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Module UXS-3019:
America on Film

Module Facts

Run by School of Languages, Literatures, Linguistics and Media

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Prof Nathan Abrams

Overall aims and purpose

The aim of this module is to gain a further understanding of American Film History, how America and American history has been depicted on film and how film can be used as a tool to study history.

Course content

This course examines how American History has been represented on film from the 1960s to the present as well as how film can be used to understand and study American History. It is taught by weekly 2 hour seminars, and the module will cover topics and themes in the history of America, including Vietnam, Watergate, Reaganism, Clintonism and the Bush Era. Screenings will be shown as appropriate and may include The Green Berets, All the President's Men, Rambo, Terminator, Independence Day, Hostel and Munich.

Assessment Criteria


(D-): To achieve this level a student will have completed all the Learning Outcomes to a level of competence. Written work will be of a basic professional standard displaying qualities of motivation, and the ability to pursue ideas through to a conclusion, accompanied by evidence of critical reflection. It should be clear also that the student has developed the range of intellectual, practical and transferable skills implicit in the aims of the course.


(C) : Good : This grade indicates competence throughout, with evidence of good levels of achievement in most, if not all Learning Outcomes. There will be coherence between finished written works, working processes and research activity.

(B) : Very Good : To achieve this grade a student will have exercised competence in most, if not all Learning Outcomes, and will have demonstrated excellence in at least one. Written work should be distinctive, approaching publishable quality and supported by related further study. There should be ample evidence of independent thought, good levels of motivation and the acquisition of a wide range of subject-specific and transferable skills. There should be a clear indication of the potential to pursue studies to a higher research level.


(A): To achieve this grade a student will have demonstrated a high level of achievement throughout and excellence in a substantial proportion of the Learning Outcomes. The written work will be distinctive and professional. There will be ample evidence of related research, a thorough exploration of ideas, working processes and the inventive use of appropriate genres and forms. It should be readily apparent that the student has the ability to pursue higher levels of study and the potential to operate successfully in a professional context.

Learning outcomes

  1. To identify and understand the critical issues in American History and Film.

  2. To acquire an awareness, understanding and appreciation of the use of film as historical evidence.

  3. To appreciate the significance of how American History has been represented on film.

  4. To learn how to gather and select a wide rangoe of resources, material and eveidence and to arrange them into coherent argument.

  5. To learn how to "read" a film "text", deploying the appropriate critical and technical terminology.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
GROUP PRESENTATION Group or individual podcast 30
Written assignment, including essay Final Assignment (either written or creative) 50

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Practical classes and workshops

66 hours of workshops and screenings

Private study

Private study


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • Awareness of how different social and cultural contexts affect the nature of language and meaning (English Benchmark Statement 3.2).
  • The ability to synthesize information from various sources, choosing and applying appropriate concepts and methods (English Benchmark Statement 3.3).
  • Ability to formulate and solve problems, anticipate and accommodate change, and work within contexts of ambiguity, uncertainty and unfamiliarity (NAWE Creative Writing Benchmark Statement 3.2; English Benchmark Statement 3.3).
  • Ability to engage in processes of drafting and redrafting texts to achieve clarity of expression and an appropriate style. (English Benchmark Statement 3.3; NAWE Creative Writing Benchmark Statement 3.2).
  • Ability to gather information, analyse, interpret and discuss different viewpoints (NAWE Creative Writing Benchmark Statement 3.2; English Benchmark Statement 3.3).
  • Information technology (IT) skills broadly understood and the ability to access, work with and evaluate electronic resources (NAWE Creative Writing Benchmark Statement 3.2; English Benchmark Statement 3.3).

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: