American Studies courses
Director of undergraduate studies: George Chauncey, 233 HGS, 432-1188, firstname.lastname@example.org [F]; Matthew Jacobson, 230 HGS, 432-1186, email@example.com [Sp]
FACULTY ASSOCIATED WITH THE PROGRAM OF AMERICAN STUDIES
Professors Jean-Christophe Agnew (History), Elizabeth Alexander (African American Studies, English), Ned Blackhawk (History), David Blight (History, African American Studies), Alicia Schmidt Camacho, Hazel Carby (African American Studies), George Chauncey (History), Edward Cooke, Jr. (History of Art), Michael Denning (English), Wai Chee Dimock (English), Kathryn Dudley (Anthropology), John Mack Faragher (History), Glenda Gilmore (History), Inderpal Grewal (Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies), Dolores Hayden (Architecture), Jonathan Holloway (African American Studies, History), Amy Hungerford (English), Matthew Jacobson (African American Studies, History), Daniel Kevles (History), Mary Lui (History), Joanne Meyerowitz (History), Charles Musser (Film Studies), Alexander Nemerov (History of Art), Stephen Pitti (History), Sally Promey (Divinity School), Joseph Roach (English, Theater Studies), Michael Roemer (Adjunct) (Film Studies, Art), Caleb Smith (English), Robert Stepto (English, African American Studies), Harry Stout (Religious Studies, History), John Warner (History of Medicine), Michael Warner (English), Laura Wexler (Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies)
Assistant Professors Jafari Allen (Anthropology, African American Studies), GerShun Avilez (English, African American Studies), Crystal Feimster (African American Studies), Zareena Grewal (Ethnicity, Race, & Migration), Kathryn Lofton (Religious Studies), Paige McGinley (Theater Studies), Alyssa Mt. Pleasant (History), Birgit Brander Rasmussen, Jenifer Van Vleck (History)
Senior Lecturers James Berger, Ron Gregg (Film Studies)
Lecturers Michael Kerbel (Film Studies), Joel Silverman, Rebecca Tannenbaum (History)
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 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 address material produced before the Civil War. 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 five possible choices: (1) national formations, (2) the international United States, (3) material cultures and built environments, (4) politics and American communities, and (5) visual, audio, literary, and performance cultures. 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 may also petition the director of undergraduate studies to develop an independent concentration.
Senior requirement 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.
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. All students writing a one-term senior essay participate in a proseminar on theory and method. 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. 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 (one 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
Intensive major Same, except a two-term senior project (AMST 493 and 494) replaces AMST 491