In the wake of “the American Century”, this is an exciting moment to be studying North America. To what extent will the US be forced to renegotiate political, financial and cultural relationships long characterised by dominance? How should the Obama Presidency be understood within the history of race relations and the struggle for civil rights? How will cultural responses to changing political, media, and built environments work within and against established forms and traditions?
The MA American Studies is an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary course, which enables you to focus on the study of the history, literature, politics, film and culture of the United States, as well as the literature, culture and society of Canada.
Small group teaching with a focus on student-led discussion fosters a collegiate MA cohort – encouraging intellectual exchange among a group of students with shared interests but with a broad range of backgrounds and perspectives.
A suite of core modules taken by all MA students is the centrepiece of the degree. Offered in the first semester is Approaches to American Studies, which will acquaint students with the development of scholarly methods, theories, and approaches in American Studies. Students will also develop their research management and personal development skills vital to postgraduate work. Offered in the second semester is Researching Contemporary America, which will introduce postgraduate-level American Studies through a study of key controversies in the study of the recent United States.
In each term students will select from a range of optional modules offered within the School and by related subject areas within the University. Recent optional modules include American Enlightenment and American Gothic; Darwinism and Creationism in America; Fictions of America; Representing the South; Asian American Literature; the Civil War and its Origins; American Labor History; and Recent Queer Writing.
Completed over the summer period, the dissertation provides the capstone of the degree and involves in-depth research supervised by a specialist tutor.
Dissertation supervision and core and optional module teaching are research-led. In line with the most recent work in the field, research and teaching in the Department of American and Canadian Studies is informed by consideration of North America in transatlantic and hemispheric contexts and a transnational and global perspective; by close attention to the production, circulation and reception of a broad range of ‘texts’; and by a commitment to self-reflexive interdisciplinarity.
Part-time students complete the same components, but spread over two or more years.
- The Department of American and Canadian Studies is the strongest unit of its type in the country in terms of research power rating: one that takes into account both quality of research and the number of research-active staff who made returns to the Research Assessment Exercise 2008. According to the RAE, 25% of the school's returns were judged 4* or world-leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour. A further 20% were of 3* quality (internationally excellent).
- It has a thriving postgraduate programme, and a teaching and research culture of the highest quality.
- The MA draws on a network of expert and experienced academics from disciplines across the University.