African American History (HIH2209B)

StaffDr Matthias Reiss - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF LevelL5
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

You will need effective communication and analytical skills, oral and written, to complete many of your modules and in a job after you graduate.  This module aims to help you develop your skills in researching, interpreting, and analysing both primary and secondary material, and in reporting on your work.  It provides you with an opportunity to explore an area of history in more depth, and helps you to develop the depth of understanding you will require to study more specialised areas of history. It will also give you the opportunity to work in a team on a group presentation.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Be aware of the various developments in the history of people of African descent in North America
  • 2. Make a close evaluation of the key concepts and factors which shaped the experience of black people in North America
  • 3. Evaluate the main themes in the subject and to collate information upon, and evaluate in greater detail, those aspects of the module discussed in seminar and especially those topics selected by students for their coursework

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Analyse the key developments in the history of African Americans
  • 5. Collate data from a range of sources, both primary and secondary
  • 6. Interpret a wide range of primary sources
  • 7. Trace long-term as well as short-term historical developments
  • 8. Recognise and deploy historical terminology correctly
  • 9. Assess different approaches to historical writing in areas of controversy

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 10. Work both independently and in a group, including participating in oral seminar discussions
  • 11. Identify a topic, select, comprehend, and organise primary and secondary materials on that topic with little guidance
  • 12. Produce to a deadline and in examination conditions a coherent argument

Syllabus plan






Africa and the Atlantic Slave Trade



The Beginning of Slavery in British North America

Slavery and Slave Culture



Slave Narratives

The Age of Revolutions

Free African Americans


The Early Republic

Repression and Rebellion



The Irrepressible Conflict?

The American Civil War




The Age of Jim Crow



The New Negro

The Great Depression and the Start of the Civil Rights Movement

The Harlem Renaissance


The Forgotten Years of the Negro Revolution?

Blacks and the Military



The Civil Rights Movement, Part I

The Civil Rights Movement, Part II

Civil Rights


Black Militancy and Nationalism

Family and Community



Race and Racism after the Civil Rights Era


Race and the American Creed

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities22Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities22Seminars; these will be led by the tutor. You will need to prepare for each seminar and present on a given topic in groups of 4, on 4 occasions
Guided independent study22Web-based activities located on ELE - preparation for seminars and presentations
Guided independent study234Reading and preparation for seminars and presentations

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay plan x 1500 words1-12Verbal and written
Essay x 13000 words1-12Verbal and written

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Group presentation3325 minutes1-12Verbal and written
Seen Exam672 questions in 2 hours1-12Written

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Group presentationScript as for individual presentation, equivalent to 10 minutes1-121st September deadline for submission
Seen ExamSeen exam - 2 questions in 2 hours1-12August/September assessment period

Re-assessment notes

Two assessments are required for this module.  Where you have been referred/deferred for the group presentation, you will be required to submit a script as for an individual presentation (equivalent to 10 minutes), which will constitute 33% of the module mark (10 credits).  Where you have been referred/deferred for the exam, you will have the opportunity to take a second exam in the August/September reassessment period.  This will constitute 67% of the module (20 credits).

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Bracey, John H. Jr., and Manisha Sinha (eds.), African American Mosaic: A Documentary History from the Slave Trade to the Twenty-First Century, 2 vols. (Upper Saddle River, NJ, 2004).
Hine, Darlene Clark, William C. Hine and Stanley Harrold, The African-American Odyssey (Combined Volume, 5th ed.; Upper Saddle River, NJ, 2011).
Holt, Thomas C. (ed.), Major Problems in African-American History, 2 vols. (Boston, 2000).
Kelley, Robin D.G., and Earl Lewis (eds.), To Make our World Anew, 2 vols. (Oxford, 2005).
Painter, Nell Irvin, Creating Black Americans: African-American History and its Meanings, 1619 to the Present (New York, 2006).

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

The Avalon Project: African Americans (

Black Past (

PBS Eyes on the Price: America’s Civil Rights Movement 1954-1985 (

The Martin Luther King Research and Education Institute (

Race and Place: An African-American Community in the Jim Crow South: Charlottesville, VA (

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (

Without Sanctuary: Photographs and Postcards of Lynching in America (

Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date