HST118: American History: From Settlements to Superpower

20 credits (semester 2) - not running in 2017-18

Module Leader: 


Module Summary

This module examines the formation, development and influence of North America, and the United States in particular, from European colonisation after 1492 to the present day. The module begins by exploring colonial North America, and we cover the development of Mexico and New France (now part of Canada) as well as the colonies that eventually came together to form the United States. Thereafter, we will focus on the political, economic, and cultural development of the U.S., focusing especially on conflicts over national identity, race, class and gender, and the global reach of American military power and culture. 

Teaching and Assessment

Lectures provide an efficient way of providing information, encouraging ideas and guiding students’ private study. They will be used to outline the key themes of the course. Seminars will focus on more specific issues, providing opportunities for students to present their ideas and interpretations to the wider group, and to work cooperatively in groups. Further guidance is provided in the module course booklet, available through MOLE.

Information on assessment can be found at: http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/history/current_students/undergraduate/assessment/level1

Selected Reading

There is no single textbook for this module. We prefer that you read the books and articles recommended in the course reading lists, which you will find on MOLE. But if you find that you do need an introductory text to get you started, particularly in the first few weeks of the course, we recommend:

  • Eric Foner, Give Me Liberty! 3rd edition (2010)

Good alternatives, multiple copies of which are available in the University libraries (IC and Western Bank), include:

  • Maldwyn Jones, The Limits of Liberty: American History 1607-1992 (Oxford University Press, 1995)
  • Hugh Brogan, The Penguin History of the United States of America (Penguin, 2001)

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of the unit, a candidate will be able to demonstrate:

  • A clear understanding of the key themes, issues, and events in the history of colonial North America and the United States;
  • The ability to identify the main historiographical interpretations of North American history;
  • The ability to relate American historical development to broader international and global contexts;
  • The ability to present material in seminars and participate intelligently in discussion with both the tutor and fellow students;
  • The ability to write informed and coherent essays under pressure of time.