Undergraduate Study


"...some of the best subjects that you can do at uni."
Students' Representative Council Counter Course Handbook 2011

Semester 1, 2014

Semester 2, 2014

ENROL NOW!

University of Sydney students can enrol by logging into MyUni

If you would like to apply for cross-institutional study, you can do so through the cross-institutional study application form.

If you would like to apply for non-award study, i.e. undertake one or more units of study for interest that will not count towards a degree, you can do so through the non-degree application form.

Some of these units can be completed as part of a University of Sydney major in American Studies, Government & International Relations, Gender & Cultural Studies, Music or History - please read the unit description for details of cross-listings.


AMST1001 - Global America

Overview

Global AmericaGlobal America (AMST1001) explores how the United States interacts with the world around it through the lens of key concepts in American life including empire, freedom, gender, mobility, religion and race. Serving as a first year introduction to American Studies, Global America provides students with the tools to understand the most important issues facing the US in the 21st century.

Note: Students intending to study American Studies at senior level are also required to complete HSTY1076 American History from Lincoln to Clinton.

Cross Listings

This unit of study is cross-listed with American Studies, Government & International Relations and English.

The Fine Print

There will be a 2 hour lecture and a 1 hour tutorial per week.

Assessment consists of three 1,000 word "critical reviews," plus a 90-minute final exam.

Learning Outcomes

The purpose of this unit is to enable students to think critically about the key issues affecting the contemporary United States in the global 21st century.

By the end of this unit of study, students should be able to:

  • Have a greater appreciation of the complexities of American culture in the 21st century
  • Read texts of political science, cultural studies and cognate disciplines, and be able to intellectually analyse them
  • Have an understanding of contemporary American fiction and film, and be able to discuss them according to current practices of literary and cultural criticism
  • Have an understanding of the challenges and opportunities presented by interdisciplinary methodologies
  • Be able to acquire and evaluate new knowledge through independent research
  • Critically evaluate the sources, values, validity and currency of information
  • Write analytic essays on contemporary issues bringing academic rigour to bear on them.

This Semester 2, 2014 unit is coordinated by Paul Giles and Brendon O’Connor.

Enrol Now

University of Sydney students can enrol by logging into MyUni.

If you would like to apply for cross-institutional study, you can do so through the cross-institutional study application form.

If you would like to apply for non-award study, i.e. undertake one or more units of study for interest that will not count towards a degree, you can do so through the non-degree application form.

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USSC2601 - US in the World  

Overview

United StatesUS in the World (USSC2601) explores the dramatic political and economic changes taking place before our eyes in America that will shape lives in Australia and around the world for years to come. This dynamic unit focuses on the United States under President Barack Obama amid the challenges posed by the worst global economic downturn since the Great Depression and the expanding struggle against violent Islamic extremism.

This highly interactive unit features guest lectures and conversations with leading American and Australian experts. In 2011 this included multiple Pulitzer Prize-winning author and New York Times columnist, Thomas Friedman. Other special guests in 2011 included, former Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard and US Ambassador to Australia, Jeffrey Bleich. In 2012, guests included influential China watcher at Washington DC's The Atlantic Monthly, James Fallows, former leader of the opposition, Malcolm Turnbull and US Consul General, Niels Marquart.

Videos of the 2012 guest lectures are online here http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLC8572D106DBE182B

Videos of earlier guest lectures are online here http://vimeo.com/album/1509468.

US Consul General Award

The major piece of assessment for this unit is a policy memo. The top policy memos will be mailed to the US Consulate to be read by the US Consul General. He will select the winner of the US-Australia Partnership Policy Memorandum Award. The Consul General will then invite the writers of the top three memos to dine with him at his official residence.

The topic of each year's memo is provided by the US Consulate on a topic on which they might actually require a briefing.

Cross Listings

This unit of study is cross-listed with American StudiesGovernment & International Relations and International Business.

Learning Outcomes

Students in this unit will learn using the Socratic Method, a crucial analytical tool in political science and is fundamental to the development of views that can be clearly expressed and reasonably defended.

The focus will be on role of the United States amid the challenges posed by the key global transformations of the contemporary era. Both lectures and tutorials will be designed to engage students fully in order to increase their knowledge and develop their skills: analysing situations, forming opinions, solving problems and defending positions.

By the end of this Unit of Study students will be able to:

  • Access a body of knowledge about the role of the United States in the world
  • Acquire and evaluate new knowledge through independent research
  • Identify, investigate, and solve problems
  • Access diverse resources to build and defend a reasoned positio
  • Think analytically
  • Defend their opinions in public in a robust manner.

 The Fine Print

  • Lectures run for 90 minutes each week.
  • There is a one hour tutorial per week.
  • This unit is worth 6 credit points.
  • Pre-requisites: 18 junior credit points (this means it is a senior unit, for students in their 2nd year or above. 

Taught in Semster 2, 2014 by Gorana Grgic.

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USSC2602 - US Politics: Elections, Presidents, Laws

Overview

US PoliticsThe unit introduces students to US political institutions and political culture. The American electoral system and recent presidential elections will be examined as well as the careers of American presidents from the 1960s onwards. US public policies in the areas of race, welfare, and criminal justice will also be analysed.

The unit addresses questions such as why do Americans have such a strong sense of exceptionalism? How much can presidents really achieve? Is the Congress more powerful than the president? Is the Congress dysfunctional? Is the American electoral system a strength or a weakness? Is America still living under the shadow of the 2008 financial crisis?

By the end of the unit students should have a comprehensive understanding of American domestic politics

This unit will be taught Semester 1, 2014 by Associate Professor in American Politics Brendon O'Connor. Dr O’Connor is the author of numerous books and articles on American politics, the recipient of a Faculty of Arts teaching excellence award in 2012, and a regular commentator in the media on American politics.

Evaluation of unit 2013

“Overall I was satisfied with the quality of this unit of study” 4.63 out of 5 (with a satisfaction rate of 98%)

Evaluation of lecturing 2013

“Overall my lecturer effectively supported my learning” 4.74/5 (with a satisfaction rate of 100%).

Cross Listings

This unit of study is cross-listed with American Studies and Government & International Relations.

Learning Outcomes

The central aim of the unit is to provide students with a strong understanding of US politics.

Students will receive a solid overview of the key areas of American political culture, institutions, elections and public policy. The unit will also examine public policy issues to provide students with a detailed knowledge of how US society is organised and what we can learn (both positive and negative) from American approaches.

The unit's systematic framework will give students the ability to analyse the US, while encouraging them to see the contradictions within, and the complexity of, American society.

Students will develop the following generic skills within this course:

  • Communication - oral and written skills
  • Research skills
  • Problem solving and decision making
  • Conceptual and analytical skills
  • Information skills

Enrol Now

University of Sydney students can enrol by logging into MyUni.

If you would like to apply for cross-institutional study, you can do so through the cross-institutional study application form.

If you would like to apply for non-award study, i.e. undertake one or more units of study for interest that will not count towards a degree, you can do so through the non-degree application form.

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USSC2603 - Americanism & Anti-Americanism

Overview

AmericanismAmerica has often been described as a culturally backward, unsophisticated and uncouth nation with American politics frequently viewed as populist and anti-intellectual.

In contrast America has also been viewed as a haven from the Old World and as an exceptional nation. This unit will explore the origins and development of both these negative and positive opinions of America. It will also examine how these stereotypes impact on America's foreign relations with Europe, the Middle East and Australia.

This unit will be taught by Dr David Smith in Semester 2, 2014.

Student evaluation of the unit in 2011:

"Overall I was satisfied with the quality of this unit of study" 4.49 out of 5 (97% satisfaction)

Cross Listings

This unit of study is cross-listed with American Studies and Government & International Relations.

Learning Outcomes

The central aim of the unit is to provide students with a strong understanding of the beliefs and values that have shaped American political culture from the colonial period to the present. Students will examine how Americans perceive their own politics and culture as well as look at positive and negative foreign interpretations. A lecture and tutorial program will provide students with a solid overview of Americanism and anti-Americanism. The unit's systematic framework will give students the ability to analyse the US, while encouraging them to see the contradictions within, and the complexity of, American society.

Students will develop the following generic skills within this course:

  • Communication - oral and written skills
  • Research skills
  • Problem solving and decision making
  • Conceptual and analytical skills
  • Information skill

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USSC2604 - Sex, Race & Rock in the USA

Overview

Sex, Race and RockThis innovative and exciting unit will explore the cultural history and intersections of sexuality, race and rock music in the United States from Elvis to Lady Gaga. Influenced by black and working-class cultures, and with sexuality embedded in its form and practice, rock music challenged and transformed existing norms of family, sex and gender. Through subjects including black women, glam rock, and disco, students will learn that rock music, far from being frivolous, provided a realm for rebellion, freedom, community and profit.

In previous years, special guest speakers included Executive Vice President of Universal Music Publishing International, Andrew Jenkins; Editor of Rolling Stone magazine, Rod Yates; front-woman of rising Australian band The Jezabels, Hayley Mary; and the co-founder of MTV, Les Garland, who was also the Executive Producer of the Live Aid concert in 1985.

Through this unit, you will develop a body of knowledge about the cultural history of American rock music, both mainstream and alternative, with a focus on race, gender and sexuality in the postwar decades. By examining the paradoxes of rock music's freedom and commercial success, you will gain a unique insight into the complexities, contradictions and possibilities of American culture and its global impact. You will also be better equipped to contextualise contemporary popular music and its historical roots.

Through the development of a research question and paper you will gain a greater understanding of the methods and evidence used to study cultural history at a university level, particularly through consideration of the use of music as a source of evidence. This will also enhance your ability to formulate research questions and construct cogent, evidence-based arguments.

The unit will be highly interactive, encouraging debate on key issues, group presentations and scholarly writing.

Cross Listings

This unit of study is cross-listed with American Studies, Gender & Cultural Studies, Music and History.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this unit of study students will have the ability to:

  • Understand sexuality and race in the cultural history of American rock and its impact on cultural norms in and outside the US
  • Critically analyse popular cultural forms in scholarly ways
  • Express conceptually difficult ideas and independent critical thinking in oral and written forms
  • Pose research questions and access and synthesise diverse sources to build and defend a reasoned position in response to those questions
  • Identify values and beliefs inherent in a culture superficially similar but in other ways unlike their own
  • Appreciate the role of reasoning and creativity in communication.

The Fine Print

Prerequisites: 12 credit points at junior level in at least one of the following:

  • AMST—American Studies
  • ANTH—Anthropology
  • MUSC—Arts Music
  • GCST—Cultural Studies
  • ENGL—English
  • EUST—European Studies
  • GCST—Gender Studies
  • GOVT—Government and International Relations
  • HSTY—History
  • INGS—International and Global Studies
  • MECO—Media and Communications
  • PRFM—Performance Studies
  • PHIL—Philosophy
  • ECOP—Political Economy
  • SCLG—Sociology

If you don’t have 12 junior level credit points in the above but still want to enrol in the unit, please contact Amelia Trial to apply for special consideration at amelia.trial@sydney.edu.au.

Format: A 2 hr lecture and a 1 hr tutorial each week

Taught in Semester 1, 2014 by Dr Rebecca Sheehan.

Enrol Now

University of Sydney students can enrol by logging into MyUni.

If you would like to apply for cross-institutional study, you can do so through the cross-institutional study application form.

If you would like to apply for non-award study, i.e. undertake one or more units of study for interest that will not count towards a degree, you can do so through the non-degree application form.

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What they're saying about us...

"USSC2601 (Obama's America) and USSC2602 (US in the World) are some of the best subjects that you can do at uni. They are taught by inspiring lecturers who will leave you wanting more. There are a variety of cross-listed units that you can take in Government, both in US Studies, as well as the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies and others. These units are often far more engaging and innovative in their teaching practices, and are a good way to mix-up your degree."

Students' Representative Council Counter Course Handbook 2011

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