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
be able to account for important aspects of US history
be able to account for the social forces that have helped shape US society
be able to show introductory knowledge of what is regarded to make the US unique, both historically and at present
be able to demonstrate some understanding of the analysis of historical texts
Component 2. United States politics (7.5 higher education credits) Upon completing the component students will
be able to account for the basic features of the political system in the US
be able to demonstrate insights into basic issues in American politics
show ability to identify of some of the problems and challenges facing US politics
Component 3. Race and ethnicity in the United States (7.5 higher education credits) Upon completing the component students will
be able to demonstrate knowledge of historical developments regarding race and ethnicity in the US
be able to demonstrate a good familiarity with the various minorities in today's US and their background
be able to demonstrate a greater understanding of the relations between minority groups and the majority population in the US
be able to demonstrate insights into how race and ethnicity have helped form the American identity.
Component 4. United States mass media, (7.5 higher education credits) Upon completing the component students will
be able to demonstrate knowledge of how today's US mass media society developed
be able to demonstrate insights into what factors and interests have shaped the US mass media industry
be able to demonstrate knowledge of how news reporting in the US has changed since the advent of television
be able to demonstrate ability in both spoken and written English to analyse how the mass media depict US society today.
The course comprises four course components, each worth 7.5 higher education 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. United States history 7.5 hp Component 1, United States history, provides an overview of historical developments in the area that today constitute the United States. It emphasizes colonial times to the present. Focus is placed on aspects related to social, political and cultural dimensions, and diversity perspectives on American history.
Component 2. United States politics 7.5 hp Component 2, United States politics, provides an overview of the basic features of the US political system. Special attention is paid to the US 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 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 7.5 hp Component 4, United States mass media, 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.
Teaching is done through lectures and seminars. 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.
Examination is conducted 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 in components 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.
For transitional regulations in the case of changes in the syllabus, please contact the student adviser.
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.