American Studies (History) MA
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To mark the appointment of new staff and the expansion of the programme, Manchester now offers two dedicated pathways on the MA in American Studies, one in Literature and Culture and the other in History. Both these pathways offer an in-depth and interdisciplinary exploration of the American experience, past and present. The MA allows students develop the critical tools to tackle research in their chosen area of interest for the MA dissertation and beyond.
On each pathway students take four options from a range of American Studies courses and a non-credited research methods course. With permission of the American Studies MA programme director it is also possible to choose relevant options from other subject areas across the Faculty in fields such as Latin American studies, critical theory, and postcolonial studies. Students then go on to write a supervised dissertation of 15,000 words. The MA can be taken full-time or part-time, and students have the flexibility to change pathways after admittance. American Studies MA students also participate in a year-long programme of research activities, which includes a dedicated postgraduate mini-conference in spring and thematic workshops on key topics.
Manchester was the first university in the UK to appoint a chair and run a programme in American Studies. As a result of this unique history, it has accumulated excellent primary and secondary library holdings in the John Rylands University Library and in the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resources Centre which offers outstanding resources for research in African American history and culture. The subject area has its own film library, equipped with brand new audio-visual facilities for postgraduate use and a growing collection of films, with particular strenghts in American politics, the African American experience, and teh American South. American Studies runs a dedicated research seminar series, Critical MASS, in which postgraduates actively participate.
American Studies has become a particularly vital area of enquiry, with the increasingly global reach of US culture and politics. This MA provides a strong foundation for students wanting to learn more about the historical and cultural dimensions of the American experience as well as for those wishing to proceed to doctoral study. At Manchester we have distinctive strengths in southern literature, culture and history; film, music and other forms of popular culture; the history of race, slavery and the African American freedom struggle; sexuality and gender; and the culture of the market.
Course unit details
The available options vary from year to year but the full range of courses we teach currently includes:
- Black Cultural Studies in Post-Civil Rights America
- The American Body: Race and Sexuality in the Twentieth Century
- American Fiction and the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism
- Corporate Fictions
- Henry James
- Film Authorship and the Studio System
- British Atlantic World, 1607-1776
- Is America Postcolonial? Interrogating Race and Nation
- Becoming Red, White and Black: Race and Identity in the American South, c.1607-1900
- Southern Cultures: Explorations in the History and Culture of the Modern US South
- The Irresistible Rise of the American Empire
Students will receive appropriate skills training and be assigned a faculty supervisor to help them define, research and write a dissertation on an American Studies topic, focusing on literature and culture or history, according to the chosen pathway.
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