Fulbright Scholar Program

Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program Catalog of Awards

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Fulbright Bicentennial Chair in American Studies

Europe and Eurasia


Award Details
Grant Activity

The Fulbright Bicentennial Chair was established in 1976 to institutionalize the teaching of American history, culture and language at the University of Helsinki. It was the first chair in the Fulbright Distinguished Chairs Program.  The Bicentennial Chair holder plays a crucial role in developing the interdisciplinary approach to American studies found at the University of Helsinki and at other Finnish universities with American studies programs.  Today it is one of the most prestigious appointments in the Fulbright Scholar Program.

Department of Cultures and its faculty pride themselves on having a very friendly and collegial atmosphere to pursue a variety of professional activities, such as teaching and research, research collaboration, writing joint publications with Finnish colleagues and mentoring student research at the master and doctoral level. The Chair and the North American Studies program faculty work together in designing the Chair position activities.

The Chair is expected to teach one survey course and one seminar per semester in their area of expertise. The first survey course is directed to third-year BA students and the other to master’s level students. The seminars are part of the master’s program, and one of the seminars should discuss the contemporary issues of American society (for more information on contemporary seminar, please contact the Department). Contact classes will require approximately five hours per week. The Chair is furthermore invited to participate in the program’s Ph.D. seminar and in development of the North American Studies program in general. In addition to lecturing at the University of Helsinki, the Bicentennial Chair is able to network and create linkages throughout Finland and give occasional guest lectures at other Finnish universities. The Chair is requested to participate in Fulbright Finland Foundation (the Finnish Fulbright commission) activities as an application reviewer and interviewer.

Previous holders of the Chair position have represented a wide spectrum of academic fields; for example, history, political science, popular culture, American borderlands, foreign policy, intercultural communications, legal history, music in American culture, ethnography, and women's studies. Candidates should possess a broad knowledge of American social dynamics (within their field) and current issues (e.g. trade, race relations, immigration, politics, etc.) relevant for transatlantic discussions and a Finnish audience.

The Fulbright Bicentennial Chair is jointly funded by the University of Helsinki and the Fulbright Finland Foundation.

Grant Length
Nine months
Grant Dates

Grant must begin in late August 2021.


Department of Cultures, North American Studies program, University of Helsinki.

The University of Helsinki is the leading research university in Finland and consistently ranks among the top 20 universities in Europe. The Department of Cultures is the university’s center for area and cultural studies. The North American Studies program offers a broad, multidisciplinary view on the United States and Canada, their histories, cultures and societies. The program offers studies up to the Ph.D. degree.

The Department and its faculty are committed to international and interdisciplinary teaching and research, covering, for example, Asia, Africa, Latin America, North America, the Nordic countries, Russia, Eastern Europe and Asia-Pacific. The faculty’s scholarly interests represent a variety of fields in history, sociology, anthropology and beyond.

Together with a welcoming scholarly environment, Finland and the Chair position offer interesting opportunities for U.S. researchers and teachers, both professionally and socially. One can experience a way of life in Finland that combines a dynamic urban culture with close connection to the natural environment.

Flex Option
Discipline Type
Only applications in the following disciplines will be considered
American Studies
Area Studies, non- U.S.
Art History
Film/Cinema Studies
Gender Studies
History, American
International Relations
Literature, American
Political Science
Public Administration
Public Policy
Urban Planning
Areas of Interest

While this award is open to any project in the disciplines listed above, there is interest in scholars who are in these particular specialty areas.

Study of the United States, with specializations (and/or interdisciplinary work) in American studies, anthropology, architecture, communication, cultural and social and environmental history, cultural geography, cultural studies, design, ethnic studies, film studies, history, intercultural communications, international relations, labor history, legal history, literature, music, Native American studies, political science, popular culture, race and ethnicity, sociology and women's history.

Special Features

Finnish medical care is of high quality and low cost. The Bicentennial Chair holder has access to the health care services that the University of Helsinki provides for its faculty and staff (university health care is not available for family members).

In addition to being a distinguished academic exchange program, the Fulbright Program is designed to expand and strengthen relationships between the people of the U.S. and citizens of other nations and to promote international understanding and cooperation. To support this mission, the Fulbright Finland Foundation organizes orientation, lectures, and visits for the Fulbright scholars to deepen their understanding of the Finnish culture. The Fulbright Finland Foundation in Helsinki arranges a four-day orientation for scholars at the end of August, which scholars arriving for the fall semester are expected to attend.  In addition, Fulbright Scholars may be asked to give public talks, mentor students, and otherwise engage with the host community, in addition to their primary activities‎.

Awards in the Fulbright Distinguished Chairs Program are viewed as among the most prestigious appointments in the Fulbright Scholar Program.

Application Deadline
Tuesday, September 15, 2020
Degree Requirements
Ph.D. (or other terminal degree) required
Candidate Profile
Distinguished Chair
Number of Grants
Program Staff
Carleen Velez
Outreach and Recruitment Specialist

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