Academic program

What does it mean to be American? Students in this interdisciplinary major reflect on this question in multiple ways. American cultural studies core courses ponder the changing meanings of nation and citizenship in both the United States and in the Americas. They consider how groups of Americans see themselves and each other, and investigate how institutions have constructed such differences as race, gender, class, and sexuality. These discussions assume that what has been deemed natural or inevitable is in fact dynamic and changeable, and that what has been socially invisible must be brought to light. All American cultural studies students are grounded in African American studies and use this method of inquiry to better understand the meaning of belonging, privilege, and exclusion. Among current American cultural studies courses are those that focus on cultural geography and cultural politics, borderlands, diasporas, film and media, gender, history, literature, music, performance, queer theory, and race theory.

More information on the American cultural studies program is available on the website (

Major Requirements. The major in American cultural studies requires ten courses and a senior thesis. The requirements are as follows:

1) Required courses:
AAS 100. Introduction to African American Studies.
ACS 100. Introduction to American Cultural Studies.
ACS 220. Community Studies.
INDS 250. Interdisciplinary Studies: Methods and Modes of Inquiry.

2) Six other courses from the list below, which should include:
a) courses should include courses at the 200 and 300 levels;
b) at least one course on the African diaspora outside of the United States;
c) at least one course on gender as an interpretive category;
d) at least one cultural studies course on the Arab American, Asian American, Franco-American, Native American, Canadian, or Latin American experience. The selection and sequence of courses must be discussed with the faculty advisor and approved by the fall semester of the junior year.

In addition to specific American cultural studies courses and courses cross-listed in American cultural studies, the following courses from across the curriculum may be applied to the major:

AA/EN 114. African American Literature I.
AA/RH 162. White Redemption: Cinema and the Co-optation of African American History.
AA/WS 201. Race, Ethnicity, and Feminist Thought.
AA/HI 243. African American History.
AA/MU 249. African American Popular Music.
AA/AN 251. Imagining the Caribbean.
AA/DN 252. Contemporary Issues in Dance.
AA/EN 253. The African American Novel.
AA/EN. Contemporary African American Literature.
AA/EN 265. The Writings of Toni Morrison.
AA/EN 267. Narrating Slavery.
AA/HI 390E. African Slavery in the Americas.
AA/RH 391C. The Harlem Renaissance.
AA/WS s33. Reading Toni Morrison.
ANTH 103. Introduction to Archaeology.
ANTH 222. First Encounters: European "Discovery" and North American Indians.
AN/SO 232. Ethnicity, Nation, World Community.
AN/RE 234. Myth, Folklore, and Popular Culture.
ANTH 333. Culture and Interpretation.
ANTH s10. Encountering Community: Ethnographic Fieldwork and Service-Learning.
ANTH s32. Introduction to Archaeological Fieldwork.
AV/WS 287. Women, Gender, Visual Culture.
AV/WS 296. Visualizing Identities.
AVC 361. Museum Internship.
AVC 374. Methods in the Study of Art and Visual Culture.
AVC 375. Issues of Sexuality and the Study of Visual Culture.
AVC 377A. Picturesque Suburbia.
DANC 250. Early Modern Dance History.
DN/ED s29. Tour, Teach, Perform.
ECON 230. Economics of Women, Men, and Work.
ECON 331. Labor Economics.
ECON 348. Urban Economics.
EDUC 231. Perspectives on Education.
EDUC 240. Gender Issues in Education.
ED/SO 242. Race, Cultural Pluralism, and Equality in American Education.
EDUC 250. Critical Perspective on Pedagogy and Curriculum.
ED/SO 380. Education, Reform, and Politics.
EDUC s27. Literacy in the Community.
ENG 121C. Frost, Stevens, Williams.
EN/WS 121G. Asian American Women Writers.
ENG 141. American Writers to 1900.
ENG 143. Nineteenth-Century American Literature.
ENG 152. American Writers since 1900.
ENG 241. Fiction in the United States.
ENG 242. American Realisms: Narrative, Aesthetics, and Cultural Politics at Centuries' Ends.
ENG 395F. Five American Women Poets.
EN/WS 395L. Feminist Literary Criticisms.
EN/WS 395S. Asian American Women Writers, Filmmakers, and Critics.
ENG s15. 9/11 in Literature and Art.
FYS 152. Religion and Civil Rights.
FYS 177. Sex and Sexualities.
FYS 242. Blackness (and Whiteness) in the Social Imagination.
FYS 271. Into the Woods: Rewriting Walden.
FYS 299. Contemporary American Poetry.
FYS 300. Exploring Education through Narratives.
FYS 329. Latin American Time Machine.
FYS 363. The Rhetoric of Women: Politics, Prime Time, and Pop Culture.
FYS 381. Visualizing Identities.
FYS 385. Power and Authority in Latin America through Film.
FYS 393. DiY and Mash-up Culture.
FYS 419. Tobacco in History and Culture.
FRE 208. Introduction to the Francophone World.
HIST 140. Origins of the New Nation, 1500–1820.
HIST 142. America in the Twentieth Century.
HIST 181. Latin American History: From the Conquest to the Present.
HIST 241. The Age of the American Revolution, 1763–1789.
HIST 249. Colonial North America.
HIST 261. American Protest: From the Haymarket Riot to Occupy Wall Street.
HIST 265. Wartime Dissent in Modern America.
HIST 279. The Age of Independence in Latin America.
HIST 282. The City in Latin America.
HIST 390H. The Mexican Revolution.
HIST 390P. Prelude to the Civil Rights Movement.
HI/WS 390Q. A Woman's Place: Gender and Geography in the United States, 1800–Present.
HIST 390S. Colonies and Empires.
HIST 390W. The Civil Rights Movement.
HI/RE 390Y. The Spanish Inquisition.
HIST s20. Visions of the Past: Political Film and Historical Narrative.
INDS 235. The Politics of Pleasure and Desire: Women's Independent and Third Cinema and Video from the African Diaspora.
INDS 257. African American Women's History and Social Transformation.
INDS 321. Afroambiente: Writing a Black Environment.
INDS 325. Black Feminist Literary, Theory, and Practice.
INDS 342. Performance, Narrative, and the Body.
MUS 212. Introduction to Ethnomusicology.
MUS 247. History of Jazz.
MUS 248. Music in Contemporary Popular Culture.
MUS 254. Music and Drama.
MUS 266. Miles Davis.
MUS 396. Junior-Senior Seminar in Musicology: Music History and Cultural Politics.
PLTC 115. American Political Institutions and Processes.
PLTC 155. Women, Power, and Political Systems.
PLTC 215. Political Participation in the United States.
PT/WS 220. Gender, War, and Peace.
SPAN 224. Protest and Justice.
PLTC 230. The U.S. Congress.
PLTC 249. Politics of Latin America.
PLTC 253. U.S. Foreign Policy in the Middle East.
PLTC 310. Public Opinion.
PLTC 320. The Politics of Latin American Migrant Transnationalism.
PLTC 329. American Political Development.
PLTC 347. Gender and the State.
PY/SO 210. Social Psychology.
PY/SO 371. Prejudice and Stereotyping.
PSYC 372. Racial and Ethnic Identity Development.
REL 100. Religion and Film.
REL 216. American Religious History, 1550–1840.
REL 217. American Religious History, 1840–Present.
REL 247. City upon the Hill.
REL 270. Religion and American Visual Culture.
REL s27. Field Studies in Religion: Cult and Community.
RHET 260. Lesbian and Gay Images in Film.
RHET 265. The Rhetoric of Women's Rights.
RHET 276. Television Criticism.
RHET 391A. The Rhetoric of Alien Abduction.
RHET 391B. Presidential Campaign Rhetoric.
RHET 391E. The Interracial Buddy Film.
SOC 250. Privilege, Power, and Inequality.
SOC 270. Sociology of Gender.
SOC 395I. Gender and Family.
SPAN 215. Readings in Spanish American Literature.
SPAN 224. Protest and Justice.
SPAN 232. Gender and Sexuality in the Caribbean.
SPAN 250. The Latin American Short Story.
SP/WS 323. Gendered Experiences in the Americas Borderlands.
SPAN 342. Hybrid Cultures: Latin American Intersections.
SPAN 343. Postcolonial Thought in Latin America.
WGST 100. Introduction to Women and Gender Studies.
WGST 355. Gender and Technology.
WGST s23. Technologies of the Body.

3) ACS 457 or 458. Senior Thesis.

Pass/Fail Grading Option. Pass/fail may not be applied to the four required courses. There are no restrictions on the use of the pass/fail option for other courses taken for the major.