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The fundamentals modules consist of two obligatory modules that introduce the basic facts, themes, and debates of the field of North American Studies, as well as teach important academic writing skills.
These two modules are Understanding North America (UNA) A and Understanding North America (UNA) B.
This comprehensive, two-part course introduces students to the fundamentals of the interdisciplinary field of North American Studies. "Understanding North America" (UNA) follows a two-semester format, with the first part (UNA-A) during students' first winter term covering the disciplines of literary studies, cultural studies, and history. The second part (UNA-B) is offered during the summer term and expands the overall framework with the disciplinary perspectives of sociology, economics, and political science.
While UNA is one of the most challenging courses at the John F. Kennedy Institute, it rewards students with insights into multiple disciplines along with a solid foundation of knowledge and skills for further studies.
Each UNA module consists of two components: lectures and tutorials. The lectures offer an overview of central developments, concepts, and questions of American culture, literature, and history. The tutorials, in contrast, provide a forum to discuss selected issues in depth. You will have the chance to revisit the content of each lecture, but also to dive into specific materials and issues in smaller group discussions. The teaching assistants who organize the tutorials will assist students in their preparation for the final written exam at the end of the term.
A central goal of UNA is to enable students to critically investigate and analyze North American societies of the past and present from an interdisciplinary angle. At the same time, the course covers the methodological and theoretical basics of each contributing discipline, thus enabling students to make conscious decisions about their future areas of concentration at the John F. Kennedy Institute.