BA (Hons) American Studies

Research on the Americas is wide ranging and currently includes fatherhood in Cold War America, early modern Iberian imperial architecture, the mapping of New York City through Broadway song and homelessness in American fiction.

The Course

BA (Hons) American Studies at the University of Lincoln offers students a distinctive interdisciplinary degree drawing on expertise across the University of Lincoln in American history, literature, film, music, theatre, visual arts, foreign policy and politics.

Students have the opportunity to study topics ranging from the cities of the colonial Americas and the American Revolution to the Broadway musical, Hollywood cinema, the battle for civil rights, the Vietnam War, Chinese-American relations. This course will emphasise the critical examination and interpretation of primary source materials including novels, films, newspapers, songs, oral histories, protest movements, and political documents.

The first year offers introductory modules designed to give students an understanding of American history, arts, politics and culture. Through lectures, seminars, film screenings and reading groups students will be introduced to the core questions and themes that drive our understanding of America.

In the second year, a variety of optional modules are available based on the research specialisms of our academic team. Modules can include From Colony to Superpower, Making Americans, Introductory Spanish, After the End: Reading the Apocalypse, An Immigrant Nation’s Cinema, American Detective Fiction and Film, and From Revolution to New Republic.

Students have the opportunity to enrol at a partner institution in North America during their third year. Students will then return to the University of Lincoln to complete the final year of their degree. Students will be responsible for their travel and accommodation costs in addition to their normal living costs throughout the year.

Where applicable, students will also be expected to cover their visa costs. For students who opt to take Spanish as part of their first and second year studies, the year abroad will open up opportunities for understanding Hispanic arts, histories and cultures. By spending a year abroad, students can develop greater cultural awareness and resourcefulness, initiative and independence in responding to new situations.

Contact Hours and Reading for a Degree

Students on this programme learn from academic staff who are often engaged in world-leading or internationally excellent research or professional practice. Contact time can be in workshops, practical sessions, seminars or lectures and may vary from module to module and from academic year to year. Tutorial sessions and project supervision can take the form of one-to-one engagement or small group sessions. Some courses offer the opportunity to take part in external visits and fieldwork.

It is still the case that students read for a degree and this means that in addition to scheduled contact hours, students are required to engage in independent study. This allows you to read around a subject and to prepare for lectures and seminars through wider reading, or to complete follow up tasks such as assignments or revision. As a general guide, the amount of independent study required by students at the University of Lincoln is that for every hour in class you are expected to spend at least two to three hours in independent study.

Film and TV History 1 (Option)
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Film and TV History 1 (Option)

Film and TV History 1: is an overview of early cinema from the age of invention to the widespread adoption of sound in the 1930s and the beginning of experimentation with TV. It focuses on Hollywood, to chart and analyse the ascendancy and dominance of Hollywood in the cinema, and in approaches to cinema.

Making Americans (Option)
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Making Americans (Option)

An introduction to the study of American culture, this module is concerned with fiction, drama and poetry, together with examples of film, television and historical documents. It looks at constructions of American identity through a series of interlinked studies, including ‘the Frontier’, ‘African American Experiences’, ‘Migrations’, ‘Gender Issues’ and ‘Horror Genres’.

After The End: Reading the Apocalypse (Option)
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After The End: Reading the Apocalypse (Option)

This module explores apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic texts using a range of novels, short stories, poems and films. Lectures will establish cultural and historical contexts and address issues such as form and genre. The module will explore a range of significant periods from early Judeo-Christian fears regarding the purging moral apocalypse, through Romantic preoccupations with nature and industrialisation, postmodernism and more contemporary concerns about viral or cybernetic apocalypse. We will draw from a range of disciplines including literary theory, psychoanalysis, cultural theory, philosophy and trauma theory.

American Literature I (Option)
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American Literature I (Option)

This module explores the nineteenth-century literature of the USA, chiefly focusing on fiction and poetry. Authors covered include Herman Melville, Emily Dickinson, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Walt Whitman and Willa Cather, among others.

American Literature II (Option)
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American Literature II (Option)

This module covers a broad range of twentieth-century American fiction and poetry. Beginning with Fitzgerald, other authors studied include Ernest Hemingway, Jack Kerouac, Toni Morrison, Thomas Pynchon and David Foster Wallace.

Grand Expectations? America during the Cold War (Option)
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Grand Expectations? America during the Cold War (Option)

The United States emerged from the Second World War a superpower, with, to an extent, a belief that it could remake the world. The challenges of the Cold War years were to demonstrate how limited was that power. This module explores the key social, political, economic and cultural developments in the United States between 1945 and 1990.

Hollywood Musical (Option)
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Hollywood Musical (Option)

This module will look at the history and development of the Hollywood musical as one of Hollywood’s most popular and important film genres, from its beginnings in the early sound era to the integrated musical of the 1940s and 1950s to cult films like The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) and more recent successes such as Moulin Rouge (2001), High School Musical 3: Senior Year (2008), Mamma Mia! (2008) and La La Land (2016).

Students can watch together a number of significant films and will have the opportunity to discuss structural, stylistic and thematic issues in the context of scholarly literature. Stardom and the function of the star performance will be considered and we will explore the musical’s representation of cultural issues in a variety of contexts such as race, ethnicity, class, sexuality and gender.

Imperial Cities of the Early Modern World. (Option)
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Imperial Cities of the Early Modern World. (Option)

One of the ways in which early modern monarchs and rulers legitimised their authority and projected their power was through architecture and urban design. In this period capital cities across Europe, America and Asia were embellished with architecture and urban design inspired by Renaissance ideals of social order. This module examines the ways rulers imagined and built imperial a number of capital cities across Europe, America and Asia.

Media, Controversy and Moral Panic (Option)
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Media, Controversy and Moral Panic (Option)

This module explores the history of media controversy and ‘moral panic’ during the twentieth century. It is designed to introduce students to media texts (especially films and television programmes) that have sparked debate and extreme differences of opinion among audiences in Britain and America. Students will be expected to engage with a range of films, television programmes and primary source material, which may include newspapers and television news broadcasts from the Media Archive of Central England (MACE).

Power and the Presidency in the United States (Option)
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Power and the Presidency in the United States (Option)

This module introduces students to history of the US presidency by investigating selected past presidents from Washington to Trump. By reading and analysing the biographies of various presidents, key historical discussions as well as primary sources, including presidential addresses, campaign speeches, policy documents, and internal White House documents, and media accounts, students will be able to discuss and evaluate the major themes associated with the Office of the President.

The main question students will be asked to engage with through this course is “what makes an effective president?” In answering this question students will discuss themes ranging from the establishment of the office during the American Revolution, the ability of presidents to pass civil rights reform, the rise and fall of the imperial presidency, the decline and restoration of presidential influence, hidden illness in the oval office, the growth of partisanship, the impact of the media and presidential communication strategies, and the changing presidential electorate. By exploring these themes as well as the achievements, scandals and the legacies of various presidents, students will be able to determine how individual presidents have coped with the pressures of the office and what influence they have exerted on the office.

The Age of Improvement: the Atlantic World in the long eighteenth century (Option)
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The Age of Improvement: the Atlantic World in the long eighteenth century (Option)

The period from 1700 to 1850 was one of transition and change in the British Isles and North America, marking an ideological and material shift away from the legacy of medieval Europe and the period of initial colonial contact. This module challenges students to engage with historical, cartographical, and material evidence. Students are introduced to the landscapes, streetscapes, and social make-up of the long eighteenth century, and can discuss in seminars how broad events impacted everyday lives, the urban, and rural landscape.

The Musical (Option)
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The Musical (Option)

Why are musicals so popular (and why are some more popular than others)? What can a musical tell us about the culture in which it is produced and staged? How do you apply a critical framework to a study of the musical?

These are some of the questions that will be addressed in this module. In interactive lecture/seminars, students will have the opportunity to investigate how the musical, whilst operating as a mainstream form of popular theatrical entertainment, it similarly can be seen to engage with, challenge or enforce issues of race, gender, class and national identity. The module will provide a historical framework for a study of the musical, and will explore the origins and development of the genre of musical theatre both on the American and the British stage.

American Detective Fiction and Film: 1930 to the Present Day (Option)
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American Detective Fiction and Film: 1930 to the Present Day (Option)

Why have detective narratives proved so enduringly popular? This module will interrogate the iconic figure of the private eye in American popular culture, through the fiction and film of the twentieth and twenty-first century.

Early Modern Cultural and Artistic Encounters: Hybridity and Globalisation (Option)
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Early Modern Cultural and Artistic Encounters: Hybridity and Globalisation (Option)

This module considers early modern imperialism and its impact on artistic production at a global scale. Students will have the opportunity to examine Iberia and its world as a point for cultural encounter and cross-fertilization. The module aims to explore how local communities conflated their symbols of identity within transnational artistic trends and through a number of carefully selected case studies, will analyse the way in which communities – artists, patrons, collectors and audiences – negotiated these cultural encounters in the production and assimilation of the arts.

Exploitation Cinema (Option)
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Exploitation Cinema (Option)

Examines the cultural significance of so-called exploitation films, which can reveal (and revel in) themes, images and narratives suppressed from the mainstream, dealing with lurid, scandalous subjects in a seemingly excessive, gratuitous manner. Some theorists argue that perceived ‘excess’ is a foundation for developing new critical methods, providing a fascinating alternative to approaches more comfortably contained within ‘classical’ systems.

From Revolution to New Republic: The United States 1760-1841 (Option)
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From Revolution to New Republic: The United States 1760-1841 (Option)

This module explores the transformation of the United States from a set of thirteen colonies to an independent republic. Topics considered include: the causes of the Revolution, the governance of the new republic, the place of the new republic in the world, the experiences of excluded groups (loyalists, native Americans, African Americans).

Hollywood cinema in the 1980s (Option)
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Hollywood cinema in the 1980s (Option)

Cinema is an integral part of our culture and tells us about society; like any cultural product, cinema does not exist in a vacuum. It communicates ideas, value systems and cultural beliefs, desires, dreams, anxieties, fears and needs of a given society at a given time, and it does so through different constructions of gender, sexualities, whiteness, ethnicity, race, age, social class and cultures. Taking into account a broad range of films and genres (from rom-com, drama and erotic thriller, to animation, musical, neo-noir, action and sci-fi), as well as a variety of theoretical approaches from (but not limited to) feminist film theory, philosophy, post-feminism, psychoanalysis, stardom and cultural studies; and combining textual analysis with background reading, this module will examine and critically evaluate a range of Hollywood films produced and released in the 1980s addressing the relations between their textual form and their cultural context.

Madness, The Body, Literature (Option)
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Madness, The Body, Literature (Option)

This module looks at long 20th century fiction and culture through the lens of discourses of madness and wellness. Students will have the opportunity to develop their understanding of trends in psychiatric and therapeutic cultures on display in a range of American and British literature from the fin-de-siècle to the contemporary. We look at writers such as Sigmund Freud, Ken Kesey, Rebecca West and Siri Hustvedt, alongside theoretical work by figures such as R.D Laing and Jean-Paul Sartre.

Science Fiction in Film and Television (Option)
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Science Fiction in Film and Television (Option)

This module analyses the range and diversity of a genre encompassing many highly popular texts. Metaphor and allegory are explored to understand how science fiction has been appreciated and has developed from cult to mainstream acceptance and popularity. Innovation and cross-fertilisation of generic forms are also be considered.

Southern Accents (Option)
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Southern Accents (Option)

This optional module explores representations of the southern states of America in prose fiction, film, drama and music. In the first section southern stereotypes and ‘resistant’ representations, produced by southerners and others, are examined in relation to social, political and historical contexts. This is followed by a section on African American representations of the south. Finally, a section on music and vernacular traditions explores the influence of the south on American popular music. Students are encouraged to adopt an interdisciplinary approach to examine questions of regional identity in a wide range of texts.

The New Hollywood 1967 - 1983: from The Graduate to Star Wars and beyond... (Option)
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The New Hollywood 1967 - 1983: from The Graduate to Star Wars and beyond... (Option)

This module surveys and assesses a period that represents a break with a range of ideological, aesthetic and commercial traditions together with a process of retrenchment and recuperation. Post-classical Hollywood saw both films and the industry experience ideological and socio-cultural upheaval, demonstrated through cinematic modes of representation, industrial re-structuring and artistic transformations.

†The availability of optional modules may vary from year to year and will be subject to minimum student numbers being achieved. This means that the availability of specific optional modules cannot be guaranteed. Optional module selection may also be affected by staff availability.

This programme will use a variety of assessment forms – from traditional essays and examinations to presentations, analyses of individual artefacts and longer research projects.

Assessment Feedback

The University of Lincoln's policy on assessment feedback aims to ensure that academics will return in-course assessments to students promptly – usually within 15 working days after the submission date (unless stated differently above)..

Methods of Assessment

The way students are assessed on this course may vary for each module. Examples of assessment methods that are used include coursework, such as written assignments, reports or dissertations; practical exams, such as presentations, performances or observations; and written exams, such as formal examinations or in-class tests. The weighting given to each assessment method may vary across each academic year. The University of Lincoln aims to ensure that staff return in-course assessments to students promptly.

Students should demonstrate a passion to learn more about the Americas. An A-Level in a related discipline such as English, Film Studies or History is helpful but not essential, as the first year is designed to ensure that all students have the chance to acquire a base level of appropriate skills.
Research on the Americas in the College of Arts is wide ranging and currently includes fatherhood in Cold War America, early modern Iberian imperial architecture, the mapping of New York City through Broadway song and homelessness in American fiction.

Student as Producer

Student as Producer is a model of teaching and learning that encourages academics and undergraduate students to collaborate on research activities. It is a programme committed to learning through doing.

The Student as Producer initiative was commended by the QAA in our 2012 review and is one of the teaching and learning features that makes the Lincoln experience unique.

Students have the option of studying abroad during the third year of their degree at one of our partner institutions in North America. Studying abroad provides the opportunity to develop greater cultural awareness and resourcefulness, initiative and independence in responding to new situations.

Students will be responsible for their travel and accommodation costs in addition to their normal living costs throughout the year. Where applicable, visa costs will also need to be covered by the student. Students will then return to the University of Lincoln to complete the final year of their degree.

Placement Year

When students are on an optional placement in the UK or overseas or studying abroad, they will be required to cover their own transport and accommodation and meals costs. Placements can range from a few weeks to a full year if students choose to undertake an optional sandwich year in industry.

Students are encouraged to obtain placements in industry independently. Tutors may provide support and advice to students who require it during this process.

2018/19 Entry UK/EUInternational
Full-time £9,250 per level £13,800 per level
Part-time £77.00 per credit point†  N/A
Placement (optional) Exempt Exempt


†Please note that not all courses are available as a part-time option.

For more information and for details about funding your study, please see our UK/EU Fees & Funding pages or our International funding and scholarship pages. [www.lincoln.ac.uk/home/studyatlincoln/undergraduatecourses/feesandfunding/] [www.lincoln.ac.uk/home/international/feesandfunding/]

Additional Costs

For each course students may find that there are additional costs. These may be with regard to the specific clothing, materials or equipment required, depending on their subject area. Some courses provide opportunities for students to undertake field work or field trips. Where these are compulsory, the cost for the travel, accommodation and meals may be covered by the University and so is included in the fee. Where these are optional students will normally (unless stated otherwise) be required to pay their own transportation, accommodation and meal costs.

With regards to text books, the University provides students who enrol with a comprehensive reading list and our extensive library holds either material or virtual versions of the core texts that students are required to read. However, students may prefer to purchase some of these for themselves and will therefore be responsible for this cost. Where there may be exceptions to this general rule, information will be displayed in a section titled Other Costs below.

GCE Advanced Levels: BBC

International Baccalaureate: 29 points overall

BTEC Extended Diploma: Distinction, Merit, Merit

Access to Higher Education Diploma: A minimum of 45 level 3 credits to include 30 at merit or above.

Applicants will also be required to have at least three GCSEs at grade C or above (or equivalent), including English.

Mature students with extensive relevant experience will be selected on individual merit. All relevant work experience should be noted on the application form.

If you would like further information about entry requirements or would like to discuss whether the qualifications you are currently studying are acceptable, please contact the Admissions team on 01522 886097 or email admissions@lincoln.ac.uk.

Learn from Experts

Throughout this degree, students may receive tuition from professors, senior lecturers, lecturers, researchers, practitioners, visiting experts or technicians, and they may be supported in their learning by other students.

Dr Finn Pollard

Dr Finn Pollard

Programme Leader

Dr Finn Pollard is a historian of the United States, specialising in the era of the American Revolution and early republic. He is currently researching the representation of the USA in British literature in the early twentieth century.


Your Future Career

This course aims to equip students with an in-depth and wide-ranging knowledge of key periods, movements and developments within American arts, history and cultures. Previous graduates in the College of Arts have entered a range of careers including roles in teaching, broadcasting, screenwriting, journalism, finance, PR, marketing, law, politics, the charity sector and publishing.

Careers Service

The University Careers and Employability Team offer qualified advisors who can work with students to provide tailored, individual support and careers advice during their time at the University. As a member of our alumni we also offer one-to-one support in the first year after completing a course, including access to events, vacancy information and website resources; with access to online vacancies and virtual resources for the following two years.

This service can include one-to-one coaching, CV advice and interview preparation to help you maximise our graduates future opportunities.

The service works closely with local, national and international employers, acting as a gateway to the business world.

Visit our Careers Service pages for further information http://www.lincoln.ac.uk/home/campuslife/studentsupport/careersservice/.


Facilities

At Lincoln, we constantly invest in our campus as we aim to provide the best learning environment for our undergraduates. Whatever the area of study, the University strives to ensure students have access to specialist equipment and resources, to develop the skills, which they may need in their future career.

Students also make the most of the University's award-winning Great Central Warehouse Library, which is home to more than 260,000 books and ebooks and approximately 200,000 print and electronic journals, alongside databases and specialist collections. The Library has a range of different spaces for shared and individual learning.

Students also make the most of the University's award-winning Great Central Warehouse Library, which is home to more than 260,000 books and ebooks and approximately 200,000 print and electronic journals, alongside databases and specialist collections. The Library has a range of different spaces for shared and individual learning.


The University intends to provide its courses as outlined in these pages, although the University may make changes in accordance with the Student Admissions Terms and Conditions.