ATS3616 - Making America modern: Race, power and belonging in the twentieth-century - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

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



Organisational Unit



Dr Joshua Specht

Unit guides



  • Second semester 2017 (Day)


  • Second semester 2017 (Day)


A series of powerful social, cultural, political, demographic, and environmental upheavals transformed the United States between 1900 and today. In this unit, we ask: Who is American?, What does it mean to be American, and how has that changed over the modern era?. We will trace contexts and topics such as U.S cultural pre-eminence in film and popular music; the New Deal and the rise and fall of the welfare state; differing patterns of immigration and internal mobility; social movements especially those of the 1960s and 1970s including civil rights but also right up to "#Black Lives Matter"; environmental struggles; and the rise of conservatism since the 1980s.


Upon successful completion of the unit students will be able to:

  1. understand key themes in the history of the United States since 1900, such as the expression of and challenges to racial oppression and the ongoing debate about the nature and extent of the rights of American citizens;
  2. analyse and understand varying interpretations of that history;
  3. develop skills in the critical and analytical reading of a variety of written, aural and visual texts;
  4. develop skills in the critical use of historical data and documentary evidence available on the web;
  5. enhance their ability to ask meaningful questions, research the answers, and communicate their ideas.


Within semester assessment: 100%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

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