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Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2010 Undergraduate - Unit

12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

FacultyFaculty of Arts
OfferedNot offered in 2010
Coordinator(s)Katherine Ellinghaus


In this overseas intensive unit we trace the American Dream from its origins in Puritan Boston to the present day. The unit is taught on location in Boston, New York, and Washington during three weeks in June/July. In each city we visit museums, historic sites, and a range of current day organizations involved in assisting disadvantaged American citizens. We examine, firstly, how elusive and powerful the American dream is, and secondly, how Americans address the high poverty rates experienced in their wealthy nation. Students are introduced to these themes in seminars before departure, undertake some written work during the trip, and on return to Australia write a detailed research essay.


On successful completion students will:

  1. have acquired a broad knowledge of the evolution of the American Dream from Puritan New England to the present day, and developed conceptual frameworks for understanding the philosophies and discourses that underlie American society and culture;
  2. have acquired an understanding of the key themes, periods and personalities of the development of equal civil rights in United States history, and the role of class, race and gender in this history;
  3. have experienced first hand people, organisations and institutions dedicated to assisting economically disadvantaged Americans, and apply critical thinking and analysis to these visits through recommended reading and tutorial discussion;
  4. be conversant with the methodological tools necessary to assess the presentation of American history in museums and historical sites, and to understand their role in the production of historical knowledge;
  5. be familiar with the archives and other primary material available for research in American History, and to use some of that material to plan, organise and produce a critical essay;

In addition third year students will:
  1. be expected to demonstrate more sophisticated analytical skills and submit work incorporating a higher level of competence in independent reading and research.

Contact hours

On-campus: 6 one-hour seminars prior to departure
Off-campus: three week intensive lectures, visits, tutorials and field trips equalling approximately 35 hours per week

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study

International studies


A first year sequence in History, 12 points at second year level or permission