Searching for the American Dream

Subject HIST20001 (2011)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2011.

Credit Points: 25
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2011.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Three weeks in the United States in the Winter Recess (after the examination period ends on 24 June), eight 1-hour lecture/workshops and at least thirty site visits
Total Time Commitment: Not available
Prerequisites: None None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: HIST30001 (671-370) Searching for the American Dream

Core Participation Requirements: For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Glenn Moore
Subject Overview:

In this subject we trace the American Dream from its origins in Puritan Boston to the present day. We spend time in Boston, New York and Washington, and in each city we visit museums, cultural sites, and speak to academics, politicians and community leaders. For example, in Boston we speak to police and the Public Defender about the legal system, visit Harvard University, and we explore the role sport plays in American culture by seeing a Red Sox game. In New York we visit a homeless shelter in the Bronx, see a Broadway show and have a class with a professor at City University of New York. In Washington we meet staffers from the State Department, as well as visiting the Mayor's Office and the headquarters of America's most powerful union, the Teamsters. On return to Australia students are required to write an essay based on one of the visits. Students taking the subject are eligible to take up internships at a later date with many of the organizations we visit, including the US Naval Museum, the Teamsters, and the Washington based non-profit organization One Economy.

  • have gained a knowledge of how American ideologies such as the American Dream evolved.
  • be familiar with important areas of debate in America today, and how these debates relate to ideologies like the American Dream.
  • be able to engage in group discussions and maintain a sense of collegiality within the group for an intensive three week period.

A journal exercise of 4000 words 45% (written throughout the trip), a research essay of 4000 words 45% (due at the end of semester 2) and class participation 10%.

Hurdle requirement: students must attend a minimum of 75% of tutorials/site visits in order to pass this subject. Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day; after five days, no late assessment will be accepted. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available.

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
Generic Skills:
  • be familiar with the archives and other primary material available for research in American History, and to use some of that material to produce an essay.
  • demonstrate research skills through competent use of the library and other information sources.
  • show critical thinking and analysis through recommended reading, essay writing and tutorial discussion, and by determining the strength of an argument.
  • show critical thinking and analysis through recommended reading, essay writing and tutorial discussion, and by determining the strength of an argument.
Notes: Special entry conditions apply. A brochure containing the itinerary, travel arrangements inlcuding costs involved and an application form are available from the subject coordinator or the School. The subject dates and HECS/course fee census date for this subject change each year. Check your enrolment record for the correct census date for this subject.
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: American Studies Major
History Major

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