exams.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Lithuania

Typical offer

Brandos Atestatas including scores of 80-90% in at least three state examinations (other than English).

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Luxembourg

Typical offer

Diplôme de Fin d'Etudes Secondaires.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Malaysia

Typical offer

Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM). As well as various two or three-year college or polytechnic certificates and diplomas.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Netherlands

Typical offer

Voorereidend Wetenschappelijk Onderwijs (VWO), normally with an average of at least 7.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Nigeria

Typical offer

You are expected to have one of the following:

  • Higher National Diploma
  • One year at a recognised Nigerian University
  • Professional Diploma (Part IV) from the Institute of Medical Laboratory Technology of Nigeria
  • Advanced Diploma

You must also have a score of C6 or above in WAEC/SSC English.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Norway

Typical offer

Norwegian Vitnemal Fra Den Videregaende Skole - Pass with an overall average of 4.

Pakistan

Typical offer

Bachelor (Pass) degree in arts, commerce or science.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Poland

Typical offer

Matura with three extended-level written examinations, normally scored within the 7th stanine.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Portugal

Typical offer

Diploma de Ensino Secundario normally with an overall mark of at least 16/20. 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Romania

Typical offer

Diploma de Bacalaureat with an overall average of 8.5-9.5 depending on your degree choice.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Singapore

Typical offer

A-levels, as well as certain certificates and diplomas.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Slovakia

Typical offer

Maturitna Skuska or Maturita with honours, normally including scores of 1 in at least three subjects.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Slovenia

Typical offer

Secondary School Leaving Diploma or Matura with at least 23 points overall.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

South Africa

Typical offer

National Senior Certificate with very good grades. 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Spain

Typical offer

Spanish Título de Bachillerato (LOGSE) with an overall average result of at least 8.0.

Sri Lanka

Typical offer

Sri Lankan A-levels.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Sweden

Typical offer

Fullstandigt Slutbetyg with good grades.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Switzerland

Typical offer

Federal Maturity Certificate.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Turkey

Typical offer

Devlet Lise Diplomasi or Lise Bitirme is normally only suitable for Foundation Years, but very strong applicants may be considered for first year entry. Find out more about Foundation Years.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

USA

Typical offer

We look at your full profile taking into account everything you are studying. You must have your high school graduation diploma and we will be interested in your Grade 12 GPA. However, we will also want to see evidence of the external tests you have taken. Each application is looked at individually, but you should normally have one or two of the following:

  • APs (where we would expect at least three subject with 4/5 in each)
  • SAT Reasoning Tests (normally with a combined score of 1300) or ACT grades
  • and/or SAT Subject Tests (where generally we expect you to have scores of 600 or higher). 

We would normally require APs or SAT Subject Tests in areas relevant to your chosen degree course.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

My country is not listed

If your qualifications aren’t listed or you have a question about entry requirements, email ug.enquiries@sussex.ac.uk.

English language requirements

IELTS (Academic)

6.5 overall, including at least 6.0 in each component

IELTS scores are valid for two years from the test date. Your score must be valid when you begin your Sussex course. You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test.

If you are applying for degree-level study we can consider your IELTS test from any test centre, but if you require a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) for an English language or pre-sessional English course (not combined with a degree) the test must be taken at a UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI)-approved IELTS test centre.

Find out more about IELTS.

Other English language requirements

Proficiency tests

Cambridge Advanced Certificate in English (CAE)

For tests taken before January 2015: Grade B or above

For tests taken after January 2015: 176 overall, including at least 169 in each skill

We would normally expect the CAE test to have been taken within two years before the start of your course.

You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. Find out more about Cambridge English: Advanced.

Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE)

For tests taken before January 2015: grade C or above

For tests taken after January 2015: 176 overall, including at least 169 in each skill

We would normally expect the CPE test to have been taken within two years before the start of your course.

You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. Find out more about Cambridge English: Proficiency.

Pearson (PTE Academic)

62 overall, including at least 56 in all four skills.

PTE (Academic) scores are valid for two years from the test date. Your score must be valid when you begin your Sussex course. You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. Find out more about Pearson (PTE Academic).

TOEFL (iBT)

88 overall, including at least 20 in Listening, 19 in Reading, 21 in Speaking, 23 in Writing.

TOEFL (iBT) scores are valid for two years from the test date. Your score must be valid when you begin your Sussex course. You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. Find out more about TOEFL (iBT).

The TOEFL Institution Code for the University of Sussex is 9166.

English language qualifications

AS/A-level (GCE)

Grade C or above in English Language.

Hong Kong Advanced Level Examination (HKALE)/ AS or A Level: grade C or above in Use of English

French Baccalaureat

A score of 12 or above in English.

GCE O-level

Grade C or above in English.

Brunei/Cambridge GCE O-level in English: grades 1-6.

Singapore/Cambridge GCE O-level in English: grades 1-6.

GCSE or IGCSE

Grade C or above in English as a First Language.

Grade B or above in English as a Second Language

German Abitur

A score of 12 or above in English.

Ghana Senior Secondary School Certificate

If awarded before 1993: grades 1-6 in English language.

If awarded between 1993 and 2005: grades A-D in English language.

Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE)

 Level 4, including at least 3 in each component in English Language.

Indian School Certificate (Standard XII)

The Indian School Certificate is accepted at the grades below when awarded by the following examination boards:

Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) – English Core only: 70%

Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) - English: 70% 

International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB)

English A or English B at grade 5 or above.

Malaysian Certificate of Education (SPM) 119/GCE O-level

If taken before the end of 2008: grades 1-5 in English Language.

If taken from 2009 onwards: grade C or above in English Language.

The qualification must be jointly awarded by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES).

West African Senior School Certificate

Grades 1-6 in English language when awarded by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) or the National Examinations Council (NECO).

Country exceptions

Select to see the list of exempt English-speaking countries

If you are a national of one of the countries below, or if you have recently completed a qualification equivalent to a UK Bachelors degree or higher in one of these countries, you will normally meet our English requirements. Note that qualifications obtained by distance learning or awarded by studying outside these countries cannot be accepted for English language purposes.

You will normally be expected to have completed the qualification within two years before starting your course at Sussex. If the qualification was obtained earlier than this we would expect you to be able to demonstrate that you have maintained a good level of English, for example by living in an English-speaking country or working in an occupation that required you to use English regularly and to a high level.

Please note that this list is determined by the UK’s Home Office, not by the University of Sussex.

List of exempt countries

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Canada**
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Ireland
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • United Kingdom
  • USA

** Canada: you must be a national of Canada; other nationals not on this list who have a degree from a Canadian institution will not normally be exempt from needing to provide evidence of English.

Admissions information for applicants

Transfers into Year 2

Yes. Find out more about transferring into Year 2 of this course. We don’t accept transfers into the third or final year.

If your qualifications aren’t listed or you have a question about entry requirements, email ug.enquiries@sussex.ac.uk.

Why choose this course?

  • Ranked 1st in the UK for American Studies (The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018).
  • More prestigious American partner institutions – including UC Berkeley and Georgetown – than any other programme in England.
  • Politics at Sussex is ranked 12th in the UK (The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018).

Course information

How will I study?

American Studies modules introduce you to the history, politics, visual culture and literature of the Americas. Your studies traverse America from Columbus’ encounter of the ‘New World’ in 1492 to the counterculture of the 1960s to 9/11. Literary and cultural texts enrich your understanding of the Americas.

In Politics, the theme for this year is power. You study core concepts and theories of politics and understand where power lies in the UK and internationally. You also gain research skills in political science.

Modules

These are the modules running in the academic year 2017. Modules running in 2018 may be subject to change.

Core modules

Options

How will I study?

In American literature, you choose from a range of modules. Some focus on New Orleans, where you explore the roots of jazz music. Others focus on New York City, where you will analyse the long, rich transnational history of this centre of immigration, business, entertainment and culture.

You analyse significant texts by writers including Gertrude Stein and Zora Neal Hurston, and learn about American modernity and post-modernist aesthetics.

American History modules include a survey of the black freedom struggle, and a study of how the American Civil War has been remembered since 1865.

In Politics you study how politics and power are structured differently in regions across the world. We are experts on East Asia, Eastern Europe, France, Germany, India, the EU and the US.

Modules

These are the modules running in the academic year 2017. Modules running in 2018 may be subject to change.

Core modules

Options

You spend your third year studying at one of our US or Canadian partners’ campuses. Our range of partner institutions represents every facet of the American experience, and includes:

  • UC Berkeley and UCLA
  • Tulane University in New Orleans and the University of North Carolina
  • Georgetown University and George Washington University, Washington, DC.

Whether you are interested in Native American culture, the Civil Rights movement, or American modernist poetry, Sussex offers you a unique experience while studying in North America.

Please note

Programs with a study abroad year are not eligible for USA federal Direct Loan funds. Find out more about American Student Loans and Federal Student Aid

How will I study?

You write a dissertation on a topic of your choice.

American Studies dissertations can be on topics as varied as gun control, the 60s counterculture, Black Lives Matter, trans rights issues or the musical HamiltonYou also choose options from a range of modules.

In Politics, you study when, where and why political change happens. You can choose to specialise in a particular region or topic. Our expertise includes:

  • political corruption
  • immigration
  • populism and Euroscepticism.

Modules

These are the modules running in the academic year 2017. Modules running in 2018 may be subject to change.

Options

Find out about American Studies at the University of Sussex

Fees

UK/EU students:
Fees are not yet set for entry in the academic year 2018. The University intends to set fees at the maximum permitted by the UK Government (subject to continued satisfaction of the Teaching Excellence Framework). For the academic year 2017, fees were £9,250 per year.

The UK Government has confirmed that if you’re an EU student applying for entry in September 2018, you’ll pay the same fee rate as UK students for the duration of your course, even if the UK leaves the EU before the end of your course. You’ll also continue to have access to student loans and grants. Find out more on the UK Government website

Channel Islands and Isle of Man students:
The University aligns fees for Channel Islands and Isle of Man students with fees for UK/EU students. These fees are not yet set for entry in the academic year 2018. We intend to set fees at the maximum permitted by the UK Government (subject to continued satisfaction of the Teaching Excellence Framework). For the academic year 2017, fees were £9,250 per year.
International students:
£15,500 per year
Study abroad:
Find out about grants and funding, tuition fees and insurance costs for studying abroad

Note that your fees may be subject to an increase on an annual basis.

Find out about typical living costs for studying at Sussex

Scholarships

Our focus is personal development and social mobility. To help you meet your ambitions to study at Sussex, we deliver one of the most generous scholarship programmes of any UK university.

Careers

Graduate destinations

American Studies at Sussex is ranked 1st in the UK for career prospects (The Guardian University Guide 2018). Recent graduates have taken up a wide range of posts, including:

  • research assistant, Integer Research
  • copywriter and community manager, Mediablaze Group.
  • political researcher, Leader of the Opposition.

(Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education 2015)

Your future career

By thinking critically across disciplines, you learn a broad range of analytical and communication skills. These will be enhanced on your year abroad where you’ll gain invaluable cultural and social perspectives. As a result, you will be in demand in fields such as:

  • journalism and marketing
  • TV and film production
  • policy research.

Working while you study

Our Careers and Employability Centre can help you find part-time work while you study. Find out more about career development and part-time work

British Political History

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

This module provides an overview of the major developments in British political history since 1900, focusing mainly (but not exclusively) on the post-war period. You focus on the major challenges domestic and international which have confronted political elites and masses during the period. It provides a critical understanding of some of the major debates between and within the UK's major political parties, and introduces some of the academic arguments generated by them. Politicians, and indeed political scientists, often make use of particular versions of history in order to persuade people that what they are offering is either tried and trusted or, on the other hand, new and improved. Pundits are also fond of making casual allusions to political events of the past in order to illustrate or support their arguments about the present often based on little more than second-hand knowledge and outdated received wisdom. This module provides a firm foundation of knowledge on which to build the more advanced understanding promoted by more advanced modules. And, by subjecting to critical analysis what is often taken for granted, it encourages a degree of healthy scepticism towards any references to politics in the past made in both public and academic discourse.

Explanatory Concepts in Political Science

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

In this module, you gain a firm understanding of some of the basic theories of the state including majoritarian and consensus democracy, pluralism, elite theory, Marxism and public choice theory.

The module applies the theories to British politics in order to gain a better understanding of particular political interests for example: the constitutions, political parties, voting, interest groups and globalisation.

The module develops a dialogue, which confronts established theories with the changing reality of British politics.

Introduction to American Studies

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1
This module introduces you to a range of key concepts, methodological tools, and theoretical approaches to the interdisciplinary study of American culture.
 
You'll use these analytical and intellectual frameworks throughout your degree and beyond. Throughout the module, you apply these concepts, methods, and theories to a range of cultural material, including:
  • film
  • music
  • images
  • literature.
We also provide guidance and instruction in essay writing, referencing and effective reading of academic texts.

Foundations of Politics

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

You are introduced to some of the central concepts and issues in political theory.

The module offers you an opportunity to think not just about the way politics is, but also about the way it ought to be.

We will ask questions such as 'why should we obey the state?', 'is democracy the best form of government?', and 'what makes a just society?'

We begin with some of the most fundamental and enduring questions in political theory, and we finish with some more recent debates.

The module is designed to be cumulative, so that the analysis developed in one week is built on in the weeks that follow.

By the end of the term you should have acquired a basic understanding of the central questions in political theory, and you should have begun to develop some of your own answers to these questions.

Modern America

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

The early years of the twenty-first century have witnessed the United States achieve unsurpassed global economic and cultural power. This module assesses the dramatic developments that have shaped the U.S. during the twentieth century, often described as the 'American century'.

We will explore the transformations in American political and social life as the U.S. achieved economic supremacy, and extended this power on the world stage. As the nation increased its influence abroad, of module, it underwent a parallel series of turbulent changes at home. Hence we will also consider an America seen through the critical (and sometimes not-so-critical) lenses of writers, artists, commentators and filmmakers as they articulate the tensions and anxieties of modern U.S. life.

The module addresses many social contradictions. The `Roaring Twenties, for example, was a period of consumerism and cultural experimentation that also gave rise to religious fundamentalism and Prohibition. Similarly, while the United States government in the 1950s was trying to `keep the world safe for democracy' in the face of communist expansion, it abused the constitutional liberties of its own citizens during the McCarthy witch-hunts. Although the country as a whole attained unprecedented levels of affluence in these years, poverty remained a persistent problem, and Americans continued to struggle with the repression of women, political dissidents and racial minorities. A crisis in American liberalism accompanied this proliferation of social and political protest, primarily due to American involvement in the Vietnam War. We will seek to understand how this war shaped protest politics, altered the relationship between Americans and the liberal state, and led to the Conservative resurgence in the 1980s. These events shattered the consensus belief in a modern America. We will evaluate what it then meant to live in a post-modern America, and how people adapted the conditions of post-modernity to cope with new and recurrent crises of difference, inequality, and insecurity. Through lectures that focus on the historical, literary and more broadly cultural aspects of the modern United States, students will learn to recognise the importance of cross- and inter-disciplinary work as they pursue the dynamic relationship between cultural forms and social, political and economic realities.

Research Skills and Methods in Political Science

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

This module is designed to introduce you to some of the fundamental issues faced by scholars as they try to analyse the political world around them.  We begin by examining the discipline of political science, what 'studying politics', and introduce some of the key terms such as epistemology, behaviouralism, quantitative methods.

You will be introduced to the basics of quantitative methods and the advantages and disadvantages of using surveys, questionnaires and statistical packages to analyse real world political activity. 

The next set of lectures analyse a completely different mode of enquiry; those based on interpretist understandings of political affairs. There are, obviously, all sorts of ways of collecting evidence to support your case/answer a question, and some of the most popular involve doing interviews, focus groups, simple participation etc. We discuss some of the strengths and weaknesses of using these methods, analysing why they are chosen in the first place and how they link with more quantitative approaches. 

By the end of the module, you should have an enhanced understanding of what the political science discipline is, how political scholars conduct their research and how they reach the conclusions that they do. You should also be able to critically interpret many of the claims and counter-claims, often based on statistical indicators, that are a feature of contemporary political debate.

Most of the lectures will necessarily focus on presenting various, often rather abstract, concepts and procedures. However, the relevance of these in modern political analysis will be demonstrated by incorporating practical exercises in which the concepts and methods learnt will be applied in seminars and computer workshops.

American Identities

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

In this module you study how Americans in different periods and different regions have thought, written, debated and talked about themselves in relation to their country in autobiography, poetry, fiction, and film.

You examine how race, gender, and sexuality impact on notions of American citizenship, and you discover how to become an American.

You explore American identity and stereotypes and look at:

  • optimism
  • individualism
  • the right to bear arms.

American Literature to 1890: Part I

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

This module will introduce you to the major trends and texts of colonial America from the Iroquois Indians and Christopher Columbus through to Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Paine. These are not simply 'authors,' in the modern sense, writing 'great books' but diverse voices whose class, gender, race, nationality and religious persuasion influence the sense they make of America, and of themselves, in their writing. For example, some texts articulate ancient native traditions and myths without the benefit of a written tradition, while others are trying to come to terms in literary ways with experiences of migration to an unknown and wild place, captivity by the Indians, conflict, and slavery. Questions of national identity and the role that literature plays in constructing and communicating an 'American experience' are therefore central to the module.

We will look at the writing of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, beginning with Native American accounts of creation, the travel journals of Columbus, and an account of the conquest of the Aztec empire. American literature in this early period does not come in the usual forms of fiction, poetry, and drama that we are used to studying in European literature, nor is all of it written in English. We will be reading a variety of forms, such as Native American stories, accounts of conquest in South America and settlement in the English colonies, Puritan sermons, autobiography, political tracts, captivity narratives, poetry, and letterssome in translation, others in their original English. While these texts are not all recognisably what you might think of as 'literature,' they are the founding documents and genres of the Americas and their influence is felt in American culture to the present day.

Roots of America: From Colonial Settlement to the Civil War and Reconstruction

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

This module provides a foundational survey of the history, literature, and culture of the United States (and the colonies which preceded it) to 1900. It begins with the Columbian encounter in 1492, when two worlds were brought into sharp conflict with each other and continues through English settlement and colonisation in the 17th century to growth, expansion and the articulation of a specific American identity by the middle of the 18th century. It assesses the creation of the American nation through war with Britain and through the imaginative construction of a new political relationship between people and government.

We will then proceeed to political and cultural formations in the 19th-century republic. You will focus on why the newly formed nation should ultimately falter on the issue of slavery and why the concept of the United States and the 'Union' became such contested terms. You will examine how contested visions of America's future and its 'manifest destiny' cohered and divided the citizenry, and ultimately ask, as Abraham Lincoln so aptly put it in 1855, 'can we, as a nation, continue together permanently--forever-half slave, and half free?'

Our attention subsequently turns to the mammoth transformations to American life unleashed by the Civil War and Reconstruction; events, historian James McPherson calls the 'Second American Revolution.' Among the many topics, we will consider the emergence of a modern activist central government committed, albeit temporarily, to constitutional protected civil rights; we will address how Americans, in both North and South, understood the meaning of Union and nation after the carnage of Civil War; and how industrialists, immigrants, and union activists attempted to shape and influence the rapid growth of American urban life in the final quarter of the 19th century. Finally, we will consider the plight of black Americans as the promises of emancipation gave way to racial segregation in the South and the rise of the urban ghetto in the North.

Students will be required to approach these topics from both a historical and a literary perspective, paying particular attention to formative texts. The writings of John Smith, John Winthrop, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, James Fenimore Cooper, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville, Henry James, Edith Wharton (among others) will be examined as a distinct American literary culture evolves in the 19th century. That culture – like all social values in the years preceding Civil War – would split in the North-South divide of the 1850s, but in the final lectures of the module, students will examine how literary works would ultimately bolster resurgent American nationalism in the decades following the War. Students will also be encouraged to think about the imaginative formulation of American identity and American character through representations of such matters in film.

American Humour

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

Humour is probably among the most approachable of ways to introduce first year students to core issues in American Studies, and one of the most telling. Jewish humour, for example, which clearly informs, say, the films of the Marx Brothers, Heller's Catch-22,or the TV comedy of Seinfeld, can teach us much about the history and culture of immigration and assimilation so integral to American identity. Likewise, African-American comedians from the 70s to the 90s exemplify a particular, 'signifying' tradition, in Henry Louis Gates' phrase, as well as providing comment on the politics of the day. Or we might view the relationship between American economy and culture - a grand narrative of the twentieth century - as dramatised in the Fordist dystopias of Chaplin, the Southern Gothic of Flannery O'Connor and the acceleration from post-war boom in Thomas Pynchon to the vision of Wall Street excess in Ellis' American Psycho. In all these cases, humour provides both spectator or readerly pleasure and a form in which a more covert critique takes place, making it an invaluable mode for you to experience and consider key cultural and historical questions.

Incorporating literature, film, TV, live performance and visual art, the module will thus address the social, political and philosophical issues each topic raises and the context from which it has sprung, from the 19th century 'Connecticut wits' to more recent 'gross-out' comedy. By way of materials, an on-line module reader will be made available to YOU composed of a number of readable essays on the theory of humour as well as selected essays more directly relating to each specific topic and/or work. Interdisciplinary in nature, the module will hence encourage you to investigate how ideas about humour can work with other texts to become forms of critical thinking: Bergson's notion of comedic automatism, for example, read alongside accounts of the factory system can illuminate Keaton or Chaplin's cinematic commentary on the fate of the American industrial worker. Through such connections, you will be introduced to influential writers like Bergson and Freud in an accesible fashion and find ways to apply and adapt their ideas in the wider cultural field.

American Literature to 1890: Part II

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

American Literature to 1890 II introduces you to the major trends and texts of a multi-ethnic America from Washington Irving and James Fenimore Cooper to Emily Dickinson and Henry James. These are not simply 'authors', in the modern sense, writing 'great books', but diverse voices constructed by class, gender, race, nationality and religious persuasion. Some texts articulate ancient native traditions and myths, others come to terms in writing with experiences of migration, captivity, conflict, and slavery. Central to the module are questions of national identity, and the role that literature plays in both constructing and communicating an 'American experience'.

The Look of America

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

This module takes as its premise the notion that ever since the explosion of mass media and mass society in the industrial age, the United States has taken an increasingly dominant place in the global visual imagination. This process reached its peak at the beginning of the twentieth century, and since then America has generated for the world innumerable iconic and hegemonic visual representations of its own cultural narratives.

The task of this module will be to explore and deconstruct some of these visual representations, along with the ideologies and narratives that sustain and refract them. You will begin with an introduction to visual theory, especially as it applies to the American context, and acquire the critical tools necessary for the module. You will then locate the period under scrutiny within a broader visual and cultural 'prehistory', illuminating the roots of the modern world and its visual scene.

After this, you will concentrate on the culture of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Taking a thematic approach, you will examine the issues that emerge over the module of the twentieth century, referring forwards and backwards in order to generate connections where appropriate. The intention here is to introduce you to aspects of visual culture and its criticism, as well as to defamiliarise and explore some of the more familiar American iconography surrounding us.

European Politics

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

The political map of contemporary Europe is changing rapidly and fundamentally, as the traditional boundaries between East and West and between domestic and international governance break down.

This module aims to provide a pan-European introduction to the continent's politics, rooted in a comparative rather than a country-by-country approach. After setting the historical and socio-economic context, it moves on to tackle not just institutions (the nation-state, government and policy-making, legislatures, parties, pressure groups and the media) but also issues – participation, immigration, the supposed blurring of the left-right divide, and Europe in the world.

Modern Political Thought

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

This module addresses some of the most important texts in the history of western political philosophy. It covers the work of seven major political thinkers and aims to provide you with knowledge of the broad contours of modern political thought from the 17th to the 20th century. You will develop your ability to analyse philosophical arguments and to situate the texts studied in the appropriate historical contexts. Throughout, the aim will be to encourage close textual reading whilst developing an awareness of the wider themes and concepts that inform modern political thought.

Theoretical Concepts for American Studies

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2
This module provides theoretical tools for interpreting literary, historical, and cultural objects found in American Studies.
 
You'll familiarise yourself with important concepts that you may encounter in your reading and research. You'll be able to apply these concepts accurately and appropriately, focusing on social and political theory.
 
Topics covered may include:
  • historical materialism
  • ideology and ideology critique
  • cultural capital
  • sexuality
  • nationhood/nationalism
  • biopower
  • intersectionality
  • neoliberalism.

American Cinema B

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

An awareness of how Hollywood cinema was shaped, how it acquired its position of dominance, and the forms and aesthetic conventions that characterise it, is essential to an understanding of cinema more generally. Accordingly, this module will focus on the formation of Hollywood in the 1910s through to the post-World War 2 era, with particular emphasis placed on the development of the 'studio system' and Hollywood's 'golden age' of the 1920s to 1950. You will view a range of representative Hollywood films made during the period and analyse them in relation to the industry and its practices. You will also situate Hollywood cinema within the political and social life of the United States in the period.

American Literature Since 1890: Part I

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

This module will introduce significant and canonical texts by American writers produced since 1890 and throughout the first part of the twentieth century. By analysing the working of class, gender and race in these texts we will explore many of the social and cultural issues associated with the evolution of American modernity and American modernist aesthetics. We will observe the different ways in which writers tackle or avoid important economic and social questions of the period. We will examine how important socio-economic developments such as the rise of industrialisation and urbanisation, war, consumer culture, the question of women's rights and ideas of national identity shape the stylistic and thematic fabric of these works.

The African American Experience

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

This module examines the history of African-American political, cultural, and social developments from 1863 to the present.

Its principal goal is to familiarise you with the debates that African Americans have had among themselves between emancipation and the present day, thus establishing a deep historical understanding of the ongoing freedom struggle in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.

It assesses intraracial arguments over the relationship of blacks to the US government in war and peace, over racial and class identities, and over diverse tactics and strategies for the advancement of the race.

Although particular attention is given to the longrunning campaign to destroy de jure segregation in the southern states (culminating in the successful nonviolent direct action campaigns of the 1960s), the module is predicated on the demonstrable fact that racial prejudice was a national, not a regional, phenomenon.

Lectures and seminars analyse the connections between African American history and culture. Emphasis is given to well-known black leaders like Booker T. Washington, Marcus Garvey, and Martin Luther King Jr., but female activists and the unsung black masses themselves also receive close attention.

Women in America

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

In this module, you explore the changing experiences of women in America as recorded in history and represented in literature and film.

You also look at the relationship between gender, race, class, and ethnicity and how this is reflected in politics, economics and social developments in the United States.

You'll study historical and political debates about women's work, family life and citzenship and the different ways women have challenged gender oppression through social movements and creative arts activism.

In your lectures, you'll learn about women's history and gender relations in America from the pre-Colonial period to the present day. And in your seminars you'll study individual women's lives and artistic productions in relation to the weekly lecture topic.

American Cities: New Orleans

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

The Big Easy evokes dozens of images from Spanish moss draped buildings, mint juleps by the Mississippi, Mardi Gras parades and Louis Armstrong's horn, to desperate crowds in Hurricane Katrina. Some of the images are based in reality, others in fantasy and others form part of a constructed narrative. In this module you will contextualise the city's place in French and Spanish colonisation and we will consider the growth and expansion of the city, considering New Orleans' pivotal role in the slave trade and the regional cotton economy. You will examine the environmental history of the city, assess the importance of the Mississippi to its growth and consider its liminal position between the Caribbean and America.

Turning to the 20th century you will assess why New Orleans was among the first cities to institute racial segregation and how its black population resisted those efforts in politics, writing and of course in jazz music. You will also assess the rich literary tradition of New Orleans' writers from George Washington Cable to Kate Chopin, William Faulkner and to more contemporary writers in south Louisiana such as Earnest Gaines. You will explore why the city became America's notorious center of vice (long before Las Vegas) and we discuss why Americans have long considered the city a den of iniquity, mired in gothic exceptionalism, somehow removed from the national story, but so representative of it. Finally we take our story to the present and unpack why in a land of exceptional plenty there should be such urban poverty exposed for the world to see during Hurricane Katrina.

American Cities: New York

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

From New Amsterdam to 9/11 and beyond, New York has always been iconic. We experience the Big Apple through the sounds and sights that came before us: the movies, the music, the literature, the songs. But what goes on behind these images of ceaseless activity and glamour? Now the hub of global finace, New York was also a haven for immigrants, with Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty sitting right there in its harbour. Because of its diversity of population and ever-changing urban development, we will in this module be looking at the city from many perspectives, and find that to study its history and culture is to discover that the city that never sleeps never ceases to pose questions either.

American Drama

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

American Literature Since 1890: Part II

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module will introduce significant and canonical texts by American writers produced since 1945. By analysing the working of class, gender and race in these texts we will explore many of the social and cultural issues associated with the American modernity and American post-modernist aesthetics. We will observe the different ways in which writers tackle or avoid important economic and social questions of the period.

American Popular Music

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module examines the historical, social and cultural contexts of American popular music, focussing predominantly on the USA. Emphasis is placed on popular genres and styles of the twentieth century, the period in which the USA took on a dominant role in the creation and spread of popular culture across the globe.

As well as charting this growth in dominance, the module analyses popular music as representative ‘people’s music’. Genres and styles – including the blues, jazz, country, soul, funk, punk, disco, hip hop and grunge – are used to read aspects of change and continuity in the American twentieth century. Rather than providing a simple chronological history of musical styles in the USA, the module uses the music to examine concepts of race, place, tradition, commerce and authenticity. The music industry is analysed in terms of American business models, and recording and revival are explored as ways of thinking about representation, commercialization and exceptionalism.

Vital socio-historical moments, such as the emergence of rock and roll and the use of music in the civil rights era, are studied alongside the ‘invention’ of the teenager and the rise of a counterculture. The module concludes with a series of reflections on the various soundscapes associated with America and with the notion of multiple Americas audible through the myriad of non-Anglophone genres that exist within North America.

Politics of Governance: East Asia

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module studies government in East Asia (both Northeast and Southeast Asia) covering the great diversity of polities in the region ranging from totalitarian systems (for example, China and North Korea), to 'soft' authoritarian states (for example, Singapore and Malaysia), to 'defective' democracies (for example, Indonesia and Thailand) and fully consolidated democratic regimes (for example, Japan and South Korea). We will analyse political systems through general frameworks of comparative politics to discuss two principal questions: How can existing theories help us further our understanding of Asian politics? And, conversely, how can the study of Asian politics contribute to theory building in political science? The analysis will be framed around key concepts such as political parties, elections, corruption and civil-military relations.

Politics of Governance: Eastern Europe

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

The module begins by examining the kind of legacies that the communist period left in these countries before moving on to consider their institutional structures and party and electoral politics of the new post-communist democracies. You then considers some of the major issues raised by the process of post-communist democratisation. These include: how to deal with functionaries of the previous non-democratic regime, how to introduce radical economic reform, and how to accommodate the existence of the numerous ethnic minorities that most of these states encompass? The impact of attempts to integrate into Euro-Atlantic international structures (the EU and NATO) on Central and East European domestic politics is considered before a final session that attempts to evaluate the nature of the regimes that are emerging in the region.

Politics of Governance: France

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

Democracy in France has a troubled history, which continues to impact on contemporary politics in significant ways that have contributed to the representation of France as being in many ways 'exceptional'. This idea of 'the French Exception' will serve as a context for this module, which aims to give you a basic understanding of the institutions, policies and issues which dominate political life in France today. The module uses current affairs in France as its starting point in order to encourage engagement, and will use this to build up a grasp of the institutional framework in which political power operates. Important themes to be analysed will be: institutional and constitutional change, party dynamics, and policy reforms.

Politics of Governance: Germany

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

The overall intellectual aim of this module is to provide a comprehensive analysis of the structure and norms of governance in the Federal Republic of Germany. The module examines the structure of German governance post-1945, looking at the formal codified arrangements of German federalism and the relationship between the constitution, parties and the wider polity. Particular emphasis is placed on Germany's role within the broader international community and the effects that unification has had on the structures and practices of German governance. We will also look at two particular policy fields (foreign policy, asylum and immigration policy) in order to see how the structures of governance affect policy making and policy development in individual policy areas. Learning objectives are specified by week for each topic. You should use these to think about when reading the material and preparing for each seminar.

Politics of Governance: India

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

The politics and governance component of the politics degrees concentrates on the relationship between political institutions and the wider society. This module is concerned with the ability of institutions such as structures of governance, bureaucracies and political parties to adapt to changing circumstances and respond to demands from interest groups while dealing with the ongoing pressures of social and economic development in India. 

This module will be divided into two main parts. The first part will deal with India's political history and independence with a focus on analysing the institutional mechanisms of governance in the country. We will look at the design of the Indian constitution at independence, examining its key features such as federalism, secularism and the choice of political and electoral system. The module would also examine and evaluate how key constitutional features have functioned in India to support governance and its democracy. We also analyse the evolution of the party system in India focusing on its key features, attributes, determinants and the linkages between the national and the sub-national party systems. 

The second part of the module will analyse the key instruments of governance in India: the legislatures, bureaucracy, judiciary, army and the election commission. We will examine the ability of these institutions to support governance in a highly complex political and social environment. The focus will be on the relationship between politics and economy, politics and society, and politics and conflict. 

The module primarily uses an empirical approach but also presents relevant theoretical constructs and some comparative analysis to provide you with a rich insight into the politics of governance in India.

Politics of Governance: International Institutions and Issues

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module critically analyses the evolution of the international institutional order since World War II up to contemporary times. It examines the emergence and transformations of these bodies in the face of evolving and emerging issues and challenges. You will focus on institutions such as the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organisation, as well as non-state actors and then gauge and assess their response to the issues and challenges in their respective fields of competence (for example, the environment, global ethics, intervention, failing states, self-determination, the changing nature of war and global governance).

Politics of Governance: The European Union

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module treats the EU as a system of governance and examines it on that basis looking at the nature of executive, legislative and judicial politics as well as looking at the nature of interest representation and examining the nature of democracy in the EU and the impact of the EU on European states. It does so the basis of a variety of theoretical accounts derived from international relations and political science that have been applied to the EU

Politics of Governance: USA

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module examines four approaches to understanding contemporary US politics that emphasise the role of institutions, ideas, individuals and interests. These approaches are applied to the three main institutions of the Presidency, Congress and the Supreme Court and to the nature of political parties and voting in the US.

Politics of Governance: USA

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module examines four approaches to understanding contemporary US politics that emphasise the role of institutions, ideas, individuals and interests. These approaches are applied to the three main institutions of the Presidency, Congress and the Supreme Court and to the nature of political parties and voting in the US.

Time and Place: 1831: Slave Revolts

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

In August 1831, Nat Turner launched the most significant slave revolt in American history. Murdering 60 whites in a bloody spree, Turner's revolt convulsed the region. Seventy two hours later, militia units crushed the revolt. The backlash was frenzied with at least one hundred enslaved people executed by local militiamen. Yet despite Turner's subsequent execution, neither the rebel slave nor the insurrection he initiated could be entirely exorcized from the minds of contemporary southerners.

In December 1831, 60,000 enslaved people in western Jamaica rebelled against the island's slaveholding elite. It was the final, and one of the largest, revolts in the history of Caribbean slavery.

These revolts laid bare the revolutionary capability of enslaved people, they exposed the enmity that most slaves bore toward their masters, and they visibly revealed that enslaved people would adopt desperate means to secure their freedom. They also demonstrated how enslaved peoples utilized evangelical and small-scale trading networks to mobilize communities. And the revolts exposed how rebel leaders exploited national and transatlantic tensions over the future of slavery and harnessed direct action to the political tide of anti-slavery in Britain and America. But the frenzied backlash also revealed white anxieties over slavery, the nature of race, and the longeveity of slavery. As enslaved rebels demonstrated their rage against slaveholders and their aspirations for freedom, whites responded with fear, resentment, and paranoia to the rebel threat. Some condemned outside agitators, notably vocal abolitionists and evangelical liberals, while others redoubled their commitment to racialized slavery.

This module will address:

  1. the role of enslaved peoples (and the concept of 'agency') in shaping liberation movements in a comparative context
  2. the factors underpinning the disintegration of Jamaican slavery and its defense in America
  3. the growth of anti-slavery in the Anglophone Atlantic and the expansion of abolitionist sentiment in Britain and the USA
  4. white slaveholding identities and meanings attached to slave ownership, including anxieties surrounding the loss of white racial authority during and after the revolts
  5. the value of comparative methodologies for understanding historical change.

In short, the module examines the material, political, psychological, and gendered parameters to racial slavery and emancipation within the early nineteenth-century Atlantic world and considers the rise and fall of slavery in two key settings.

Transatlantic Rhetoric: Public Speech and Anglo-American Writing 1750-1900

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

What is 'rhetoric' and why was it so important for literary life in nineteenth-century Britain and America? How can we begin to analyse public speaking as writing, and what is its relationship to literature in general?

You address these questions by exploring the cultural history of persuasive public speech between the American Revolution and the turn of the twentieth century, and the role it played in the development of literary expression.

Each week you look at a pair of one or more speeches from either side of the Atlantic, from across a range of genres including parliamentary oratory, radical political speechmaking, sermons, courtroom statements and comic lectures.

By training in the methods of rhetorical analysis you develop an understanding of how to comprehend the meanings and craft of public speech.

By placing speechmaking back into broader literary history, you begin to see rhetoric and voice as central themes in the history of Anglo-American writing.

Death of Socialism

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 4

This module looks at the contemporary condition of socialism following the collapse of state socialism in Central and Eastern Europe and elsewhere, the erosion of the central principles of Western social democracy and the prevalence of free market and capitalist ideas at the start of the century. Is socialism a relevant, feasible or desirable idea in contemporary society? Or is it dead, merely a historical relic of the 20th century?

We will start by looking at the two predominant conceptions and experiences of socialism of the twentieth century - ­ Marxist and social democratic socialism. What are the main features of these models of socialism? You will then examine criticisms of socialism from liberals and libertarians ­ such as Hayek and Nozick ­ and from new social movements ­ such as the women's movement and the green movement. What critical points are raised by these perspectives and how telling are they? We will look at reasons for the collapse of state socialism in the late 1980s and at attempts in the West to rethink socialism during an era in which neo­liberalism was a predominant force. Do liberal and new social movements' criticisms and the collapse of state socialism suggest that socialism is dead? Do attempts to redefine socialism (as market socialism or radical democratic socialism) escape the criticisms of liberals and the new social movements and the problems experienced under old social democracy and state socialism? Or do they indicate that the era of socialism has well and truly passed?

In the final two topics we shall address this question a little more. We will examine the attempt of New Labour and current European social democrats to respond to the crisis of social democracy and will ask whether there is anything remaining of socialism in such attempts. And we shall examine theses such as that of Fukuyama: that the day of socialism has passed and that capitalism has won the battle.

Photography and Politics

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 4

Political Change: Eastern Europe in Transition

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 4

Political Change: India

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 4

Indian politics, society and economy have undergone substantial changes since the country's independence in 1947. Today India is an important emerging economy with a well developed party system and has a reasonable record of holding regular elections. Indian democracy has been an important area of research for scholars, especially with regard to its ability to survive and function amidst high social heterogeneity, widespread poverty and illiteracy. It is an interesting case to further our insights into the dynamics of political change in a large country amidst multiple social cleavages, significant intra-country differences and an evolving party system. 

This module explores key themes in Indian politics and society to understand the process of political change since its independence. You will analyse how the relationship between political actors and the wider society has been transformed through the rise of ethnic parties and identity politics, the growing importance of state-level parties and civil society movements. It explores how political parties are faced with the need to respond to demands from these organised interests and social movements. 

The key themes analysed in this module are:

  • The transformation of Indian party system from single party dominated system to a fragmented and multi-party competitive system
  • Political importance of socially underprivileged groups, ethnic parties and identity politics
  • The increased prominence of regional parties and emergence of coalition politics
  • The growing influence of civil society, mass movements and media
  • The key challenges facing the Indian nation


While exploring the key themes above the module analyses major factors that have led to political change and the ways in which this change has affected political actors in India. The module primarily uses an empirical approach but also presents relevant theoretical constructs and some comparative analysis to provide you with a rich insight into the politics of change in India.

Political Change: Political Parties and Party Systems

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 4

In this module, you look at the factors behind political change within political parties and party systems.

You examine the development of political parties and their importance in modern advanced industrial democracies in Western Europe - and learn how to use theoretical and analytical models to study parties and party systems in a wide range of countries. 

Topics include: 

  • examining where political parties and party systems were formed and how they have changed over time
  • investigating the role of political parties
  • exploring if political parties are fulfilling the functions that democracy requires of them.

Political Change: The European Union as a Global Actor

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 4

The emergence, over the last five and a half decades, of the European Union as a global actor of real relevance forms the basis for this module. It will chart and critically analyse this process of change from a community of six member states consumed with internal economic priorities to a union of 27 member states (and growing) whose decisions frequently have a global reach and whose troops  have undertaken missions in south-east Europe, Central Africa and the Far East. What have been the key actors and factors behind this transformation? And where is this process of political change headed? The tutor will encourage and assist you in tackling these and other related questions in a critical manner. The module will cover the following distinct but related topics: foreign policy integration at EU level and its limits; the impact of new member states; the militarization of the Union; the EU and crisis management; the EU and conflict prevention; the impact of the USA and Russia on this process of change; and the soft power/hard power debate.

Political Change: the Evolution of Post War European Integration

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 4

This module explores in depth the historical development of the European Union. In doing so, it provides an opportunity to review the various debates which have emerged within the social sciences and history about the dynamics of integration, the motivations of policy-makers and the influence of different actors. Drawing upon a range of concepts and approaches from those disciplines, the module focuses on a series of milestones, turning points and crises in the evolution of the EU.

America in the 21st Century

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 4

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. 

Documentary America: Non-Fiction Writing

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 4

The study of American fiction often precludes an examination of some of the best writing and forms of self-representation that America has produced. This includes political and photo-essays, social science publications, journalism and reportage.

This module explores the development of iconic non-fictional American literature and its relation with other forms of documentary representation (such as film and photography) from the 19th to 20th century.

We look at the style, content and circulation of non-fictional forms. We examine them within wider discourses of cultural, social and political representation.

You'll look at a variety of examples of documentary literary genres, including:

  • the insertion of the “I” in nineteenth century journalism and undercover reportage in the slums
  • Zora Neale Hurston’s ‘ethnographic’ preservation of folk ‘lies’
  • the use of documentary aesthetics in plays and poetry
  • the development of postmodern documentary aethetics.

You also examine how these forms intersect with the development of modernist and postmodernist literature in the US, and with the historical events they attempt to represent.

For this module, you read from a broad selection of materials that do not necessarily fit into conventional literary genres. We analyse why writers and artists represent events in the way they do and the wider cultural impact of those forms.

Foreign Policy Analysis in Comparative Perspective

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 4

This module provides you with the analytical skills to critically investigate the foreign policies of different countries in Europe and beyond. The first part of the module will introduce the academic field of foreign policy analysis and familiarise you with its most important methods and theories. Specifically, the module will cover theoretical approaches on the international, state and individual level of analysis. It will unpack the process of foreign policy decision-making in order to identify the most significant actors and influences on different types of foreign policy decisions. The second part of the module will explore key issues in foreign policy analysis. We will compare and contrast the foreign policies of different countries and discuss variations in the foreign policy outlook of small, middle and great powers. We will also look into some of the most pressing topics on the current foreign policy agenda in different issue areas such as military interventions, the fight against terrorism and the foreign policy implications of globalisation or the protection of human rights. In discussing these topics particular emphasis will be placed on theory-guided analysis. While the module has a regional focus on the foreign policies of selected European countries we will also cover issues related to the foreign policies of the US and the rising powers.

Ideas of Progress and Decline in Modern British Politics

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 4

Ideas about progress and decline are central to political discourse. This module focuses on how they have been used in modern Britain. You will gain an overview of the main ideological theories about progress and decline and explore how they have informed political debates about Britain's economy, culture and society. You will also examine how concepts of absolute and relative progress and decline have shaped understandings of Britain's place in the world.

Immigration and the Liberal State

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 4

In this module, you examine why immigration has become one of the most contested issues on the political agenda of liberal states across Europe and North America.

You look at representative democracy, constitutionalism, capitalism, and nationhood - and examine how these generate conflicting imperatives for immigration policymaking, which lead to contradictory policies.

You develop an understanding of how immigration policies in liberal democracies are shaped and study recent trends in the immigration, citizenship and integration policies of immigrant-receiving countries in Europe and North America.

Independent Study/Internship Option

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 4

This option provides an opportunity for you to carry out your own research project - working independently but with the help of a project tutor. In order to be accepted onto this option you produce a project outline by the end of you second year which needs to be approved by the module convenor. This many be linked to a period as an intern in the place of work (eg, in a local authority or at Westminster).

Political Corruption

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 4

The objective of this module is to shed some light on the dark side of politics by developing analytical and theoretical tools that will allow us to analyse corruption across both time and space. We begin by analysing exactly what we understand by ‘corrupt’ behaviour and how this appears to differ (often quite starkly) across national boundaries. Are humans naturally corrupt? If so, does this matter? Is corrupt behaviour absolute and universal or does it depend on location and context? Indeed, can corruption sometimes even be a good thing?

Armed with the analytical tools aimed at unpacking the complex phenomenon of political corruption, we examine specific examples of corruption across the developed world, ranging from systematic abuses of power by parties and politicians to small-scale, almost trivial, petty misdemeanours. This analysis then provides a foundation for examining what reforms might contribute to lessening instances of political corruption in the western world.

Populism and Politics

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 4

Populism is a widely used term in politics but rarely conceptualised in political science. This module explores the phenomenon of populism and its relationship to politics and particularly to representative politics and considers populism, its meaning, its causes and effects in a systematic and comparative way. Populism is understood in its widest possible sense in this module so that we explore populism of the right and of the left and we examine a wider range of disparate cases of populism from different parts of the world. The module has essentially two elements: the first is the examination of a range of different examples of populist movements, moments, personalities and parties (eg from Russia, North America, Latin America and Europe). The second element is to examine the conceptualisation of populism and to engage with the debates about whether to and how to define populism. The module will be empirically oriented allowing you to develop interests in a small number of cases with an eye to clarifying your positions on the wider conceptual debates regarding populism.

The United States in the World

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 4

As the 21st century begins, the United States is still the world's only superpower: no other nation possesses comparable military and economic power or has interests that reach the entire globe. To understand the place and power of the US in the contemporary world, it is vital to understand how its geopolitical strategies function, militarily and economically. Yet because US power is also secured through cultural and discursive strategies, it is equally important to analyse how US cultural/discursive products and processes participate in the construction of the US in all the varied ways it imagines itself. The aim of this module is to analyse how US cultural/discursive strategies participate in imagining the US in the world, either by being embedded within traditional geopolitical strategies or by sitting alongside them. Rather than taking an historical approach, the module is organised around specific theoretical and cultural/discursive themes and practices.

These include:

  • architectural theory and the building of embassies abroad
  • design theory and designing the nation through everyday objects
  • film theory and screening the nation through popular film
  • remediation theory and virtually remediating the nation
  • entertainmentality theory and exhibiting the nation in museums
  • performance/performativity theory and re-enacting the nation though historical re-enactments as well as song
  • advertising theory and advertising the nation to US citizens.

Along the way, significant foreign and domestic policy debates from Cold War politics to the 'War on Terror' to the US domestic 'War on Illegal Immigration' will be considered through political, cultural and discursive theories (eg Said's notion of orientalism, Foucault's notion of governmentality, Butler's notion of performativity and Ranciere's notion of the birth of the nation). 

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