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2010/2011  KAN-MLEAMAS1  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
Point 7,5 ECTS (225 SAT)
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
Merete Borch
Main Category of the Course
  • Language and Intercultural Studies
  • Political leadership, public management and international politics
  • Globalization, International Business, markets and studies

Taught under Open University-Taught under open university.
Last updated on 29 maj 2012
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 for the themes
  • Apply relevant theoretical and methodological considerations in the exam paper
Course prerequisites and restrictions: BA-level knowledge of American studies (the USA and Latin America) is a prerequisite for joining this course. It is assumed that students have specific knowledge of the history and politics of the Americas when they participate in the course. History as in Goldfield, D. et al. The American Journey Combined/Concise ed. (New York: Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2008) Thomas E. Skidmore & Peter H. Smith, Modern Latin America, Sixth edition (Oxford University Press, 2005) Politics as in Charles Blake, Politics in Latin America, 2nd edition (New York: 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) Edward Ashbee and Colleen Harris, US Politics Today - 3rd edition (Manchester UP, 2010).
Written exam, 3 hours
Exam Period Winter Term

Exam aids: All written aids
Prerequisites for Attending the Exam
Course Content

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 treatment 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.

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. Beginning with the second week, students will write a précis of a reading which will be due at the beginning of class. There will be a written exam at the end of the semester. It will be a three hour open-book exam. Students will demonstratet their knowledge of the empirical materials as well as their ability to employ concepts and theories appropriately.

Copies of assigned articles and chapters from books will be available on-line at the course website. There also is a list of suggested readings for those who want to pursue an argument.
Student Workload
Teaching and preparation 170 hours
Written précis 10 hours
Preparation for exam 42 hours
Written exam 3 hours

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

Suggested litterature (subject to change):

Vanden, Harry E. & Gary Prevost, Politics of Latin America: The Power Game. 2. Edition (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009).

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 I’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.

Furthermore, we will watch sections of the award winning “Commanding Heights,” produced by PBS. This program will help us to understand how both economic and political factors shaped the development of the world for the last hundred years and how the theory we will learn actually had an important influence in shaping policy in the Americas. Students will find further details on the series by logging into: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/commandingheights/lo/index.html

PBS: Commanding Heights(http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/commandingheights/lo/index.html). Click on “Story line” in the web page and read the chapters (once you are in the “story line” page click on transcript menu) assigned for each class meeting.