Dr Bryn Willcock

Dr Bryn Willcock gained his doctorate from Swansea University. Since 1995 he has been teaching at Swansea University and has also taught at the University of Wales, Trinity Saint David. His main teaching and research interests focus upon American foreign policy, American history, terrorism, nuclear history and also British and European politics. Dr Willcock has been involved in the publication of books by both Oxford University Press and Taylor and Francis. In 2010 he was involved in the European-wide PartiRep Research project (http://www.partirep.eu/project) and in 2014 was consulted as an expert in British Public Policy during the creation of the EUVOX voting project (http://www.euvox2014.eu/) Dr Willcock is Admissions Officer for American Studies as well as being the College tutor link for ICWS students.

Teaching

  • AM-111 The American Experience 1492-2000

    This module offers a broad interdisciplinary survey of key themes in American history from 1492 to 2000.

  • AM-251 America in Crisis: Political Culture and Society from the Tet Offensive to the Tea Party

    1968 is often characterised as the annus horribilis of modern American history. Jules Witcover referred to 1968 as `The Year the Dream Died¿ and soon critics of the 1970s were writing in terms of America undergoing `Anxious Years¿ (McQuaid), as having `Uncertain Greatness¿ (Morris), and talking in terms of a `Retreat from Empire¿ (Osgood). This module will critically examine the reasons behind, and impact of, America¿s crisis of confidence. Such an analysis will consider the importance of issues such as the end of the Vietnam War, the Black Power movement, the Watergate Crisis, the pardon of Richard Nixon, the reopening of the Kennedy assassination, the so called `political malaise¿ and the Iranian Hostage crisis. The course then examines the legacy of events that lead to a surge in support for the Moral Majority and the New Right in America. As such, the course will look at the resurgence of religion as a powerful force in American domestic and foreign policy, a force that retains considerable sway in current American elections. The course will look at how Ronald Reagan focussed on bringing back pride, power and prestige to the presidency through a focus on new economics, tax cuts and heavy military spending. Despite this, the connection of the New Right to Reagan is a complex one. The legacy of this period will also be assessed in terms of the polarisation of American politics during the 1990s and beyond, the formation of the Tea Party, and the continuing decline in the trust in American government and political representatives.

  • AM-252 America in Crisis: Political Culture and Society from the Tet Offensive to the Tea Party

    1968 is often characterised as the annus horribilis of modern American history. Jules Witcover referred to 1968 as `The Year the Dream Died¿ and soon critics of the 1970s were writing in terms of America undergoing `Anxious Years¿ (McQuaid), as having `Uncertain Greatness¿ (Morris), and talking in terms of a `Retreat from Empire¿ (Osgood). This module will critically examine the reasons behind, and impact of, America¿s crisis of confidence. Such an analysis will consider the importance of issues such as the end of the Vietnam War, the Black Power movement, the Watergate Crisis, the pardon of Richard Nixon, the reopening of the Kennedy assassination, the so called `political malaise¿ and the Iranian Hostage crisis. The course then examines the legacy of events that lead to a surge in support for the Moral Majority and the New Right in America. As such, the course will look at the resurgence of religion as a powerful force in American domestic and foreign policy, a force that retains considerable sway in current American elections. The course will look at how Ronald Reagan focussed on bringing back pride, power and prestige to the presidency through a focus on new economics, tax cuts and heavy military spending. Despite this, the connection of the New Right to Reagan is a complex one. The legacy of this period will also be assessed in terms of the polarisation of American politics during the 1990s and beyond, the formation of the Tea Party, and the continuing decline in the trust in American government and political representatives.

  • AM-330 America and the Bomb

    This module looks at the history and development of America¿s role in creating and utilising the atomic bomb as well as the development of `nuclear diplomacy¿ and subsequently America¿s attempts at nuclear control and non-proliferation. The course traces America¿s path to becoming the first nuclear power and focuses on the impact that this had both on international relations (notably the cold war, Korean War, the Cuban Missile Crisis and the development of concepts like `Mutually Assured Destruction¿) as well as the impact on America internally (the Rosenberg Case, McCarthyism and the rise of public fear). The course looks at how nuclear agreements were attained in the altered environment of the late 1980s and what caused this change, before looking at current controversies regarding America¿s attempts to counter perceived growing nuclear threats in such countries as Iran and North Korea. As an inter-disciplinary course there will be a utilisation of relevant films and media sources which reflect the prevailing attitudes of the time.

  • AM-336 American Studies Dissertation

    The American Studies dissertation is a free-standing, 40-credit module for American Studies students only, which runs across both semesters of Level Three. Candidates conduct research upon a subject of their choice, devised in consultation with a member of staff teaching on the American Studies degree. The topic must fall within staff research and teaching interests.

  • AM-338 Clear and Present Danger: Terrorism and America

    This module will provide an in-depth study of America¿s complex relationship with terrorism. Terrorist acts against America are as old as the Republic itself. Following consideration of what actions can meaningfully be considered acts of terrorism, this module will scrutinize, assess and explain terrorist threats against the US since 1776. It will offer both context and analysis of these threats and demonstrate that there are important historical connections and trends to be identified, not least in America¿s response to them. The module will seek to compare and contrast important periods in American history in which terrorist threats were prevalent, from the 1886 Haymarket Bombing to the attack on Wall Street in 1920 through the rise of terrorist threats during the 1950s when Congress was attacked and an attempt was made on the life of President Harry S. Truman. The module will then move to assess the escalation of terrorist threats from both terrorist groups and rogue states during the late 1960s when Nixon declared the problem a clear danger to the US through the 1980s when Reagan declared a `war on terror¿. The module culminates with the attacks of 9/11. The module will encourage students to make use of a wide variety of primary sources that will enable to them investigate, analyse and understand the origins and responses of the US to terrorist threats both historically and contemporarily. The module will also offer a multi-disciplinary approach to its subject by considering the impact of terrorism on American popular culture and demonstrate that as presidential interest in the terrorism threat began to rise from 1968, so too did interest from media sources and movie makers.

  • AMX315 British Politics and Culture since 1945 (III)

    This module is for students who may be required to take the module as part of their study abroad programme or who are interested in taking an intensive module in British Politics & Culture. The module aims to give students an introduction to major themes, events and personalities which have shaped social, cultural and political development in the United Kingdom since the end of World War Two. Field trips are included.

  • AMX316 British Politics and Culture since 1945 (IV)

    This module is for students who may be required to take the module as part of their study abroad programme or who are interested in taking an intensive module in British Politics and Culture. The module aims to give students an introduction to major themes, events and personalities which have shaped social, cultural and political development in the UK since the end of World War Two. Field Trips are included.

  • PO-223 Extended Essay (Politics)

    This module looks at five key periods and controversies. Firstly the purpose and achievements of the so-called 'New Liberalism' of the turn of the century and beyond. Secondly public policy during the crises of the inter-war years. Thirdly, we will examine the question of the post-war 'consensus' over public policy. The fourth topic is the origins and nature of Thatcherism while the fifth is the origins and development of the Labour Government since 1997.

  • PO-281 British Politics and Public Policy

    This module examines British political debates on public policy as they have developed from the New Liberals to the Labour Government of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. It looks at five key periods and controversies. Firstly the purpose and achievements of the so-called 'New Liberalism' of the turn of the century and beyond. Secondly public policy during the crises of the inter-war years. Thirdly, we will examine the question of the post-war 'consensus' over public policy. The fourth topic is the origins and nature of Thatcherism while the fifth is the origins and development of the Labour Government since 1997. Students following this module will thus develop a sound knowledge and appreciation of the ongoing debates about the nature and purpose of public policy as well as arguments over the means of implementation. They will also find themselves able to place contemporary debate into its vital historical perspective