Programme and Learning Outcomes
America today is more powerful than any other country or empire in human history. At times, its influence on the world is “soft,” by dint of cultural diplomacy, transnational webs of relation and exchange, and the allure of its popular cultures. As a land of opportunity through the centuries, the United States has embraced – and been remade by – the people, cultures, and religions of the world, even as it has seduced large swaths of the world with its ideas, lifestyles and culture. At other moments, however, America’s work in the world is “hard”, even vicious: military invasions, the ruthless imposition of neoliberal market regimes, covert destabilizations, and global wars on drugs and terror that regularly violate international conventions on human rights, ethics and justice. Time and again, America has sought to remake the world in its own image, in line with its own interests, by dint of military force, interventions, international organizations, globe-spanning corporations, development aid, torture and boycotts.
The program contains several obligatory foundation courses. These are "American Studies: Theories & Practices" on theoretical and methodological developments in relation to the discipline of American Studies in Europe as well as in the United States.; "The Future of American Power," a course which discusses the future of US power in the world; "Religion and American International Relations" on the significance of religion in American culture, society and politics. It explores the influence of religious thought on US Foreign Affairs; and "Transatlantic Transfer and Cultural Mobility: Grounding Transnational American Studies,'" a course on moments of intercultural confrontations and processes of democratization, cultural appropriation, cultural transfer, and cultural mobility from Modernism to the digital age of globalization. In addition, students participate in MA Thesis Colloquium to help them structure their MA Thesis research and support their writing process. There is a small elective space in the program which enable students to place personal emphases or to engage in an internship. Options for elective courses include a special course on the Politics and Cultures of the Black Freedom Struggle; North American Indians or American Constitutional Law (taught in Dutch). The American Studies Master's program has relations to two Nijmegen research programs: "Performances of Memory and Identity" and "Studying Criticism and Reception Across Borders" (SCARAB).
1. the student has advanced scholarly insight and knowledge of North American history, politics, (popular) culture, media and society of the 20th and 21st centuries. He/she is capable of combining insights from multiple academic disciplines in order to interpret and analyze connections between developments within these areas
2. he/she is capable of analyzing processes of socio-cultural and political exchange, mutual perceptions and intercultural confrontations, both within and outside of North America.
3. he/she has an advanced understanding of the theory and practice of "American Studies" as an interdisciplinary scholarly field, and is able to describe and explain historical and contemporary developments in "American Studies" in North America and in Europe.
4. he/she has the scientific and theoretical knowledge and the methodological skills to independently formulate research questions, to carry out a (preferably interdisciplinary) research project, to critically approach and utilize relevant sources, and to communicate the results of his/her research in a scientific work written in good and correct (American) English.
5. the student has acquired an advanced scientific understanding and knowledge of the changing position of the United States on the world stage in light of developments within US foreign policy, cultural diplomacy and the role of religion, race and ethnicity in international relations. He/she is capable of interpreting the political and cultural repercussions, in particular for the relationship between the US and Europe.
6. he/she capable of analyzing (contemporary issues in) North American politics, culture, religion and society, and of understanding them in their historical, social and cultural contexts and from a comparative and transnational perspective.