AMS-30042 - Violence and Power in Civil War America
Coordinator: Kristen C Brill Tel: +44 1782 7 33201
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

Violence and Power in Civil War America is suitable for students who have already taken history modules and acquired a solid grounding in the methods of historical research, analysis, and writing. The module will explore the ways in which early America became dependent upon the use of force. Namely, the module will analyse violence as a mechanism of social control and political power in early America: how did state and non-state actors use violence to secure their social and political agendas? How did individuals express agency and resistance within institutions of power? What role did violence play in the formation of an early American national identity? How were the politics of race, gender and sex manipulated to justify the use of violence? In terms of methodology, this module will adopt an interdisciplinary approach and incorporate sources from literary and historical studies, as well as from `history from above┐ and `history from below┐ perspectives.

- To explore the ways in which America became reliant upon control and political power
- To explore how individuals expressed agency and resistance within institutions of power during the period
- To explore the role violence played in the formation of an American national identity

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

Intended Learning Outcomes

discuss and analyse the importance of violence in the Civil War period: 1,2
analyse the ways in which the politics of race, gender and sex were manipulated to justify the use of violence in antebellum America: 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: 1,2
use source materials constructively both in evaluating
primary and secondary accounts and in developing
original interpretations fostering competence in the handling
and analysis of evidence: 1,2
gauge the relative importance of violence in the formation of an early American national identity: 1,2

Study hours

24 hours, comprising 12 x 2-hour seminars
44 hours seminar preparation;
20 hours presentation preparation;
62 hours essay research and writing

School Rules


Description of Module Assessment

1: Group Presentation weighted 35%
15-20 group minute presentation at start of seminar
In small groups, students will give 15-20 minute presentations at the start of every seminar to introduce the day┐s material. Presenters should use a Powerpoint presentation or provide a hard copy handout to the class outlining the major points in their presentations. 5 minutes: Background information on the seminar topic 5 minutes: Key points in primary and secondary readings 5 minutes: Connections to the wider module themes (i.e. violence, power, gender, race, identity, etc.), offer questions for discussion.

2: Essay weighted 65%
2,500-word essay related to topics and texts studied on the module
Students will write 2,500-word essays on a topic of their choice.