Syllabus for American Studies A

USA-kunskap A

Syllabus

  • 30 credits
  • Course code: 5EN741
  • Education cycle: First cycle
  • Main field(s) of study and in-depth level: G1N

    Explanation of codes

    The code indicates the education cycle and in-depth level of the course in relation to other courses within the same main field of study according to the requirements for general degrees:

    First cycle

    • G1N: has only upper-secondary level entry requirements
    • G1F: has less than 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • G1E: contains specially designed degree project for Higher Education Diploma
    • G2F: has at least 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • G2E: has at least 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements, contains degree project for Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science
    • GXX: in-depth level of the course cannot be classified

    Second cycle

    • A1N: has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • A1F: has second-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • A1E: contains degree project for Master of Arts/Master of Science (60 credits)
    • A2E: contains degree project for Master of Arts/Master of Science (120 credits)
    • AXX: in-depth level of the course cannot be classified

  • Grading system: Fail (U), Pass (G), Pass with distinction (VG)
  • Established: 2021-09-14
  • Established by: The Department Board
  • Applies from: Autumn 2022
  • Entry requirements: General entry requirements and English 6
  • Responsible department: Department of English

Learning outcomes

Upon completing the course students will have obtained a basic knowledge of central aspects of United States culture and society; have greater insights into American history, politics, race relations, and media cultures; have enhanced their understanding of the complexity and diversity of U.S. society. Students will also have developed their proficiencies in both speaking and writing in English about the United States. Finally, the course will provide a first introduction to relevant literature and other material for students' own searches for knowledge and will train their critical capacity to use such material.

The goals for each course component are given below.

Component 1. Introduction to American History (7.5 credits)

Upon completing the component students will

  • be able to account for important aspects of U.S. history;
  • be able to account for the social forces that have helped shape U.S. society;
  • be able to show basic knowledge of what is regarded to make the United States unique, both historically and at present;
  • be able to demonstrate some understanding of the analysis of historical texts.

Component 2. Introduction to American Politics (7.5 credits)

Upon completing the component students will

  • be able to account for the basic features of the political system in the United States;
  • be able to demonstrate insights into basic issues in American politics;
  • show ability to identify of some of the problems and challenges facing U.S. politics.

Component 3. Race and Ethnicity in the United States (7.5 credits)

Upon completing the component students will

  • be able to account for the historical developments regarding race and ethnicity in the United States;
  • be able to show good familiarity with the relation between various minority groups and the U.S. majority population;
  • be able to account for how race and ethnicity have helped shape American identities and U.S. society.

Component 4. American Media Cultures, (7.5 credits)

Upon completing the component students will

  • be able to account for how contemporary U.S. media cultures have developed historically, and what factors and interests have contributed to shaping them;
  • show insight into how Americans' media usage relates to various social and political contexts;
  • show ability to analyse the role of various examples and forms of media in contemporary U.S. society.

Content

The course comprises four course components, each worth 7.5 credits. Instruction, class discussions, and examinations in all components are in English. Special emphasis is placed on the written assignments in the components. All teaching materials are in English.

Component 1. Introduction to American History

Component 1 provides an overview of historical developments in the area that today constitutes the United States. Chronologically the emphasis is on colonial times to the present. Aspects related to social, political, cultural and diversity dimensions of American history are central.

Component 2. Introduction to American Politics

Component 2 provides an overview of the basic features of the U.S. political system. Special attention is paid to the U.S. Constitution, the role of the courts, demographic changes, the impact of the media on politics, and the voter participation in political life.

Component 3. Race and Ethnicity in the United States

Component 3 examines how race and ethnicity have affected U.S. society in historical and contemporary perspectives. Focus is placed on the relations between various minority groups and the U.S. majority population. The component address issues such as slavery and its long-term consequences, immigration and ethnic minorities, political aspects of race and ethnicity, and what it means to be an American.

Component 4, American Media Cultures

Component 4 examines the development of media in the United States in historical and contemporary perspectives. It takes its point of departure in a broad definition of media, that encompasses, for example, TV, film, news media, popular culture, and social media. Focus is placed on questions of how American media cultures have changed over time and how they have related to different political, social, and economic contexts.

Instruction

Teaching is done through lectures and seminars. Virtual meetings may occur. Active participation in course seminars is obligatory. In cases of absence students will be given the opportunity to complete an extra assignment within the framework of the course period. English is the language of instruction.

Assessment

Examination is done through spoken as well as written assignments and by continuous assessment. Grades used are either Fail, Pass, or Pass with Distinction.

To receive a grade of Pass with Distinction for the whole course, students must have achieved the grade of Pass with Distinction on examinations worth a total of at least 22.5 credits.

Students who do not achieve a passing grade on the regular examination will have another opportunity to take the examination within a reasonable period of time after the regular examination.

 

Students who fail a certain examination twice have the right upon request, following consultation with the head of department, to have another examiner appointed.

If there are special reasons for doing so, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special reasons might be a certificate regarding special pedagogical support from the University's disability coordinator.

Transitional provisions

For transitional regulations in the case of changes in the syllabus, please contact the student adviser.

Other directives

Results that are more than five years old are normally not recognised if the syllabus for the course component has been changed.

If the syllabus or course reading for a component has been changed, students have a right to be examined under the original syllabus and course reading on three occasions during the following three terms. Normally this right then expires. Otherwise there are no limitations on the number of examination opportunities.

The course may not be included in a degree if equivalent parts have been read within another course included in the degree.

Reading list

Reading list

Applies from: Autumn 2022

Some titles may be available electronically through the University library.

Introduction to American History

  • Jenkins, Philip A history of the United States

    Fifth edition.: London: Palgrave, an imprint of Macmillan Publishers Limited, 2017

    Find in the library

    Mandatory

  • Lee, Erika America First, Immigrants Last: American Xenophobia Then and Now

    Part of:

    The journal of the gilded age and progressive era [Elektronisk resurs]

    Fremont, OH: Society for Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, [2002-]

    vol. 19 (2020) nr. 1 s. 3-18

    Find in the library

    Mandatory

  • Lepore, Jill This America : the case for the nation

    First edition: New York: Liveright Publishing Corporation, [2019]

    Find in the library

    Mandatory

  • Takaki, Ronald T. A different mirror : a history of multicultural America

    1st rev. ed.: New York: Back Bay Books/Little, Brown, and Co., 2008

    Selected chapters.

    Find in the library

    Mandatory

Scanned material and online resources may be added.

Introduction to American Politics

  • Bennett, W. Lance; Livingston, Steven The disinformation age : politics, technology, and disruptive communication in the United States

    Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021

    Selected chapters. Available as e-book through UUB.

    Find in the library

    Mandatory

  • Wasserman, Gary; Fullmer, Elliott The basics of American politics

    Sixteenth edition.: Hoboken, N.J.: Pearson, 2019

    Find in the library

    Mandatory

Additional selected articles.

Scanned material and online resources may be added.

Race and Ethnicity in the United States

Equal Justice Initiative, Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror (3rd ed., 2017): https://lynchinginamerica.eji.org/report/ (Links to an external site.). Selected chapters. Open access.

Scanned material and online resources may be added.

American Media Cultures

Scanned material and online resources may be added.