American History from JFK to Obama

Subject HIST20071 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 25-Jul-2016 to 23-Oct-2016
Assessment Period End 18-Nov-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 05-Aug-2016
Census Date 31-Aug-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 23-Sep-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 29 hours - 12 x 1.5-hour lectures and 11 x 1 hour tutorials
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Assoc Prof Barbara Keys



Subject Overview:

Covering the most significant issues and debates in American history since 1945, but with emphasis on the period since 1960, this subject aims to develop a deeper understanding of American political and social controversies that remain relevant today. It charts key developments: from McCarthyism to the Patriot Act; from civil rights to a post-racial society; from liberalism’s apogee to the rise of conservatism. It examines the legacies and controversies surrounding the presidencies of JFK, Nixon, LBJ, Clinton, Reagan, and George W. Bush. With an emphasis on domestic rather than foreign affairs, the subject surveys the Sixties and the New Left, the civil rights movement, social activism in the 1970s, the role of religion in American public life and the New Right, and other key topics. The core aim is to provide students with a grounding in the history that shapes and animates contemporary debates. Readings each week are arranged around debates (such as national security versus civil liberties; states’ rights versus civil rights; assessing JFK’s presidency), and are designed to introduce students to analysis of primary sources as well as to show both sides of major historical controversies.

Learning Outcomes:

Students who complete this subject should be able to:

  • gain a general knowledge of the principal figures and significant events and developments in the history of the United States since 1945;
  • gain familiarity with the major historiographical debates concerning U.S. history and with major interpretive perspectives and approaches to the subject;
  • develop skills in locating and analysing primary and secondary sources in constructing and evaluating historical arguments;
  • develop research skills using printed and electronic sources, both primary and secondary;
  • develop skills in clear and persuasive written expression and argumentation; and
  • develop skills of critical thinking and oral expression and argumentation through group discussion and small group work.
  • Three quizzes due mid-semester (10%)
  • A 1500 word analytical essay due mid-semester (35%)
  • A 2500 word research essay due in the examination period (45%)
  • Tutorial participation (10%)

Hurdle requirement:

  • Students must attend a minimum of 75% of tutorials in order to pass this subject.
  • All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.
  • Students must complete a plagiarism quiz.

Note: Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day. After five days late assessment will not be marked. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked.

Prescribed Texts:

Subject readings will be available on-line.

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Links to further information:
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Graduate Certificate in Arts - History
Graduate Diploma in Arts - History

Download PDF version.