American Studies

This program is designed to encourage and support the interdisciplinary study of American culture. It draws upon the expertise of faculty in various disciplines and strives to understand the institutions, values, and beliefs that have shaped the experiences of U.S. residents. Recognizing the diverse and pluralistic nature of our society, the American Studies program enables the student to construct an interdisciplinary major around topics of the student's own choice such as urban studies, ethnicity, media, religion, gender roles, environmental thought or some other aspect of the American experience. The program supports interdisciplinary courses taught by Carleton faculty and it brings to campus nationally known visiting artists and scholars under the auspices of the Fred C. Andersen Foundation.

Requirements for the American Studies Major

American Studies is an interdisciplinary major which a student constructs from offerings in two or more departments of instruction. Students take both core courses in the field of American Studies and additional courses from one of five broad, thematic streams (listed below). This theme will both provide additional structure and points of comparison and a foundation for a comprehensive exercise.

Majors must complete 69 credits in the following general areas:

I. Core Courses: Each student must complete all of these:

  • AMST 115 Introduction to American Studies or AMST 287 California Art and Visual Culture (offered as part of the "Visions of California" OCS Program) one or the other of these is a prerequisite for AMST 345 and AMST 396.
  • AMST 345 Theory and Practice of American Studies
  • AMST 396 Junior Research Seminar
  • AMST 398 Advanced Research in American Studies
  • AMST 399 Senior Seminar in American Studies
  • AMST 400 Colloquium and Integrative Exercise in American Studies (3 credits, to be taken in winter term of the senior year, along with AMST 399.) A senior may choose:
    • Essay or Project Option: a 35-40 page essay on an approved topic; or an approved project (e.g., a critical documentary, radio narrative, web design project, performance piece, or academic civic engagement project) accompanied by a 15-20 page essay. Open only to students who receive approval of a project prospectus.
    • Examination Option: A written examination given early in spring term

II. Survey Courses: Students must take three survey courses. Two of these courses must come from a single department. Students will also take a one-term survey course from a different department. Because the entire range of these survey courses is not offered every year, students should consult the online catalog and plan accordingly.

  • HIST 116 Intro to Indigenous Histories, 1887-present
  • HIST 120 Rethinking the American Experience: American History, 1607-1865 (not offered in 2021-22)
  • HIST 121 Rethinking the American Experience: American Social History, 1865-1945 (not offered in 2021-22)
  • HIST 122 U.S. Women's History to 1877
  • HIST 123 U.S. Women's History Since 1877
  • HIST 125 African American History I: From Africa to the Civil War
  • HIST 126 African American History II
  • POSC 271 Constitutional Law I (not offered in 2021-22)
  • POSC 272 Constitutional Law II

One-term survey courses:

  • AMST 254 The 1930s: Social and Cultural Impact of the Great Depression (not offered in 2021-22)
  • ARTH 160 American Art to 1940
  • ENGL 117 African American Literature (not offered in 2021-22)
  • ENGL 120 American Short Stories
  • ENGL 212 Nineteenth-Century American Literature (not offered in 2021-22)
  • ENGL 215 Modern American Literature (not offered in 2021-22)
  • MUSC 126 America's Music
  • POSC 122 Politics in America: Liberty and Equality
  • RELG 140 Religion and American Culture (not offered in 2021-22)

III. Topical Courses: Each student must take twenty-four credits that deal with elements of the American experience from one of the thematic streams below. Courses that will fulfill this requirement are listed under each group. No more than six of these credits may be from a 100-level course. (Survey courses above and beyond those used to satisfy the required one-term and two-term sequences may count as a Topical Course.) Students must take courses from at least two departments. In order that majors acquire the research skills necessary to complete the major, six of these twenty-four credits must be at the 300-level.

  • Race, Ethnicity and Indigeneity: What is the relationship between race and ethnicity and U.S. cultures? Students will look at these questions in a comparative and interdisciplinary framework. Concentrators in this area should take a combination of courses that will allow them to comparatively assess the experiences of at least two ethno-racial groups in America.  
    • AFST 112 Black Revolution on Campus (not offered in 2021-22)
    • AMST 130 Latinx Social Movements: From Bandits to the Young Lords
    • AMST 204 What’s Race Got To Do With It?: Constructing Communities that Discard Lives (not offered in 2021-22)
    • AMST 218 Asian American Studies (not offered in 2021-22)
    • AMST 225 Beauty and Race in America
    • AMST 231 Contemporary Indigenous Activism (not offered in 2021-22)
    • AMST 244 Approaches to Indigenous Studies
    • AMST 248 Confine and Detain: The Carceral State in America
    • AMST 267 Utopia, Dystopia, and Myopia: Suburbia in Fiction and Scholarship (not offered in 2021-22)
    • AMST 269 Woodstock Nation (not offered in 2021-22)
    • AMST 325 Labor and Identity in America
    • ECON 262 The Economics of Sports (not offered in 2021-22)
    • EDUC 330 Refugee and Immigrant Experiences in Faribault, MN (not offered in 2021-22)
    • EDUC 338 Multicultural Education
    • EDUC 340 Race, Immigration, and Schools
    • EDUC 344 Teenage Wasteland: Adolescence and the American High School (not offered in 2021-22)
    • ENGL 117 African American Literature (not offered in 2021-22)
    • ENGL 119 Introduction to U.S. Latino/a Literature (not offered in 2021-22)
    • ENGL 212 Nineteenth-Century American Literature (not offered in 2021-22)
    • ENGL 227 Imagining the Borderlands (not offered in 2021-22)
    • ENGL 230 Studies in African American Literature: From the 1950s to the Present
    • ENGL 233 Writing and Social Justice
    • ENGL 234 Literature of the American South (not offered in 2021-22)
    • ENGL 235 Asian American Literature
    • ENGL 239 Democracy: Politics, Race, & Sex in Nineteenth Century American Novels
    • ENGL 241 Latinx Voices in the Age of Trump (not offered in 2021-22)
    • ENGL 248 Visions of California
    • ENGL 252 Caribbean Fiction
    • ENGL 253 Food Writing: History, Culture, Practice
    • ENGL 258 Playwrights of Color: Taking the Stage (not offered in 2021-22)
    • ENGL 352 Toni Morrison: Novelist
    • GWSS 265 Black Feminist Thought
    • GWSS 289 Pleasure, Intimacy, Violence
    • GWSS 398 Capstone: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Popular Culture (not offered in 2021-22)
    • HIST 116 Intro to Indigenous Histories, 1887-present
    • HIST 122 U.S. Women's History to 1877
    • HIST 123 U.S. Women's History Since 1877
    • HIST 125 African American History I: From Africa to the Civil War
    • HIST 126 African American History II
    • HIST 127 The Roaring Twenties & the Rough Thirties in U.S. History (not offered in 2021-22)
    • HIST 203 American Indian Education
    • HIST 211 Revolts and Resistance in Early America (not offered in 2021-22)
    • HIST 212 The Era of the American Revolution (not offered in 2021-22)
    • HIST 214 Sport and the Color Line (not offered in 2021-22)
    • HIST 218 Black Women's History
    • HIST 220 From Blackface to Blaxploitation: Black History and/in Film (not offered in 2021-22)
    • HIST 222 Slavery in Film, Literature, and History (not offered in 2021-22)
    • HIST 225 James Baldwin and Black Lives Matter (not offered in 2021-22)
    • HIST 301 Indigenous Histories at Carleton (not offered in 2021-22)
    • HIST 316 Presenting America's Founding
    • MUSC 126 America's Music
    • MUSC 130 The History of Jazz (not offered in 2021-22)
    • MUSC 131 The Blues From the Delta to Chicago
    • MUSC 136 History of Rock (not offered in 2021-22)
    • MUSC 232 Golden Age of R & B (not offered in 2021-22)
    • MUSC 247 1950s/60s American Folk Music Revival
    • PHIL 228 Freedom and Alienation in Black American Philosophy
    • POSC 122 Politics in America: Liberty and Equality
    • POSC 204 How American Campaigns and Elections Work (and Don’t Work) (not offered in 2021-22)
    • POSC 207 Global Decline of Democracy: Urban Revanchism and Popular Resistance (not offered in 2021-22)
    • POSC 212 Environmental Justice
    • POSC 218 Schools, Scholarship and Policy in the United States
    • POSC 219 Poverty and Public Policy in the U.S. (not offered in 2021-22)
    • POSC 271 Constitutional Law I (not offered in 2021-22)
    • POSC 272 Constitutional Law II
    • POSC 273 Race and Politics in the U.S.
    • POSC 275 Black Radical Political Thought, 1919-1969 (not offered in 2021-22)
    • POSC 302 Subordinated Politics and Intergroup Relations*
    • POSC 306 Identity Politics and Group Behavior in America*
    • POSC 339 LGBTQ Politics in America
    • POSC 351 Political Theory of Martin Luther King, Jr. (not offered in 2021-22)
    • POSC 355 Identity, Culture and Rights* (not offered in 2021-22)
    • PSYC 384 Psychology of Prejudice (not offered in 2021-22)
    • RELG 239 Religion & American Landscape (not offered in 2021-22)
    • RELG 285 Islam in America: Race, Religion and Politics
    • SOAN 114 Modern Families: An Introduction to the Sociology of the Family
    • SOAN 151 Global Minnesota: An Anthropology of Our State (not offered in 2021-22)
    • SOAN 206 Critical Perspectives on Work in the Twenty-first Century
    • SOAN 225 Social Movements
    • SOAN 272 Sociological Perspectives on Race and Ethnicity in the United States (not offered in 2021-22)
    • SOAN 278 Urban Ethnography and the American Experience
    • SOAN 288 Diversity, Democracy, Inequality in America (not offered in 2021-22)
    • SOAN 310 Sociology of Mass Incarceration
    • SOAN 325 Sociology of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction (not offered in 2021-22)
    • THEA 227 Theatre for Social Change (not offered in 2021-22)
    • WGST 389 Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Popular Culture (not offered in 2021-22)
  • Democracy, Activism, and Class: How does a longstanding American Studies emphasis on engaged scholarship reveal the relationships of politics, capitalism and power? This theme investigates the emergence of social groups and their political struggles at the local and national levels emphasizing the themes of power, inequality, and social justice. 
    • AMST 130 Latinx Social Movements: From Bandits to the Young Lords
    • AMST 231 Contemporary Indigenous Activism (not offered in 2021-22)
    • AMST 248 Confine and Detain: The Carceral State in America
    • AMST 254 The 1930s: Social and Cultural Impact of the Great Depression (not offered in 2021-22)
    • AMST 267 Utopia, Dystopia, and Myopia: Suburbia in Fiction and Scholarship (not offered in 2021-22)
    • AMST 269 Woodstock Nation (not offered in 2021-22)
    • AMST 325 Labor and Identity in America
    • ARTH 247 Architecture Since 1950 (not offered in 2021-22)
    • ARTH 341 Art and Democracy (not offered in 2021-22)
    • CAMS 225 Film Noir: The Dark Side of the American Dream (not offered in 2021-22)
    • ECON 264 Health Care Economics
    • ECON 270 Economics of the Public Sector
    • ECON 271 Economics of Natural Resources and the Environment
    • EDUC 245 The History of American School Reform (not offered in 2021-22)
    • EDUC 250 Fixing Schools: Politics and Policy in American Education
    • EDUC 330 Refugee and Immigrant Experiences in Faribault, MN (not offered in 2021-22)
    • EDUC 340 Race, Immigration, and Schools
    • ENGL 230 Studies in African American Literature: From the 1950s to the Present
    • ENGL 233 Writing and Social Justice
    • ENGL 239 Democracy: Politics, Race, & Sex in Nineteenth Century American Novels
    • ENGL 241 Latinx Voices in the Age of Trump (not offered in 2021-22)
    • ENTS 307 Wilderness Field Studies: Grand Canyon
    • GWSS 150 Working Sex: Commercial Sexual Cultures
    • GWSS 212 Foundations of LGBTQ Studies
    • GWSS 265 Black Feminist Thought
    • GWSS 289 Pleasure, Intimacy, Violence
    • GWSS 334 Feminist Theory (not offered in 2021-22)
    • GWSS 398 Capstone: Transnational Feminist Activism (not offered in 2021-22)
    • GWSS 398 Capstone: Schooling Sex: History of Sex Education & Instruction
    • HIST 100 American Farms and Food
    • HIST 116 Intro to Indigenous Histories, 1887-present
    • HIST 123 U.S. Women's History Since 1877
    • HIST 125 African American History I: From Africa to the Civil War
    • HIST 126 African American History II
    • HIST 127 The Roaring Twenties & the Rough Thirties in U.S. History (not offered in 2021-22)
    • HIST 205 American Environmental History
    • HIST 212 The Era of the American Revolution (not offered in 2021-22)
    • HIST 213 Politics and Protest in the New Nation (not offered in 2021-22)
    • HIST 214 Sport and the Color Line (not offered in 2021-22)
    • HIST 216 History Beyond the Walls (not offered in 2021-22)
    • HIST 220 From Blackface to Blaxploitation: Black History and/in Film (not offered in 2021-22)
    • HIST 226 U.S. Consumer Culture (not offered in 2021-22)
    • HIST 229 Working with Gender in U.S. History (not offered in 2021-22)
    • HIST 301 Indigenous Histories at Carleton (not offered in 2021-22)
    • HIST 306 American Wilderness
    • HIST 308 American Cities and Nature (not offered in 2021-22)
    • MUSC 126 America's Music
    • MUSC 247 1950s/60s American Folk Music Revival
    • MUSC 337 Music in Social Movements (not offered in 2021-22)
    • PHIL 228 Freedom and Alienation in Black American Philosophy
    • POSC 122 Politics in America: Liberty and Equality
    • POSC 204 How American Campaigns and Elections Work (and Don’t Work) (not offered in 2021-22)
    • POSC 207 Global Decline of Democracy: Urban Revanchism and Popular Resistance (not offered in 2021-22)
    • POSC 209 Money and Politics (not offered in 2021-22)
    • POSC 210 Misinformation, Political Rumors, and Conspiracy Theories
    • POSC 212 Environmental Justice
    • POSC 213 Psychology of Mass Political Behavior
    • POSC 216 Politics in the Post-Truth Society (not offered in 2021-22)
    • POSC 218 Schools, Scholarship and Policy in the United States
    • POSC 219 Poverty and Public Policy in the U.S. (not offered in 2021-22)
    • POSC 220 Politics and Political History in Film (not offered in 2021-22)
    • POSC 231 American Foreign Policy (not offered in 2021-22)
    • POSC 266 Urban Political Economy (not offered in 2021-22)
    • POSC 269 I Did My Own Research: Information and Political Division in America
    • POSC 271 Constitutional Law I (not offered in 2021-22)
    • POSC 272 Constitutional Law II
    • POSC 273 Race and Politics in the U.S.
    • POSC 275 Black Radical Political Thought, 1919-1969 (not offered in 2021-22)
    • POSC 302 Subordinated Politics and Intergroup Relations*
    • POSC 306 Identity Politics and Group Behavior in America*
    • POSC 315 Polarization, Parties, and Power* (not offered in 2021-22)
    • POSC 339 LGBTQ Politics in America
    • POSC 351 Political Theory of Martin Luther King, Jr. (not offered in 2021-22)
    • POSC 357 Politics and Ambition* (not offered in 2021-22)
    • RELG 130 Native American Religions (not offered in 2021-22)
    • RELG 140 Religion and American Culture (not offered in 2021-22)
    • RELG 219 Religious Law, Il/Legal Religions
    • SOAN 114 Modern Families: An Introduction to the Sociology of the Family
    • SOAN 206 Critical Perspectives on Work in the Twenty-first Century
    • SOAN 225 Social Movements
    • SOAN 252 Growing up in an Aging Society
    • SOAN 263 Terrorism (not offered in 2021-22)
    • SOAN 272 Sociological Perspectives on Race and Ethnicity in the United States (not offered in 2021-22)
    • SOAN 288 Diversity, Democracy, Inequality in America (not offered in 2021-22)
    • SOAN 310 Sociology of Mass Incarceration
    • SOAN 314 Contemporary Issues in Critical Criminology (not offered in 2021-22)
    • SOAN 350 Diversity, Democracy, and Inequality in America (not offered in 2021-22)
    • THEA 227 Theatre for Social Change (not offered in 2021-22)
  • Space and Place: How is space organized, and how do people make place? This includes the study of natural and built environments; local, regional, national and transnational communities; and international and inter-regional flows of people, goods, and ideas. 
    • AMST 204 What’s Race Got To Do With It?: Constructing Communities that Discard Lives (not offered in 2021-22)
    • AMST 230 The American Sublime: Landscape, Character & National Destiny in Nineteenth Century America (not offered in 2021-22)
    • AMST 240 The Midwest and the American Imagination
    • AMST 248 Confine and Detain: The Carceral State in America
    • AMST 267 Utopia, Dystopia, and Myopia: Suburbia in Fiction and Scholarship (not offered in 2021-22)
    • AMST 287 California Program: California Art and Visual Culture (not offered in 2021-22)
    • AMST 325 Labor and Identity in America
    • ARTH 171 History of Photography (not offered in 2021-22)
    • ARTH 240 Art Since 1945 (not offered in 2021-22)
    • ARTH 247 Architecture Since 1950 (not offered in 2021-22)
    • ARTH 265 European Architectural Studies Program: Urban Planning in Europe
    • ARTH 341 Art and Democracy (not offered in 2021-22)
    • CAMS 225 Film Noir: The Dark Side of the American Dream (not offered in 2021-22)
    • CGSC 386 Adolescent Cognitive Development: Developing an Identity and Life Plans (not offered in 2021-22)
    • ECON 271 Economics of Natural Resources and the Environment
    • EDUC 338 Multicultural Education
    • EDUC 344 Teenage Wasteland: Adolescence and the American High School (not offered in 2021-22)
    • ENGL 212 Nineteenth-Century American Literature (not offered in 2021-22)
    • ENGL 221 "Moby-Dick" & Race: Whiteness and the Whale (not offered in 2021-22)
    • ENGL 227 Imagining the Borderlands (not offered in 2021-22)
    • ENGL 234 Literature of the American South (not offered in 2021-22)
    • ENGL 236 American Nature Writing
    • ENGL 247 The American West (not offered in 2021-22)
    • ENGL 248 Visions of California
    • ENGL 253 Food Writing: History, Culture, Practice
    • ENGL 288 California Program: The Literature of California (not offered in 2021-22)
    • ENGL 329 The City in American Literature (not offered in 2021-22)
    • ENGL 332 Faulkner, Hemingway, and Fitzgerald
    • ENGL 352 Toni Morrison: Novelist
    • ENTS 307 Wilderness Field Studies: Grand Canyon
    • HIST 126 African American History II
    • HIST 203 American Indian Education
    • HIST 205 American Environmental History
    • HIST 220 From Blackface to Blaxploitation: Black History and/in Film (not offered in 2021-22)
    • HIST 229 Working with Gender in U.S. History (not offered in 2021-22)
    • HIST 301 Indigenous Histories at Carleton (not offered in 2021-22)
    • HIST 306 American Wilderness
    • HIST 308 American Cities and Nature (not offered in 2021-22)
    • HIST 316 Presenting America's Founding
    • MUSC 115 Listening to the Movies (not offered in 2021-22)
    • MUSC 247 1950s/60s American Folk Music Revival
    • POSC 212 Environmental Justice
    • POSC 218 Schools, Scholarship and Policy in the United States
    • POSC 273 Race and Politics in the U.S.
    • POSC 302 Subordinated Politics and Intergroup Relations*
    • POSC 357 Politics and Ambition* (not offered in 2021-22)
    • RELG 130 Native American Religions (not offered in 2021-22)
    • RELG 239 Religion & American Landscape (not offered in 2021-22)
    • SOAN 114 Modern Families: An Introduction to the Sociology of the Family
    • SOAN 151 Global Minnesota: An Anthropology of Our State (not offered in 2021-22)
    • SOAN 206 Critical Perspectives on Work in the Twenty-first Century
    • SOAN 252 Growing up in an Aging Society
    • SOAN 272 Sociological Perspectives on Race and Ethnicity in the United States (not offered in 2021-22)
    • SOAN 278 Urban Ethnography and the American Experience
    • SOAN 310 Sociology of Mass Incarceration
  • Production and Consumption of Culture: How do people represent their experiences and ideas as culture? How is culture transmitted, appropriated and consumed? Students will examine the role of artists and the expressive arts, including literature, visual arts and performance as well as that of consumers and producers. 
    • AMST 204 What’s Race Got To Do With It?: Constructing Communities that Discard Lives (not offered in 2021-22)
    • AMST 225 Beauty and Race in America
    • AMST 230 The American Sublime: Landscape, Character & National Destiny in Nineteenth Century America (not offered in 2021-22)
    • AMST 240 The Midwest and the American Imagination
    • AMST 254 The 1930s: Social and Cultural Impact of the Great Depression (not offered in 2021-22)
    • AMST 269 Woodstock Nation (not offered in 2021-22)
    • ARTH 171 History of Photography (not offered in 2021-22)
    • ARTH 240 Art Since 1945 (not offered in 2021-22)
    • ARTH 247 Architecture Since 1950 (not offered in 2021-22)
    • ARTH 341 Art and Democracy (not offered in 2021-22)
    • CAMS 187 Cult Television and Fan Cultures (not offered in 2021-22)
    • CAMS 215 American Television History
    • CAMS 216 American Cinema of the 1970s
    • CAMS 225 Film Noir: The Dark Side of the American Dream (not offered in 2021-22)
    • CAMS 258 Feminist and Queer Media (not offered in 2021-22)
    • CAMS 340 Television Studies Seminar (not offered in 2021-22)
    • CGSC 386 Adolescent Cognitive Development: Developing an Identity and Life Plans (not offered in 2021-22)
    • DANC 266 Reading The Dancing Body
    • ECON 262 The Economics of Sports (not offered in 2021-22)
    • EDUC 344 Teenage Wasteland: Adolescence and the American High School (not offered in 2021-22)
    • ENGL 113 Horror Fiction
    • ENGL 117 African American Literature (not offered in 2021-22)
    • ENGL 119 Introduction to U.S. Latino/a Literature (not offered in 2021-22)
    • ENGL 120 American Short Stories
    • ENGL 212 Nineteenth-Century American Literature (not offered in 2021-22)
    • ENGL 215 Modern American Literature (not offered in 2021-22)
    • ENGL 221 "Moby-Dick" & Race: Whiteness and the Whale (not offered in 2021-22)
    • ENGL 227 Imagining the Borderlands (not offered in 2021-22)
    • ENGL 230 Studies in African American Literature: From the 1950s to the Present
    • ENGL 233 Writing and Social Justice
    • ENGL 234 Literature of the American South (not offered in 2021-22)
    • ENGL 235 Asian American Literature
    • ENGL 236 American Nature Writing
    • ENGL 239 Democracy: Politics, Race, & Sex in Nineteenth Century American Novels
    • ENGL 241 Latinx Voices in the Age of Trump (not offered in 2021-22)
    • ENGL 247 The American West (not offered in 2021-22)
    • ENGL 248 Visions of California
    • ENGL 253 Food Writing: History, Culture, Practice
    • ENGL 258 Playwrights of Color: Taking the Stage (not offered in 2021-22)
    • ENGL 332 Faulkner, Hemingway, and Fitzgerald
    • ENGL 352 Toni Morrison: Novelist
    • ENGL 366 The Carleton Miscellany (not offered in 2021-22)
    • ENTS 307 Wilderness Field Studies: Grand Canyon
    • GWSS 150 Working Sex: Commercial Sexual Cultures
    • GWSS 398 Capstone: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Popular Culture (not offered in 2021-22)
    • GWSS 398 Capstone: Schooling Sex: History of Sex Education & Instruction
    • HIST 100 American Farms and Food
    • HIST 122 U.S. Women's History to 1877
    • HIST 127 The Roaring Twenties & the Rough Thirties in U.S. History (not offered in 2021-22)
    • HIST 211 Revolts and Resistance in Early America (not offered in 2021-22)
    • HIST 216 History Beyond the Walls (not offered in 2021-22)
    • HIST 222 Slavery in Film, Literature, and History (not offered in 2021-22)
    • HIST 225 James Baldwin and Black Lives Matter (not offered in 2021-22)
    • HIST 226 U.S. Consumer Culture (not offered in 2021-22)
    • HIST 229 Working with Gender in U.S. History (not offered in 2021-22)
    • HIST 306 American Wilderness
    • HIST 308 American Cities and Nature (not offered in 2021-22)
    • HIST 316 Presenting America's Founding
    • HIST 320 The Progressive Era? (not offered in 2021-22)
    • MUSC 115 Listening to the Movies (not offered in 2021-22)
    • MUSC 126 America's Music
    • MUSC 130 The History of Jazz (not offered in 2021-22)
    • MUSC 131 The Blues From the Delta to Chicago
    • MUSC 136 History of Rock (not offered in 2021-22)
    • MUSC 232 Golden Age of R & B (not offered in 2021-22)
    • MUSC 246 Music in Racism and Antiracism
    • MUSC 247 1950s/60s American Folk Music Revival
    • MUSC 332 Motown (not offered in 2021-22)
    • MUSC 341 Rock Lab and Lab
    • PHIL 228 Freedom and Alienation in Black American Philosophy
    • POSC 204 How American Campaigns and Elections Work (and Don’t Work) (not offered in 2021-22)
    • POSC 216 Politics in the Post-Truth Society (not offered in 2021-22)
    • POSC 220 Politics and Political History in Film (not offered in 2021-22)
    • POSC 355 Identity, Culture and Rights* (not offered in 2021-22)
    • POSC 357 Politics and Ambition* (not offered in 2021-22)
    • PSYC 384 Psychology of Prejudice (not offered in 2021-22)
    • RELG 140 Religion and American Culture (not offered in 2021-22)
    • RELG 232 Queer Religions (not offered in 2021-22)
    • RELG 249 Religion and American Public Life (not offered in 2021-22)
    • RELG 285 Islam in America: Race, Religion and Politics
    • RELG 344 Lived Religion in America (not offered in 2021-22)
    • SOAN 114 Modern Families: An Introduction to the Sociology of the Family
    • SOAN 252 Growing up in an Aging Society
    • THEA 227 Theatre for Social Change (not offered in 2021-22)
    • WGST 389 Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Popular Culture (not offered in 2021-22)
  • America in the World (Migration, Borderlands, and Empire) How is the society and culture of the United States shaped by the historical and contemporary flows of people, goods and ideas from around the world? In turn, students will also focus on the various ways in which both colonial America and the United States have shaped the world. 
    • AMST 218 Asian American Studies (not offered in 2021-22)
    • AMST 225 Beauty and Race in America
    • AMST 240 The Midwest and the American Imagination
    • ARTH 240 Art Since 1945 (not offered in 2021-22)
    • ECON 262 The Economics of Sports (not offered in 2021-22)
    • ECON 264 Health Care Economics
    • ECON 271 Economics of Natural Resources and the Environment
    • EDUC 330 Refugee and Immigrant Experiences in Faribault, MN (not offered in 2021-22)
    • EDUC 340 Race, Immigration, and Schools
    • ENGL 119 Introduction to U.S. Latino/a Literature (not offered in 2021-22)
    • ENGL 221 "Moby-Dick" & Race: Whiteness and the Whale (not offered in 2021-22)
    • ENGL 235 Asian American Literature
    • ENGL 252 Caribbean Fiction
    • GWSS 150 Working Sex: Commercial Sexual Cultures
    • GWSS 398 Capstone: Transnational Feminist Activism (not offered in 2021-22)
    • HIST 211 Revolts and Resistance in Early America (not offered in 2021-22)
    • HIST 213 Politics and Protest in the New Nation (not offered in 2021-22)
    • LING 288 The Structure of Dakota (not offered in 2021-22)
    • POSC 122 Politics in America: Liberty and Equality
    • POSC 207 Global Decline of Democracy: Urban Revanchism and Popular Resistance (not offered in 2021-22)
    • POSC 216 Politics in the Post-Truth Society (not offered in 2021-22)
    • POSC 220 Politics and Political History in Film (not offered in 2021-22)
    • POSC 231 American Foreign Policy (not offered in 2021-22)
    • POSC 269 I Did My Own Research: Information and Political Division in America
    • POSC 271 Constitutional Law I (not offered in 2021-22)
    • POSC 274 Globalization, Pandemics, and Human Security
    • POSC 355 Identity, Culture and Rights* (not offered in 2021-22)
    • RELG 243 Native American Religious Freedom (not offered in 2021-22)
    • RELG 249 Religion and American Public Life (not offered in 2021-22)
    • RELG 285 Islam in America: Race, Religion and Politics
    • RELG 289 Global Religions in Minnesota (not offered in 2021-22)
    • SOAN 151 Global Minnesota: An Anthropology of Our State (not offered in 2021-22)
    • SOAN 170 Investigating (In)Equality: Comparative Welfare States (not offered in 2021-22)
    • SOAN 263 Terrorism (not offered in 2021-22)

 

 

American Studies Courses

AMST 100 Walt Whitman's New York City "O City / Behold me! Incarnate me as I have incarnated you!" An investigation of the burgeoning metropolitan city where the young Walter Whitman became a poet in the 1850s. Combining historical inquiry into the lives of nineteenth-century citizens of Brooklyn and Manhattan with analysis of Whitman’s varied journalistic writings and utterly original poetry, we will reconstruct how Whitman found his muse and his distinctively modern subject in the geography, demographics, markets, politics, and erotics of New York. 6 credits; AI, WR1, IDS; Fall; Peter J Balaam
AMST 115 Introduction to American Studies This overview of the "interdisciplinary discipline" of American Studies will focus on the ways American Studies engages with and departs from other scholarly fields of inquiry. We will study the stories of those who have been marginalized in the social, political, cultural, and economic life of the United States due to their class, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, citizenship, and level of ability. We will explore contemporary American Studies concerns like racial and class formation, the production of space and place, the consumption and circulation of culture, and transnational histories. 6 credits; HI, IDS, WR2; Fall, Spring; Adriana Estill, Nancy J Cho
AMST 130 Latinx Social Movements: From Bandits to the Young Lords In this class, we will discuss Latinx social and political movements across America, from post-1848 to the twentieth century. We will work to understand both their historical and historiographical impact: What conditions were these movements responding to? What emerged from their actions? And how are these movements talked about and remembered now? We will also track state responses to these movements, including the creation of law enforcement agencies in the Southwest and national counterintelligence programs. 6 credits; HI, IDS; Winter; Christine E Castro
AMST 204 What’s Race Got To Do With It?: Constructing Communities that Discard Lives In this course students will engage race and other forms of identity (including class and disability) using both social scientific and humanistic approaches to examine how the process of building place in the U.S. has historically meant discarding lives, excluding communities, and maintaining caste. Subtopics include: Art's impact on gentrification, POC suburbanization, Disposable lives in America, Apartheid from architectural design, and Comparative memoir. 6 credits; SI, IDS; Not offered 2021-22
AMST 218 Asian American Studies Are Asian Americans forever foreigners or honorary whites? This class provides an introduction to Asian American Studies and introduces you to the research on Asian Americans. We begin with a brief introduction of U.S. immigration history and theories about assimilation and racial stratification. Paying particular attention to how scholars ask questions and evaluate evidence, we will cover research on racial and ethnic identity, educational stratification, mass media images, interracial marriage, multiracials, transracial adoption, and the viability of an Asian American panethnic identity. The course will examine the similarities and differences among Asian Americans relative to other minority groups when applicable. Note: Students who have previously taken SOAN 100: Asians in the U.S. are not eligible to enroll in this course.  6 credits; SI, IDS; Not offered 2021-22
AMST 225 Beauty and Race in America In this class we consider the construction of American beauty historically, examining the way whiteness intersects with beauty to produce a dominant model that marginalizes women of color. We study how communities of color follow, refuse, or revise these beauty ideals through literature. We explore events like the beauty pageant, material culture such as cosmetics, places like the beauty salon, and body work like cosmetic surgery to understand how beauty is produced and negotiated. 6 credits; HI, WR2, IDS; Fall; Adriana Estill
AMST 230 The American Sublime: Landscape, Character & National Destiny in Nineteenth Century America Focusing on the early nineteenth century struggle to create an American nation and a national culture, we will look at the ways Americans adopted and adapted European ideas, particularly the aesthetic idea of the Sublime, in their attempt to come to terms with the conquest of the new land and its native inhabitants and with the nature of their national enterprise. Writers Irving, Cooper, Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, Melville, Whitman, and Dickinson and painters Cole, Bierstadt, Church, Kensett, and Lane will be included. Major themes will include attitudes towards landscape and settlement, a distinctively American character, the nature and utility of art, and ideas of American empire. 6 credits; LA, WR2; Not offered 2021-22
AMST 231 Contemporary Indigenous Activism Indigenous peoples across Turtle Island and the Pacific Islands are fighting to revitalize Indigenous languages, uphold tribal sovereignty, and combat violence against Indigenous women, among many other struggles. This course shines a light on contemporary Indigenous activism and investigates social justice through the lens of Indian Country, asking questions like: What tools are movements using to promote Indigenous resurgence? And what are the educational, gendered, environmental, linguistic, and religious struggles to which these movements respond? Students will acquire an understanding of contemporary Indigenous movements, the issues they address, and the responsibilities of non-Native people living on Indigenous lands.  6 credits; HI, IDS; Not offered 2021-22
AMST 240 The Midwest and the American Imagination The history of American culture has always been shaped by a dialectic between the local and the universal, the regional and the national. The particular geography and history of the Midwest (the prairie, the plains, the old Northwest, Native Americans and white adventurers, settlers and immigrants) have shaped its livelihoods, its identities, its meanings. Focusing on the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, this course will explore literature, art history, and the social and cultural history of the Midwest. 6 credits; HI, WR2; Spring; Elizabeth McKinsey
AMST 244 Approaches to Indigenous Studies Indigenous Studies is both a body of content knowledge and a research methodology. This course provides an overview of the history of exploitative research dynamics between universities and Indigenous peoples while exposing students to alternative methodologies that center Indigenous perspectives and research priorities. Students will discuss what it means to be an ethical research partner as they learn about decolonizing and Indigenous research strategies. This course brings together ideas from history, anthropology, law, public health, education, literature, art, and social work to evaluate studies relating to Indigenous peoples for their methods, contributions, and ethics. 6 credits; HI, IDS; Winter; Meredith L McCoy
AMST 248 Confine and Detain: The Carceral State in America What function do prisons and immigrant detention centers serve? How do they figure in American history and society, especially since their current forms are relatively new? In this class, we will examine state-sponsored confinement and detention practices from seventeenth to twenty-first century America. Across three units, we will analyze abduction and captivity, forced labor and relocation, and internment and border security as carceral practices. We will pay particular attention to race, class, gender, sexuality, and disability to understand how confinement and detention have shaped American state-building.  6 credits; HI, IDS; Fall; Christine E Castro
AMST 254 The 1930s: Social and Cultural Impact of the Great Depression Through cultural manifestations--literature, painting, movies, radio, historic preservation, and music--we will trace progress from shock and despair to hope in the ‘30s and see how Americans of all races and classes coped with the disruptions and opportunities of economic cataclysm, political shifts, new social programs and expectations, and technology. Materials will include texts on the New Deal, labor, the Great Migration and race relations; fiction, essays, and plays by Steinbeck, Nathaniel West, James Agee, Thornton Wilder, Meridel LeSueur, Hurston, and Wright; popular movies and music; and photography, painting, Art Deco, and the 1939 World’s Fair. 6 credits; HI, WR2, IDS; Not offered 2021-22
AMST 267 Utopia, Dystopia, and Myopia: Suburbia in Fiction and Scholarship This course peers through the picture window of suburban life in the United States. Our primary text will be film. To what extent do fictional accounts reflect the scholarly concerns and analytical conclusions of historians and social scientists? What themes are common in film and/or literature but get little attention from scholars? Students will be obligated to view films on their own if designated show times are inconvenient. Some films may be R-rated. Prerequisite: American Studies 115 or sophomore standing. 6 credits; SI, IDS; Not offered 2021-22
AMST 269 Woodstock Nation "If you remember the Sixties, you weren't there."  We will test the truth of that popular adage by exploring the American youth counterculture of the 1960s, particularly the turbulent period of the late sixties. Using examples from literature, music, and film, we will examine the hope and idealism, the violence, confusion, wacky creativity, and social mores of this seminal decade in American culture. Topics explored will include the Beat Generation, the Vietnam War, Civil Rights, LSD, and the rise of environmentalism, feminism, and Black Power.  6 credits; LA, WR2, IDS; Not offered 2021-22
AMST 287 California Program: California Art and Visual Culture An in-depth exploration of the dynamic relationship between the arts and popular conceptions of California: whether as bountiful utopia, suburban paradise or multicultural frontier. We will meet with California artists and art historians, and visit museums and galleries. Art and artists studied will range from Native American art, the Arts and Crafts movement and California Impressionism to the photography of Ansel Adams, urban murals and the imagery of commercial culture (such as promotional brochures and orange-crate labels). Prerequisite: Participation in AMST OCS program. 6 credits; LA; Not offered 2021-22
AMST 289 California Program: California Field Studies Students will participate in a number of fieldtrips dealing with California's history, literature, and environment. Sites visited will include Sutter's Fort, Pt. Reyes, the Modoc Lava Beds, El Teatro Campesino, Hearst Castle, Silicon Valley, Joshua Tree, Watts Towers, the Rose Bowl and Yosemite National Park. Students will also complete an Oral Culture Project. Prerequisite: Participation in AMST OCS program. 4 credits; NE; Not offered 2021-22
AMST 325 Labor and Identity in America How have social categories (i.e., race, class, gender, sexuality) been constructed according to labor? How have people lived their identities through their labor? This course will focus on manual labor, with special attention to agricultural work, and will span from the Antebellum South to the present. We will examine how manual labor has functioned as a symbol of belonging in the nation. Throughout the course, we will emphasize lived experience--or, how people responded to cultural shifts, and made social or political change through their work--using oral histories, community archives, cultural productions and social customs in the workplace. 6 credits; HI, IDS; Spring; Christine E Castro
AMST 345 Theory and Practice of American Studies Introduction to some of the animating debates within American Studies from the 1930s to the present. We will study select themes, theories, and methodologies in the writings of a number of scholars and try to understand 1) the often highly contested nature of debates about how best to study American culture; and 2) how various theories and forms of analysis in American Studies have evolved and transformed themselves over the last seventy years. Not designed to be a fine-grained institutional history of American Studies, but a vigorous exploration of some of the central questions of interpretation in the field. Normally taken by majors in their junior year. Prerequisite: American Studies 115, 287 or instructor permission. 6 credits; NE, IDS; Winter; Meredith L McCoy
AMST 396 Commodifying and Policing: Globalization of the American Suburb and City How does the American export of suburban living, gated communities, and broken-windows policing reshape place, identity and the socio-economic hierarchy?  We will also investigate how the commodification of the arts and the neoliberalization of education contribute to gentrification and other forms of spatial cleansing and rebranding. Required for juniors in the American Studies major. Prerequisite: American Studies 115, 287 or instructor permission. 6 credits; WR2, IDS, SI; Spring; Richard A Keiser
AMST 396 Producing Latinidad As Arlene Dávila points out in Latinos Inc, Latinidad—the term that names a set of presumably common attributes that connects Latinxs in the U.S.—emerges in part from communities but, importantly, is developed heavily by the media, advertising, and other political and social institutions, including academia. In this course we consider how ideas and imaginings of who Latinxs are and what Latinidad is develop within political spaces (the electorate, the census), in local places, and through various media, including television, advertising, and music. We will consider how individual writers and artists contribute to the conversation. Throughout, we will engage with social and cultural theories about racial formation, gender, and sexuality. Prerequisite: American Studies 115 or instructor consent. 6 credits; HI, WR2, IDS; Not offered 2021-22
AMST 398 Advanced Research in American Studies This seminar introduces advanced skills in American Studies research, focusing on the shaping and proposing of a major research project. Through a combination of class discussion, small group work and presentations, and one-on-one interactions with the professor, majors learn the process of imaging, creating, and preparing independent interdisciplinary projects as well as the interconnections of disparate scholarly and creative works.  Prerequisite: American Studies 345. 3 credits; S/CR/NC; NE; Fall; Adriana Estill
AMST 399 Senior Seminar in American Studies This seminar focuses on advanced skills in American Studies research, critical reading, writing, and presentation. Engagement with one scholarly talk, keyed to the current year's comps exam theme, will be part of the course. Through a combination of class discussion, small group work and presentations, and one-on-one interactions with the professor, majors learn the process of crafting and supporting independent interdisciplinary arguments, no matter which option for comps they are pursuing. Students also will learn effective strategies for peer review and oral presentation. Prerequisite: American Studies 345. 3 credits; NE; Winter; Adriana Estill
AMST 400 Integrative Exercise: Exam and Essay Exam: Students read selected works and view films in the field of American Studies and in a special topic area designated by the program. For integrative exercise examination students only. Essay: Seniors working on approved essays or projects in American Studies with the support of their advisers, will work independently to complete their theses, performances or projects to satisfy the college "comps" requirement. Students will be required to give a public presentation on their papers or projects during the spring term. Prerequisite: American Studies 396. 3 credits; S/NC; Winter