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Taught MAs at York

Our taught masters degrees - including the MA in Modern History and the MA in Contemporary History and International Politics - offer opportunities for students to take modules on the history of the Western hemisphere. Two example modules can be seen here, to the right.

Additionally, students have the opportunity to develop a detailed investigation into an aspect of the history of the region through their Masters dissertation. This work, of up to 20,000 words in length, is on a subject of the student's own choosing and developed under the supervision of an expert in the field.

Example module: Conservatism in the United States since 1945

Writing in 1950, the famous American essayist and literary critic Lionel Trilling claimed, not entirely implausibly, that in the United States, "liberalism is not only the dominant but even the sole intellectual tradition … it is the plain fact that nowadays there are no conservative or reactionary ideas in general circulation." Sixty years later, even the most cursory examination of contemporary American politics shows that conservatism has not only proven resilient and popular, but that it arguably reflects the political preference of the majority of American citizens.

Among other things, this remarkable transformation in fortunes was the product of a corpus of conservative intellectual thought produced over several generations by a series of individuals whose goal was to regain intellectual respectability for a political ideology that had otherwise appeared to have lost relevance to modern American life and thinking. This course examines the time and context in which these works were produced, and through this why post-war conservatism came to have such a broad appeal to American sensibilities.

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Example module: The End of Empire in the Caribbean

In general histories of the British Empire, the Caribbean colonies have received scant attention except for the system of slavery, which prevailed in the region from settlement in the early seventeenth century till 1838. Events in the region after emancipation, however, have increasingly been studied by Caribbean historians. Based on this new scholarship, this course looks at the decades leading up to independence, which started with Jamaica in 1962.

Proceeding chronologically and focusing on the four main colonies – Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, and British Guiana – the course charts the various factors that facilitated the decolonisation of the Caribbean, including the participation of black subjects in the First World War; the world-wide economic depression; the rise of the "brown" middle class; US pressure on the Colonial Office; and the emergence of a national consciousness.