The American Studies program encourages the interdisciplinary study of the cultures and politics of the United States, the changing representations of national identity, and the construction of borderland and diasporic cultures over time. Each student in the major combines courses in American Studies with courses from other relevant disciplines (literature, history, the arts, and the social sciences) to explore these broad topics from local, national, and global perspectives. Through the selection of an area of concentration, each student develops a focus for course work in the major. The program encourages scholarly work in nontraditional combinations of disciplines; at the same time, however, it assumes and requires a substantial foundation of knowledge in the history and culture of the United States. Students interested in the major are encouraged to consult with the director of undergraduate studies as early as possible.
Requirements of the Major
The major for the Class of 2018 With DUS approval, the following changes to the requirements of the major may be fulfilled by students who declared their major under previous requirements.
The major for the Class of 2019 and subsequent classes All students majoring in American Studies must take fourteen term courses approved by the program’s faculty. Although a good deal of freedom in course selection is permitted, it is expected that all students will acquaint themselves with the materials, skills, and perspectives of cultural studies. Accordingly, the major requires completion—preferably by the end of the sophomore year, but no later than the end of the junior year—of at least four gateway courses (AMST 111–299), including two in cultural history/cultural studies, one broad survey course in American literature, and one course preparatory for work in the student's area of concentration, to be selected in consultation with the director of undergraduate studies. One of these four courses must be one of the designated "Early Americas" courses as listed on the American Studies Website. An additional five concentration courses from diverse disciplines must be taken for a letter grade, one of which must incorporate a comparable topic from a non-U.S. perspective. Two electives chosen from the American Studies course offerings are also required.
Students must take two junior seminars (AMST 300–399) during their junior year. At least one of the seminars must fall within the student’s area of concentration, described below. In each of the seminars, students are expected to demonstrate proficiency in interdisciplinary research and analysis through the production of critical essays on primary source materials or a paper of fifteen to twenty pages. Sophomores contemplating a junior term abroad are urged to take one of the junior seminars in the spring term of their sophomore year.
Area of concentration Each American Studies major selects an area of concentration, normally in the fall of the junior year, from six possible choices: (1) national formations, (2) the international United States, (3) material cultures and built environments, (4) politics and American communities, (5) visual, audio, literary, and performance cultures, and (6) public humanities. The concentration in national formations explores historic migrations, settlements, and encounters among peoples who have formed the American nation, with an emphasis on Native American history and the construction of America’s frontiers and borderlands. The international United States concentration focuses on historic and contemporary diasporas, the role of the United States outside its national borders, and the flows of American peoples, ideas, and goods throughout the globe. Students in the material cultures and built environments concentration examine the formation of the American landscape from the natural to the human-made, including the development of American architecture, and the visual and decorative arts. The concentration in politics and American communities investigates the emergence of social groups and their political struggles at the local and national levels, emphasizing the themes of power, inequality, and social justice. Majors with a concentration in visual, audio, literary, and performance cultures study American consumer culture, popular culture, representations, and media in relation to U.S. literatures. Students in the public humanities concentration explore various forms of public intellectual engagement, including museum studies, documentary work, public history, digital humanities, and archival based work in the visual or performing arts; senior projects in this area may consist of works or productions beyond the traditional scholarly essay. Students may also petition the director of undergraduate studies to develop an independent concentration.
During the senior year, each student in the major completes work in the area of concentration in one of three ways. First, the student may enroll in a senior seminar within the area of concentration (AMST 400–490). Students should apply interdisciplinary methods and undertake original research to produce a final paper of twenty to twenty-five pages. Students must complete all course requirements to fulfill the senior requirement. Students electing this option should submit the senior seminar registration form, signed by the seminar instructor, to the director of undergraduate studies.
Second, the student may complete a one-term senior project or essay (AMST 491). The product should be a thirty-page essay or its equivalent in another medium. To apply for admission to AMST 491, a student should submit a prospectus, signed by the faculty adviser, to the director of undergraduate studies.
Third, the student may enroll in the intensive major (AMST 493 and 494) and work independently for two terms. The intensive major offers an opportunity for significant original research leading to a substantial senior project. AMST 493, 494 carries two terms of credit; its final product should be a sixty-page essay or its equivalent in another medium. All students in the intensive major participate in a yearlong proseminar on theory and method. One term of the two-term project may count as a course in the area of concentration. To apply for admission to AMST 493 and 494, a student should submit a prospectus, signed by the faculty adviser, to the director of undergraduate studies.
As a multidisciplinary program, American Studies draws on the resources of other departments and programs in the University. The list of American Studies courses is meant to be suggestive only: apart from those courses required for the major, it is neither restrictive nor exhaustive. Students are encouraged to examine the offerings of other departments in both the humanities and the social sciences, as well as residential college seminars, for additional relevant courses. The stated area of concentration of each student determines the relevance and acceptability of other courses.
REQUIREMENTS OF THE MAJOR
Number of courses 14 term courses (incl senior req)
Distribution of courses 4 gateway courses, as specified; 2 junior sems, 1 in area of concentration; 5 courses in area of concentration for letter grades, 1 on a related non-U.S. topic, (1 may be one term of two-term senior project); 2 electives
Substitution permitted 1 freshman sem for 1 gateway course; others with DUS permission
Senior requirement Senior sem (AMST 400–490) or one-term senior project (AMST 491) related to area of concentration
FACULTY ASSOCIATED WITH THE PROGRAM OF AMERICAN STUDIES
Professors Jean-Christophe Agnew (History), Ned Blackhawk (History), David Blight (History, African American Studies), Daphne Brooks (African American Studies, Theater Studies), Hazel Carby (African American Studies), Edward Cooke, Jr. (History of Art), Michael Denning (English, Ethnicity, Race, & Migration), Wai Chee Dimock (English), Kathryn Dudley (Chair) (Anthropology), Joanne Freeman (History), Beverly Gage (History), Jacqueline Goldsby (English, African American Studies), Inderpal Grewal (Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies), Matthew Jacobson (African American Studies, History), Kathryn Lofton (Religious Studies), Mary Lui (History), Joanne Meyerowitz (History), Charles Musser (Film & Media Studies), Tavia Nyong'o (Theater Studies), Gary Okihiro (Theater Studies), Stephen Pitti (History, Ethnicity, Race, & Migration), Sally Promey (Divinity School), Ana Ramos-Zayas (Ethnicity, Race, & Migration, Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies), Joseph Roach (English, Theater Studies), Marc Robinson (Theater Studies, English), Alicia Schmidt Camacho (Ethnicity, Race, & Migration), Caleb Smith (English), Harry Stout (Religious Studies, History), Michael Veal (Music, African American Studies), John Warner (History of Medicine), Michael Warner (English), Laura Wexler (Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies)
Associate Professors Crystal Feimster (African American Studies), Zareena Grewal (Ethnicity, Race, & Migration), Daniel HoSang (Ethnicity, Race, & Migration), Paul Sabin (History, Environmental Studies), Tisa Wenger (Divinity School),
Assistant Professors Laura Barraclough (Ethnicity, Race, & Migration), Greta LaFleur, Albert Laguna (Ethnicity, Race, & Migration), Dixa Ramirez (Ethnicity, Race, & Migration)
Senior Lecturer James Berger (English)
Lecturers Ryan Brasseaux, Irene Garza (Ethnicity, Race, and Migration), Christine Muller, Karin Roffman (Humanities, English), Joel Silverman, Quan Tran (Ethnicity, Race, and Migration)
* AMST 007a / HSAR 002a, Furniture and American Life Edward Cooke
In-depth study and interpretation of American furniture from the past four centuries. Hands-on experience with furniture in the collection of the Yale University Art Gallery to explore such topics as materials, techniques, styles, use, and meaning. Enrollment limited to freshmen. Preregistration required; see under Freshman Seminar Program.
WR, HU RP
* AMST 012b / HIST 012b, Politics and Society in the United States after World War II Jennifer Klein
Introduction to American political and social issues from the 1940s to the present, including political economy, civil rights, class politics, and gender roles. Legacies of the New Deal as they played out after World War II; the origins, agenda, and ramifications of the Cold War; postwar suburbanization and its racial dimensions; migration and immigration; cultural changes; social movements of the Right and Left; Reaganism and its legacies; the United States and the global economy. Enrollment limited to freshmen. Preregistration required; see under Freshman Seminar Program.
* AMST 060b / AFAM 060b / HIST 016b, Significance of American Slavery Edward Rugemer
The history of American slavery, its destruction during the nineteenth century, and its significance today. Topics include the origins of slavery, the development of racism, the transatlantic slave trade, the experience of enslavement, resistance to slavery, the abolitionist movement, the process of emancipation, and the perpetuation of slavery and other forms of unfree labor in the twenty-first century. Enrollment limited to freshmen. Preregistration required; see under Freshman Seminar Program.
AMST 125a / AFAM 125a / HIST 136a, The Long Civil Rights Movement Crystal Feimster
Political, social, and artistic aspects of the U.S. civil rights movement from the 1920s through the 1980s explored in the context of other organized efforts for social change. Focus on relations between the African American freedom movement and debates about gender, labor, sexuality, and foreign policy. Changing representations of social movements in twentieth-century American culture; the politics of historical analysis.
AMST 163b / EVST 120b / HIST 120b / HSHM 204b, American Environmental History Paul Sabin
Ways in which people have shaped and been shaped by the changing environments of North America from precolonial times to the present. Migration of species and trade in commodities; the impact of technology, agriculture, and industry; the development of resources in the American West and overseas; the rise of modern conservation and environmental movements; the role of planning and impact of public policies.
AMST 188a / HIST 115a, The Colonial Period of American History Rebecca Tannenbaum
Significant themes in American life, 1607-1750: politics and imperial governance, social structure, religion, ecology, race relations, gender, popular culture, the rhythms of everyday life.
AMST 196a / AFAM 196a / ER&M 226a / EVST 196a / SOCY 190a, Race, Class, and Gender in American Cities Laura Barraclough
Examination of how racial, gender, and class inequalities have been built, sustained, and challenged in American cities. Focus on the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Topics include industrialization and deindustrialization, segregation, gendered public/private split, gentrification, transit equity, environmental justice, food access, and the relationships between public space, democracy, and community wellbeing. Includes field projects in New Haven.
AMST 197b / ARCH 280b / HSAR 219b, American Architecture and Urbanism Elihu Rubin
Introduction to the study of buildings, architects, architectural styles, and urban landscapes, viewed in their economic, political, social, and cultural contexts, from precolonial times to the present. Topics include: public and private investment in the built environment; the history of housing in America; the organization of architectural practice; race, gender, ethnicity and the right to the city; the social and political nature of city building; and the transnational nature of American architecture.
AMST 198a / ARCH 385a / HIST 152a / PLSC 279a / SOCY 149a, New Haven and the American City Elihu Rubin and Alan Plattus
Introduction to urban studies using New Haven as a model for the American city. Emphasis on historical development; urban planning; the built environment; transportation and infrastructure; reform and redevelopment; architecture and urban design; sustainability and equity.
AMST 199b / HIST 165b, The American Century Beverly Gage
United States politics, political thought, and social movements in the 20th century. Pivotal elections and political figures (Wilson, Roosevelt, Nixon, Reagan) as well as politics from below (civil rights, labor, women's activism). Emphasis on political ideas such as liberalism, conservatism, and radicalism, and on the intersection between domestic and foreign affairs. Primary research in Yale archival collections. Students who have already completed HIST 136J must have the instructor's permission to enroll in this course, and will perform alternate readings during some weeks.
* AMST 206b / ER&M 221b / WGSS 222b, Introduction to Critical Refugee Studies Quan Tran
Reconfiguring refugees as fluid subjects and sites of social, political, and cultural critiques. Departing from dominant understandings of refugees as victims, consideration instead of refugees as complex historical actors, made visible through processes of colonization, imperialism, war, displacement, state violence, and globalization, as well as ethical, social, legal, and political transformations. Focus on second-half of the twentieth century.
AMST 219a / ER&M 246a / HIST 326a / WGSS 346a, Race, Empire, and Atlantic Modernities Anne Eller and Dixa Ramirez
Interdisciplinary examination of the colonial modernities of the Atlantic world, with focus on the production of racism and colonial difference, as well as popular responses to those discourses.
AMST 234b / ER&M 243b / HIST 188b / RLST 342b, Spiritual But Not Religious Zareena Grewal
Study of the historical and contemporary “unchurching” trends in American religious life in a comparative perspective and across different scales of analysis in order to think about the relationship between spirituality, formal religion, secular psychology and the self-help industry.
AMST 238a / AFST 238a / ER&M 238a, Introduction to Third World Studies Gary Okihiro
Introduction to the historical and contemporary theories and articulations of Third World studies (comparative ethnic studies) as an academic field and practice. Consideration of subject matters; methodologies and theories; literatures; and practitioners and institutional arrangements.
AMST 247a / FILM 244a / HIST 147a / HLTH 170a / HSHM 202a, Media and Medicine in Modern America John Warner and Gretchen Berland
Relationships between medicine, health, and the media in the United States from 1870 to the present. The changing role of the media in shaping conceptions of the body, creating new diseases, influencing health and health policy, crafting the image of the medical profession, informing expectations of medicine and constructions of citizenship, and the medicalization of American life.
AMST 260a / PHIL 260a, American Philosophy Kenneth Winkler
A survey of American philosophy from colonial times to the middle of the twentieth century. Topics include European justifications of colonization and conquest; the spiritualist metaphysics of George Berkeley and Jonathan Edwards; slavery and abolition; and transcendentalism (Emerson, Thoreau). Particular attention to classical pragmatism, with readings in Peirce, James, Dewey, and their critics. Some discussion of recent reinterpretations of pragmatism by such writers as Quine, Richard Rorty, and Cornel West.
* AMST 273a / AFAM 279a / ENGL 298a / WGSS 342a, Black Women's Literature Jacqueline Goldsby
Examination of black women's literary texts, with a focus on the post–civil rights era. Exploration of the ways writers construct and contest the cultural, ideological, and political parameters of black womanhood. Topics include narrative strategy, modes of representation, and textual depictions of the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, color, ethnicity, nationality, class, and generation. Texts placed within the context of black women's literary legacies.
* AMST 303b / AFAM 340b / ER&M 320b / LAST 320b / LITR 332b, Narratives of Blackness in Latino and Latin America Dixa Ramirez
Focus on the cultural and literary treatments of Afro-Latin American and Afro-Latina/o subjectivity in Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking Latin America and in the United States through the study of literature, historical first-hand accounts, film, and scholarship produced from the 16th century to the present. Themes include slave insurrections, the plantation system, piracy and buccaneering, the black roots of several Latin American musical genres, miscegenation, and the central role of sexuality in race-based social hierarchies.
* AMST 304a / EVST 352a, Food and Documentary Ian Cheney
Survey of contemporary public debates and current scientific thinking about how America farms and eats explored through the medium of documentary film. Includes a brief history of early food and agrarian documentaries, with a focus on twenty-first century films that consider sustainable food.
T 7pm-9pm; W 2:30pm-4:20pm
* AMST 309b / AFAM 391b / ER&M 310b / LITR 334b / WGSS 310b, Zombies, Pirates, Ghosts, and Witches Dixa Ramirez
Study of the literature and history of the Atlantic Caribbean region (including the U.S. Northeast and Deep South) through its most subversive and disturbing icons—zombies, pirates, ghosts, vampires, and witches. Texts include Francis Drake on piracy, Katherine Dunham on zombies, Lauren Derby on vampires (chupacabras), Maryse Condé and Sandra Cisneros on witchcraft, and Toni Morrison and William Faulkner on ghosts. Films include documentaries and several horror classics, including White Zombie (1932), I Walked with a Zombie (1943), The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988), The Witch (2015), and Get Out (2017). WR, HU
* AMST 310b / AFAM 410b / WGSS 410b, Interdisciplinary Approaches to African American Studies Anthony Reed
An interdisciplinary, thematic approach to the study of race, nation, and ethnicity in the African diaspora. Topics include class, gender, color, and sexuality; the dynamics of reform, Pan-Africanism, neocolonialism, and contemporary black nationalism. Use of a broad range of methodologies.
WR, HU, SO
* AMST 314a / WGSS 306a, Gender and Transgender Greta LaFleur
Introduction to transgender studies, an emergent field that draws on gender studies, queer theory, sociology, feminist science studies, literary studies, and history. Representations of gender nonconformity in a cultural context dominated by a two-sex model of human gender differentiation. Sources include novels, autobiographies, films, and philosophy and criticism.
* AMST 318a / HIST 415Ja, The Problem of Global Poverty Joanne Meyerowitz
Study of the programs and policies that aimed to end global poverty from 1960 to the present, from modernization to microcredit to universal basic income. Topics include the green revolution, population control, the "women in development" movement, and the New International Economic Order. Extensive work with primary sources. May count toward geographical distributional credit within the History major for any region studied, upon application to the director of undergraduate studies.
* AMST 330b / ENGL 236b, Dystopic and Utopian Fictions James Berger
Attempts since the late nineteenth century to imagine, in literature, cinema, and social theory, a world different from the existing world. The merging of political critique with desire and anxiety; the nature and effects of social power; forms of authority, submission, and resistance.
* AMST 344a / ENGL 433a, The Nonhuman in Literature since 1800 Wai Chee Dimock
Nonhuman life forms in fiction and poetry from the nineteenth century to the twenty-first, including plants and animals, monsters and viruses, intelligent machines, and extraterrestrial aliens. The complexity and variety of nonhuman ecology. WR, HU
* AMST 347a / ENGL 307a / FILM 476a, Hollywood Novel and Film Charles Musser
The history of novels and films about Hollywood. Ways in which the closely related forms of novel and film portray "the dream factory"—its past, present, and future—as well as the way the forms interact. Books include Merton at the Movies (1922), I Should Have Stayed Home (1938), Loves of the Last Tycoon (1940), and The Player (1988). Films include What Price Hollywood? (1932), A Star is Born (1937), Sunset Boulevard (1950), In a Lonely Place (1950), and The Player (1992). May not be taken after AMST S321/FILM S180.
* AMST 348a / EVST 304a, Space, Place, and Landscape Laura Barraclough
Survey of core concepts in cultural geography and spatial theory. Ways in which the organization, use, and representation of physical spaces produce power dynamics related to colonialism, race, gender, class, and migrant status. Multiple meanings of home; the politics of place names; effects of tourism; the aesthetics and politics of map making; spatial strategies of conquest. Includes field projects in New Haven.
* AMST 358b / ENGL 281b, Animals in Modern American Fiction James Berger
Literary portrayals of animals are used to examine the relations between literature, science, and social and political thought since the late nineteenth century. Topics include Darwinist thought, socialism, fascism, gender and race relations, new thinking about ecology, and issues in neuroscience.
AMST 364b / EVST 366b / FILM 423b, Documentary and the Environment Charles Musser
Survey of documentaries about environmental issues, with a focus on Darwin's Nightmare (2004), An Inconvenient Truth (2006), Food, Inc. (2009), GasLand (2010), and related films. Brief historical overview, from early films such as The River (1937) to the proliferation of environmental film festivals.
* AMST 370b / THST 380b, The History of Dance Brian Seibert
An examination of major movements in the history of concert and social dance from the late nineteenth century to the present, including ballet, tap, jazz, modern, musical theater, and different cultural forms. Topics include tradition versus innovation, the influence of the African diaspora, and interculturalism. Exercises are used to illuminate analysis of the body in motion.
* AMST 371b / ER&M 297b, Food, Race, and Migration in United States Society Quan Tran
Exploration of the relationship between food, race, and migration in historical and contemporary United States contexts. Organized thematically and anchored in selected case studies, this course is comparative in scope and draws from contemporary work in the fields of food studies, ethnic studies, migration studies, American studies, anthropology, and history.
* AMST 372b / ENGL 274 / THST 365b, American Drama, 1960–2000 Marc Robinson
Intensive study of a turning point in American theater. Following the example of the post-war European avant-garde, playwrights after 1960 undid fixed ideas of realism, expanded the lyric range of dramatic speech, and multiplied definitions of character and narrative. Many sought to reflect the era’s eruptive politics; others offered a newly ambiguous vision of psychology. Readings include works by Edward Albee, Adrienne Kennedy, Maria Irene Fornes, Sam Shepard, David Mamet, Amiri Baraka, August Wilson, Tony Kushner, Wallace Shawn, and Suzan-Lori Parks.
* AMST 384b / AFAM 423b / ENGL 306b, American Artists and the African American Book Robert Stepto
Visual art in African American books since 1900. Artists include Winold Reiss, Aaron Douglas, E. S. Campbell, Tom Feelings, and the FSA photographers of the 1930s and 1940s. Topics include Harlem Renaissance book art, photography and literature, and children's books. Research in collections of the Beinecke Library and the Yale Art Gallery is encouraged.
* AMST 385b, Trauma in American Film and Television Christine Muller
Origins, multiple meanings, and influence of the notion of trauma in contemporary American culture. Relations between theories of popular culture and of trauma, particularly in discussions of war, social upheaval, and September 11, 2001. The conditions and implications of engaging trauma through everyday entertainment such as film and television; the ethics of representation.
* AMST 397b / AFAM 251b, Critical Race Theory Crystal Feimster
Introduction to critical race theory, a radical critique of relations among race, law, and power in U.S. politics and society. Intellectual foundations of the field, with emphasis on African American perspectives; key juridical acts. The centrality of U.S. law in producing social hierarchies of race and racial difference, gender, sexuality, and class. The extension of critical race theory to global analysis of race, immigration, and cultural difference.
* AMST 403a, Introduction to Public Humanities Ryan Brasseaux
Introduction to the various media, topics, debates, and issues framing public humanities. The relationship between knowledge produced in the university and the circulation of ideas among a broader public, including modes of inquiry, interpretation, and presentation. Public history, museum studies, oral and community history, public art, documentary film and photography, public writing and educational outreach, and the socially conscious performing arts.
* AMST 406a / ENGL 326a, The Spectacle of Disability James Berger
Examination of how people with disabilities are represented in U.S. literature and culture. Ways in which these representations, along with the material realities of disabled people, frame society's understanding of disability; the consequences of such formulations. Various media, including fiction, nonfiction, film, television, and memoirs, viewed through a wide range of analytical lenses.
WR, HU RP
* AMST 410a / HIST 166Ja / WGSS 409a, Asian American Women and Gender, 1830 to the Present Mary Lui
Asian American women as key historical actors. Gender analysis is used to reexamine themes in Asian American history: immigration, labor, community, cultural representations, political organizing, sexuality, and marriage and family life.
* AMST 411b / AFAM 401b / FILM 453b, Introduction to Documentary Studies Matthew Jacobson and Anna Duensing
An introduction to documentary film, photography, and radio for students interested in doing documentary work, as well as for those who simply wish to study the history of the documentary as a cultural form. HU RP
* AMST 414a / ENGL 440a, Poetry and Debates on the Value of Arts and Humanities James Berger
Attacks on and defenses of poetry in the broadest sense (as culture, the aesthetic, the humanities) from Plato to contemporary debates over the proper focus of education. The value of poetry in terms of knowledge claims, moral impact, economic utility, and other categories particular to artistic production and reception.
* AMST 418b / HSHM 463b, Social Governance in Early America Greta LaFleur
The management of bodies and populations in North America from c. 1790 to c. 1850. Focus on the creation, management, and hierarchization of populations through the science of classification, including categories such as race, nation, wealth, and work. Relations between new forms of government and emerging strategies of governance. The specific shape taken by the state's investment in the management of birth, life, and death, and the legacies of that investment.
* AMST 420b / AFAM 437b / ENGL 445b, Ralph Ellison in Context Robert Stepto
The complete works of Ralph Ellison and related works (in various art forms) of his contemporaries, including Wright, Baldwin, Bearden, and Louis Armstrong.
* AMST 434a / ANTH 493a, American Precarity Kathryn Dudley
Analyzation of the 2016 presidential election and the seemingly bifurcated social worlds that currently structure political discourse in the United States. Drawing on an interdisciplinary array of ethnographic, journalistic, and analytical sources, this course traces the histories of the present that have produced cross-cutting zones of abandonment and social trauma not easily pigeon-holed by concepts of race, class, gender, and citizenship. SO
* AMST 450b / ER&M 430b / WGSS 461b, Islam in the American Imagination Zareena Grewal
The representation of Muslims in the United States and abroad throughout the twentieth century. The place of Islam in the American imagination; intersections between concerns of race and citizenship in the United States and foreign policies directed toward the Middle East.
* AMST 451a / HIST 174Ja / RLST 260a, Religion, War, and the Meaning of America Harry Stout
The relationship between religion and war in American history from colonial beginnings through Vietnam. The religious meanings of Americans at war; the mutually reinforcing influences of nationalism and religion; war as the norm of American national life; the concept of civil religion; biblical and messianic contexts of key U.S. conflicts.
* AMST 453a / ENGL 425a / THST 417a, Literature and Performance in New Orleans Joseph Roach
Through perspectives and approaches of English literature, American studies, African-American studies, comparative literature, and theater and performance studies, students explore the sources of creative inspiration that writers and performers find in NOLA, including its cultural mystique, its colonial history, its troubled assimilation into Anglo-North America, its tortured racial politics, its natural and built environment, its spirit-world practices, its raucous festive life, its eccentric characters, its food, its music, its predisposition to catastrophe, and its capacity for re-invention and survival.
* AMST 456a / HIST 125Ja, Making America Modern, 1880–1930 Jean-Christophe Agnew
Exploration of United States cultural history between Reconstruction and the Crash, a period when a new class, gender, and racial order was put into place. Special focus on the national cultural apparatus that emerged in these years, thanks both to new technologies and to the experimental forms that avant-gardists, activists, impresarios, and other cultural brokers created and circulated to celebrate or to contest the nation’s ‘reconstructed’ social order.
* AMST 463a and AMST 464b / EVST 463a and EVST 464b / FILM 455a and FILM 456b, Documentary Film Workshop Charles Musser
A yearlong workshop designed primarily for majors in Film and Media Studies or American Studies who are making documentaries as senior projects. Seniors in other majors admitted as space permits.
* AMST 466b / ENGL 444b, Contemporary Historical Novels James Berger
Attempts of contemporary American authors to put the complexities of history into written form. Narrative as the privileged mode of historical representation; differences between what is regarded as academic history, popular history, and historical fiction; the influence of power and of the writer's own historical position on historical narrative; effects of ethnicity, gender, and race on the creation and reception of history; writers' use of historical fiction to change the ways readers think about the present and the future.
* AMST 468b / PLSC 261b, American Political Development Stephen Skowronek
Patterns of political change and institutional development in the United States. Topics include patterns of reform, the political construction of interests and movements, problems of political culture, party building, and state building.
* AMST 475b / ENGL 438b, Performing American Literature Wai Chee Dimock
A broad selection of short stories, poems, and novels, accompanied by class performances, culminating in a term project with a significant writing component. “Performance" includes a wide range of activities including: staging; making digital films and videos; building websites; game design; and creative use of social media. Readings include poetry by Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Yusef Komunyakaa, and Claudia Rankine; fiction by Herman Melville, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Junot Diaz. WR, HU
* AMST 480a / HIST 422Ja, Theories of History Greta LaFleur
Critical, philosophical, and theoretical survey of history as an idea and a practice. The intellectual genealogy behind the historiographic practices used and discussed most often in contemporary scholarship, including new historicism and queer historiography. The problem of describing the nature, uses, and abuses of history. Readings from works by Socrates, Hegel, Marx, Freud, Benjamin, Foucault, Scott, White, Said, and Spivak.
Special Projects and Senior Project
* AMST 471a and AMST 472b, Individual Reading and Research for Juniors and Seniors Staff
Special projects intended to enable the student to cover material not otherwise offered by the program. The course may be used for research or for directed reading, but in either case a term paper or its equivalent is required as evidence of work done. It is expected that the student will meet regularly with the faculty adviser. To apply for admission, a student should submit a prospectus signed by the faculty adviser to the director of undergraduate studies.
* AMST 491a or b, Senior Project Staff
Independent research and proseminar on a one-term senior project. For requirements see under “Senior requirement” in the American Studies program description.
* AMST 493a and AMST 494b, Senior Project for the Intensive Major Staff
Independent research and proseminar on a two-term senior project. For requirements see under “Senior requirement” in the American Studies program description.
* AMST 494b, Senior Project for the Intensive Major Staff
Independent research and proseminar on a two-term senior project. For requirements see under "Senior requirement" in the American Studies program description.