English - Elective Subject, topic 3: The UK and the US: Contemporary British and American History, Politics, and Society

Course content

This course focusses on the contemporary history, politics and society of the UK and the US. The UK and the US: Contemporary British and American History, Politics, and Society divides into two concurrent and complementary expert sessions on the UK and the US, where relevant comparative approaches will be used.


Component 1: Issues in Contemporary American History, Politics, and Society (Goddard)

 “Issues in Contemporary American History, Politics, and Society” focuses on American politics and society in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential elections. What fundamental political concepts unite and divide Americans? How adept has the U.S. political system been recently, in terms of accommodating the unconventional or reverting to the norm? Has democracy in America been imperiled by polarization and personality politics? Answering the questions above requires knowledge of the US political system, how it works and how that system interacts with wider American culture outside of Washington, D.C. Drawing on history and social issues, the U.S. course also explores the issues, preoccupations, and dreams that the nation addresses. Which issues excite American passions, political and social? How salient are race, ethnicity, gender, and class in contemporary America. How accessible is the American dream of mobility in an age of blinding and increasing diversity. Does the dream of personal equality and opportunity still draw breath? The component will foreground the present while using the period from 1970 onwards as context.


Issues in Contemporary British History, Politics and Society (Leese)

“Issues in Contemporary British History, Politics and Society” addresses the state of post-Brexit Britain by examining recent historical developments as well as contemporary social, cultural and political issues. The course takes a regional view of Britain, examining Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as well as England. This approach takes us away from the ‘Westminster bubble’ and considers instead local identities, cultures and histories. The wider purpose of this approach is to gain a better understanding of how recent historical developments led to the ‘Brexit moment’, and to consider the future prospects of Britain in a globalized world. Like the American section of the course, we will be concerned with the period from the 1970s onwards and take a multidisciplinary approach to the subject, with particular interest in issues of local identity and culture, and drawing on recent research in contemporary history, anthropology, sociology and cultural studies. We will also address questions of race, ethnicity, gender and class.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
Type of assessment
Criteria for exam assessment

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 84
  • Preparation
  • 325,5
  • English
  • 409,5