Core Joint Courses / 4 core joint courses: each 3 credit hours = 12 credit hours

Research Methods and Analysis

This course is designed to provide students with theoretical background and practical tools to do research in social science / political science. Qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods approaches are studied. Students will develop the skills to read, interpret, and critically analyze texts. They will identify and apply the basic concepts of research, such as variables, sampling, reliability, and validity. They will be able to develop research problem, questions, objectives, hypotheses and literature review, and are expected to design a research project. By the end of the course, students would have constructed a coherent research where methodology underpinnings are identified and ethical research standards are recognized and respected.

Interdisciplinary Approaches to Global Studies

The course introduces various clusters of knowledge relevant to approaching global studies: philosophy of knowledge/science, cross-continental geo-political evolution and civilizational political thought across the continents. The course gradually cultivates a breadth in each realm/cluster   of   knowledge,   encouraging   inter-disciplinary,   inter-cultural   and   inter-paradigmatic analytical skills. It then cultivates a conversive breadth across these clusters of knowledge.

The Evolving Global Economy

The course studies the theories of the principal three economists; Adam Smith, Karl Marx and John Keynes. It discusses the Great Depression and the socialist measures implemented by President Roosevelt to revive the economy. It analyses Fukuyama’s concept which stressed in 1989, when the collapse of the socialist Soviet Union was imminent, that Western liberal democracy, including liberal capitalism, was the end of history and civilization. The course indicates how that concept was refuted particularly by the rise of socialist China which deposed the USA from the rank of top world economy, in addition to the 2008 USA financial crisis.

The course analyses the prosperity of the Scandinavian Countries and their mixed economies of social capitalism, the rise of the BRICS particularly China and India, and the progress of Malaysia and Singapore. It also studies the role of the IMF, World Bank and WTO in the global economy.

The course looks into the ongoing changes in the global economy and the emerging world economic map.

Political and Cultural Geography

The course investigates the relation of space, place and scale with political and cultural practices. It introduces the global, regional, as well as local means of power and their impact on the organization of boundaries, resources, and cultural products/norms. Two interactive themes are covered. The first tackles the concepts of political geography, geopolitics, and geo-strategy. It also examines theories of power and the politics of space, geography and spatiality of social and cultural life including networks, territories, and coalitions. The second theme highlights the differences in the perception and practice of human use of place in the various scales (global, regional and local). This shall include the discussion of concepts such as   cultural   hegemony,   westernization,   Islamization,   and   modernization.   An   essential component   of   this   course   will   be   acquiring   the   skill   of   analyzing   maps   and   cultural landscapes, as well as introducing several case studies.

Core Courses of M.A Program in American Studies / 3 courses each 3 credit hours = 9 credit hours

The American Political System

This course introduces students to American politics, through a close look at important historical documents and the contemporary governmental institutions that shape public life. Students will read the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, examining them both in their historical context and as Americans understand them and debate them today. They will also study the roles and interactions of key aspects of the political system, including the presidency, Congress, the judiciary, and the relationship between the federal government and the states and territories. The course will also examine political parties and the diversity of political opinion, and it will give special attention to the strengths and weaknesses of American democracy in a comparative context

The United States and the Middle East

Students in this course will study and analyze the politics and policies of the United States in relation to the Middle East, with special attention to American-Palestinian relations.  The course will introduce students to the history of American engagement in the region.  Contemporary issues will be explored through a close look at the role of key players and institutions in foreign policy, particularly the President, the State Department, the Congress, the military, advocacy groups, and the private sector.  Students will also learn about the diversity of American attitudes towards the peoples of the Middle East, by looking at the news media and popular culture.

Diversity, Justice, and Injustice in the United States

Despite the vision of America’s founding documents and the significant contributions of successive waves of immigrants, “We the People” has never included everyone.   Slavery and racism, anti-immigrant hostilities, and gender discrimination have shaped the United States along with struggles for social justice.  This course will explore the historical roots of discrimination and injustice in the United States and the legal, social, political, and cultural strategies through which diverse groups have claimed a right to the promise of America.  New challenges in the context of globalization will also be addressed, and the course will analyze the resilience of American institutions to embrace diversity and aim at equality.

Elective Courses of M.A Program in American Studies / 3 credit hours each

Turning Points in U.S. History

In the life of a nation, some events and moments invariably stand out for their central role in changing the course of policy, practice, or progress. Times of war, economic challenge, industrial development, population growth, cultural change, and social protest have all made their mark on the American present.  With varying emphases, this course will select a few of the major turning points in the making of the modern United States and explore their causes, conditions, and consequences.  In this way, we will have the opportunity to look closely at some of the ways in which the past shapes the present, and the present can learn from the past in order to shape a different future.

Culture and Identity in the U.S.  

From its great diversity of ethnic, racial, and geographic communities and its plurality of religions, the United States has created a rich cultural mix.  This does not mean a homogenization of identities, nor does it always mean easy coexistence, but it does mean that people of many regions, backgrounds, and religious values have contributed to what we name as “American culture.”  This course will provide access to the cultural diversity of the United States through examples drawn from stories, poetry, art, music, and popular media. Our goals will be to see how U.S. society has negotiated culture differences in artistically and socially productive ways and to see as well how diverse groups have used a range of cultural forms to create distinctive “hybrid” or “hyphenated” American identities while also challenging and changing the society at large.

The U.S. and the Question of Palestine

This sequel to the core course on “The United States and the Middle East” looks specifically at how the U.S. has engaged with the Question of Palestine and the Palestinian people since the establishment of Israel and the Nakba of 1948. Attention will be paid to the positions taken by the U.S. regarding the wars of 1948 and 1967, the invasion of Lebanon in 1982and the two Intifadas. The course will also address the relation between the U.S. and the PLO since 1988 including the 1993 signing ceremony in the White House of the Oslo initial peace accord and the involvement thereafter of successive U.S. administrations in the protracted peace negotiations.

The Struggle for Gender Equality

Questions about women’s place have been central to American life at least since 1776, when Abigail Adams, wife of the second U.S. president, reminded her husband to “remember the Ladies” in creating the laws of the new United States.  Yet it was not until 1920 that American women won the right to vote; not until 1972 that they were guaranteed equal access to education; and women have not yet achieved parity in income, representation in Congress, or many other walks of life.  Gender equality for U.S. women is also closely connected to race, class, age, and ethnicity.  This course looks closely at the struggles for women’s rights in the United States, focusing especially on the “second-wave” women’s movement of the late twentieth century and assessing the status of women in general, and particular constituencies of women, across multiple spheres of American life today

Leadership in American Life

What qualities have enabled individuals to enter into positions of power in the United States?  What factors shape the influence that such leaders have on their institutions and on the broader society?  This course looks at the nature of American leadership, through biographical case studies from politics, business, the media, social activism, and other fields.

Social Movements, Advocacy and Lobby Groups in the U.S.

Ever since Alexis de Tocqueville visited the United States in the 1830s, visitors have remarked on the extraordinary vitality of the civic and non-for-profit sector of American life.  Yet in the 21st century, many in the United States are concerned that civic activism is declining as technology, a polarized political environment, and consumer culture take their toll.  This course looks at social and political movements in the United States, assessing their diversity, their strengths and weaknesses, and their ultimate impact.  Special topics include the role of American advocacy groups related to the Middle East and the prominence of new loosely organized movements (Occupy and Black Lives Matter) related to issues of inequality and race.

Security and the Military in the Contemporary United States

The United States has the most powerful military in the world, and concerns over internal and external security are a central feature of American life.  This course will discuss the role and conduct of the American military around the world, including the Middle East, as well as how the U.S. thinks about and enacts homeland security.  Topics will include: new expectations for the military beyond combat (such as nation-building); the relationship of the military to for-profit corporations; and how the U.S. thinks about and seeks to reduce the threat of terrorism. 

Americans Abroad:  Understanding U.S. Foreign Policy, Foreign Aid, and Global Engagement

The United States maintains an active presence around the world, through both its public and private sectors. The U.S. State department and key sub-agencies such as USAID are the most conspicuous arms of American global engagement.  For-profit corporations and non-profit organizations in human rights and other fields also bring Americans into contact with other nations and peoples. This course explores the American public’s ambivalence about involvement in global affairs, and then focuses on the structure, philosophy, and actions of the key actors in light of those attitudes.

American Entrepreneurship

Dynamic “start-ups” have been a central feature of American life since long before the phrase became a part of a global vocabulary.  Students in this course will examine case studies of how some successful American organizations have been built from the ground up, including contemporary classics of the high tech industry, such as Apple or Google.   But failure, too, comes with the territory of entrepreneurship, and the course will also examine the process and challenges facing new ventures.  In addition to the for-profit world, the course will treat how Americans are seeking to address social issues through bringing the spirit of entrepreneurship and business practice to the non-profit sector.

Ethics and Values in American Professional Life

What expectations do Americans have for ethical behavior in public and professional life?  This course examines applied ethics in the U.S. from an American Studies perspective, by examining the history of public expectations, and how various institutions have responded. Students will consider the ethical responsibilities of the individual, as well as the question of whether and how corporations and other institutions should be judged as moral actors. A topic of particular attention will be the ethical expectations of American institutions operating outside of the U.S.

The American Media

Freedom of expression, as guaranteed in the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution, has nearly the status of sacred principle in American culture.  This course will examine the institutions that enable public expression:  newspapers, television, and the new world of on-line communications technologies that are re-defining the fundamental nature of the media. Topics will include: the limits of freedom of expression in the United States, the role of big money in the media, and the relationship between the media and political life.