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Department of American Studies College of Arts and Sciences
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Courses

Course offerings for current semester are available in the Schedule of Classes. Click the "details" button in the top right corner of a search result to view more information specific to the class offering, including textbooks and prerequisite details.

Course Descriptions

  • AMST-A 100 What Is America? (3 cr.) CASE A&H
    Explores ideas about citizenship, national identity, and the social contract in the broader Americas. What makes us “Americans”? How do we define “America”? How does national identity compete with and relate to other forms of identity, such as social status or class, religious association, gender and sexuality, and racial or ethnic description?

  • AMST-A 150 Introduction to Native American and Indigenous Studies (3 cr.) CASE S&H, CASE GCC
    Introduction to Native American and Indigenous cultures, literature, history, arts, values, lifeways, spirituality, and social and political institutions. Focuses on global and hemispheric elements including North America.

  • AMST-A 200 Comparative American Identities (3 cr.) CASE A&H, CASE DUS
    Examines the formation of legal, social, cultural, and economic identities within the United States and within U.S.–controlled territories. Who counts as “American”? To what ends have citizens and non-citizens assumed, claimed, or refused “American” identity? This course employs a comparative frame in considering elite and subordinated classes (and/or genders, races, ethnicities, sexualities); institutional and countercultural forms of self-definition; official history and alternative acts of collective memory.

  • AMST-A 201 U.S. Movements and Institutions (3 cr.) CASE S&H
    Study and analysis of a social movement, an institutional structure, or an otherwise clearly delimited arena of social regulation and public activity. Constructing, deconstructing, reconstructing an object of social study. Topics vary. May be repeated with a different topic for a maximum of 6 credit hours.

  • AMST-A 202 U.S. Arts and Media (3 cr.) CASE A&H
    Interdisciplinary approaches to a cultural genre (e.g., science fiction, pop art, jazz), discourse (e.g., individualism, family values, globalization) or medium (e.g., comics, television, the Internet). Constructing, deconstructing, reconstructing an object of cultural study. Recent topics have included Images of the Body, Jazz and Cultural Hierarchy, and Youth Cultures. May be repeated with a different topic for a maximum of 6 credit hours.

  • AMST-A 275 Indigenous Worldviews in the Americas (3 cr.) CASE S&H, CASE GCC
    A survey of some basic aspects of indigenous lifeways in the Americas, this course introduces comparative cultural analysis, providing a foundational course for those interested in thinking about how others think and how we think about otherness. Students will examine mythology, ritual, health, art, and philosophy within the context of colonialism and globalization.

  • AMST-A 298 Special Topics in Arts and Humanities for American Studies (3 cr.) CASE A&H
    Study and analysis of a single, closely focused American studies topic within arts and humanities. Topics vary from semester to semester. Focuses on the refinement of students’ skills in writing, interdisciplinary interpretation, analytical reasoning, discussion, and research related to the study of fine arts, literature, film, and popular culture. May be repeated with a different topic for a total of 6 credit hours.

  • AMST-A 299 Special Topics in Social and Historical Studies for American Studies (3 cr.) CASE S&H
    Study and analysis of a single, closely focused American studies topic within social and historical studies. Topics vary from semester to semester. Focuses on the refinement of students’ skills in writing, interdisciplinary interpretation, analytical reasoning, discussion, and research related to the study of public policy, political, economic, and social realities. (May be repeated with a different topic for a total of 6 credit hours.)

  • AMST-A 300 The Image of America in the World (3 cr.) CASE S&H
    An exploration of the history and present significance of “America”—an idea and a nation—in the larger world. Focuses on the image, status, and reputation of the United States abroad, and on the importance of America’s “moral” global prestige to the course of international affairs and domestic politics.

  • AMST-A 350 Topics in Interdisciplinary American Studies (3 cr.)
    Focusing on a specific topic (which will vary by semester), students reflect on established American studies disciplinary methodologies and explore possibilities for new interdisciplinary syntheses. Students consider such issues as the questions a historian asks of a political manifesto and how these questions differ from those of the literary critic or the sociologist. May be repeated with a different topic for a maximum of 6 credit hours.

  • AMST-A 351 American Studies in Transnational Contexts (3 cr.) CASE A&H
    Invites a critical and historical analysis of the relation of culture to nation: why is the study of culture traditionally bound in national frames of reference, and how might we organize a study of culture differently? Pursues the question topically (by considering ideas, peoples, social movements, etc., that cross national borders) and conceptually (by attention to the intellectual traditions that make possible alternative mappings of cultural study). May be repeated with a different topic for a maximum of 6 credit hours.

  • AMST-A 397 Foreign Studies in American Studies (1-6 cr.)
    Credit for foreign study in American studies when no specific equivalent is available among program offerings. May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credit hours.

  • AMST-A 398 Advanced Topics in Arts and Humanities for American Studies (3 cr.) CASE A&H
    Advanced study and analysis of a single, closely focused American studies topic within arts and humanities. Topics vary from semester to semester. Focuses on refinement of students’ skills in writing, interdisciplinary interpretation, analytical reasoning, discussion, and research related to the study of fine arts, literature, film, and popular culture. May be repeated with a different topic for a maximum of 6 credit hours.

  • AMST-A 399 Advanced Topics in Social and Historical Studies for American Studies (3 cr.) CASE S&H
    Advanced study and analysis of a single, closely focused American studies topic within social and historical studies. Topics vary from semester to semester. Focuses on the refinement of students’ skills in writing, interdisciplinary interpretation, analytical reasoning, discussion, and research related to the study of public policy, political, economic, and social realities. May be repeated with a different topic for a maximum of 6 credit hours.

  • AMST-A 401 Readings in American Studies (1-3 cr.)
    Enables undergraduates of advanced standing to undertake independent research projects under the direction of an American Studies faculty member. Students will typically arrange for 2 to 3 credit hours of work, depending upon the scope and depth of reading, research, and production. Projects will be interdisciplinary and should foreground topics clearly within the rubric of American studies. May be repeated with a different topic for a maximum of 6 credit hours. (For authorization to enroll, students need to complete and submit the Proposal form one week prior to the beginning of the semester in which course will be taken.)

  • AMST-A 402 Service Learning in American Studies (1–3 cr.)
    Enables undergraduates of advanced standing to make intellectual connections between scholarly pursuits and community involvement. Students arrange 1 to 3 credit hours of service work either on creative projects that benefit a community (howsoever defined), or with local nonprofit organizations, government agencies, activist groups, or foundations. Under the direction of their faculty sponsor, students will develop a project outline consistent with American studies inquiry and concerns, a method of accountability, and a final report. May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credit hours. (For authorization to enroll, students need to complete and submit the Proposal form one week prior to the beginning of the semester in which course will be taken.)

  • AMST-A 450 Senior Seminar in American Studies (3 cr.) [Intensive Writing]
    P: A350 and A351, or permission of instructor. The capstone course in the major. Early readings and discussions invite critical reflection on the design of interdisciplinary work, its motives, and the standards of coherence and of evidence that may govern its evaluation. Students develop a senior project, which may take the form of a traditional senior thesis or of a substantial video essay, Web site, multimedia project, performance piece, installation, etc. Students pursuing creative projects (e.g., a fictional film as opposed to a video documentary) must complement their creative work with considerable critical reflection on its purpose, stakes, design, and limits.

  • AMST-A 451 Honors Senior Seminar in American Studies (3 cr.)
    P: A350 and A351, or permission of instructor. For honors students only. Introduction to various approaches in American studies scholarship, illustrated by the work of professors in the program, in preparation and training for the writing of an honors thesis.

  • AMST-A 452 Honors Thesis in American Studies (3 cr.)
    P: A451. For honors students only. Students develop and write an honors thesis under the direction of an American studies faculty member. An oral examination of the thesis is conducted by three faculty members.