Politics, Institutions and Values Concentration, American Studies (BA)

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Students in the Politics, Institutions, and Values concentration examine the structural and cultural processes that shape the distribution of power and resources, and supply the cultural meanings for U.S. society. Courses in this concentration explore a variety of American institutions and social processes, among them the political system, the economy, the educational system, the health care arena, the justice system and numerous other cultural and social spheres. Students will study the dynamic relations among these realms in courses ranging from traditional disciplines, like Political Science and Sociology, to those within interdisciplinary programs such as Women's and Gender Studies and, of course, American Studies.

This concentration particularly encourages students to choose courses that emphasize an historical perspective in order to better understand the interplay of individuals, social groups and subcultures as they shape and are shaped by various institutions over time. An historical perspective also allows for comparisons among traditional, modern and contemporary methodologies for conceptualizing American society. Ultimately, students in the Politics, Institutions and Values concentration should develop the critical skills with which to analyze the complexity of the conflicts among these institutions and processes and their diverse participants, among ruling elites, their members and outsiders, and between the official discourses and the complex real outcomes.

Concentration Courses

Please note that the below list of possible courses is not exhaustive and that many courses listed under "TOPICS" headings may also count toward American Studies. Students may take an unlimited number of TOPICS courses, as long as the topic of each course is different.

Students must choose six courses from the following; however, exceptions may be granted by the Director of the American Studies Program. No more than three courses may be from any one department (AMS notwithstanding); at least two courses should be at the 300-level.

American Studies

Course Title Quarter Hours
PERSPECTIVES ON AMERICAN IDENTITIES
AMERICAN BUDDHISMS: RACE AND RELIGIOUS DIVERSITY
CHICAGO HISTORY, GEOGRAPHY, AND CULTURES
HISTORY OF SEX IN AMERICA 1: COLONIAL TO LATE NINETEENTH CENTURY
HISTORY OF SEX IN AMERICA 2: LATE VICTORIANS TO THE PRESENT
POLITICS AND HISTORY OF THE VIETNAM WAR
TOPICS IN AMERICAN POLITICS, INSTITUTIONS, AND VALUES
TELEVISION AND AMERICAN IDENTITY
ADVANCED TOPICS IN GENDER AND SEXUALITY STUDIES IN THE U.S./AMERICAS
ADVANCED TOPICS IN AMERICAN POLITICS, INSTITUTIONS, AND VALUES

African & Black Diaspora Studies

Course Title Quarter Hours
AFRICAN AMERICAN POLITICS
DIMENSIONS OF BLACK FAMILY LIFE
PAN-AFRICANISM
AFRICAN-AMERICAN POLITICAL THOUGHT
RECONSTRUCTION AND THE RISE OF JIM CROW
VOTING, REPRESENTATION, AND THE LAW
TOPICS IN PUBLIC LAW

Asian American Studies

Course Title Quarter Hours
ASIAN AMERICAN HISTORY

Community Service Studies

Course Title Quarter Hours
RESTORATIVE JUSTICE: ENGAGEMENT WITH THE PRISON
COMMUNITY FOOD SYSTEMS
CRITCAL ISSUES IN PUBLIC EDUCATION: THE CHICAGO CONTEXT

Economics

Course Title Quarter Hours
URBAN ECONOMICS
MARKET STRUCTURE AND REGULATION OF BUSINESS
AMERICAN ECONOMIC HISTORY
LABOR ECONOMICS AND ORGANIZATION
ECONOMICS AND GENDER
ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL ECONOMICS

Geography

Course Title Quarter Hours
URBANIZATION
GEOPOLITICS
RACE, JUSTICE, AND THE URBAN ENVIRONMENT
ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION
SUSTAINABLE URBAN TRANSPORTATION
CULTURAL AND POLITICAL ECOLOGY
HISTORICAL GEOGRAPHY OF CHICAGO
URBAN PLANNING

History of Art and Architecture

Course Title Quarter Hours
MUSEUM PROFESSION AND PRACTICE: CHICAGO MUSEUMS AS CASE STUDY

History

Course Title Quarter Hours
HISTORY OF CHICAGO
HISTORY OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN THE U.S.
AMERICAN URBAN HISTORY
MUSEUMS, MATERIAL CULTURE AND MEMORY: INTRODUCTION TO PUBLIC HISTORY
U.S. HISTORICAL LANDSCAPE
HISTORY OF AMERICAN RELIGION
WESTWARD EXPANSION IN U.S.
ASIAN-AMERICAN IMMIGRATION AND HISTORY, 1840-1965
HISTORY OF EDUCATION IN THE UNITED STATES
WOMEN IN UNITED STATES HISTORY
U.S. LABOR HISTORY
MAPS IN HISTORY AND CULTURE
INTER-AMERICAN AFFAIRS
LATINOS IN THE UNITED STATES
THE OLD SOUTH
U.S. WOMEN'S HISTORY
AMERICAN COLONIAL HISTORY
THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION
CHICAGO HISTORY MUSEUM EXPERIENCE

LGBTQ Studies

Course Title Quarter Hours
QUEER PIONEERS: CULTURE, GENDER, AND POLITICAL ACTIVISM
CREATING CHANGE: CONTEMPORARY GLBT POLITICS
SEXUAL JUSTICE: LESBIANS, GAYS AND THE LAW

Latin American & Latino Studies

Course Title Quarter Hours
LATINO RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE IN THE UNITED STATES
CONSTRUCTING LATINO COMMUNITIES
LATINO COMMUNITIES AND SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT
LATINO COMMUNITIES IN CHICAGO
GLOBALIZATION IN THE AMERICAS
INDIGENOUS POLITICAL STRUGGLES

Peace, Justice, and Conflict Studies

Course Title Quarter Hours
CHICAGO AND STRATEGIC NONVIOLENCE
COMMUNITIES WORKING FOR SUSTAINABLE JUSTICE AND PEACE: SERVICE IN CHICAGO AND THE U.S.
SOCIAL JUSTICE AND SOCIAL CHANGE

Public Policy Studies

Course Title Quarter Hours
ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE

Political Science

Course Title Quarter Hours
THE AMERICAN POLITICAL SYSTEM
AMERICAN POLITICAL CULTURE
WOMEN AND POLITICS
AFRICAN-AMERICAN POLITICS
TOPICS IN POLITICAL CULTURE 1
THE AMERICAN PRESIDENCY
CONGRESS AND THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS
URBAN POLITICS
BUREAUCRACY AND POLITICS
STATE POLITICS
AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY
LAW AND THE POLITICAL SYSTEM
FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS
RIGHTS OF DEFENDANTS
EQUAL PROTECTION OF THE LAWS
MASS MEDIA AND AMERICAN POLITICS
URBAN POLICYMAKING
CHICAGO GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
INEQUALITY IN AMERICAN SOCIETY
PUBLIC OPINION
ADVANCED TOPICS IN AMERICAN POLITICS
AMERICAN POLITICAL THOUGHT
ADVANCED TOPICS IN POLITICAL THOUGHT 1
THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
WOMEN AND THE LAW

Sociology

Course Title Quarter Hours
SOCIAL WORK AND SOCIAL WELFARE
LAW AND SOCIETY
POLICE AND THE URBAN COMMUNITY
INTRODUCTION TO THE U.S HEALTH CARE SYSTEM
RACE AND ETHNICITY IN THE CITY
IMMIGRATION, HEALTH AND ILLNESS
WHITE RACISM
SLAVERY AND RACIALIZATION
CRIMINAL- LEGAL SYSTEM: CRITICAL PERSPECTIVES
POWER, DEVIANCE AND SOCIAL CONTROL
SOCIOLOGY OF FAMILIES
SOCIOLOGY OF EDUCATION
LAW, POWER AND RESISTANCE
STREET GANGS
GENDER, CRIME AND JUSTICE
HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS
SOCIAL INEQUALITY
POLITICAL SOCIOLOGY
CLASS, POWER AND DECISION MAKING IN THE CITY
HEALTH DISPARITIES

Women’s & Gender Studies

Course Title Quarter Hours
WOMEN'S LIVES:RACE/CLASS/GENDER
GROWING UP FEMALE IN THE U.S.
GENDER AND EDUCATION
FEMINIST FRAMEWORKS
BLACK FEMINIST THEORIES IN A U.S. CONTEXT
GENDER, VIOLENCE AND RESISTANCE
GENDER AND FAMILIES
WOMEN AND LAW
QUEER THEORY: AN INTRODUCTION

Portfolio Requirement

Throughout the concentration courses, students are required to maintain a “portfolio” which combines reflections on the courses with collections of course materials (syllabi, completed written course work, collections of visuals, e.g., photo essays -- whatever is appropriate to the six courses chosen for the concentration). The reflections on each course and then on the concentration overall should include responses to questions such as “What were the course’s most valuable lessons in research, analysis, writing and communication? How did this course, taken together with the other courses you have chosen for your concentration, influence/develop your understanding of the area of American culture on which you are focusing?” Students turn in their portfolio on the concentration, along with a proposal for the senior seminar project, in the first weeks of the senior seminar. Specific directions for the portfolio can be obtained from your American Studies advisor, from the American Studies Program office, or from the American Studies Program Director.

Open Electives

Open elective credit also is required to meet the minimum graduation requirement of 192 hours. ​