Major Requirements

Major Requirements for the Class of 2022 and beyond

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

1) Required courses:

AA/AM 119. Cultural Politics.
AMST 200. American Studies. (Formerly ACS 100. Introduction to American Cultural Studies.)
INDS 250. Interdisciplinary Studies: Modes and Methods of Inquiry.

2) One 300-level or 400-level course in American studies, or crosslisted in American studies,
including but not limited to:

INDS 305. Art, Power, and Politics.
INDS 352. Preserving the Vibration: Digitizing the Legacy of Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor.
AM/GS 353. Critical Theory/Critical Acts.
AM/EN 395B. Privacy, Intimacy, and Identity.

3) Six additional courses drawn from the following lists, with the approval of the faculty advisor. These lists indicate various themes (Performance, Power, Identity, and Material Culture) that characterize the work of American studies. Students are urged to take courses from several of these lists while also pursuing coursework relevant to their eventual thesis work.

Performance

These courses use performance as a lens through which to understand culture and the production of social meanings. Performance here is understood as comprising aesthetic practices such as theatrical performances, musical concerts, or performance art, but also food culture, sporting events, religious ritual, fashion, and the enactment of culture in everyday life. The interdisciplinary study of performance becomes a site for interrogating the dynamics of race, gender, sexuality, disability, and their intersections.

AA/DN 252. Contemporary Issues in Dance.
AA/MU 249. African American Popular Music.
AA/RF 162. White Redemption: Cinema and the Co-optation of African American History.
AN/RE 134. Myth, Folklore, and Popular Culture.
DANC 250. Early Modern Dance History.
DN/ED s29. Tour, Teach, Perform.
FYS 393. DiY and Mash-up Culture.
MUS 212. How Music Performs Culture: Introduction to Ethnomusicology.
MUS 247. History of Jazz.
MUS 248. Music in Contemporary Popular Culture.
MUS 266. Miles Davis.
RFSS 260. Lesbian and Gay Images in Film.
RFSS 265. The Rhetoric of Women’s Rights.
RFSS 391A. The Rhetoric of Alien Abduction.
RFSS 391B. Presidential Campaign Rhetoric.
RFSS 391E. The Interracial Buddy Film.
INDS s19. Food, Culture, and Performance.
AMST s31. Broad/Turns: Print, Protest, Performance.

Power

These courses address the ways in which we create, maintain, and contest institutional and ideological formations of power, in contexts ranging from the analysis of governmental and juridical institutions to the study of movements for social justice. These courses devote particular attention given to the ways that feminist thought, queer theory, and critical engagement with race can be brought to bear on the analysis of power and its production.

AA/GS 201. Race, Ethnicity, and Feminist Thought.
ANTH 103. Introduction to Archaeology.
ANTH 333. Culture and Interpretation.
ANTH s10. Encountering Community: Ethnographic Fieldwork and Community-Engaged Learning.
ANTH s32. Introduction to Archaeological Fieldwork.
AVC 361. Museum Internship.
AVC 374. Methods in the Study of Art and Visual Culture.
DN/ED s29. Tour, Teach, Perform.
ECON 331. Labor Economics.
EDUC 231. Perspectives on Education.
AMST s31. Broad/Turns: Print, Protest, Performance.
ED/SO 242. Race, Cultural Pluralism, and Equality in American Education.
ED/SO 380. Education, Reform, Politics.
GSS 100. Introduction to Gender and Sexuality Studies.
GSS 355. Gender and Technology.
HI/LS 301H. Mexican Revolution.
INDS 211. U.S. Environmental History.
INDS s19. Food, Culture, and Performance.
PLTC 115. American Political Institutions and Processes.
GS/PT 155. Women, Power, and Political Systems.
PLTC 215. Political Participation in the United States.
GS/PT 220. Gender, War, and Peace.
PLTC 230. The U.S. Congress.
PLTC 249. Politics of Latin America.
PLTC 310. Public Opinion.
PLTC 320. Immigrants and Their Homelands.
PLTC 329. American Political Development.

Identity

These courses explore the ways in which the formation of personal and group identities is culturally constructed. Drawing upon literature, music, film, visual culture, and other media as points of departure, these courses examine the development, affirmation, and contestation of subjectivities in a variety of contexts, with particular attention to the ways in which social difference (through constructions of race, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, or social class) functions as key to identity formation.

AA/EN 114. Introduction to African American Literature I: 1600-1910.
AA/EN 253. African American Novel.
AA/EN 259. Contemporary African American Literature.
AA/EN 265. The Writings of Toni Morrison.
AA/EN 269. Narrating Slavery.
AA/HI 301E. African Slavery in the Americas.
EN/GS 121G. Asian American Women Writers.
ENG 142. Early American Literature.
ENG 143. Nineteenth-Century American Literature.
ENG 152. American Writers since 1900.
ENG 241. Fiction in the United States.
FRE 208. Introduction to the Francophone World.
HIST 140. Origins of the New Nation, 1500-1820.
HI/LS 181. Latin American History: From Conquest to the Present.
HIST 241. The Age of the American Revolution, 1763-1789.
HIST 249. Colonial North America.
HI/LS 279. The Age of Independence in Latin America.
HI/LS 282. The City in Latin America.

Material Culture

Courses in this list examine the production, circulation, and critical reception of material culture, as it manifests itself in physical objects, artifacts, architecture, and the built environment. The study of material culture approaches its subject from an interdisciplinary perspective, drawing upon the fields of archaeology, art history, museum studies, anthropology, literary criticism, history, and folklore studies.

AMST 280. The Story of Things: Introduction to Material Culture.
AMST s31. Broad/Turns: Print, Protest, Performance.
ANTH 103. Introduction to Archaeology.
ANTH s32. Introduction to Archaeological Fieldwork.
AV/GS 287. Gender and Visual Culture.
AVC 361. Museum Internship.
AVC 374. Methods in the Study of Art and Visual Culture.
AVC 377A: Picturesque Suburbia.
INDS 305. Art, Power, and Politics.
INDS s19. Food, Culture, and Performance.
REL 270. Religion and American Visual Culture.

4) AMST 457 or 458. Senior Thesis.

Major Requirements for the Classes of 2019, 2020, and 2021.

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.
AMST 200. Introduction to American Studies.
AMST 220. Community Studies.
INDS 250. Interdisciplinary Studies: Methods and Modes of Inquiry.
In the event that AMST 220 is not offered, students may apply another community studies course approved in advance by the Program in American Studies.

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

AA/EN 114. Introduction to African American Literature I: 1600-1910.
AA/RF 162. White Redemption: Cinema and the Co-optation of African American History.
AA/GS 201. Race, Ethnicity, and Feminist Thought.
AA/MU 249. African American Popular Music.
AA/DN 252. Contemporary Issues in Dance.
AA/EN 253. The African American Novel.
AA/EN. 259. Contemporary African American Literature.
AA/EN 265. The Writings of Toni Morrison.
AA/EN 269. Narrating Slavery.
AA/HI 301E. African Slavery in the Americas.
AN/RE 134. Myth, Folklore, and Popular Culture.
ANTH 103. Introduction to Archaeology.
ANTH 333. Culture and Interpretation.
ANTH s10. Encountering Community: Ethnographic Fieldwork and Community-Engaged Learning.
ANTH s32. Introduction to Archaeological Fieldwork.
AV/GS 287. Gender and Visual Culture.
AVC 361. Museum Internship.
AVC 374. Methods in the Study of Art and Visual Culture.
AVC 377A. Picturesque Suburbia.
DANC 250. Early Modern Dance History.
DN/ED s29. Tour, Teach, Perform.
ECON 331. Labor Economics.
EDUC 231. Perspectives on Education.
ED/SO 242. Race, Cultural Pluralism, and Equality in American Education.
ED/SO 380. Education, Reform, and Politics.
EN/GS 121G. Asian American Women Writers.
ENG 142. Early American Literature.
ENG 143. Nineteenth-Century American Literature.
ENG 152. American Writers since 1900.
ENG 241. Fiction in the United States.
ENG 395F. Five American Women Poets.
FYS 271. Into the Woods: Rewriting Walden.
FYS 300. Exploring Education through Narratives.
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.
GSS 100. Introduction to Women and Gender Studies.
GSS 355. Gender and Technology.
GS/SP 323. Gendered Experiences in the Américas Borderlands.
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.
HI/LS 279. The Age of Independence in Latin America.
HI/LS 282. The City in Latin America.
HI/LS 301H. The Mexican Revolution.
INDS 301Y. The Spanish Inquisition.
INDS 321. Afroambiente: Writing a Black Environment.
MUS 212. How Music Performs Culture: Introduction to Ethnomusicology.
MUS 247. History of Jazz.
MUS 248. Music in Contemporary Popular Culture.
MUS 266. Miles Davis.
PLTC 115. American Political Institutions and Processes.
GS/PT 155. Women, Power, and Political Systems.
PLTC 215. Political Participation in the United States.
GS/PT 220. Gender, War, and Peace.
PLTC 230. The U.S. Congress.
PLTC 249. Politics of Latin America.
PLTC 310. Public Opinion.
PLTC 320. Immigrants and Their Homelands.
PLTC 329. American Political Development.
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.
RFSS 260. Lesbian and Gay Images in Film.
RFSS 265. The Rhetoric of Women’s Rights.
RFSS 391A. The Rhetoric of Alien Abduction.
RFSS 391B. Presidential Campaign Rhetoric.
RFSS 391E. The Interracial Buddy Film.
SOC 250. Privilege, Power, and Inequality.
SOC 270. Sociology of Gender.
SOC 395I. Race, Class, Gender, and Family.
SPAN 224. Protest and Justice.

3) AMST 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.