American and Canadian Studies modules First Year

Listed on this page are the modules offered in American and Canadian Studies as part of its First Year degree programme.

Core modules

Foundations of American history to 1890

This is a general introductory course on American history to the end of the nineteenth century and covers political, social, economic and cultural developments. Assessment is based on understanding the significance of issues in the American past. It does not test knowledge directly. However, substantiating opinions requires evidence in support, and that usually includes "facts." Brief primary-source documents provide examples of the kinds of evidence that historians use to support interpretations.
Value: 20 credits

Foundations of American literature to 1890

This module introduces students to examples of American literature, ranging from the eighteenth to the late nineteenth century. It focuses on the differences between the myths and realities of American experience and investigates the complex relationship between literature and society. Attention is paid to both genre (the romance, sentimental fiction, realism, etc.) and to the issues that preoccupied many American writers (slavery, industrialization, etc). 
Value: 20 credits

Introduction to Canadian studies

This interdisciplinary course will provide students with an introduction to Canadian history, geography, politics, literature and media. It examines the various ways in which physical geography, imperialism, and socio-economic factors have shaped the evolution of Canadian society. Students are expected to gain insights into a diverse cultural narrative that tells the multiple stories of Canada by attending lectures, participating in seminar discussions, reading widely in Canadian history, culture, politics, and literature, and writing on these subjects.
Value: 20 credits

Research skills in American and Canadian studies

This course is very different from most others you will take. It aims to develop skills of independent research and constructive teamworking which you will need throughout your student career (and beyond), much more than to give you knowledge and expertise in specific areas – though of course you will gain plenty of knowledge and expertise along the way! 
Value: 40 credits

Module Outside the Main Discipline (MOMD)

Students can choose from a range of modules in other disciplines. As an example, many of our students choose to take the following option:

Introduction to film studies

The course will provide students with an introduction to Film Studies. They will be taught the basic skills of film analysis, and the various methodological approaches necessary for the academic study of film. They will be provided with the vocabulary and conceptual frameworks to interpret film with regard to film aesthetics, film theory and socio-cultural concerns. The course will provide a foundation for further study of film at other levels.

In the first semester we will focus on the film text, how what is on the screen determines the meaning of the film. In the second semester we will focus on how the meaning of a film is determined by film and audience context. Topics covered include: film style, stars and narrative, and a range of theoretical approaches such as Marxism and psychoanalysis.
Value: 20 Credits