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2013/2014  KAN-MLEAM_AS1  Politics and Society in the USA and/or Latin America

English Title
Politics and Society in the USA and/or Latin America

Course information

Language English
Exam ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Mandatory
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Semester
Course period Autumn
Time Table Please see course schedule at e-Campus
Study board
Study Board for MA in International Business Communication
Course coordinator
  • Kevin McGovern - Department of International Business Communication (IBC)
Main academic disciplines
  • Globalization, International Business, markets and studies
  • Political leadership, public management and international politics
  • Language and Intercultural Studies
Last updated on 01-10-2013
Learning objectives
The student must be able to:
  • Demonstrate concrete, empirical knowledge of the themes dealt with in the course
  • Demonstrate general understanding of the institutional and societal framework of course themes
  • Analyse and discuss concrete political and social problems and issues relevant to the themes
  • Apply relevant theoretical and methodological considerations in the exam paper
Course prerequisites
BA-level knowledge of American Studies. Students must have specific knowledge of the history and politics of the Americas. See below under Course Content for suggested prior readings.
Politics and Society in the USA and/or Latin America:
Examination form Written sit-in exam
Individual or group exam Individual
Assignment type Written assignment
Duration 3 hours
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) Internal examiner and second internal examiner
Exam period Winter Term
Aids allowed to bring to the exam Limited aids, see the list below and the exam plan/guidelines for further information:
  • Additional allowed aids
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
If the number of registered candidates for the make-up examination/re-take examination warrants that it may most appropriately be held as an oral examination, the programme office will inform the students that the make-up examination/re-take examination will be held as an oral examination instead.
Description of the exam procedure

Exam on CBS' PC without internet access
Exam aids: All written aids, incl. USB-stick.

Course content and structure

The aim of the course is to increase student understanding of the institutional framework within which society functions in the relevant countries. Furthermore the intention is to strengthen the ability of the students to analyse political and social issues. The main emphasis is on an in-depth analysis of one or more themes which provide an empirical point of departure for a general discussion of socio-political processes in the USA and/or Latin America. 

Suggested prior readings:
History as in:
Goldfield, D. et al. The American Journey Comb./Concise ed. (NY: Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2008)
Skidmore & Smith, Modern Latin America, 6th edition (OUP, 2005)
Politics as in:
C. Blake, Politics in Latin America, 2nd ed. (NY: Houghton-Mifflin, 2008)
C. Scartascini, E. Stein and M. Tommasi, eds. How Democracy Works: Institutions, and Actors in Latin American Policymaking (Washington, D.C.: Interamerican Development Bank, 2010)
E. Ashbee and C. Harris, US Politics Today - 3rd ed. (Manchester UP, 2010).

Teaching methods
The course uses lectures and group activities. There is an emphasis upon student participation.
All teaching as well as the exam is in English.
Requirements for the course are reading all the assignments in a timely manner and active participation in class discussions. Each student is required to give a seminar presentation of a topic dealt with in classes.
There will be a written exam at the end of the semester. It will be a three hour open-book exam. Students will demonstrate their knowledge of the empirical materials as well as their ability to employ concepts and theories appropriately.
Student workload
Teaching and preparation 180 hours
Preparation for exam 42 hours
Written exam 3 hours
Expected literature

A reading list will be available at the beginning of the semester.

Suggested literature (subject to change):

  • Mann, Thomas & Norman Ornstein, The Broken Branch: How Congress Is Failing America and How to Get It Back on Track (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008).
  • Selected chapters from: Crenson, Matthew & Thomas Stanton, Downsizing Democracy: How America Sidelined It's Citizens and Privatized Its Public (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004).

In addition to these readings, a number of articles will be posted online during the course.

Last updated on 01-10-2013