America: The Land of the Free? - HU22001

Quick Facts

  • Level 2
  • 20 Credits
  • Semester 2
  • Humanities
  • Coursework 60% Examination 40%
  • Thursday evening tutorial available 18.00-20.00

Module Details

This module explores American society, politics and culture by drawing upon the theme of 'freedom'. 

It examines how the meaning of freedom has been challenged and shaped by different groups and events over the course of American history, and how it has helped to shape American identity into the twenty-first century.  The idea of freedom is fundamental to the identity of the American nation, and a central term in American political vocabulary. 

Eric Foner has described the history of freedom in America as "a tale of debates and disagreements and conflicts and controversies... the meaning of freedom has been fought out, battled over, at every level of society".


Dr Matthew Ward

Teaching staff

Dr Peggy Brunache, Dr Tim Morris, Dr Aliki Varvogli, Dr Matthew Ward, plus occasional tutors.


The module will be taught through a combination of twice-weekly lectures and weekly discussion-based tutorials. This equates to a total of 33 contact hours. Students will also receive face-to-face feedback on assessed work from their tutors.


This module is assessed as follows:

  • 2,500 word essay (30%)
  • Module portfolio (30%)
  • Examination - 2 hours (40%)


  • Mary Antin, The Promised Land (Boston, 1912)
  • Stephen Crane, Maggie: A Girl of the Streets (New York, 1893)
  • Eric Foner, The Story of American Freedom (New York, 1998)
  • Robert Singh, Governing America (Oxford, 2003)

Access the online reading list system

Progression into 3rd year American Studies