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 2021/22


Available as a Free Standing Elective






Barred Combinations


Description for 2021/22

In this module, you will explore the causes, course and consequences of the American Civil War. You will study themes and issues related to slavery and emancipation; class conflict; nationalism; crises of gender; and failures in political and military leadership. Through an investigation of archival materials and wider primary sources from the Union and Confederacy, you will consider the connections between the front lines and the home front. From the Richmond bread riot to Lincoln┐s Emancipation Proclamation, you will put social and cultural history into dialogue with political and intellectual history. You will also examine the memory of the Confederacy and the Civil War in not only the nineteenth century, but in contemporary American society.
At its core, this module seeks to answer a fundamental and hotly debated question in nineteenth-century American history: To what extent did the United States remain divided after the Civil War?

- 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

12 x 2-hour seminars
12 x 1-hour workshops
44 hours seminar preparation;
20 hours presentation preparation;
50 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.