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university of tampere: faculty of social sciences: studies: disciplines: north american studies:
Faculty of Social SciencesUniversity of TampereFaculty of Social Sciences
North American Studies

CURRICULUM 2014-2016

 

North American Studies

The North American Studies program at the University of Tampere is a Comparative Social Institutions program. This program provides an ideal starting point for the comparative study of social institutions. North America has a large political, economic and social image and impact on the world. However, comparisons do not just go one-way. European institutions – in particular, Nordic institutions – have properties that are of importance for European and American academics alike. Reflecting this idea, the North American Studies program is a comparative social institutions program. Thus, courses go beyond understanding institutions, policies and issues in North America to understanding institutions, policies and issues in general, with the North American cases serving as special examples.

The program is multi-disciplinary with a focus on political science and economics In addition to political science and economics, other disciplines – particularly history and sociology - are also incorporated in the program. The combination of these different approaches will provide students with an in depth understanding of social institutions in North America and in Europe. For example, through the comparative approach and using insight from economics and political science, students will learn what types of governmental, economic or social institutions are most likely to be efficient and under what types of circumstances. They will learn when and how policies are likely to be successful and what types of unintended consequences might occur from poorly designed policy. Some examples of questions examined in the program include the following: Is a presidential or parliamentary system more representative and/or efficient? What type of healthcare system is best suited to provide universal healthcare at reasonable costs? Why do some criminal policies backfire? Is the media important for democracy and what types of media organization best promote democracy? 

Students will develop the tools to make their own analyses in the quantitative social science methodology courses and in the subject courses. Throughout the curriculum, real-world examples from North America and from Europe will serve as case studies to motivate study and discussions. The program’s themes have wide overlap with various other programs at the University of Tampere.

The NAM-program offers two levels of studies; The Basic Studies (25 ECTS) and Subject studies (35 ECTS).  North American Studies can be included in various studies as a full minor (basic studies 25 ECTS + subject studies 35 ECTS) in a Master's degree. The completion of the basic studies (25 ECTS) can serve as a minor for the Bachelor of Arts Degree (Kandidaatin tutkinto) (Please check your School’s requirement for minor subjects!).

Primary objective of the program: A program for students and post-graduate students who wish to pursue their degrees in their major subject with a focus on comparative social institutions and/or North America.

Secondary objective: Students who wish to focus on North American Studies, in conjunction with their major, but do not intend to continue studies past a Master’s degree.

The NAM program is especially suited for students planning a career in research, international organizations and/or international business. Furthermore, it is particularly useful for students planning to write their master's thesis or doctoral dissertation on a comparative and/or North American topic.

Students may take North American Studies in any order.

 

NAM - Basic Studies 25 ECTS

 

Learning objectives: The student will learn the basics of various approaches to social institutions.

Content: The basic studies are structured into five sections. NAM-I  is required. Students may choose 3 out of NAM II, NAM-III, NAM-IV and NAM-X. They are worth five 5 ECTS credits each. The sections will be completed by attending lecture courses and writing essays.

 

NAM-I Introduction to North American Studies, 5 ECTS

Contact person and examiner:  Katri Sieberg

Learning objectives: The purpose of the introduction course is to familiarize students with how the issue of social institutions is addressed in the fields of political science, economics, history and sociology. The lecture course will be co-taught, with each field providing two lectures outlining their own approaches.

Content: An introduction to the multidisciplinary study of social institutions.

Required studies:

NAM-I) 5 ECTS Introduction to North American Studies lecture course

Students will participate on the introductory course on North American Studies. The lecture course will be counted as 5 ECTS-credits. The lecture course will be graded based on an essay.

 

NAM-II Social Institution Histories, 5 ECTS

Contact person and examiner: TBA

Learning objectives: The students will take a history course on a type of social institution – welfare state institutions or political institutions. This course will provide a foundation for how the field of history approaches the study of social institutions.

Content: North American and/or European History related to a social institution (welfare state, political or economic institution).

Required studies: Lecture courses.

 

NAM-III Law, Government and Politics, 5-10 ECTS

Contact person and examiner: Professor Katri Sieberg

Learning objectives: The students will familiarize themselves with similarities and differences between the North American and Nordic legal and political systems.

Content: The legal and political systems of America and Europe.

Required studies: Lecture courses

 

NAM-IV Economics, 5-10 ECTS

Learning objectives: The students will take an economics course on a type of social institution – welfare state institutions, or economic or political institutions. This course will provide a foundation for how the field of economics approaches the study of social institutions.

Content: economics.

Required studies: Lecture courses.

 

NAM-X Guest lectures, 5 ECTS

Contact person:  Katri Sieberg

Learning objectives:  Student will be exposed to broad variety of representations of American issues.

Content: Guest lectures by visiting lecturers, online lectures and podcasts. The program will announce suitable guest lectures when available. A list of suitable online lectures and podcasts are available on the program’s homepage.

Required studies: The students are expected to attend 20 guest lectures and/or listen to online-material (podcasts / online lectures). Based on the lectures and online-material students will write a learning diary, that contains 20 entries. Each lecture, podcast or online lecture will serve as one entry to the diary. One diary entry is one page.

The learning diary should be reflective. The students should not merely summarize the content of the presentation, but reflect on the content, how it relates to other information the student has, what questions it raises etc. Guest lectures and presentations will be marked on a guest-lecture form, which is available online: Guest Lecture Form 

 

NAM - Advanced Studies 35 ECTS

 

Learning objectives:  In Subject Studies the students will focus on specific themes related to social institutions – comparing institutions and policies in North America with those found in the Nordic countries or elsewhere in Europe.  The students will learn methodology and write interdisciplinary research papers.

 

NAM-VI Special courses in North American Studies, 20 ECTS

Contact person: Katri Sieberg

Learning objectives: The students will gain an in-depth perspective on a broad selection of social institutions issues in North America and in Europe.

Content: NAM-6 can be completed by taking various courses and seminars in North American Studies.

Required studies: Seminars and lecture courses.

 

NAM-VII Methodology, 5–10 ECTS

Contact person: Katri Sieberg

Learning objectives:  The students will learn quantitative methodological approaches to comparative research on social institutions.

Content:  Quantitative Social Science Research methodology.

Required studies:  Students will attend one to two lecture courses and/or seminars on methodology.

 

NAM-VIII Proseminar, 10 ECTS

Contact person: Katri Sieberg

Learning objectives:  The students will learn how to combine material from a NAM-VI seminar and methodology from a NAM-VII course to write an extensive research paper.

Content:  North American Studies research.

Required studies:  The Proseminar is an independent study course. For the Proseminar, students must complete a NAM-VI seminar and a NAM-VII course. Students will write an extensive research paper based on the methodology and material learned in these courses. The work will be written under the supervision of Professor Katri Sieberg.

 

For students who started the program in 2012, credits from the old curriculum still apply

CURRICULUM 2012-2015

 

North American Studies

North America has a large political and economic impact on the world. In recognition of this fact, the theme of the North American Studies program is that of politics and economics. Reflecting the location of the program, in Finland, the North American Studies program is a comparative, rather than an area-studies program. Thus, courses go beyond understanding events, policies and issues in North America to understanding these events, policies and issues in general, with the North American cases serving as a special example.

The program is multi-disciplinary with a focus on political science and economics. A particular emphasis of the program is on welfare state issues. Incorporating welfare state issues provides a rich comparative focus on an issue that is of great importance domestically and globally. In addition to political science and economics, other disciplines are also incorporated in the program. The combination of these different approaches will provide students with an in depth understanding of the politics and economics of North America. The program’s themes have wide overlap with various other programs at the University of Tampere.

The NAM-program offers two levels of studies; The Basic Studies (25 ECTS) and Subject studies (35 ECTS).  North American Studies can be included in various studies as a full minor (basic studies 25 ECTS + subject studies 35 ECTS) in a Master's degree. The completion of the basic studies (25 ECTS) can serve as a minor for the Bachelor of Arts Degree (Kandidaatin tutkinto) (Please check your School’s requirement for minor subjects!).

Primary objective of the program: A program for students and post-graduate students who wish to pursue their degrees in their major subject with a focus on North America.

Secondary objective: Students who wish to focus on North American Studies, in conjunction with their major, but do not intend to continue studies past a Master’s degree.

The NAM program is especially suited for students planning a career in research, international organizations and/or international business. Furthermore, it is particularly useful for students planning to write their master's thesis or doctoral dissertation on a North American topic.

Students may take North American Studies in any order.

 

NAM - Basic Studies 25 ECTS

 

Learning objectives:  The student will learn the basics of North American politics, economy, history, society, and culture through interdisciplinary approaches.

Content:  The basic studies are structured into four sections. NAM-I to NAM-III and NAM-IV are worth five 5 ECTS credits each. NAM-IV is worth 5 ECTS credits and will consist of one choice from NAM-IV a/b/c/d.  The sections will be completed by attending lecture courses and writing essays.

 

NAM-I Introduction to North American Studies, 5 ECTS

Contact person and examiner:  TBA

Learning objectives:  The purpose of the introduction course is to familiarize students with North America, its key concepts and traditions and the foundations of its political system.

Content:  The history and evolution of North America and its political system.

Required studies:

NAM-I a) 3-5 ECTS Introduction to North American Studies lecture course

NAM-I b) 2 – ECTS Essay for Introduction to North American Studies

Students will participate on the introductory course on North American Studies. The lecture course will be counted as 3 - 5 ECTS-credits depending on the length of the course. If the lecture course is worth 3 ECTS credits, the students have to complete one additional essay, which is worth 2 ECTS credits. The subject of the essay will be agreed with the teacher of the introduction course.

 

NAM-II North American Histories, 5 ECTS

Contact person and examiner:  TBA

Learning objectives:  The students will familiarize themselves with North American Histories.

Content:  North American History.

Required studies:  Lecture courses when available and essays based on listed books or electronic material. Essays will be agreed upon with the responsible teacher.

Book list:

Choose two books from the following:

* Chafe, William H; The Rise and Fall of the American Century, Oxford University Press

* Foner, Nancy; From Ellis Island to JFK, New York’s Two Great Waves of Immigration, Yale

University Press

* Gaddis, John Lewis; The Cold War: A New History, Penguin Press 2005

 

NAM-III Law and Politics, 5 ECTS

Contact person and examiner:  Professor Katri Sieberg

Learning objectives:  The students will familiarize themselves with the North American legal and political system.

Content:  The legal and political system of America.

Required studies:  Lecture courses

 

NAM-IV North American impacts; Culture and Economics, 5 ECTS

Choose a), b), c) or d)

 

Students have to choose one from the listed sections.

a)      North American Literature, 5 ECTS

b)      Media and the American Public, 5 ECTS

c)      North American Economics, 5 ECTS

d)      20 guest lectures, 5 ECTS

 

Learning objectives:  The students will familiarize themselves with North American culture and economy.

Content:  North American literature, culture, media and economics.

Required studies:  Lecture courses when available and essays based on listed books or electronic material. Essays will be agreed upon with the responsible teacher.

  • NAM-IV a)   North American Literature, 5 ECTS

Contact person:  TBA

Learning objectives:  The students will familiarize themselves with selected pieces of North American literature.

Content:  North American literature.

Required studies:  Students will write essays based on the listed books below. The topics of the essays will be arranged by the teacher responsible.

N.B. Students who have completed a course on American Literature (American literature I or II) in English Philology may gain 5 ECTS by alternative arrangements. Please contact the program coordinator. American literature I or II will also substitute for NAS-4 a) if the student opts to use it for North American Studies.     

 

Choose list 1) or list 2)

List 1)

* Susanna Moodie: Roughing It in the Bush

* Mark Twain: Huckleberry Finn

* F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby

* Richard Wright: Native Son

* Louise Erdrich: Love Medicine

 

List 2)

* Margaret Laurence: The Stone Angel

* M. Ondaatje: In the Skin of a Lion

* Mark Twain: Huckleberry Finn

* J. Steinbeck: The Grapes of Wrath

* Toni Morrison: Playing in the Dark

 

  • NAM IV b)   Media and the American Public, 5 ECTS

Contact person:  TBA

Learning objectives:  The students will familiarize themselves with North American media.

Content:  North American media.

Required studies:  Lecture courses when available and essays or book exams based on listed books or electronic material. Essays will be agreed upon with the responsible teacher.

Book list: 

* DeFleur & Ball-Rokeach: Theories of Mass Communication (1989).

and one of the following:

* Schudson, Michael: The Sociology of News (2003), New York: W.W.Norton & Company Inc.

* Wasko, Janet: Understanding Disney (2001).

 

  • NAM-IV c)   North American Economics, 5 ECTS

Contact person:  Katri Sieberg

Learning objectives:  The students will familiarize themselves with North American economics.

Content:  North American economics.

Required studies:  Lecture courses or essays based on books and/or electronic material.

Book list:

* Krugman, Paul R. 1995. Peddling Prosperity: Economic Sense and Nonsense in an Age of Diminishing Expectations. W.W. Norton & Company.

* Venatesh, Sudhir. 2002 American Project: The Rise and Fall of a Modern Ghetto.

 

  • NAM-IV d)   Guest lectures, 5 ECTS

Contact person:  Program coordinator

Learning objectives:  Student will be exposed to broad variety of representations of American issues.

Content:  Guest lectures by visiting lecturers, online lectures and podcasts.  The program will announce suitable guest lectures when available. A list of suitable online lectures and podcasts are available on the program’s homepage.

Required studies:  The students are expected to attend 20 guest lectures and/or listen to online-material (podcasts / online lectures). Based on the lectures and online-material students will write a learning diary, that contains 20 entries. Each lecture, podcast or online lecture will serve as one entry to the diary. One diary entry is one page.

The learning diary should be reflective. The students should not merely summarize the content of the presentation, but reflect on the content, how it relates to other information the student has, what questions it raises etc. Guest lectures and presentations will be marked on a guest-lecture form, which is available online: Guest Lecture Form 

 

NAM-V American Government and Society, 5 ECTS

Contact person:  Katri Sieberg

Learning objectives:  The students will gain an in-depth perspective on key aspects of American Government and society.

Content:  Key aspects of American Government and society.

Required studies:  Essays based on listed books or electronic material.  Essay material, content and length will be agreed upon with the responsible teacher.

Book list:

* Olson, Mancur. The Logic of Collective Action: Public Goods and the Theory of Groups. Harvard University

Press 1965.

* Chafe, W.H. 2005. Private Lives/Public Consequences: Personality and Politics in Modern America.

* Kiewiet, D. Roderick and Mathew D. McCubbins.1991. The Logic of Delegation. University of Chicago

Press. 

* Mayhew, David. 2004. Congress: The Electoral Connection, Second Edition, Yale University

Press.

* Venkatesh, Sudhir. 2002. Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets. Penguin Press HC.

 

NAM - Advanced Studies 35 ECTS

 

Learning objectives:  In Subject Studies the students will focus on specific themes related to politics in North American studies, preferably with a comparative perspective. The students will learn methodology and write interdisciplinary research papers.

 

NAM-VI Special courses in North American Studies, 20 ECTS

Contact person:  Katri Sieberg

Learning objectives:  The students will gain an in-depth perspective on a broad selection of aspects on America.

Content:  NAM-6 can be completed by taking various courses and seminars in North American Studies.

Required studies:  Seminars and lecture courses.

 

NAM-VII Methodology,  5–10 ECTS

Contact person:  Katri Sieberg

Learning objectives:  The students will learn methodological approaches to research in comparative North American Studies.

Content:  Research methodology.

Required studies:  Students will attend one to two lecture courses and/or seminars on methodology.

 

NAM-VIII Proseminar, 10 ECTS

Contact person: Katri Sieberg

Learning objectives:  The students will learn how to combine material from a NAM-VI seminar and methodology from a NAM-VII course to write an extensive research paper. 

Content:  North American Studies research.

Required studies:  Prior to the Proseminar, students must complete a NAM-VI seminar and a NAM-VII course. Students will write an extensive research paper based on the methodology and material learned in these courses. The work will be written under the supervision of Professor Katri Sieberg.

 

 
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Last update: 10.9.2015 12.59 Muokkaa

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