American History from JFK to Obama

Subject HIST20071 (2014)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2014.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2014.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 1.5-hour lecture per week for 12 weeks and eleven 1-hour tutorials scheduled across the semester
Total Time Commitment:

Total commitment of 8.5 hours per week.





Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:


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:


Mr Luke Horton

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, 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 will:

  • develop a critical awareness of the contemporary and historical significance of key developments in recent U.S. history;
  • deepen an understanding of the relationship between domestic and foreign affairs and among political, cultural, social, and economic issues;
  • have a general knowledge of the major events in, and stages of, the development of U.S. history since 1945;
  • develop skills in analysis and interpretation of historical sources and events.

A short essay 1500 words 40% (due mid semester), a final essay 2500 words 50% (due late semester) and tutorial participationthrought out semester 10%

Hurdle Requirement: students must attend a minimum of 75% of tutorials in order to pass this subject. Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day. After five working days late assessment will not be marked. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject

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
Generic Skills:
  • 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;
  • demonstrate understanding of social, ethical and cultural context through the contextualisation of judgements,
  • developing a critical self-awareness, being open to newideas and possibilities and by constructing an argument.

Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: History
History Major

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