Syllabus for American Studies A1

USA-kunskap A1

A revised version of the syllabus is available.

Syllabus

  • 30 credits
  • Course code: 5EN711
  • Education cycle: First cycle
  • Main field(s) of study and in-depth level: English G1N
  • Grading system: Fail (U), Pass (G), Pass with distinction (VG)
  • Established: 2006-12-07
  • Established by: The Faculty Board of Languages
  • Revised: 2012-09-19
  • Revised by: The Board of the Department of English
  • Applies from: Spring 2013
  • Entry requirements: General entry requirements and English 6 or English B
  • Responsible department: Department of English

Decisions and guidelines

The syllabus was adopted by the Board of the Faculty of Languages on 2006-12-07. The course represents the first semester of study in the subject of American studies.

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 mass media; have enhanced their understanding of the complexity and diversity of US society and for the new views that characterise this society. Students will also have developed their proficiencies in both speaking and writing in English about the US. 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. United States history (7.5 higher education credits)
Upon completing the component students will
- have enhanced their knowledge of important aspects of US history
- have introductory knowledge of what is regarded to make the US unique, both historically and at present
- have a greater familiarity with contemporary US society and the social forces that have helped shape its history
- have increased their ability to analyse historical texts in speech and in writing.

Component 2. United States politics (7.5 higher education credits)
Upon completing the component students will
- have enhanced their knowledge of the basic features of the political system in the US
- have greater insights into US domestic and foreign policy and into issues involving voter participation, political parties, and the roles of the courts and the media
- have increase their ability to give oral and written accounts of some of the problems and challenges facing US politics today.

Component 3. Race and ethnicity in the United States (7.5 higher education credits)
Upon completing the component students will
- have enhanced their knowledge of historical developments regarding race and ethnicity in the US
- have a good familiarity with the various minorities in today's US and their background
- have a greater understanding of the relations between minority groups and the majority population in the US
- have increased insights into how race and ethnicity have helped form the American identity.

Component 4. United States mass media I, (7.5 higher education credits)
Upon completing the course students will
- have enhanced their knowledge of how today's US mass media society developed
- have greater insights into what factors and interests have shaped the US mass media industry
- have a greater knowledge of how news reporting in the US has changed since the advent of television
- have trained their ability in both spoken and written English to analyse how the mass media depict US society today.

Content

The course comprises four course components, each worth 7.5 higher education credits, as shown below. 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. United States history 7.5 hp

Component 1, United States history, provides a broad survey of US history since the creation of the republic. The component provides an overview of historical developments in the US from colonial times to the present. Some emphasis is placed on aspects related to phenomena like US exceptionalism and ethnicity.

Component 2. United States politics 7.5 hp

Component 2, United States politics, takes up the basic features of the US political system. The component provides an overview of the basic features of the US political system. Special attention is paid to the challenges facing US domestic and foreign policy today. Challenges include globalisation, a more and more multicultural society, the impact of the media on politics, and the voter participation in political life.

Component 3. Race and ethnicity in the United States 7.5 hp

Component 3, Race and ethnicity in the United States, focuses on minorities and the various population groups that have immigrated throughout history and attempted to create a future in US society. The component deals with the debate about which factor, race or ethnicity, is more important in describing today's US society. Issues taken up include are the different minority groups, the relationship between minorities and the majority culture, affirmative action for minorities, and what it means to be an American in the early 21st century.

Component 4, United States mass media I 7.5 hp

Component 4, United States mass media I, elucidates above all the development and importance of television in today's United States. The component illuminates media developments from a historical perspective and takes up the question of how various media, primarily television, convey knowledge about politics and social issues in today's US.

Instruction

Component 1. United States history, 7.5 higher education credits
Lectures and group instruction with use of historical material.

Component 2. United States politics, (7.5 higher education credits) and Component 3 Race and ethnicity in the United States (7.5 higher education credits)
Lectures and group instruction.

Component 4. United States mass media I, (7.5 higher education credits)
Lectures and group instruction with use of DVD and VHS films.

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.

Assessment

.

Transitional provisions

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

Other directives

For admission to the course American studies B1 students must have at least a passing grade for the entire course.

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 two occasions during the following semester. Normally this right then expires. Otherwise there are no limitations on the number of examination opportunities.

Reading list

Reading list

Applies from: Autumn 2020

Some titles may be available electronically through the University library.

  • Jenkins, Philip A history of the United States

    4th ed.: Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012

    Find in the library

    Mandatory

Photocopied material.

  • Wasserman, Gary The basics of American politics

    14. ed.: Boston: Pearson, 2011

    Find in the library

    Mandatory

  • Bayor, Ronald H. Race and ethnicity in America : a concise history

    New York: Columbia University Press, c2003.

    Find in the library

    Mandatory

  • Gjerde, Jon Major problems in American immigration and ethnic history : documents and essays

    Boston: Houghton Mifflin, cop. 1998

    Selected texts.

    Find in the library

    Mandatory

  • Alexander, Michelle. The new Jim Crow : mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness

    New York: New Press, c2010.

    Find in the library

  • Goffman, Alice On the run : fugitive life in an American city

    First Picador edition.: New York: Picador/Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015.

    Find in the library

  • polletta, Francesca "Remebering Dr King on the House and Senate Floor"

    Part of:

    Polletta, Francesca. It Was Like a Fever: Storytelling in Protest and Politics

    University of Chicago Press, 2006

    Find in the library

  • Jacobson, Matthew Frye Whiteness of a different color : European immigrants and the alchemy of race

    Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1998

    Find in the library

Prisons Today: Questions in the Age of Mass Incarceration. Exhibit at The Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia.

  • Barkin, Steve Michael American television news : the media marketplace and the public interest

    Armonk, N.Y.: M.E. Sharpe, c2003

    Chapters 5-8 are replaced by:

    Find in the library

    Mandatory

  • Vogan, Travis Keepers of the Flame: NFL Films and the Rise of Sports Media

    University of Illinois Press, 2014

    Find in the library

    Mandatory

  • Deninger, Dennis Sports on television : the how and why behind what you see

    New York: Routledge, 2012

    Find in the library

    Mandatory

Photocopied material. Press and Internet sources.

Reading list revisions