Fulbright Bicentennial Chair

The Fulbright Bicentennial Chair in American Studies position is available for scholars in a variety of fields and includes research and lecturing at the University of Helsinki, Department of Cultures, North American Studies program.

Previous holders of the Chair position have represented a wide spectrum of academic fields; for example, history, popular culture, American borderlands, foreign policy, intercultural communications, legal history, music in American culture, ethnography, and women's studies.

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 has played 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.

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 centre 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.

Description of Activity

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 lecturing, 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 invited to participate in the program’s research seminar and development of the North American Studies program. 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 activities as an application reviewer and interviewer.

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 will be asked to give public talks, mentor students, and otherwise engage with the host community, in addition to their primary research or teaching activities‎.


The Fulbright Bicentennial Chair in American Studies is available for lecturing visits of 9 months. It includes a total maintenance allowance of EUR 50,000 and USD 2,000 round-trip travel. Housing is provided at the spacious, fully furnished Bicentennial Residence (photos), which has an excellent location in the city center, about a three-minute walk from the university. The Bicentennial Chair holder has access to medical services provided by the University of Helsinki for its faculty and staff. Additionally, she/he will receive the full support services provided by Fulbright Finland for all Fulbright grantees in Finland.

The grant is funded in co-operation by the University of Helsinki and Fulbright Finland, the Finnish Fulbright Commission. The U.S. program partner is the Institute for International Education/Council for International Exchange of Scholars (IIE/CIES). Further information is available at IIE/CIES.


Applicants are expected to display a high-quality publication record, including scholarly monographs, in addition to excellent teaching credentials. Candidates must hold a rank of associate or full professor.


Applications are submitted through IIE/CIES. Detailed application instructions are also available at IIE/CIES website and in the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Catalog of Awards.

The application period for the academic year 2020-2021 ends on September 16, 2019.

Additional information

Please let us know if we can provide any further information about this grant in particular or about the Finnish-American Fulbright program in general.

NOTE: July is traditionally a summer vacation month in Finland and responses to inquiries be delayed. Applicants are advised to contact the Finnish host institution well ahead of time.

University of Helsinki

Dr. Ari Helo
University Lecturer in North American Studies

Fulbright Finland Foundation

Ms. Emmi Jelekäinen
Program Coordinator

Hakaniemenranta 6
FI-00530 Helsinki
tel: +358 44 5535 286

Council for International Exchange of Scholars (IIE/CIES)

1400 K Street, NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20005