Fall 2022

  • 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; Argument and Inquiry Seminar, Writing Requirement, Intercultural Domestic Studies; offered Fall 2022 · Peter Balaam
  • 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; Humanistic Inquiry, Intercultural Domestic Studies; offered Fall 2022 · Christine Castro
  • 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. 

    Prerequisites: American Studies 345 3 credits; S/CR/NC; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement; offered Fall 2022 · 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.

    Prerequisites: American Studies 345 3 credits; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement; offered Fall 2022, Winter 2023 · 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.

    Prerequisites: American Studies 396 3 credits; S/NC; offered Fall 2022, Winter 2023 · Adriana Estill

Winter 2023

  • 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; Humanistic Inquiry, Intercultural Domestic Studies, Writing Requirement; offered Winter 2023, Spring 2023 · Christopher Elias
  • AMST 238: 9/11 and the War on Terror in American Culture

    An exploration of how the terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001 and the subsequent War on Terror impacted American culture. We will focus on issues of both form (the elements determining the look and feel of post-9/11 artwork) and content (the social and moral concerns driving post-9/11 culture). Shared texts will include novels, short stories, poetry, music, art, and films. Particular attention will be paid to themes such as race and racism, religion and religious discrimination, immigration and xenophobia, debates over American exceptionalism, critiques of American capitalism, the “death of irony,” attempts to define “truth,” and the spread of conspiracy theories. 

    6 credits; Humanistic Inquiry, Intercultural Domestic Studies; offered Winter 2023 · Christopher Elias
  • 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).

    Prerequisites: Participation in AMST OCS program 6 credits; Literary/Artistic Analysis; offered Winter 2023
  • 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.

    Prerequisites: Participation in AMST OCS program 4 credits; S/CR/NC; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement; offered Winter 2023 · Michael 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 credits; S/CR/NC; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement; offered Winter 2023 · Michael 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: American Studies 115, 287 or instructor permission 6 credits; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement, Intercultural Domestic Studies; offered Winter 2023 · Christine Castro
  • 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 345 3 credits; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement; offered Fall 2022, Winter 2023 · 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.

    Prerequisites: American Studies 396 3 credits; S/NC; offered Fall 2022, Winter 2023 · Adriana Estill

Spring 2023

  • 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; Humanistic Inquiry, Intercultural Domestic Studies, Writing Requirement; offered Winter 2023, Spring 2023 · Christopher Elias
  • AMST 222: Indigenous Film

    This course introduces students to the world of Indigenous films, beginning with representations of Indians and how these images shape what most people “know” about “Indians.” Simultaneously, Indigenous filmmakers exercise visual sovereignty by not only refusing representations of Indigenous people, but by creating visual representations of Indigenous peoples that speak to the urgent issues of the present. Through Indigenous films, we will examine genres, develop an appreciation for historical and cultural contexts of films, and consider how these films are forms of Indigenous resurgence. We will also learn the basics of media literacy and film analysis. Our key concepts include visual sovereignty, Indigenous, Indians, settler colonialism, decolonization, resurgence, tradition, and gender.

    6 credits; Literary/Artistic Analysis, Intercultural Domestic Studies; offered Spring 2023
  • 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.

    Prerequisites: American Studies 115 or instructor consent 6 credits; Humanistic Inquiry, Writing Requirement, Intercultural Domestic Studies; offered Spring 2023 · Adriana Estill