American Studies and Politics 

(2018 Entry)

BA (Hons)

At Keele, studying a combined honours degree will include some modules from both of the single honours degrees. In this case, your programme will be made up of a combination of modules from both American Studies and Politics.

Combined Honours

Combined Honours degrees allow you to study two different subjects in one degree. Find out more about Combined Honours degrees.


Study abroad
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International year
3 years/ 4 years with international year

UCAS code: LT27

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Course Overview

Keele was a pioneer in American Studies in Britain in the 1960s, and this remains one of the leading programmes in the UK devoted to the study of the world’s leading industrial nation. From music to McDonald’s, movies to military engagement, the U.S affects the daily lives of people in every corner of the world. If you want to understand current events and culture, you must understand America.

Keele is famous for bringing different disciplines and approaches together to create exciting learning opportunities, and American Studies at Keele exemplifies this. You can examine historical, literary, cinematic, political and geographical perspectives on issues such as slavery, crime, power, imperialism, conflict, security and the presidency, and compare the USA with Great Britain. Through the study of politics, you’ll learn by addressing current issues and debates of political concern, ensuring the relevance of your learning to modern life.

Politics is of vital importance to all of us in our daily lives. It concerns fundamental choices about the ways in which societies are organised and the way we are governed. Politics is not just the concern of politicians. It is about big issues such as the environment and human rights. Political engagement can change lives and encourage changes in government in the UK and elsewhere. Politics at Keele seeks to understand society and the events and forces which shape it, engaging with questions of power, justice, conflict, legitimacy, accountability, and governance. You will explore why citizens are increasingly disillusioned with politics; what a democracy is; when and how it’s legitimate to protest; and the effects of different models of government. You can tailor your studies to your interests, whether theoretical, historical or oriented to specific issues. Politics at Keele is informed by our research expertise in environmental politics, security studies, European and American politics.

What will this mean for my future?

Keele enjoys high rates of graduate employment, where in 2016, were recognised nationally as 1st for employability in the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey. You might work as a politician’s assistant, a researcher for an MP or think-tank, or a public-affairs consultant. You could work in the civil service, in local government, or for a campaigning or lobbying group. A wide range of other employers also see a politics degree as evidence of your ability to think critically, take a balanced approach, make reasoned arguments and collaborate with colleagues, so many graduates go into careers like journalism or management. Students with an American Studies degree have gone on to careers as a journalist, an academic librarian, a social researcher, a museum conservator, an advertising copywriter or a politician’s assistant.

Indicative modules

First year

  • Debates in American Politics
  • Modern Democracies
  • Why Politics Matters
  • New York, New York: An Introduction to American Culture
  • The American Past: Explorations in US History
  • Mass Media in America

Second year

  • U.S. Government
  • History of the US in the 20th Century
  • Political Research in Practice
  • Discovering America: From Empires to Revolutions
  • Burning Crosses: Religion and American Culture
  • Comparing the U.S. and U.K.

Third year

  • Dissertation
  • The U.S. Presidency
  • 'Eyes on the Prize': The Struggle for Civil Rights in America
  • High Culture: Drink, Drugs, and the American Dream
  • Environmental Politics in the USA
  • Arms Control and Disarmament

Course structure

Our degree courses are organised into modules. Each module is usually a self-contained unit of study and each is usually assessed separately with the award of credits on the basis of 1 credit = 10 hours of student effort.  An outline of the structure of the programme is provided in the tables below.

There are three types of module delivered as part of this programme. They are:

  • Compulsory modules – a module that you are required to study on this course;
  • Optional modules – these allow you some limited choice of what to study from a list of modules;
  • Elective modules – a free choice of modules that count towards the overall credit requirement but not the number of subject-related credits.

Modules Summary

There are three types of module delivered as part of this programme. They are:

  • Compulsory modules – a module that you are required to study on this course;
  • Optional modules – these allow you some limited choice of what to study from a list of modules;
  • Elective modules – a free choice of modules that count towards the overall credit requirement but not the number of subject-related credits.

Modules - Year One

Year 1 (Level 4)

American Studies Year 1 (Level 4)

In Year 1 all Combined Honours students must take one compulsory core module in each semester. In addition they must choose an optional module from the list below. They then select further modules which can but need not include American Studies optional modules.

Compulsory modules

Credits

Optional modules

Credits

A Beginner’s Guide to Contemporary America

15

Starting Out: An Introduction to American Literature

15

New York, New York: An Introduction to American Culture

15

Transatlantic Gothic: Studies in 19C English & American Literatures

15

   

The American Past: Explorations in US History

15

   

Debates in American Politics

15

 

Politics Year 1 (Level 4) (minimum of 3 modules to be taken)

Compulsory modules

Credits

Optional modules

Credits

Why Politics Matters

15

Debates in US Politics

15

Modern Democracies

15

Justice, Authority and Power

15

   

Introduction to International Relations

15

   

Securing Global Order

15

 

Modules - Year Two

Year 2 (Level 5)

American Studies Year 2 (Level 5)

In Year 2 Combined Honours students choose three optional modules from the range of American Studies offerings. They must choose two optional modules from group A and at least a further one module from anywhere within groups A or B. Students can choose further modules, which can but need not include American Studies optional modules.

Optional modules group A

Credits

Optional modules group B

Credits

The Romance of Fiction: History & Society in 19thC American Literature

15

Teenage Dreams; Youth Subcultures in Fiction, Film and Theory

15

History of the US in the Twentieth Century

15

Globalisation and its Discontents

15

Discovering America: From Empires to Revolutions

15

US Government and Politics

15

From Modernity to Counterculture: American Literature & Social Criticism in 20th Century

15

Environmental Politics and Policy

15

The New World in Chains: Slavery and the Bonds of Race in America

15

Why Policy Changes

15

Alfred Hitchcock’s America

15

   

The Detective and the American City

15

   

 

Politics Year 2 (Level 5) (minimum of 3 modules to be taken)

Optional modules

Credits

Optional modules

Credits

US Politics

15

British Politics

15

Russian Politics

15

Politics of the European Union

15

Elections, Parties and Voters

15

Freedom and Equality

15

Environmental Politics and Policy

15

Why Policy Changes

15

Contemporary International Relations

Theory

15

International Organization

15

The Modern Middle East

15

African Politics

15

International Relations of Eurasia

15

The Practice of Politics

15

The Practice of Politics

15

Work Experience

15

 

 

Modules - Year Three

Year 3 (Level 6)

 

American Studies Year 3 (Level 6)

In Year 3, Combined Honours American Studies students may take a two-semester double-weighted ISP (worth 30 credits) and one optional module or they may take three optional modules (if taking an ISP in their other Principal subject). Students can choose further modules, which can but need not include American Studies optional modules.

Optional modules

Credits

Optional modules

Credits

Dissertation in American Studies

30

The US Presidency

15

Wild Woods and Wide Worlds: British

and American Children’s Literature

15

Violence and Power in Antebellum America

15

Film Noir: The Dark Side of America

15

Silence, Strength and Sentiment: Gender and Sexuality in Nineteenth-Century American Writing

15

Words and Pictures: The Contemporary

American Graphic Novel

15

The whole United States is southern! The Modern South and America

15

“Eyes on the Prize”: The Struggle for Civil Rights in America

15

   

High Culture: Drink, Drugs and the

American Dream

15

   

Violence and Power in Civil War America

15

   

 

Politics Year 3 (Level 6) (2 or more modules)

Optional modules

Credits

Optional modules

Credits

Dissertation module

30

Russia and Europe

15

The Extreme Right in Western Europe

15

The Left in Modern Politics

15

Environmental Politics in the USA

15

Modern Russia

15

The Northern Dimension

15

Proliferation

15

Environmentalism, Environmental

Movements and Protest

15

Britain and war since 1945: War, Cold War

And Society

15

The Missing Dimension

15

Politics of Development

15

Israel-Palestine: Key Debates and Issues

15

Policing International Order

15

Gendering Global Politics

15

Understanding Terrorism and Counter-

terrorism

15

The U.S. Presidency

15

Urban Politics

15

 

Modules - Year Four

If you choose to specialise in American Studies in your final year you will study the following modules:

Compulsory module

Credits

Optional modules

Credits

Dissertation in American Studies

30

The US Presidency

15

Optional modules

 

Violence and Power in Antebellum America

15

Wild Woods and Wide Worlds: British

and American Children’s Literature

15

Silence, Strength and Sentiment: Gender and Sexuality in Nineteenth-Century American Writing

15

Film Noir: The Dark Side of America

15

The whole United States is southern! The Modern South and America

15

Words and Pictures: The Contemporary

American Graphic Novel

15

Violence and Power in Civil War America

15

“Eyes on the Prize” The Struggle for

Civil Rights in America

15

   

High Culture: Drink, Drugs and the

American Dream

15

   

 

Students may choose to study elective modules which are offered as part of other programmes in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and across the University. These include:

  • Modules in other subjects closely related to American Studies such as English Literature, Film Studies, History or Politics.
  • Modules in other subjects in which they may have a particular interest such as Criminology or International Relations.
  • Modules designed to help students for whom it is not their first language to improve their use of English for Academic Purposes.
  • Modern foreign languages modules at different levels in French, German, Spanish, Russian, Japanese and Chinese (Mandarin).
  • Free standing modules related to the development of graduate attributes, student volunteering, and studying abroad as part of the University’s exchange programme.

 

If you choose to specialise in Politics in your final year you will study the following modules:

Compulsory modules

Credits

Optional modules

Credits

Dissertation module

30

Modern Russia

15

   

Environmental Politics in the USA

15

   

The Left in Modern Politics

15

   

The Extreme Right in Western Europe

15

   

Russia and Europe

15

   

The Northern Dimension

15

   

The Missing Dimension

15

   

Politics of Development

15

   

Israel-Palestine: Key Debates and Issues

15

   

Policing International Order

15

   

Gendering Global Politics

15

   

Britain and War since 1945: War, Cold War

And Society

15

   

Understanding Terrorism and Counter-

terrorism

15

   

The U.S. Presidency

15

   

Urban Politics

15

 

For further information on the content of modules currently offered, including the list of elective modules, please visit: www.keele.ac.uk/recordsandexams/az