AMS-30035 - 'Eyes on the Prize': The Struggle for Civil Rights in America
Coordinator: David T Ballantyne Tel: +44 1782 7 34409
Lecture Time: See Timetable...
Level: Level 6
Credits: 15
Study Hours: 150
School Office: 01782 733147

Programme/Approved Electives for 2020/21


Available as a Free Standing Elective






Barred Combinations


Description for 2020/21

This module is suitable for students who have already taken history modules and acquired a solid grounding in the methods of historical research, analysis, and writing. This module allows students to study one of the most dramatic processes to shape the modern United States: the struggle for African American civil rights. From a South blighted by Jim Crow segregation and lynching to today's America, where equality before the law has been achieved but racial fissures remain, we will assess the aims and achievements of black leadership, and the contribution of ordinary men and women, black and white, northern and southern, to re-shaping American society through activism. The module also addresses the relationship between mainstream civil rights activism and more radical protest that became increasingly prominent as the 1960s progressed.
This module gives students an in-depth familiarity with the mass movement for civil rights, with a particular focus on the 1940s through the mid-1960s. The module will be informed by the latest scholarly debates concerning the nature of mass civil rights activism, the length of the civil rights movement, and the roles of violence, gender, and foreign relations in the struggle for civil rights. This module will give students the ability to apply advanced source analysis and historiographical methods to piece together the narrative of the Civil Rights movement, and consider how scholarly debate reflects contemporary race related issues. Moreover, students will evaluate the value of conflicting approaches, a process that throws into relief the uncertainty, ambiguity and limits of knowledge but also the possibility of achieving methodological objectivity. Students will consult a range of primary and secondary materials as the basis for seminar discussions.

to introduce students to the role of civil rights conflict in the shaping of contemporary America
to assess the aims and achievements of black leadership in the Civil Rights Movement;
to document and evaluate the contribution of mainstream protests by ordinary men and women, black and white, Northern and Southern, in re-shaping American society
to document and evaluate the broader African-American contribution to American society and culture

Talis Aspire Reading List
Any reading lists will be provided by the start of the course.

Intended Learning Outcomes

recognise and explain the particular issues and debates associated with the struggle for Civil Rights and racial equality in the United States: 1,2
assess the relative merits of conflicting interpretations of significant events and phenomena, recognising the complexity and diversity of historical situations, events and belief systems: 1,2
conduct sophisticated analysis of primary source material with due regard to provenance, content, and interpretation: use constructively source materials both in evaluating primary and secondary accounts and in developing original interpretations fostering competence in the handling and analysis of evidence:

Study hours

22 hours, comprising 11 x 2-hour seminars; 60 hour seminar preparation; 20 hours short paper preparation; 48 hours long essay preparation.

School Rules


Description of Module Assessment

1: Short Paper weighted 35%
1500-word analysis of a primary source text
Following appropriate seminar preparation students will undertake a critical assessment of a primary source related to the topic areas covered by this unit in order to develop the students' skills in analysing, evaluating, and contextualising primary source material.

2: Essay weighted 65%
2000-word essay
Students will write a 2000-word essay (excluding footnotes, plus or minus 10%), from a choice of questions.