Social and Literary Movements Concentration, American Studies (BA)

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The Social and Literary Movements concentration focuses upon two areas of study: major cultural products by the principal novelists, philosophers, poets, political and religious thinkers, historians, artists, musicians and intellectuals in American history; and major cultural movements which have shaped the world view and attitudes of literate Americans in American history.

In the first area of focus, a heavy emphasis will be given to individual creative work, its form and content, its specific antecedents and influences as well as its later impact, and the cultural and philosophical implications of the document itself. The relationship between each work and larger trends of the period, both cultural and social, will also be explored.

In the second field of study, the focus will be upon broader cultural movements which are diffused through the larger literate society, which include major cultural documents as well as popular expressions of these ideas, beliefs and attitudes. Thus, the focus here is on the cultural reception and diffusion of ideas, the relation between innovative movements and mainstream belief systems and attitudes, and the nature and direction of cultural exchange.

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
IN THEIR OWN VOICES: AMERICAN AUTOBIOGRAPHY
AMERICAN ETHNICITIES 1800-1945
HISTORY OF SEX IN AMERICA 1: COLONIAL TO LATE NINETEENTH CENTURY
HISTORY OF SEX IN AMERICA 2: LATE VICTORIANS TO THE PRESENT
AMERICAN VOICES: TO 1860
AMERICAN VOICES: FROM 1860 ONWARD
TOPICS IN AMERICAN SOCIAL AND LITERARY MOVEMENTS
ADVANCED TOPICS IN GENDER AND SEXUALITY STUDIES IN THE U.S./AMERICAS
ADVANCED TOPICS IN AMERICAN SOCIAL AND LITERARY MOVEMENTS
ADVANCED TOPICS IN AMERICAN STUDIES

Asian American Studies

Course Title Quarter Hours
ASIAN AMERICAN ARTS AND CULTURE

African & Black Diaspora Studies

Course Title Quarter Hours
BLACKS AND LOVE
SURVEY OF AFRICAN DIASPORIC INTELLECTUAL THOUGHT
BLACK AESTHETIC THOUGHT
HARLEM RENAISSANCE AND NEGRITUDE
RELIGIOUS DIMENSIONS OF THE AFRICAN DIASPORA
RACE AND ETHNICITY IN LITERARY STUDIES
JAZZ AND THE DIASPORIC IMAGINATION
DIMENSIONS OF BLACK FAMILY LIFE
BLACK FEMINIST THEORIES IN A U.S. CONTEXT
RECONSTRUCTION AND THE RISE OF JIM CROW
VOTING, REPRESENTATION, AND THE LAW
AFRICAN AMERICAN DRAMA AND POETRY

Economics

Course Title Quarter Hours
DEVELOPMENT OF ECONOMIC THOUGHT

English

Course Title Quarter Hours
THE AMERICAN NOVEL
AFRICAN AMERICAN LITERATURE
LITERATURE AND IDENTITY
LATINX LITERATURE
LGBTQ LITERATURE
TOPICS IN 19TH-CENTURY AMERICAN LITERATURE
POSTCOLONIAL LITERATURE
AMERICAN LITERATURE TO 1830
19TH-CENTURY AMERICAN LITERATURE
AMERICAN LITERATURE FROM 1865 TO 1920
AMERICAN LITERATURE AFTER 1900
TOPICS IN GENRE STUDIES
TOPICS IN 20TH-CENTURY FICTION
TOPICS IN AMERICAN STUDIES
TOPICS IN AMERICAN LITERATURE
TOPICS IN AFRICAN AMERICAN LITERATURE
MULTIETHNIC LITERATURE OF THE U.S.
NATIVE LITERATURE
STUDIES IN SHORT FICTION 1
WOMEN AND LITERATURE 1
TOPICS IN LATINX LITERATURE
TOPICS IN LGBTQ LITERATURE
STUDIES IN THE MODERN AMERICAN NOVEL 1

History

Course Title Quarter Hours
HISTORY OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN THE U.S.
AFRICAN-AMERICAN HISTORY TO 1800
AFRICAN-AMERICAN HISTORY, 1800-1900
AFRICAN-AMERICAN HISTORY, 1900 TO PRESENT
AMERICAN URBAN HISTORY
U.S. HISTORICAL LANDSCAPE
HISTORY OF AMERICAN RELIGION
WESTWARD EXPANSION IN U.S.
U.S. LABOR HISTORY
THE OLD SOUTH
IMMIGRANT AMERICA
AFRICAN-AMERICAN INTELLECTUAL HISTORY
U.S. WOMEN'S HISTORY
AMERICAN COLONIAL HISTORY
ANTEBELLUM AMERICA
THE CIVIL WAR ERA
EMERGENCE OF MODERN AMERICA, 1877-1914
THE GREAT DEPRESSION AND THE NEW DEAL ERA
THE UNITED STATES SINCE 1940
RECONSTRUCTION AND THE RISE OF JIM CROW
BORDERLANDS AND FRONTIERS IN AMERICA
AFRICAN-AMERICAN URBAN HISTORY

Latin American & Latino Studies

Course Title Quarter Hours
CONSTRUCTING LATINO COMMUNITIES
LATINO RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE IN THE UNITED STATES
GROWING UP LATINO/LATINA IN THE U.S.
SPECIAL TOPICS IN LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES
BORDER MATTERS:LITERATURE & CULTURE IN THE LATINO/A BORDERLANDS
SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT AND LATINO FAMILIES
SPECIAL TOPICS: LATINOS IN THE U.S.
LATINOS IN EDUCATION

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.

Philosophy

Course Title Quarter Hours
WHAT IS FREEDOM?
AMERICAN PHILOSOPHY

Political Science

Course Title Quarter Hours
THE AMERICAN POLITICAL SYSTEM
AMERICAN POLITICAL CULTURE
WOMEN AND POLITICS
AFRICAN-AMERICAN POLITICS
AFRICAN-AMERICAN POLITICAL THOUGHT
IMMIGRATION LAW

Religion

Course Title Quarter Hours
THE AMERICAN RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE
THE AFRICAN AMERICAN RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE
NATIVE AMERICAN RELIGIONS
BLACK INTELLECTUAL TRADITIONS
SLAVERY, RACE AND RELIGION
RELIGION AND POLITICS IN THE UNITED STATES

Women’s & Gender Studies

Course Title Quarter Hours
GROWING UP FEMALE IN THE U.S.
GENDER, VIOLENCE AND RESISTANCE
MOTHERING, WORK, AND REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE
GENDER AND FAMILIES
ANTIRACIST FEMINISMS
TRANSFORMATIVE JUSTICE: THEORY AND PRACTICE
WOMEN AND ART
POLITICAL AUTOBIOGRAPHY
UTOPIAN AND DYSTOPIAN LITERATURE AND FILM: GENDER, RACE AND BEYOND

Portfolio Requirement

Students are encouraged to maintain an active record of documents from their concentration courses, including syllabi, completed written course work, collections of visuals, e.g., photo essays -- whatever is appropriate to the six courses chosen for the concentration. Students will use these documents to aid them in writing reflective essays during the initial weeks of their senior seminar. These essays might ask you to consider “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 y our understanding of the area of American culture on which you are focusing?” These essays, a long with representative assignments, will form the student's American Studies "portfolio." 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, AMS 301. 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. ​​