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2011/2012  BA-IVK_APS3  Government, politics and policy-making in the Americas

English Title
Government, politics and policy-making in the Americas

Course Information

Language English
Point 10 ECTS (300 SAT)
Type Mandatory
Level Bachelor
Duration One Semester
Course Period Autumn
3rd semester
Time Table Please see course schedule at e-Campus
Study Board
Study Board for BA in International Business Communication
Course Coordinator
  • Course coordinator for American studies
    Kevin McGovern - Department of International Culture and Communication Studies
Main Category of the Course
  • Language and Intercultural Studies
Last updated on 29 maj 2012
Learning Objectives
The course helps students develop their knowledge and understanding of the most important political institutions and processes that play a role in the political decision-making process. The students also develop an understanding of the historical context in which the political institutions have developed, as well as a basic knowledge of the most essential political topics and the central elements in the political culture of both the USA and the Latin American countries. It is furthermore the aim of the course to strengthen the analytical skills of the students and their ability to condense information from various sources. The students will be able critically to analyse and assess political issues and thus to offer Danish and other European companies knowledge about political factors in the western hemisphere.
b) written exam:
Assessment Written Exam
Marking Scale 7-step scale
Censorship No censorship
Exam Period December/January
Aids Closed Book
Duration 3 Hours

The exam consists of a number of questions some of which are to be answered briefly, while others invite answers in the form of essays. The United States as well at Latin America are covered by the questions. The exam is a PC exam on CBS' PC's - option 4 according to the Study Board's PC options.

Make-up exam/re-exam

As the regular exam, however please refer to  § 18 (2) b in the program rules

The holding of the exam

a) Make-up exams/re-exams are held before the end of the semester on a date set by the teacher.

b) This exam is held immediately after the ordinary exam period. After that, the exam cannot be taken until the next ordinary exam of this course.

a) In the paper, the student must be able to:

• Identify the main characteristics of the political systems in the USA and the Latin American countries
• Analyse and assess the nature of the political systems in the western hemisphere
• Apply relevant concepts, models and theories in the discussion of the political systems and structures

b) At the exam, the student must be able to:

• Identify the defining characteristics of the political systems in the USA and the Latin American countries
• Apply the concepts, models and theories which are used in the study of political systems and structures
• Assess the meaning of major political events and developments in the western hemisphere
• Compare and contrast the political systems in the USA and the Latin American countries
• Discuss and assess the political debate and the nature of the political systems in the western hemisphere in a precise and efficient way.
Prerequisites for Attending the Exam
In order to take the written exam (b), the student must have passed the mandatory paper (a)

a) mandatory paper - progress test
Individual home assignment. Deadline: See semester plan. The paper is handed in, in two copies, to the teacher. Length: A maximum of 6 standard pages. No censorship. Pass/Fail.
Course Content

The course presents the political institutions and the different forms of decision-making processes. The Presidential office of the United States, Congress and the federal courts, as well as the various state governments are presented. The role of the political parties and interest organizations is discussed, as is the design of the election processes. The political structures and government systems in Central and South America are also discussed.

Institutions and processes are examined critically throughout the course. Topics such as the distribution of power in the different countries, the effect of ‘checks and balances’, the extent to which the political process is characterized by consensus or the lack of it, and the possibilities of political activity are examined and discussed. In this context, the general role of the USA in the creation of Latin America’s political character is also considered, as well as, in general, the role of the world’s only superpower.

Teaching Methods
Class teaching with presentations by the teacher(s) and group work. Emphasis is placed on active participation in classes. Written assignments are part of the course.
Student Workload
Total student working hours: 300 hours

Robert J. McKeever and Philip John Davies, Brief Introduction to US Politics (Longman). From 2011

Edward Ashbee and Colleen Harris, US Politics Today- 3rd edition (Manchester UP).

Blake, Charles. Politics in Latin America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2008.

Carlos Scartascini, Ernesto Stein and Mariano Tommasi, eds. How Democracy Works: Institutions, and Actors in Latin American Policymaking (Washington, D.C.: Interamerican Development Bank, 2010)
Further literature is listed in the semester plan.