Universität Bielefeld

© Universität Bielefeld

InterAmerican Studies / Estudios InterAmericanos

Optional Modules

Optional Internship / Práctica opcional
Through professional internships the student will gain both competence and connections within their professional field. The expectations and requirements depend on the type of internship chosen by the student, and whether they will be working with an NGO, a business, an international institute, or a research center.
Theoretical module

This theoretical module consists of two seminars focused on issues of a particular era, in order to reflect and discuss its theoretical foundation of history and its interdisciplinary relationship. The interdisciplinary theoretical seminar presents examples of theoretical concepts in the field of social and cultural sciences and humanities. It relates these concepts with the historical analysis of specific issues. In the interdisciplinary discussion the theoretical and methodological frameworks of history will be contrasted.

The theoretical seminar, "Transnational History, Transference, and Comparison", teaches core knowledge of historical and theoretical concepts. Students should be able to design their own research projects with the help of the concepts of comparison and transference.

Advanced History of the Americas / Estudios avanzados de la historia de las Américas

This in-depth module offers students the possibility to specialize in the field of historiography. In this module, relations with other regions of the world in terms of regional dynamics, processes of globalization, colonialism, dependence, and cultural contact are analyzed. This module enhances the ability to apply historical theoretical approaches (such as a global systems approach, interwoven history, social history, conceptual history, postcolonial studies) and methods (historical hermeneutics, oral history) in the Inter-American context.

The subjects included in this module are all related and contain common themes that focus on topics of world history. The historical context is, as a rule, the issues raised by research in a particular region, and responsible for establishing links with other regions of the world. The seminar also serves to widen the approach to the problems of regional, trans-regional, theoretical, or meteorological research.

Language and the Processes of Culture

In the module "English in Context", the central focus is the relationship of the English language with other languages of the world in different social and historical contexts. It will be possible to analyze various eras and usages of the English language, considering different historical and cultural backgrounds. In addition, the module addresses topics such as specific methods, questionings, and theories of linguistic studies, applied in the research of diachronic and synchronic language contacts.

In "Dynamics of Language", students learn to observe the various aspects of the dynamics of language through specific examples, in order to scientifically describe and clarify the roles languages play. They will also learn specific information about monolingual variability, language diversity, its causes, forms, and recurring mechanisms. At the end of the course, the relevance of this knowledge within linguistic typology and theories will be reviewed.

Media and the Processes of Culture / Los medios y los procesos de la cultura

This module emphasizes the central importance of a wide variety of media that affect the design and production of cultural identities, especially when considering the growing importance of media communication in the Americas as forms of cultural representation. The module is based on the understanding of culture as a communicative process that is in constant negotiation and is redistributed through multimedia communication. The thematic areas used as subjects for the module are mainly documentary, film, video, television, and music.

"Cultural Communication" includes subjects for the theory and practice of media, and cultural modes of communication, the impact of new communication technologies, and the differentiation of new forms of communication in the English-speaking world both past and present.

As an alternative, students can choose the seminar "Mediating Cultures", which deals with media representations of identities, and the processes of contact between cultures in different forms of media, with special attention paid to linguistic and cultural heterogeneity.

"Theory and History of the Media in Latin America" focuses on the function of the roles played by the media in Latin American modernism. Special attention is paid to the theory and history of the media in Latin America, while considering the role of communication media in the context of social and cultural changes in Latin American modernism and postmodernism.

Advanced Studies of Literatures and Cultures of the Americas / Estudios avanzados de literaturas y culturas de las Américas

Through module 23-IAS-M-IAS6, students can develop a specialization in the field of literary and cultural sciences. To do so, students can take seminars listed under the module subjects, or additional subjects from the extensive list of seminars for modules 23-IAS-M-IAS4 and 23- IAS-M-IAS5. This module works to give students a deeper insight into literary and cultural production in the Americas. Double attendance and credit are excluded in the case of seminars of equal themes, when the student has already received credits for modules 23-IAS-M-IAS4 or 23-IAS-M-IAS5.

The central theme of IAS-23 M-IAS6 encompasses representations of intellectual exchange in various forms of media, as well as in the context of everyday practice. In order to be able to analyze texts, films, and cultural works, cultural theoretical approaches (cultural materialism, gender studies, media studies, New Historicism, memory studies, cultural anthropology and semiotics, and intercultural communication, etc.), and literary-theoretical approaches (hermeneutics, New Criticism, structuralism, reception theory, postcolonial theory, etc.) are discussed, as well as cinematographic criteria and scientific-media analysis.

These approaches are applied in the interpretation and analysis of texts, images, and films, as well as everyday practice, from both intra-cultural and cross-cultural perspectives. Theorists and authors who successfully present the state of the cultural mood in the Americas, particularly in regards in multiculturalism and the processes of cultural exchanges will be examined.

Language Typology and Language Comparison / Lingüística comparada y tipología de idiomas
This module explores the phenomenon of language in terms of its diversity. Here the focus is on the diversity of natural languages, such as the comparison of languages with no transparent or well-defined similarities, which are indicators of cognitive social signs belonging to social communities. The courses allow students to extend their knowledge of the following topics: linguistic universals, world languages, and comparative grammar.
Structures and Dynamics of Global Communities and Transnationalisation / Estructuras y dinámicas de comunidades globales y de transnacionalización

 If we suppose that global connections have formed “a global society”, the content of the module addresses the questions of the processes which gave rise to the formation of structural global relationships and, in turn, the way in which these relationships influence local and regional structures. To research these matters must be concretized through examples of various systems (law, economics, politics, sport, etc.). In addition, they have to be dealt with from a micro-sociological perspective.

In the theoretical subject, the different approaches to analysis of the processes of globalization are exposed and compared. For example, the systemic and institutional theories of the universal society, theories of the global system, variants of the approaches to globalization, and the analysis at different levels.

In addition, it offers students the option to choose between two types of subjects that include different core issues. The empirical subject explores the formation and transformation of transboundary social settings. These are analyzed based on several approaches from regional studies, local case studies, and systematic comparisons to national societies and states, which lead to the formation of global communication systems and the creation of social and public transnational forms. The alternative course which can be taken, with guidance in its application, deals with the study of the different collective of actors, in which international organizations, national authorities, experts, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and various groups from the local population converge. Mechanisms which work for conflict resolution, and consensus in the development process are also discussed.

Forms of Transnational Communities and Collectivities / Formas de comunidades y colectividades transnacionales

This module addresses specific social processes and socio-cultural mechanisms of socialization and communitarization at the level of the global society. The starting point constitutes, on one hand, the stressful conditions arising from the relationships and different speeds of globalization of differentiated functional systems. On the other hand, it is comprised of the processes of inclusion and exclusion, which spring from these systems and are accompanied by a cultural and gender-specific differentiation.

The first subject, with its theoretical orientation, addresses socialization and communitarization, against the background of prolonged, narrow, transnational, and global interdependencies (for example, migration networks and epistemic forms). It also discusses the changes in the relations between people, respectively between citizens and states, with a view of membership, and local, national, supranational, and global citizenship. The second subject may be chosen by the students between two types of courses which will comprise of different key issues.

The empirical subject addresses the processes and consequences of social integration (incorporation and assimilation, among others) of migrants, against the background of transnational links. Local dynamics of global cultural processes are the essential theme of this subject, with practical orientation. The primary focus is the stressful condition of globality and locality, respectively of sociocultural universalism and particularism, and its consequences concerning the formation of identity.

Politics of Global Citizenship / Políticas de ciudadanía global

This module focuses on the political and social modalities of transnational processes in the global society. It highlights the central link between global and transnational dynamics and the meso-level, in relation to the analysis of transnationalization and the consequences this has on both individuals and groups.

The theoretical course in public policy addresses emerging governing structures beyond the nation-state and the conceptions of the global state. In addition, the student has the possibility to choose between two types of courses with different central themes. The empirical subject focuses on the relationships between private and public, local and global, market and state. Conflicts between social groups and participation within the public sphere are also discussed. In contrast, the practical course raises the question of the global political structures in relation to social order, social inequality, and gender in the global society, taking into consideration global social policies and development.