The American Century

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 and describe key issues and events in the so-called American century (essentially a long 20th century);

– understand the relation of culture to the American imperium (both inside and outside the United States);

– develop a critical perspective on social, cultural and political phenomena;

– engage critically with different cultural forms and modes (‘high’ and ‘popular’ culture);

– reflect theoretically and methodologically on the study of American culture and of culture generally.

Work Placement(s)



This course examines the relation of culture to the social and political life of the United States during the ‘American Century’ (essentially a long 20th century) through an encounter with American cultural texts drawn from the domains of ‘high’ and ‘popular’ culture. In this way students will be given an introduction to the history and culture of the United States during that period and will be required to engage critically with its cultural forms and modes. The course will focus on the relation of culture to the American (both inside and outside the United States) through a reading of a range of American cultural texts that includes essays, literary prose and poetry, popular songs, films, and comic books, among others. The course will be contextualist in the sense that it will seek to relate these texts to their historical context and also reflect on the theory and methodology of the study of culture.

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%


Bacevich, A. (ed.) (2012). The Short American Century. A Postmortem. Cambridge & London: Harvard UP.

Cooke, A. (2002). America. New York: Basic Books.

Current, R. N., Williams, T. H., & Freidel, F. (1971). American History: A Survey. 3rd ed. New York: Knopf.

Gerstle, G. (2001). American Crucible. Race and Nation in the Twentieth Century. Princeton: Princeton UP.

Lens, S. (2003). The Forging of the American Empire. London: Pluto Press.

Lepore, J. (2018). These Truths: A History of the United States. NY & London: W. W. Norton & Co.

Walker, M. (2001). Makers of the American Century. New York: Vintage.

Zinn, H. (2003). The Twentieth Century. NY: HarperPerennial.

Zinn, H. (2000). A People’s History of the United States. New York: Harper Perennial