SHE Level 3
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code M3V324393
Module Leader Janet Greenlees
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject Sociology
  • A (September start)

Summary of Content

The 1920s and 1930s mark periods of distinct contrast in America. The 1920s was a decade of relative prosperity, while the 1930s marked the greatest economic depression America has experienced to date. This module aims to provide students with an informed understanding of how and why the good times occurred, why they were followed by economic depression and how different social groups dealt with the Depression. Key issues surrounding labour, business, consumerism and government action and responsibility will be examined. Particular attention will be paid to the responses of different groups of American people to social and economic change, as well as their rationale. These groups include urban/rural differences, the experiences of men, women, children and race.


Indicative content: There are 11 historical themes that will be covered during the module, as well as research skills. -360 1. World War I and its impact 2. Rural America in the 1920s 3. Labour in the 1920s 4. Consumer Society 5. Causes of the Depression 6. The First New Deal 7. Peoples responses to the Depression 8. Rural America: Urban America 9. The 2 nd New Deal 10. The Effectiveness of the New Deal 11. World War II - the End of the Depression Exam Revision

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, the student should be able to:1 Demonstrate an informed understanding of the key issues and events of the 1920s and 1930s and the impact these had on the American society and economy that made these two decades a period of distinct contrast 2 Understand the social, economic and political implications of World War II to the American people and the nation3 Critically analyse and discuss historical debates about key issues from the period using a variety of source materials4 Construct extended oral and written arguments supported by relevant historical evidence from a variety of sources5 Analyse and assess the quality and reliability of historical source materials.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The module incorporates one weekly 2 hr lecture and a weekly seminar. The combination of lectures and seminars will support the development of a thorough understanding of the key developments in American society, economy and politics during the 1920s and 1930s. A combination of secondary readings and selected primary sources will introduce students to the associated theoretical and historical debates about the period. Wide use will be made of blended learning technologies to take advantage of both GCULearn technologies, which form an important part of GSBS learning and teaching strategy, and the many historical resources available online about this period. Transferable skills are developed through group presentations, developing teamwork and oral presentation skills.

Indicative Reading

P. Fearon, War, Prosperity and Depression W. E. Leuchtenberg, Perils of Prosperity R. Schaffer, America in the Great War. The Rise of the War Welfare State M. E. Parrish, Anxious Decades. America in Prosperity and Depression, 1920-1941 A. Sinclair, Prohibition Nathan Miller, New World Coming: The 1920s and the making of Modern America (2004) Lizabeth Cohen, Making a New Deal: Industrial Workers in Chicago, 1919-39 K. Finegold & T. Skocpol, State and Party in America's New Deal Timothy Egan, The Worst Hard Time (2005) Donald Worcester, Dust Bowl: The Southern Plains in the 1930s (2004) C. Gordon, New Deals. Business, Labor and Politics in America, 1920-1935 J. T. Kirby, Rural Worlds Lost. The American South, 1920-1960 S. M. Jacoby, Employing Bureaucracy. Managers, Unions and the Transformation of Work in American Industry, 1900-1945 D. Montgomery, The Fall of the House of Labor. The Workplace, the State and the American Labor Activism, 1865-1925 S. Meyer, Five Dollar Day J. Braeman, R. H. Bremmer and D. Brody, eds. Change and Continuity in Twentieth Century America: the 1920s L. V. Chandler, America's Greatest Depression J. K. Galbraith, The Great Crash D. E. Hamilton, From New Day to New Deal. American Farm Policy from Hoover to Roosevelt A. J. Badger, The New Deal. The Depression Years, 1933-1940 M. Bordo, C. Goldin and E. N. White, The Defining Moment. The Great Depression and the American Economy in the Twentieth Century J. Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath A. U. Romasco, The Poverty of Abundance: Hoover, the Nation, the Depression S. Terkel, Hard Times. An Oral History of the Great Depression R. Lowitt, The New Deal and the West P. E. Mertz, The New Deal and Southern Rural Poverty M. A. Bernstein, The Great Depression. Delayed Recovery and Economic Change in America, 1929-39 P. K. Edwards, Strikes in the United States, 1881-1974 C. Gordon, New Deals. Business, Labor and Politics in America, 1920-1935 M. B. Katz, In the Shadow of the Poorhouse. A Social History of Welfare in America R. Lowitt & M. Beasley, One Third of a Nation: Lorena Hickock Reports on the Great Depression J. T. Patterson, America's Struggle against Poverty, 1900-1980 B. F. Schwartz, The Civil Works Administration, 1933-34 H. Sitkoff, A New Deal for Blacks: The Emergence of Civil Rights as a National Issue M. Bordo, C. Goldin and E. N. White, The Defining Moment. The Great Depression and the American Economy in the Twentieth Century M. C. C. Adams, The Best War Ever. America and World War II R. Polenberg , War and Society. The United States, 1941-45 R. Polenberg, One Nation Divisible. Class, Race and Ethnicity in the United States since 1938 Websites: Coolidge Era <> World War I and the 1920 Election: <> FD Roosevelt's inaugural address:

Transferrable Skills

-360b7 Making oral and written presentations b7 Cooperative group work b7 IT skills through the use of Blackboard, blogging and electronic information retrieval b7 Writing skills through both short and extended writing b7 Debating skills

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Lectures (FT) 24.00
Seminars (FT) 12.00
Independent Learning (FT) 144.00
Assessment (FT) 20.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Course Work 02 n/a 50.00 35% 1500 word group wiki
Course Work 01 n/a 50.00 35% 2000 essay