Fulbright Bicentennial Chair in American Studies
Number of recipients
In addition to being a prestigious academic exchange program, the Fulbright Program is designed to expand and strengthen relationships between the people of the United States and citizens of other nations and to promote international understanding and cooperation. To support this mission, Fulbright Scholars may be asked to give public talks, mentor students, and otherwise engage with the host community, in addition to their primary activities.
The recipient of this award will:
- Teach one survey course (12 x 90 minute lectures) per semester directed to third-year BA students
- Teach one seminar (12 x 90 minute lectures) per semester in their area of expertise to master’s level students
- Be invited to participate in the program’s Ph.D. seminar and in development of the North American Studies program in general
- Be encouraged to network and create linkages throughout Finland and give occasional guest lectures at other Finnish universities.
- Be invited to participate in Fulbright Finland Foundation (the Finnish Fulbright commission) activities as an application reviewer and interviewer.
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 the contemporary seminar, please contact the Department). Note that contact hours for teaching both the survey course and seminar is less than teaching a 3-credit course in the U.S.
Established in 1976 to institutionalize the teaching of American history, culture and language at the University of Helsinki, the Fulbright Bicentennial Chair was the first chair in the Fulbright Distinguished Scholars 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.
The Department of Cultures and its faculty pride themselves on having a very friendly and collegial atmosphere to pursue a variety of professional activities, including 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's activities for the year.
Previous holders of the Chair position have represented a wide spectrum of academic fields including 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.
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 and the top 100 globally. 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 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 a close connection to the natural environment.
Grant term must begin in late August 2023.
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:
American studies, anthropology, art and design, communication, cultural geography, cultural studies, environmental humanities, ethnic studies, film studies, history, indigenous studies, international relations, literature, music, Native American studies, political science, popular culture and media, race and ethnicity, and/or sociology. An interdisciplinary approach is preferred.
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.
During the selection process, some applicants may be invited to a Zoom call in mid-January 2023.
Applicants are expected to display a high-quality publication record, including scholarly monographs, in addition to excellent teaching credentials. Rank must be associate or full professor.
Additionally, candidates in all Fulbright programs are reviewed on the project's contribution to the objectives of the Fulbright Program as well as on the adaptability and suitability of the candidate to act as a Fulbright ambassador for the U.S. in Finland.
The total stipend for nine months is €50,000 EUR (approx. $55,500 USD) which is paid in monthly installments in euros: approx. €5,500 (approx. $6,000 USD) per month. Please note, USD amounts are subject to change due to currency fluctuations.
There are no separate allowances for accompanying dependents.
The Fulbright Bicentennial Chair Award includes free housing arranged by the Fulbright Finland Foundation in a beautiful residence in the heart of Helsinki. The spacious (160 sq. m./1,722 sq. ft.), fully furnished Bicentennial Residence is situated in a historic university setting in the city center, about a five-minute walk from the university department. The Residence has three bedrooms, a living room, dining room and a newly renovated (in 2019) kitchen with all appliances (kitchen utensils, linen, Wi-Fi, electricity and water, etc. included).
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).
Travel allowance of $2,000 USD is provided. Also, a residence permit allowance is provided - based on the actual permit fees (including permit fees for accompanying dependents).
No dependent tuition allowance is offered, but K-12 education in Finland is generally free or heavily subsidized (some special schools, such as private international schools, may charge tuition). Instruction in English is available in Helsinki and other bigger cities at kindergartens, elementary and secondary schools, as well as at the university level, however many of them require an aptitude test and sometimes entry is competitive.
The Finnish school system is considered one of the best in the world. Finland has been one of the top performers in the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), an ongoing study administered every three years that tests the math, reading and science literacy of 15-year-olds in OECD nations. Average group sizes in basic education in Finland have for a long time been below the OECD average.
For details about the Finnish education system please visit the Ministry of Education and Culture, which provides greater insight to education at all levels across Finland.
Dependents must accompany the grantee for at least 80% of the period abroad and a minimum of one semester in order to qualify for additional dependent benefits. Dependent benefits are not provided to Flex grantees.
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, the Fulbright Finland Foundation organizes orientation, lectures, and visits for the Fulbright scholars to deepen grantees understanding of the Finnish culture.
Awards in the Fulbright Distinguished Scholars Program are viewed among the most prestigious appointments in the Fulbright Scholar Program.
Final grant amounts will be determined prior to the start of the academic year and are subject to the availability of funds. The United States Department of State and the Fulbright Commission in the host country reserve the right to alter, without notice, participating countries, number of awards and allowances.
The general country landscape
Finland is a Nordic country the size of California located in northern Europe, and is part of the European Union. It is rather sparsely populated (5.5 million people) and has extensive nature: forests, coastline and lakes.The six largest cities host approximately 60% of the population; urban environments are closely linked to nature. It is a country that has a well-organized and efficient society. The general infrastructure, both public and private services, is considered very effective. Well run public services such as transportation, police, education and healthcare are fundamental and highly regarded parts of the society. The arts and design, cultural life, nature and sports are highly valued. Finland ranks as one of the world’s most stable nations and has been named one of the safest and least corrupt countries in the world, which makes it an easy place to live and travel in.
Finns believe strongly in equality and education, and the country is especially known for its effective and free education system. Finland has two types of higher education institutions: universities and universities of applied sciences (UAS). Finnish higher education institutions engage in world-leading research and offer high-quality academic programs. In relation to its gross domestic product, Finland invests more in research and development than almost any other OECD country. Finnish institutions and researchers are also among the most active scientific publishers in the world. Together with a welcoming and intriguing environment, Finland offers interesting opportunities for American researchers, teachers and professionals. English is widely used at the university level.
The academic year in Finland is based on a two-semester system. The official academic year starts on August 1 and ends on July 31. However, in the fall semester lectures are usually scheduled between September and mid-December, and in the spring semester between early January and May. Typically, there is no teaching during the summer and on public holidays.
Fulbright in Finland
Finland has a strong Fulbright program with a unique history. The program has an important role in supporting the internationalization of education and research in Finland, helping U.S. and Finnish institutions create linkages, and promoting a wider exchange of knowledge and professional talents through educational contacts between Finland and the United States. The program has grown in recent years due to the close cooperation of the Fulbright Finland Foundation with Finnish universities, research institutions, governmental agencies and private foundations, as well as to U.S. and Finnish alumni contributions. Most of the program’s funding currently comes from Finland.
The Fulbright Finland Foundation (the Finnish Fulbright Commission) offers awards to U.S. teachers and scholars to teach or pursue research in Finland. The majority of awards are available to scholars in all disciplines, but some awards are limited to certain fields. In nearly all categories, housing is provided for the grantee.
Awards are also available for professionals for career development.
Candidates interested in applying for an award to Finland are welcome to consult the Fulbright Finland Foundation's website for more information.
The Fulbright Finland Foundation also provides information for Finnish institutions, which applicants are encouraged to utilize when contacting prospective hosts.
Read more about Finland:
Visit the Fulbright Finland Foundation to see grantees from previous years.
Visit our Scholar Directory to view and search all Fulbright alumni. You can also learn more about Fulbright Alumni Ambassadors.