The African American Experience (V3029E)

15 credits, Level 5

Autumn teaching

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

Lectures and seminars interrogate 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, but female activists and the unsung black masses themselves also receive close attention.


50%: Lecture
50%: Seminar


30%: Coursework (Essay)
70%: Examination (Unseen examination)

Contact hours and workload

This module is 150 hours of work. This breaks down into 22 hours of contact time and 128 hours of independent study.

This module is running in the academic year 2019/20. We also plan to offer it in future academic years. It may become unavailable due to staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of such changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.