Americanism and Anti-Americanism


This unit of study is not available in 2019

America has often been described as a culturally backward, unsophisticated and uncouth nation, with American politics frequently derided 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 views of the United States and how these stereotypes impact on America's foreign relations with Europe, the Middle East, and Australia. The unit will 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 looking at positive and negative foreign interpretations; giving them a comprehensive view of the contradictions within, and the complexity of, American society.

Rebecca Wong
“In choosing an American Studies major I thought it was perfect to get an Australian perspective on American issues. I think that’s very different to how Americans see themselves.” Rebecca Wong

Learning outcomes

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 skills within this course:

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

Cross-listed courses

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

The fine print

Taught in Semester 1, 2018
1 x 2 hour lecture per week
1 x 1 hour tutorial per week
View timetable

30% essay (1000 words)
20% exam (1 hour)
40% learning journal (2500 words)
10% participation

More details
Visit the University of Sydney website for information about fees, cross-institutional and non-award study, and more.

Unit coordinators