The Other America: An Unofficial History of the USA

Ref: C3741133

In order to understand the rhetoric and realities of 21st century America in the Trump era, we need to substantially re-examine America's past. Therefore, we will explore many of the often-overlooked yet fundamentally important themes in American history such as colonisation and the displacement of Native Americans, as well as slavery and the Afro-American experience. These and others will be linked to the rise of Modern America as an economic, political and cultural world power. Our baseline will be the democratic dilemma presented by America: ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’, but for whom and at what cost? We will pay particular attention to complex modern occurrences such as Prohibition, the phenomenon of Hollywood, the Civil Rights movement, the Vietnam era, the McDonaldisation of the world, and especially 9/11, the War on Terror and the rise of Trump.

Course aim

A beacon of democracy or the New American Empire? In this lively and informal course, we’ll explore the history, culture and contradictions of this global super-power. Everyone welcome.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Identify key major events and developments in American history.
  • Assess their impact on the present.
  • Compare the mythology of American democracy with its practice.
  • Decide if the term “New American Empire” is justified.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful
  • You might find this book a useful introduction to the subject: A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn published by Harpers.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider

Download full Course information sheet

The Other America: An Unofficial History of the USA


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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