SHE Level 2
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code M2V124524
Module Leader Janet Greenlees
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject History
  • A (September start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

Normally, successful completion of Level 1 History module or equivalent

Summary of Content

This module offers an introduction to some of the key themes in American history, including economic growth and expansion, social and cultural diversity, crime, and to a lesser extent, increasing political power. It will assess the changes and developments in the economy and society of the American people during a period when they faced the challenges of nationhood, expansion, slavery, war, prosperity, depression, liberal reform, political conservatism, multi-cultural awareness and a rise to prominence as an international power. It will examine the importance of race, gender and age at different stages in American history. Lastly, as crime and punishment are among the most important issues in modern America, this module will highlight changes in criminal behaviour and the different ways that Americans have sought to deter, punish and rehabilitate offenders.


Block 1: Colonial and Revolutionary America; Crime and the early Criminal Justice System Block 2: Expansion, urbanization and its impact on social change (the 19th and early 20th Centuries). Block 3: The Modern World: 20th Century America.

Learning Outcomes

1 Learning OutcomesBy the end of this module students should be able to:1 demonstrate a knowledge of key events and issues within American History and be able to identify the main economic and social developments and problems;2 have improved their skills in handling different historical sources, which will be reflected in the seminars, assignments and exam;3 be able to identify historical trends and changes in the definition, cultural context and social response to crime; 4 be able to place patterns of economic and social change, crime and criminal justice, within the context of US history.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

This module provides a variety of direct and indirect learning opportunities. The core of directed learning on the module is provided by two weekly lectures which will provide a thematic overview and synthesis of the course. Students will be assigned a programme of 'directed reading', supported by a variety of primary source materials in the seminar context. Seminars are designed for closer, critical investigation of a particular issue/issues raised in the week's required reading and provide opportunities for discussion and questioning. The use of web resources is also encouraged.

Indicative Reading

M B Norton, A People and a Nation, Houghton Mifflin, 7th ed., 2004. R Slotkin, Gunfighter Nation: The Myth of the Frontier in Twentieth Century America, HarperPerennial, 1993 R Middleton, Colonial America: A History, 1607-1760 (Cambridge, MA, Blackwell 1992) M Parish, Anxious Decades, (New York, Norton: 1992) S Walker, Popular Justice: A History of American Criminal Justice , 2nd ed., New York: Oxford University Press, 1998. A Pisciotta, Benevolent Repression: Social Control and the American Reformatory-Prison Movement D Courtwright, Violent Land: Single Men and Social Disorder from the Frontier to the Inner City L Mara Dodge, 'One Female Prisoner is of More Trouble than Twenty males: Women Convicts in Illinois Prisons, 1835-1896', Journal of Social History, 32 (Summer 1999), 907-30. S Schlossman & S Turner, 'Status Offenders, Criminal Offenders and Children at Risk in Early Twentieth-Century Juvenile Court', in R Wollons, ed., Children at Risk in America: History, Concepts and Public Policy (Albany: State Uni of New York Press, 1993), 32-57 Chicago Homicide Website: History of the American West: Historical Violence Database:

Transferrable Skills

*Enhanced critical skills through awareness of the current controversies in historical writing and other primary sources. *Well developed research, library, bibliographic skills and web-site analysis, through groupwork and individual assessment. *Enhanced communication skills through the handling of increasingly complex conceptual material as demonstrated through oral presentations and written work. *Independence, time-management and self direction.

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Assessment (FT) 18.00
Lectures (FT) 24.00
Seminars (FT) 12.00
Independent Learning (FT) 146.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Exam (Exams Office) 2.00 50.00 35% Exam (Exams Office)2hrs - 3 questions
Coursework 1 n/a 50.00 35% 1500 word essay