Academics

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Course Catalog

AMERICAN STUDIES

For a minor in American Studies, students will take five AM courses, including AM201H, chosen in consultation with American Studies discipline faculty. Three of the five courses must be at the 300 level or above.

Learn more about this academic program.

AM 201H: American Civilization
Significant works and methods of American Studies, while surveying cultural themes of American identity and issues of American experience.

AM 203H: Television and American Life
Since it emerged in the late 1940's as a medium of entertainment and information, commercial television has been the primary window through which Americans have viewed their world. Study the American experience with television. Trace the historical and economic evolution of the medium which also examining the ways in which it has represented, misrepresented, and shaped issues and events of national importance.

AM 209H: Popular Culture and American Life
Students begin with the question "What is popular culture?" and examine various theories about how/why it should be studied by focusing on cultural trends across decades, especially regarding issues of race, gender, ethnicity, and class.

AM 306H: American Myths and Values
Myths in American history, literature, and religion which shape Americans' understanding of their identity and history.

AM 307H: Rebels with a Cause
Reform and radical ideology of the 19th and 20th centuries. Populism, progressivism; nationalist, civil rights, peace, feminist, environmental movements. (Directed Study available)

AM 308H: Becoming Visible: Sex, Gender, and American Culture
Changing perspectives on what it means to be male or female in the U.S. Historical origins and sources of values concerning masculinity and femininity. (Directed study available)

AM 310H: American Cinema
This course will analyze American films and the movie industry in their social and cultural context, including the formal properties of film, film criticism, and interpreting motion pictures as an important mass medium.

AM 311H: Politics of Race: American Fiction
Examining ways in which race was constructed in narrative by and for the conventions of a white, 19th century reading public and how those ways have been "reconstructed" in the 20th century.

AM 314E: Environment in American Thought
Examine ways physical environment has been conceptualized as the cultural landscapes in the American past, from the Puritans "errand into the wilderness" to the chaotic world of Jurassic Park, using paintings, film, photographs, and literary works. Prerequisites: Sophomore status or above.

AM 319E: Environmental Film Colloquium
This course will develop the idea that the environment has been a significant focus in culture and can be analyzed from the perspective of the imagery of film, video, and other visual media.

AM 322H: Business of American Culture
This course will examine cultural responses to and understandings of business within US society and the ways this system has shaped and been shaped by social relations and cultural understandings in the US.

AM 324H: Organized Crime in America
Organized Crime in America is a course that traces the development of organized criminal activity in America from the eighteenth century to the present.

AM 325H: The West and the Movies
Explore America's longstanding attraction to western movies, survey development of the genre in historical and cultural context to better understand American values and ideology, and analyze styles of various directors and actors.

AM 338H: Harlem Renaissance
Emergence of a new literary and artistic movement within the African-American community in the 1920's and how it affected other social movements in American society. African-American History I and II helpful but not required.

AM 339H: The Great Depression & American Life
Exploring American life during the Great Depression in its social, cultural, and environmental aspects, using literature, mass media and online archival resources.

AM 401: Integrating American Studies
Develop an integrative understanding of the field of American Studies as an academic field of interdisciplinary study.

AM 498: Comprehensive Examination

AM 499: Senior Thesis

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