Special Subject: The Civil Rights Movement (V1378AD)

30 credits, Level 6

Autumn teaching

In both parts of this module you explore the emergence of a ‘long’ African American civil rights movement.

You start by studying the broader societal forces that created the context for the movement, including the migration of millions of African Americans from rural to urban communities. You will explore impact of the Second World War, both in eroding the cultural and intellectual legitimacy of White supremacy and raising Black expectations of claiming the full rights of citizenship.

Although the personality of Martin Luther King, Jr. and other leaders of the movement is central to the course, you will also analyse from the perspective of grassroots activists. You’ll evaluate the intellectual and institutional forces that shaped movement activism, especially the role of Christianity.

In both module parts, you place the domestic struggle for civil rights in a broader global framework by assessing how international events impacted on American race relations, such as the Cold War or the decolonisation of African and Asian nations.

Overall you focus on the evolution of civil rights activism and the emergence of the Black Power, antipoverty, and welfare rights movements. You’ll also focus on the relationship between public policy, activism and broader socio-economic and racial change in the post-New Deal U.S.


100%: Seminar

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 300 hours of work. This breaks down into about 44 hours of contact time and about 256 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2024/25. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to feedback, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let you know of any material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: