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Noord-Amerika Studies

Research Approach and Themes

The research carried out by the Department of American Studies, by and large, mirrors the main concentrations in our educational agenda. At the heart of our research efforts, and hence of our curriculum, are three separate themes:

  • Early American culture and history  
  • Contemporary socio-political issues 
  • Popular culture and media studies 

Given the nature of American Studies, the key distinguishing feature of our research as well as in our teaching is that it is truly  interdisciplinary  in approach in which the individual researchers actively work  across  different disciplines and methodologies as opposed to, for example, research on American topics carried out in the History Department, which would generally reflect historical approaches only. 

The same is true for our teaching agenda: individual teachers are required to be versatile in more than one discipline as all major survey courses combine a range of disciplinary areas, approaches, methodologies, and data sets. Aligned with our teaching practices, our research is generally problem-driven as well as theory-driven. That is to say, we explore specific issues that are controversial, contested, or under-investigated, and then seek to resolve these issues through the generalization of our findings, incorporating elements associated with both the structure and the process of the phenomena we study. Among the themes we are currently exploring are: 

  • Contemporary migration and mobility issues in the Americas 
  • Alliance cultures in the modern media landscape 
  • Cultural memory and popular culture 
  • Circum-Atlantic reconstructions the era of the eighteenth-century Revolutions 
  • Transnational perspectives on the idea of “America” and the Americas (both in historical and contemporary contexts)

Research Team and Projects

Within the Department of American Studies, research is facilitated by four senior researchers, one Rosalind Franklin Fellow, and three PhD students. Please visit the Faculty Roster and the Faculty Projects sections of the Departmental website to view a listing of current American Studies faculty members and their individual research initiatives.

  • Testimonial van Pirmin Olde Weghuis

    Liaison Officer Europe at VH Strategies

    During my Master's track in American Studies I gained a lot of knowledge about the United States. I also improved my research, writing and spoken English skills. This is of great benefit in my current work for an American political consultant. I deal with transatlantic issues and developments in American politics on a daily basis.

    What attracted me to the Master’s track in American Studies was that you learn how to critically analyse culture, history and politics. Following this programme also gave me the opportunity to deepen my knowledge of two areas that interest me: the history of the American Revolution and American political culture.

    The Lantos Congressional Fellowship was a major highlight for me. In my six months as Lantos Fellow I worked for Congresswoman Napolitano in the House of Representatives. It was a fantastic experience to be able to walk round right at the heart of American democracy. 

    I also did an exchange at Central Michigan University. This too was one of the best experiences of my studies. Although I really enjoy my current work in American politics, in the future I would like to study for a second Master’s degree at a top university in the United States.

    Sluiten
    – Pirmin Olde Weghuis
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