ENG4533 – American Exceptionalism

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Choose semester

Course content

American Exceptionalism is a long-standing interpretation of American history. This course will examine how Americans are taught and learn American History through schools, popular movies and museum exhibits.

We will examine debates over curriculum for different educational levels and discuss the goals that affect the teaching of national history to various age/grade levels.

The class will examine several distinct aspects/events of American history from this perspective.

Learning outcome

After completing this course, you can:

  • understand and explain the concepts/theories of American Exceptionalism and transnational American history and understand how a transnational perspective may challenge the precepts of Exceptionalism.
  • analyze how Americans are taught about the place and meaning of the United States within the world through political rhetoric, public history, popular culture, and the educational system.
  • analyze the disagreements and debates within the United States that support and challenge exceptionalism.
  • demonstrate an in-depth understanding of a major event in history – as it has been taught in the United States at different levels and through different media.
  • analyze how identity politics and multiculturalism fit into and challenges the belief in American Exceptionalism.
  • demonstrate abilities in reading, writing and communicating in academic English, using the appropriate tools for documenting your work ethically.
  • demonstrate analytical abilities in constructing a text in academic English.


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

Students enrolled in other Master's Degree Programmes can, on application, be admitted to the course if this is cleared by their own study programme.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.

Overlapping courses

10 credits overlap with ENG2533 – American Exceptionalism


Seminar, two hours per week for 10 weeks, 20 hours in all.

Attendance is obligatory on 8 out of 10 seminars. Additional absences must be justified by documentation to the exam coordinator. Read more about guidelines for obligatory activities.

In order to attend the exam you need to pass a group presentation. Each student will be responsible for a specific portion of the presentation (25 minutes) and will turn in their text (23 pages max)/ Power Point slides from the presentation.


The form of assessment is a term paper of 10 standard pages (a standard page consists of 2,300 characters). References and bibliography comes in addition.

Submit assignments in Inspera

You submit your assignment in the digital examination system Inspera. Read about how to submit assignments in Inspera.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Reports from periodic evaluations (in Norwegian)

Facts about this course






This course is offered irregularly


This course is offered irregularly

Teaching language