Postgraduate taught 

American Studies MLitt

Core and optional courses

Core and optional courses

Core Courses

Approaches to American studies

An introduction to the different disciplinary approaches and methodologies for the study of North America, organized around a defining theme that is revised annually. Defining themes of the past have included American Identities, the Frontier and the American West, and Freedom. This core course also incorporates research training in American Studies, geared toward the requirements of the rest of the programme, especially the dissertation.

Topics and methods in American studies.

This course is based around the Hook Centre's series of visiting speakers - who are all leading national (and sometimes international) figures in American Studies. Students keep a notebook detailing their developing understanding of, and reflections upon, American Studies as an academic discipline throughout this series. They produce an essay at the end of the module, as well as participating fully in occasional seminars to discuss themes and issues raised by the series and to reflect upon these in light of readings of some 'classic' texts in American Studies.

Optional courses vary from year to year; they may include:

  • American counterculture
  • Thomas Paine as an enlightenment revolutionary
  • Media, war, and security
  • People of plenty: the politics of consumption in the US since 1890
  • History of critical writing on film and television
  • The American way of war
  • Poverty and inequality in the modern world
  • American material culture
  • The Mind of the Contemporary American Novel


Courses available in recent years have included: American communities; The politics of race in America; Modernity and technology; American society and culture in the 1920s and 1930s; and, The Vietnam war in American history and culture; and F. Scott Fitzgerald, Edith Wharton and Dialogues of American Literary Modernism.