Courses

Fall 2016

  • AMST 115: Introduction to American Studies: Placing Identities

    This course will examine the different spaces that inform the production of U.S. identities. We will think about the ways the construction of neighborhoods (urban or suburban) affects our sense of place, ethnicity, and community; we'll consider the impact that border geographies, whether physical or cultural, have on national imaginings; we shall look at contemporary cultural expressions of small town vs. big city life and consider what they feature as particular and unique about Americanness. 6 credit; Humanistic Inquiry, Writing Requirement, Intercultural Domestic Studies; offered Fall 2016 · A. Estill
  • AMST 261: Unwritten America

    This course is an examination of the hidden/excluded/silenced narratives in American literature and culture. We will read books, watch films, and draw from community resources in our exploration of groups that have been marginalized from the mainstream. The course will center around the stories of communities such as the Hmong, the Karen, and the Eritreans, among others. Be prepared to engage in conversations about power, privilege, and the underlying structures that govern exposure and understanding.

    6 credit; Literary/Artistic Analysis, Intercultural Domestic Studies; offered Fall 2016 · K. Yang
  • 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. Prerequisites: American Studies 396 6 credit; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement; offered Fall 2016 · E. McKinsey

Winter 2017

  • AMST 247: We've Never Not Been Here: Indigenous Peoples and Places

    "Everything you know about Indians is wrong." Paul Chaat Smith (Comanche author) This interdisciplinary course offers an introduction to important topics in the field of Native American Studies. We will examine history, literature, art, politics, and current events to explore the complex relationship between historical and contemporary issues that indigenous peoples face in the United States. We will pay particular attention to the creative ways that indigenous communities have remained vibrant in the face of ongoing colonial struggle. Topics include histories of Indian-settler relations, American Indian sovereignties, Indigenous ecological knowledge practices, American Indian philosophical and literary traditions, and American Indian activism. 6 credit; Humanistic Inquiry, Intercultural Domestic Studies; offered Winter 2017 · A. Smith
  • AMST 287: California Program: California Art & 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 lithographs, tourist brochures, and orange-crate labels).

    6 credit; Literary/Artistic Analysis; offered Winter 2017 · C. Kowalewski
  • AMST 289: California Program: California Field Studies

    Students will participate in a number of field trips dealing with California's history, literature, and environment. Sites visited will include Sutter's Fort, the Modoc Lava Beds, the California Indian Museum, Teatro Campesino, and Hearst Castle. Students will also complete an Oral Culture Project.

    4 credit; S/CR/NC; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement; offered Winter 2017 · M. Kowalewski
  • AMST 290: California Program: Directed Reading

    Students will do some preparatory reading on California history, literature and art before the seminar begins and additional reading connected with field trips and guest speakers.

    2 credit; S/CR/NC; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement; offered Winter 2017 · M. Kowalewski
  • 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. Prerequisites: African/African American Studies 113 or American Studies 115 or instructor permission 6 credit; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement, Intercultural Domestic Studies; offered Winter 2017 · A. 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.

    Prerequisites: American Studies 396 3 credit; S/NC; offered Winter 2017

Spring 2017

  • AMST 115: Introduction to American Studies: Immigration and American Culture

    This course is an introduction to the field of American Studies--its pleasures, challenges, and central questions--through the lens of immigration and migration. Using interdisciplinary readings and assignments, we will explore the richness and complexity of American culture by placing immigration and migration at the center of our investigations. Throughout the term, our study of diverse topics (Borders and Boundaries, World War II, and Sound) will model different ways of making connections and analyzing relationships between immigration, identity, and culture in the United States. 6 credit; Humanistic Inquiry, Intercultural Domestic Studies, Writing Requirement; offered Spring 2017 · A. Smith
  • 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 credit; Humanistic Inquiry, Writing Requirement, Intercultural Domestic Studies; offered Spring 2017 · A. 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 credit; Literary/Artistic Analysis, Writing Requirement; offered Spring 2017 · E. McKinsey
  • 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. Prerequisites: American Studies 115 or sophomore standing 6 credit; Social Inquiry, Intercultural Domestic Studies; offered Spring 2017 · R. Keiser
  • AMST 396: Place, Memory, and National Narrative in American Studies

    How does a place become part of our cultural memory and national heritage, even if we've never been there? In this course we will draw on the interdisciplinary strengths of American Studies to explore how certain places and histories come to be important to an American national imaginary. We will critically examine specific sites of national memory such as Plymouth Rock, Mt. Rushmore, and the Alamo and consider the processes through which narratives of nationalism are created from contested histories and places, paying particular attention to Native American perspectives.

    Prerequisites: American Studies major or instructor permission 6 credit; Humanistic Inquiry, Writing Requirement; offered Spring 2017 · P. Balaam