Fall 2020

  • 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 Fall 2020, Spring 2021 · Melinda Russell, Nancy Cho
  • 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; Humanistic Inquiry, Writing Requirement, Intercultural Domestic Studies; offered Fall 2020 · Adriana Estill
  • AMST 256: Walt Whitman’s New York

    An interdisciplinary investigation of the burgeoning, brash, alluring Other that the young Walter Whitman found in New York in the 1850s. Considering “Leaves of Grass,” as well as his journalistic, “self-help,” and political writings, we will reconstruct how Whitman found his muse, his voice, and his distinctively modern and democratic subject in the geography, demographics, markets, politics, and erotics of New York: “O City / Behold me! Incarnate me as I have incarnated you! I have rejected nothing you have offered me!–whom you adopted, I have adopted; good or bad…”

    6 credits; Humanistic Inquiry, Writing Requirement; offered Fall 2020 · Peter Balaam
  • 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 2020 · Adriana Estill

Winter 2021

  • 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; Humanistic Inquiry, Intercultural Domestic Studies; offered Winter 2021 · Meredith McCoy
  • 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 2021
  • 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.

    4 credits; S/CR/NC; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement; offered Winter 2021
  • 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; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement; offered Winter 2021
  • 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 2021 · Meredith McCoy
  • 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 Winter 2021 · 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 Winter 2021

Spring 2021

  • 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 Fall 2020, Spring 2021 · Melinda Russell, Nancy Cho
  • 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; Humanistic Inquiry, Writing Requirement; offered Spring 2021 · Elizabeth 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 credits; Social Inquiry, Intercultural Domestic Studies; offered Spring 2021 · Richard Keiser
  • AMST 396: Producing Latindad

    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 2021 · Adriana Estill