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Program and Learning Outcomes

America’s cultural icons are the world's cultural icons. From Walt Disney to the Statue of Liberty, from Hollywood to Time magazine, from Jack Kerouac to Don DeLillo and from Margaret Atwood to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The influence of American culture around the world is tremendous. The meaning and the significance that people assign to American products vary from country to country. The MA program "Literatures and Cultures of North America in International Perspective" focuses on the production and reception of literature, (popular) culture and art in the 20th and 21st centuries in their historical, social and cultural contexts. Our program stresses the diversity of North American cultural production and allows students to study contemporary North American fiction, manifestations of the American avant-garde, and/or the literary and cultural production of American ethnic groups such as African Americans, Native Americans and Chicano/as. Particular emphasis lies on the societal and socio-political context in which literary and cultural communications acquire meaning. All students enrolled in this MA program take certain compulsory foundational courses. These are "American Studies: Theories & Practices," on the methodological developments of the field of American Studies within both the United States and Europe, "Contemporary North American Fiction," which includes novels as well as theatre and film productions and "Transatlantic Transfer and Cultural Mobility: Grounding Transnational American Studies'" a course 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 take a compulsory MA Thesis Colloquium to help them structure their MA Thesis research and support their writing process. There is an elective space in the program, which enable students to place personal emphases or to engage in an internship. Options for elective courses include courses on North American Indians, Politics and Cultures of the Black Freedom Struggle, aswell as courses from the North American Studies Master program "Transnational America" are open to students from "Literatures and Cultures,". 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).

Learning Objectives

  • obtain a thorough understanding of the production and reception of North American culture, with an emphasis on literature, but also including visual art, music, performative art and popular culture;
  • are familiar with the diversity of North American cultural expression and understand the role that cultural production plays in socio-political and cultural debates;
  • are able to analyze expressions of culture within their cultural and/or socio-political contexts;
  • have the skills to formulate research questions, to independently engage in research activities and to report on their research findings in academic fashion in excellent English.