HI5005 - America in the 1960s

What will I learn on this module?

This module offers you the opportunity to study the domestic social, cultural, political, and economic history of the United States during the “long 1960s” (roughly 1956-1974). Interdisciplinary in approach the module allows you to examine a range of secondary and primary sources – including television, literature, music, film and visual culture – that illuminate the history and culture of the US during this period. The module also encourages you to consider the perils and advantages of dealing with the 1960s as a discrete historical period, involves you in some of the most important scholarly debates in the field, and asks you to consider how the decade has been remembered and misremembered in popular consciousness by exploring later cultural representations and political uses of the 1960s. Key topics include the Cold War and Vietnam; consumerism; the civil rights and black power movements; national and local politics; science, technology and the environment; youth culture; gender and sexuality; identity politics; regionalism; the New Left and the Counterculture; conservatism and the New Right; mass media and popular music.

How will I learn on this module?

You will learn on this module by attending lectures, film screenings, and seminars. The lectures will present core themes and a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches to studying America in the 1960s; they will also present key historiographical debates associated with the subject area and utilize a wide-range of source materials, just as you will be asked to do in your work for the module. You will also attend screenings of important films made in, or about, the 1960s. For the weekly seminars, you will be expected to undertake the required reading and to sample from the recommended readings: you will demonstrate and build on your reading by presenting your ideas and arguments in presentations, debates, and seminar discussions with your peers. Learning materials, tasks and readings will be posted on the eLearning Portal (Blackboard) to enable full participation within the seminars. You will undertake formative assessment activities, receive feedback, and will be responsible for your own guided and independent learning. Summative assessment matches your learning against the learning outcomes for the module.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Your academic development will be supported through engagement with your peers, academic tutors, and programme leaders. Academic support is provided through group/individual tutorials which allow specific issues to be addressed and to promote progress in academic development. The module tutor will be accessible within publicised Feedback and Consultation hours and via email. Your peers will provide you with a collaborative learning environment, and your programme leader will guide you through the requirements and expectations of your degree programme, of which this module is part. You will also be supported through individual engagement with the academic literature, lectures, and resources available on the eLP. Formative feedback will be on-going through seminar activities and assessment tasks.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1. Knowledge of the major historical, political and cultural themes in the United States in the 1960s.
2. Critical appreciation of conflicting positions in public debates and scholarly controversies concerning the events, meanings, and legacies of the 1960s.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
3. Demonstrate the acquisition of numerous skills including the ability to make independent critical judgments; to critically evaluate a range of sources; to utilize a variety of theoretical concepts and disciplinary approaches when appropriate; and to present conclusions in a coherent and persuasive fashion.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
4. Awareness and sensitivity towards different social groups engaged in struggles for social justice
5. Curiosity about the nature of the evidence on which our knowledge of the past, and therefore our understandings of the present, depend.

How will I be assessed?

The summative assessment will be made up of a portfolio, containing the following components, each designed to assess different skills.

1) Document Commentaries
Locate and select two significant primary sources relating to America in the 1960s, at least one from the electronic collection on The Sixties subscribed to by the library (http://asp6new.alexanderstreet.com/sixt/). Students must construct a critical commentary on each of the sources, outlining their context, contemporary significance, and historiographical importance by reference to scholarly sources on the topic.

2 x 1,000-word commentaries (40% of final mark) MLO: 1-5

2) Essay
An essay, selected from a list that covers all of the major themes of the module. The essay should be properly referenced and use both primary and secondary sources.

Essay length: 3,000 words (60% of final mark) MLO: 1-3, 5 (potentially 4)

Formative feedback for each assessment will be provided verbally in seminars and in written form for those students who choose to do preparatory exercises before submitting work for summative assessment. Verbal and written feedback will be given on all summative assessed work. Feedback on your first summative assessment will allow you to improve on later ones.





Module abstract

Please find details of this module in the other sections provided.

Course info

UCAS Code T710

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years Full Time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Humanities

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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