The Institute of North American History is dedicated to the study of North American history from the 18th century until today. Our teaching and research looks at processes of social formation, the construction of individual and collective identities as well as transnational networks in the Atlantic and Pacific worlds. The Institute works in close cooperation with, and is situated at the intersection of the History and American Studies departments.
The Institute engages in social and cultural analyses with a focus on gender theory, theories of space, and postcolonial perspectives. Research areas include cultural history, gender studies, African American history, the history of travel and tourism, and the history of space and the built environment. Our research projects explore a) forms of social participation, marginalization/discrimination with a focus on gender and race relations; b) the meanings of space and the built environment as reflections of and agents in power relations; c) forms of exchange and interaction in travel and tourism; and d) children and teenagers as agents of history, a perspective informed by historical Childhood Studies.
The range of these topics is reflected in the courses taught at the Institute for North American History. Classes cover the entire history of North America from colonial times to the Trump presidency. We offer undergraduate level seminars, introductory lectures, as well as graduate level seminars with a strong emphasis on theory and methodology. Our teaching focuses on specific periods in American and Canadian history, political culture, the history of women and men, popular culture, ethnicity and minorities in America, children and youth, travel and tourism, cities and the built environment, (sub-) urbanization, consumer society, material culture, and transatlantic and transpacific relations.
The Institute offers the interdisciplinary MA program “North American Studies,” which is run in collaboration with the University of Bonn. Additionally, we offer classes for the BA and MA programs in History and the BA and MA programs in Area Studies Latin America. For more information, go here.
The Institute is also home to an excellent research library open to students and researchers alike.