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2014/2015  KAN-CLMAO1647U  Cultures and Identities in the Americas

English Title
Cultures and Identities in the Americas

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Mandatory
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Semester
Course period Autumn
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Study board
Study Board for MA in International Business Communication
Course coordinator
  • Kevin McGovern - MSC
Main academic disciplines
  • Globalization, International Business, markets and studies
  • Language and Intercultural Studies
Last updated on 08-07-2014
Learning objectives
In the written paper the student must be able to:
• Identify and present a relevant problem/issue within the framework of the course, that is, cultures and identities in the Western Hemisphere
• Relate this to a field within the study of culture and/or identities such as
 National identity
 Race or ethnic identity
 Theories within identity and/or culture
• Identify a theoretical framework for the case being presented
• Identify important literature within the area of study

In the oral exam the student must also be able to:
• Discuss empirical and theoretical aspects and implications of the problem/issue under consideration
• Carry out an analysis of the problem/issue on the basis of the theoretical and/or methodological framework presented
• Participate in a discussion of the problem/issue, theories and methods including alternative theoretical/​methodological approaches
• Identify other related issues within the area and/or similar issues in one or more other geographical areas in the Western hemisphere
• Identify and relate to other issues within the field
• Suggest or participate in a discussion of how the problem/issue under consideration could be approached from a practical perspective. Such a practical perspective could for example be:
o Business oriented (e.g. the relationship between advertising and culture/identity)
o Organisation oriented (e.g. the relationship between culture/identity and development assistance)
o Politically oriented (e.g. the relationship between culture/identity and political problems)
Course prerequisites
BA-level knowledge of American studies (the USA and Latin America. Students should have specific knowledge of the history and the fundamental cultural and identity issues of the Americas (including main trends within cultural theory.
See below under Course Content for suggested prior readings.
Cultures and Identities in the Americas:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Oral exam based on written product

In order to participate in the oral exam, the written product must be handed in before the oral exam; by the set deadline. The grade is based on an overall assessment of the written product and the individual oral performance.
Individual or group exam Individual
Size of written product Max. 5 pages
Assignment type Written assignment
Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
20 min. per student, including examiners' discussion of grade, and informing plus explaining the grade
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) Internal examiner and external examiner
Exam period Winter Term
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
If the student has handed in the synopsis on time, but is unable to be present for the oral presentation due to illness or has failed to appear for the oral presentation he or she may register for a re-take of the oral presentation on the basis of the same, an improved or a new synopsis in the same exam period according to the examination plan for re-takes.
Description of the exam procedure

20 min oral exam based on individual 3-5 page (a 2275 characters, incl. spaces) paper containing research question, introduction to the subject and bibliography. The synopsis must be handed in according to the examination plan.

Course content and structure

The aim of this course is to provide students with the theoretical and methodological tools to analyse culture and identity issues in the Western Hemisphere. Students should become familiar with major theoretical approaches in culture and identity studies and learn to apply these theories within various empirical fields in the USA and Latin America such as: nation, race, gender, class, ethnicity, religion, popular culture. The students should also be able to apply this theoretical and empirical knowledge to economic, political and social issues in relation to business and organisations.The course deals with theoretical and empirical issues related to questions about culture and identity in the Western Hemisphere. Classes take their point of departure in an analysis of one or more geographical and/or thematically defined topics.

Suggested prior readings:
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)
Cultures and identities (including cultural theory) as in:
the compendium used in the BA-IVK course Society, cultures and identities. (Available from Jan Gustafsson or the Programme Coordinator)

Teaching methods
The course uses lectures and group activities. There is an emphasis upon student participation.
All the teaching and the exam are in English.
Cases and papers: It is the general idea that the theoretical readings and discussions should be related to empirical questions. These ‘cases’ or empirical ‘fields’ can be present in different ways, as: material brought by the teacher to be studied in class (e.g. film scenes and similar); texts posted on LEARN to be prepared along with the theoretical texts; cases or subjects that the students want to introduce in class. These could very well relate to the subjects the students choose for their written paper (exam). Although the final deadline for the written paper is in December (check the examination schedule), it is strongly recommended that you begin to find your subject early in the course. In this way, it can be integrated in the teaching process. The subject for your written paper can relate directly to one or more teaching cases, but might also take its point of departure in other questions. You are entitled to receive some individual supervision in relation to the synopsis.
Student workload
Synopsis 40 hours
Oral exam 30 hours
Preparation for lessons and lessons 155 hours
Expected literature

Suggested prior readings:
History as in:
Goldfield, D. et al. The American Journey Combined/Concise (Pearson, 2012)
Thomas E. Skidmore & Peter H. Smith, Modern Latin America (Oxford University Press, 2013)

A bibliography for the course is available on LEARN and as many texts as possible (as links or documents). The number of pages to read for each class session will vary, typically about 30-40 pages.

Basic course readings:

Castells, Manuel: The Information Age. Vol. 2: The Power of Identity. Blackwell, Oxford 1997 (or later). Chapter 1.

Jenkins, Richard: Social Identity, selected chapters.Routledge, London, 1996 (or later)
Phillips, Ann (2010): What is ‘Culture’? In Gender and Culture. Cambridge: Polity Press, pp. 57-68.
Gupta, Akhil & James Ferguson (1992): Beyond “Culture”: Space, Identity, and the Politics of Difference. In Cultural Anthropology, Vol. 7, No. 1 (Feb).


Last updated on 08-07-2014