American studies

American Empire

Module code: T7081
Level 6
30 credits in autumn semester
Teaching method: Seminar
Assessment modes: Coursework

The global reach of the United States is often invisible to its own citizens, who regard their country as a nation state rather than an empire. But without an understanding of empire, it is impossible to analyse the global distribution of power and violence that American actions produce around the world.

This module maps the hidden infrastructures and technologies of American empire. You will explore the social and political realities of US imperial formations, including colonialism, military assets and interventions from the late nineteenth to the twenty-first century. You’ll also examine the forms of US influence through culture, technological innovation and economic power.

Drawing on history, theory, political analysis and narrative forms, this module responds to the challenges involved in understanding the nature of American power and a globally situated US in the twenty-first century.

Module learning outcomes

  • Systematically understand key interventions within the scholarly literature on American empire.
  • Demonstrate the ability to comment on complex positions and methodologies within this literature.
  • Deploy established techniques of enquiry in the application of knowledge as well as conceptual and theoretical tools to analyse the global nature of American power in the twentieth century and beyond.
  • Devise and sustain arguments in a writing assignment, displaying clarity, rigour, precision and concision.