Foundation Year in American Studies

ChigagoThe Foundation Year in American Studies provides you with the knowledge, understanding and skills required to progress successfully to Level 4 in your American Studies degree. It includes modules to develop academic skills, and two modules designed to prepare students for languages and cultural studies programmes: Communication in a Globalised Context and Research Project in the Humanities.

Read more about the Foundation Year here.

  • Communication in a Global Context
  • Research Project in the Humanities

Communication in a Global Context

The module explores the nature of communication in a global context. In particular it examines how people from different cultures can overcome barriers to communication. In doing so students will investigate how our use of language is shaped both by our cultural heritage and personal experiences. The principal aim of the module is to make students more aware of the influences affecting their use of language so that they can become better communicators in an increasingly globalised world. As a cultural studies and communications module, this develops skills and perspectives in intercultural communication essential for progression on to an undergraduate degree in American Studies. The module prepares students for the American Studies programme by providing an opportunity to think critically about the ways that culture and communication engage with society and contribute to the formation of identity. These are key factors across the wide range of modules students undertake on the American Studies degree. Some key questions we will seek to answer are:

  • What is the relationship between language and thought?
  • How far can specific conversation strategies (like politeness) be regarded as universal feature of human communication?
  • What is the nature of cultural stereotypes and how do they shape, and are shaped by, language?
  • How far do perceptions about our own world view hinder greater understanding (and acceptance of) others’?

Tutor: Geoff Gibson.

Research Project in the Humanities

The Research Project in the Humanities is a module geared towards preparing students to conducting independent research through the production of a 3000-word essay. Study in the Humanities involves acquiring the skills to discuss, interpret, and debate cultural phenomena of all kinds, and throughout degree programmes students write essays, and longer form projects such as dissertations, as a means of developing their abilities to think independently and to write informed and rigorous prose. The Research Project in the Humanities teaches you how to formulate and refine an area of personal interest into a viable academic research question relating to American Studies. You will learn to conduct independent research, aided by guidance from classroom teaching, prescribed study guides, and tutorials. You will present your working ideas to fellow students, and learn to respond to feedback from your tutor and peers, as the project progresses towards the submission of the essay. The module prepares students for the variety of assessments on the American Studies programme, which involve research, guided preparation, and independent critical thinking. Throughout the American Studies programme students examine aspects of American history, society, and culture through research and analysis. The Research Project in the Humanities therefore provides an introduction to the core learning aims and objectives of the American Studies degree.

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