The Amerika-Institut at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich was founded in 1949, the oldest of its kind in Germany, and with more than 700 students one of the biggest as well. It is the only institute in Germany that maintains three tenured positions in North American History—two full professorships and one associate professorship. In addition, several assistant professors as well as more than half a dozen adjunct professors teach North American History at the Institute. The program for American Literary History is offered by one full professor, one associate professor, two assistant professors and several adjuncts. More than 100 visiting professors have been guests at the Institute since its foundation.
The Amerika-Institut offers a BA degree program in North American Studies and an MA program in "American History, Culture and Society." It is affiliated with programs in Comparative Literature, Media Studies, Jewish Studies, Film Studies, Religious Studies and a number of Ph.D. programs. Furthermore, the Amerika-Institut keeps close ties to the Amerika-Haus, the Bavarian-American Academy, the Political Academy in Tutzing (hosting the annual historians' conference of the German Association of American Studies) and the US Consulate in Munich, offering a unique network to its students (also regarding internships, grants or awards). Two other research institutions at LMU are closely affiliated with the Amerika-Institut: the Lasky Center for Transatlantic Studies (with a large research library on the Cold War and an archive) and the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society (with a Visiting Fellows Program, its Digital Project and a research focus on environmental humanities/history). Students and scholars at LMU profit from exchange programs within Europe (Erasmus) and with Canadian and US-American partner universities; especially important is the exchange program with Berkeley, which is part of LMUexcellent (offering scholarships, visiting professorships, and grants for workshops and conferences). Furthermore, the Center for Advanced Studies at LMU has a research focus on „Transatlantic Cultures“ with its own English-language book series.
The research and study programs at the Amerika-Institut offer basic and advanced knowledge of the social, cultural, literary, economic and political history and present of the USA and Canada. They address these issues in an interdisciplinary way and relate North America to other regions of the world and their respective historical and cultural developments.
The Amerika-Institut allows students to specialize intensely while at the same time maintaining a broad variety of approaches with regard to both content and method. Considering the number of lecturers, there is a vast array of research options in American history, including US history, inter-American history, North America in global perspective, Canadian history, transatlantic history, Europe and North America in comparative historical perspective, African-American history, environmental history of North America in an international context, history of religion, migration, politics, law, sports, popular culture, architecture, or urban history. Special emphasis is placed on the 19th century and the second half of the 20th century.
Research on North American culture and literature at the Amerika-Institut combines approaches of literary studies, cultural studies and media studies. Special research foci are literary theory, literary history of the US and Canada, theater history, culture and technology, architectural history, visual culture studies, media theory, media history, cultural theory, space studies, film studies, gender studies, urban studies, African-American studies, and transnational studies.
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