American Histories

Academic year
Subject Area
Culture-Anglo-American Studies
Language of Instruction
Other Languages of Instruction
Mode of Delivery
ECTS Credits
1st Cycle Studies

Recommended Prerequisites


Teaching Methods

Expository and interactive methods, including the analysis and discussion of texts, images and films/documentaries; oral presentations, written assignments, and group work. 

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course students will be able to

– identify key moments/periods in U.S. history (e.g. the 'discovery' of America, the Puritan migration, slavery, the Revolution, territorial expansion, and the Civil War);

– understand theoretical concepts that will be deepened in other courses in North American culture and literature (such as ‘America’, migration, identity, nation, consensus, exceptionalism, imperialism, manifest destiny, frontier, race, gender, and culture);

– have a broad understanding of the cultural diversity of an immigrant society as well as of the dynamics generated among those cultures;

– develop a critical perspective;

– acquire tools to approach and analyze the materials and topics addressed.

Work Placement(s)



This course offers a survey of American history, culture and society from the colonial period to the beginning of the 20th century, focusing on particular moments within this broad period. Students will read documents and texts that are fundamental for developing a critical understanding of the culture(s) of the U.S. The diversity of voices and groups represented in the selected materials aims at highlighting the complexity of the development of this nation, not only because of the many dreams projected onto it, but also because of the contradictions, gaps, and silences that were a part of them. Bearing in mind both the local and global impact of many of those key documents (e.g. the Declaration of Independence), we will discuss the ideological ramifications of the development of cultural imperialism in a nation that imagined itself as the model for the modern world, both in its relations with Europe and with the Americas.

Head Lecturer(s)

Maria José Florentino Mendes Canelo

Assessment Methods

Final Assessment
Exam: 100.0%

Periodic Assessment
Synthesis work: 10.0%
Other: 30.0%
Mini Tests: 60.0%


Boyer, P., Clark Jr., Clifford E. (eds.). (2005), The Enduring Vision. A History of the American People Concise. Lexington, MA: Houghton Mifflin Co.

Boyer, P. ed. et al. (2001). The Oxford Companion to United States of America. New York: Oxford University Press.

Crunden, R. M. (1994). A Brief History of American Culture. New York: Paragon House.

Takaki, R. (1993). A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America. Boston: Little, Brown and Co.

Zinn, H. (1994). A People’s History of the United States. London.