Current Courses

To register for an American Studies course and to see the full academic descriptions for the material, please see the registrar's website.

Spring 2018 Courses

AMST 30B: American Environmental History
Brian M. Donahue | M, W 8:30 AM-9:50 AM

Provides an overview of the relationship between nature and culture in North America. Covers Native Americans, the European invasion, the development of a market system of resource extraction and consumption, the impact of industrialization, and environmentalist responses. Current environmental issues are placed in historical context.

AMST 66B: American Scholars: Intellectuals in American Life
Maura Jane Farrelly | T, F 12:30 pm-1:50 pm

Examines the role and influence of public intellectuals in American society. Students explore the ideas put forth by some of the most influential public intellectuals in American life, and they are challenged to consider how and why those ideas have been rendered relevant to a mass audience. Students are also challenged to consider the impact the modern university has had on public intellectualism; the role the broadcast and Internet media are playing in the making of public intellectuals; and whether and how pundits are different from public intellectuals. May not be taken for credit by students who took AMST 166b in prior years.

AMST/MUS 39B: Protest Through Song: Music that Shaped America
Paula Jo Musegades | T, F 11:00 AM-12:20 PM

Examines 20th and 21st century protest music to better understand the complex relationships between music and social movements. Through class discussions, reading, writing, and listening assignments, and a final performance students will discover how social, cultural, and economic protest songs helped shape American culture. Open to music majors and non-majors. 

AMST 100b:  Twenthieth-Century American Culture
Thomas Doherty | M, W, Th 12:00 PM-12:50 PM

The democratization of taste and the extension of mass media are among the distinguishing features of American culture in the twentieth century. Through a variety of genres and forms of expression, in high culture and the popular arts, this course traces the historical development of a national style that came to exercise formidable influence abroad as well.

AMST 105a: The Eastern Forest: Paleoecology to Policy
Brian M. Donahue | M 2:00 PM-4:50 PM and W 2:00 PM-3:20 PM

Can we make sustainable use of the Eastern Forest of North America while protecting biological diversity and ecological integrity? Explores the forest's ecological development, the impact of human cultures, attitudes toward the forest, and our mixed record of abuse and stewardship. Includes extensive fieldwork.

AMST 121b:  Gospel Music in America
Cory Hunter | M, W, Th 1:00 PM-1:50 PM 

Students learn how to "read" gospel music as a text – musically, lyrically, and from the standpoint of physical and visual performance. They explore gospel music's theological underpinnings, and they consider how gospel has shaped and been shaped by African-American history can culture.

AMST 125b:  Comedy and American Culture
Sascha Cohen | T, Th 2:00 PM-3:20 PM 

Drawing upon multiple forms of cultural expression, students examine popular styles of humor and satire, using humor to gain insight into an "American" national character that has both shaped and been shaped by the country's comedic traditions.

AMST 136A:  Planet Hollywood: American Cinema in Global Perspectives
Thomas Doherty | M, W 2:00 PM-3:20 PM

Examines the global reach of Hollywood cinema as an art, business, and purveyor of American values, tracking how Hollywood has absorbed foreign influences and how other nations have adapted and resisted the Hollywood juggernaut.

AMST 150A:  The History of Childhood and Youth in America
Jonathan Krasner | T, Th 3:30 PM-4:50 PM

Examines history, cultural ideas, and policies about childhood and youth, as well as children's literature, television, and other media for children and youth. Includes an archival-based project on the student movement in the 1960s.