American Studies (AMS)

Menu

AMS 102 | INTRODUCTION TO U.S. POPULAR MUSIC STUDIES | 4 quarter hours

(Undergraduate)

Popular music is a commercial, mass-mediated art form that has enormous social impact, shaping our identities, tastes, and cultural understanding in ways that are both deeply personal and more broadly political. This course introduces students to the study of popular music in a number of ways: as a form of mass-produced music with a specific industrial and social history; as a media product differentiated industrially through different genres, producers, stars, and targeted audiences; as a cultural product that both reflects and produces meaning within specific historical and social contexts; and as a source of affective investment, identity formation, community and socio-political meaning for audiences. In our examination of popular music, we will focus largely on popular music's development as a mass media form within the United States, although popular music's international influence will be acknowledged as well. Within that context, we will examine the way popular music both maintains and disrupts cultural hierarchies of class and taste, as well as often simultaneously erasing and exposing social differences and inequalities (such as those of race, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, gender, language, age, region, ability, etc). A great deal of the course will involve actively listening to and analyzing popular music in its various forms and contexts; students will examine how popular music has impacted their own lives as well as those of others. Through our analysis of the complexities of popular music, we hope to better understand the significance of the role popular music has played and continues to play in shaping the cultures in which we live.

AMS 150 | PERSPECTIVES ON AMERICAN IDENTITIES | 4 quarter hours

(Undergraduate)

This course explores a variety of perspectives on what it means to be an American in the modern world, looking through polarities such as: inclusion and exclusion, urban and suburban life, localism and globalism, high culture and mass culture, wealth and poverty, freedom and incarceration.

AMS 200 | AMERICAN SOCIAL HISTORY AND CULTURE | 4 quarter hours

(Undergraduate)

This course will provide an overview of the central themes of American History from the colonial period to the present with a focus on social, popular, and cultural history.

AMS 201 | CRITICAL AMERICAN STUDIES | 4 quarter hours

(Undergraduate)

Using a range of interdisciplinary theories and methods, this course introduces students to critical American Studies as a field of scholarship that challenges the idea of the United States as socially and politically exceptional. Required course for AMS majors and minors.

AMS 202 | UNITED STATES POPULAR MUSIC HISTORY | 4 quarter hours

(Undergraduate)

This course introduces students to the historical significance of popular music in the United States from the 1890s to the present.

AMS 211 | AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: EARLY AMERICA TO 1860 | 4 quarter hours

(Undergraduate)

This course focuses on America before the Civil War. Students will engage in project-based work that will examine a variety of texts, as well as material and visual culture in order to examine the competing themes and diverse voices that form American experience during this era. AMS 200 or HST 181 recommended, but not required prior to enrolling in this course.

AMS 213 | AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: FROM 1860 TO 1941 | 4 quarter hours

(Undergraduate)

This course focuses on America between the Civil War and World War II. Students will engage in project-based work that will examine both visual culture and literature in order to examine the competing themes and diverse voices that form American experience during this era. AMS 200 or HST 182 recommended, but not required prior to enrolling in this course.

AMS 215 | AMERICAN EXPERIENCE :FROM 1941 TO PRESENT | 4 quarter hours

(Undergraduate)

This course focuses on America from World War II to the present. The course engages students in project-based works that utilizes multiple methodologies, primary sources, a range of texts, and material and visual culture. AMS 200 or HST 183 recommended, but not required prior to enrolling in this course.

AMS 220 | AMERICAN BUDDHISMS: RACE AND RELIGIOUS DIVERSITY | 4 quarter hours

(Undergraduate)

This course critically analyzes the origins of Buddhism in the United States in order to fully understand how and why Buddhism has flourished in Asian and White American communities, and to understand the conflict and controversy surrounding the racial dynamics of religious choice.

AMS 230 | ASIAN AMERICAN HISTORIES | 4 quarter hours

(Undergraduate)

This course introduces the pre-1965 comparative histories of people of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indian, Filipino, and Southeast Asian ancestry from their arrival in significant numbers in the United States beginning in the 19th century. Two questions orient this course: 1) whether there is an historical validity to the category of Asian American, and if so, the extent to which the category is relevant today in light of differences across gender, sexuality, class, ethnicity, and religion, among others; and 2) how the Asian Pacific American experience challenges and redefines American race relations to provide a more complex understanding of existing structures of power. Cross-listed with AAS 200.

AMS 240 | CHICAGO HISTORY, GEOGRAPHY, AND CULTURES | 4 quarter hours

(Undergraduate)

A history of the founding and development of Chicago from a frontier village to a major industrial, commercial and cultural center. The course will provide an interdisciplinary study of Chicago, with special attention to Chicago's urban geography, built environment (i.e., housing/architecture), neighborhood shifts, and diverse cultures. Cross-listed with HST 240 and GEO 231.

AMS 250 | IN THEIR OWN VOICES: AMERICAN AUTOBIOGRAPHY | 4 quarter hours

(Undergraduate)

This course presents a range of American autobiographies, from different places and from times ranging from Colonial to modern. The selected authors represent varying backgrounds and races.

AMS 261 | AMERICAN ETHNICITIES 1800-1945 | 4 quarter hours

(Undergraduate)

This course will be an exploration of the development of American ethnic communities and identities in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Students will examine the American experience through the lens of ethnic groups and racialized ethnic populations and consider how ethnicity has shaped and influenced American history. We will study the experiences of American ethnic groups based on historical, social, and political factors such as immigration and citizenship, slavery and racialization, gender and patriarchy, religion and family, and the relationships between and among ethnic groups.

AMS 265 | PACIFIC WORLD: NORTH AMERICA AND THE PACIFIC, 1776 - 1945 | 4 quarter hours

(Undergraduate)

This course will examine the nature of American identity in the west. Hawai'i and California represent the extreme edge of the American frontier. The focus will be on the shifting meanings of "native" and "stranger:" How did the status of indigenous peoples foster a sense of identity and place for migrants? How did immigrants understand their role in the political economy? How did racial discourses on the frontier shape the shifting definitions of citizenship? How did race affect America's ambivalent approach to imperialism?.

AMS 275 | HISTORY OF SEX IN AMERICA 1: COLONIAL TO LATE NINETEENTH CENTURY | 4 quarter hours

(Undergraduate)

This course will provide an overview of the history of American sexuality from the colonial period to the late 19th century.

AMS 276 | HISTORY OF SEX IN AMERICA 2: LATE VICTORIANS TO THE PRESENT | 4 quarter hours

(Undergraduate)

This course will provide an overview of the history of American sexuality from the late nineteenth century to the present. Cross-listed with HST 276.

AMS 280 | POLITICS AND HISTORY OF THE VIETNAM WAR | 4 quarter hours

(Undergraduate)

This course examines both the history of American involvement in Vietnam and the lasting effect on American politics and culture.

AMS 285 | HISTORY AND U.S. POPULAR MEDIA | 4 quarter hours

(Undergraduate)

This course examines United States history and popular media. Depending on the instructor, it may focus on how United States history has been depicted in popular media or it may emphasize the history and development of popular media. Contact instructor for syllabus.

AMS 290 | AMERICAN VOICES: TO 1860 | 4 quarter hours

(Undergraduate)

Focusing on the era prior to the United States Civil War, this course provides an integrated, multidisciplinary view of American culture and ideas, addressing the questions: "What is America? What does it mean to be an American?" The courses are focused on primary sources, mostly first person narratives and fiction, developing methods for analyzing and interpreting these sources.

AMS 291 | AMERICAN VOICES: FROM 1860 ONWARD | 4 quarter hours

(Undergraduate)

Focusing on the era after the United States Civil War, this course provides an integrated, multidisciplinary view of American culture and ideas, addressing the questions: "What is America? What does it mean to be an American?" The courses are focused on primary sources, mostly first person narratives and fiction, developing methods for analyzing and interpreting these sources.

WRD 104 or HON 100 or HON 101 is a prerequisite for this class.

AMS 292 | TOPICS IN AMERICAN STUDIES THEORIES AND METHODS | 4 quarter hours

(Undergraduate)

Variable topics that will prepare you to integrate a range of disciplinary understandings and methods into your written and oral analyses of American culture. Consult course schedule for current listings.

AMS 293 | TOPICS IN AMERICAN MATERIAL CULTURE AND THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT | 4 quarter hours

(Undergraduate)

Variable topics. Consult course schedule for current listings.

AMS 294 | TOPICS IN AMERICAN POLITICS, INSTITUTIONS, AND VALUES | 4 quarter hours

(Undergraduate)

Variable topics. Consult course schedule for current listings.

AMS 295 | SPECIAL TOPICS IN AMERICAN STUDIES | 4 quarter hours

(Undergraduate)

Special Topics in American Studies. Consult schedule for topic.

AMS 296 | TOPICS IN AMERICAN POPULAR CULTURE AND MEDIA | 4 quarter hours

(Undergraduate)

Variable topics. Consult course schedule for current listings.

AMS 297 | TOPICS IN AMERICAN RACE AND ETHNIC STUDIES | 4 quarter hours

(Undergraduate)

Variable topics. Consult course schedule for current listings.

AMS 298 | TOPICS IN AMERICAN SOCIAL AND LITERARY MOVEMENTS | 4 quarter hours

(Undergraduate)

Variable topics. Consult course schedule for current listings.

AMS 301 | SENIOR SEMINAR | 4 quarter hours

(Undergraduate)

The Senior Seminar is an integrative course conducted primarily as a colloquium. Emphasis will be placed on discussion and independent research and writing.

AMS 201 or instructor permission is a prerequisite for this class.

AMS 340 | AMERICAN POPULAR CULTURE: 1890s - 1930s | 4 quarter hours

(Undergraduate)

Students in this course will focus on the industrial developments, cultural significance and social effects of American Popular Culture institutions and products in the United States from 1890-1930s, including the rise of corporate nationalism in live performances such as vaudeville and radio, as well as the development of mass media industries including sheet music, advertising, records, and film. Discussions will include attention to industrial practices, textual properties, and audience reception of these cultural products.

AMS 352 | SEX, GENDER AND SOCIAL MEDIA | 4 quarter hours

(Undergraduate)

This course focuses on the gendered and sex/sexuality content of major social media platforms and networking sites, such as Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit, and tumblr. We will ground our understanding of social media platforms in the context of established scholarship on social community development, cultural and media studies, and feminist and queer (LGBTQA) studies. Although our emphasis is on sexual and gendered aspects of identity, we will always view subjects as multiply-identified according to, most prominently, class, race, ethnicity, religion, nationality, and ability. We will examine how these platforms offer new opportunities for sexual education, sexual and erotic/romantic expression, the negotiation and exploration of sexual and gender identities, and feminist/queer media criticism, social activism, and community. We will also explore the more troubling aspects of social media, particularly its connection with global capitalism and neoliberal ideology, as well as how these platforms have provided new forums for public attacks on women and queer people.

AMS 360 | AMERICAN FILM | 4 quarter hours

(Undergraduate)

Analyzes cultural and cinematic histories and film as a social practice circulating cultural values as well as critiquing ideologies. Students will gain understanding of major critical and theoretical approaches and engage in research, critical thinking, and writing on topic areas. Variable specific topics. e. g. assimilation narratives, war in film, sports in film, Asian American film.

AMS 370 | THE MATERIAL CULTURE OF MODERN AMERICA | 4 quarter hours

(Undergraduate)

AMS 370 combines historical archaeology and material culture studies to examine how material goods both shape and reflect American identity in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

AMS 371 | MATERIAL CULTURE OF EARLY AMERICA | 4 quarter hours

(Undergraduate)

Combines historical archaeology and material culture studies to examine how material goods both shape and reflect American identity in the colonial period and early nineteenth century.

AMS 380 | TELEVISION AND AMERICAN IDENTITY | 4 quarter hours

(Undergraduate)

This course is about how television represents Americans and how Americans have responded to these representations. The course engages in close textual analysis of several television texts, to familiarize students with television industry narrative structures and strategies, examines several specific representational struggles, and surveys and discusses the many ways in which television viewers and fans engage with the text.

AMS 386 | ADVANCED TOPICS IN AMERICAN POPULAR CULTURE AND MEDIA | 4 quarter hours

(Undergraduate)

Variable topics. Consult course schedule for current listings.

AMS 387 | ADVANCED TOPICS IN GENDER AND SEXUALITY STUDIES IN THE U.S./AMERICAS | 4 quarter hours

(Undergraduate)

The focus in this course will be to use the interdisciplinary lens of gender and sexuality to gain a deeper understanding of diverse cultural landscapes within the United States and/or the Americas. The course will draw from current academic perspectives including social and cultural history, the history of medicine and psychology, legal and political history, literature, mass media and/or gender studies. Variable emphasis on particular historical periods or topics will depend on the instructor. Please consult class schedule for most current offerings. This course is repeatable when different topics are taken.

AMS 388 | ADVANCED TOPICS IN AMERICAN SOCIAL AND LITERARY MOVEMENTS | 4 quarter hours

(Undergraduate)

Variable topics. Consult course schedule for current listings.

AMS 392 | INTERNSHIP | 1-4 quarter hours

(Undergraduate)

Internship. Majors and minors only. Variable credit.

An American Studies major or minor is a prerequisite for this class.

AMS 393 | ADVANCED TOPICS IN AMERICAN MATERIAL CULTURE AND THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT | 4 quarter hours

(Undergraduate)

Variable topics. Consult course schedule for current listings.

AMS 394 | ADVANCED TOPICS IN AMERICAN POLITICS, INSTITUTIONS, AND VALUES | 4 quarter hours

(Undergraduate)

Variable topics. Consult course schedule for current listings.

AMS 395 | ADVANCED TOPICS IN AMERICAN STUDIES | 4 quarter hours

(Undergraduate)

Topics in American Studies.

AMS 396 | AMERICAN STUDIES COLLOQUIUM | 12.00 quarter hours

(Undergraduate)

These courses involve participation in events and/or conferences on selected topics related to American culture studies. Class participants attend and participate in events, keep a reflective journal connecting the events, do related readings, and write a reflective summary on the colloquium as a whole. Variable credit.

AMS 397 | ADVANCED TOPICS IN AMERICAN RACE AND ETHNIC STUDIES | 4 quarter hours

(Undergraduate)

Variable topics. Consult course schedule for current listings.

AMS 398 | STUDY TOUR | 1-8 quarter hours

(Undergraduate)

An on-site overview of the historical, political, social and economic connections between the United States and a foreign country. Credit variable.

AMS 399 | INDEPENDENT STUDY | 1-4.5 quarter hours

(Undergraduate)

Independent Study. Majors only. Variable credit.

An American Studies Major is a prerequisite for this class.