Faculty of Arts

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2014 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered, or view unit timetables.

FacultyFaculty of Arts
Organisational UnitHistory
OfferedCaulfield First semester 2014 (Day)
Clayton First semester 2014 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Taylor Spence


This unit examines the history of the US in the world, asking how a federation of former colonies on the eastern seaboard became a continental and then international power. It examines the linkages between continental expansion in the nineteenth century and expansion abroad in the twentieth, and investigates the extent to which this expansion was justified in terms of race and gender. A major theme of this unit is empire. Does this term apply to the history of American expansion? Why have Americans been so resistant to the idea that they have forged an empire? We also examine concepts such as manifest destiny, national exceptionalism and Americanization.


On successful completion of this unit student will:

  1. Have a good understanding of the US foreign relations from the nineteenth century to mid twentieth century
  2. Have an understanding of the importance of race and gender in shaping American interactions with other peoples and nations.
  3. Have an understanding of the different factors which shape foreign policy and imperial projects.
  4. Have an understanding of the importance of culture - including popular culture - to historical research
  5. Be familiar with the research skills and methods of cultural, political and diplomatic historians.
  6. Have experience in working with a range of textual, visual and material historical resources
  7. Have further developed their oral and written communication skills
  8. Have improved their ability to conduct historical research independently.


Written work: 4500 words (90%)
Tutorial Participation (10%)

Chief examiner(s)

Workload requirements

One 1.5-hour lecture and one 1-hour tutorial per week

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


Two gateway units in history or international studies