American Culture Studies (AMCS) is a multidisciplinary program that provides both a broader context for study in different fields and a deeper understanding of American culture in all of its complexities. AMCS students explore culture-related topics and issues that demand multiple perspectives and methodologies. They also consider the mutual relevance of various disciplines to any single object of study in American culture — a place, an event, a work of art, a political institution and so on — while developing the knowledge and skills necessary to study a wide array of cultural objects.
The program offers a major and a minor, coordinating offerings across the disciplines so that students from any field or school can explore an array of ideas and approaches as they complete their course work. Pairing the major with a second major in a complementary discipline is an enriching model of cultural study, and AMCS will work closely with students to ensure that double-majoring works well.
The program offers especially attentive advising, helping students to have a cohesive experience and to pursue their specific interests within a diverse curriculum.
|Contact:||Máire Murphy, Academic Coordinator|
The Major in American Culture Studies
Total units required: 32 credits, 24 of which must be 300-level or above. In addition to completing the required units, students are expected to take three courses (9 credits) with heavy methodological content (refer to "Disciplinary Foundations Course Work" below).
Visit our Course Listings webpage for a complete list of courses, by semester, that count toward the AMCS major. For more information about the major, including past examples of projects, leadership opportunities, and an FAQ, please visit our AMCS undergraduate webpage.
- Introductory Course (3 credits) as designated by American Culture Studies, which recently have included AMCS 220 Topics in American Culture Studies: Introduction to American Culture Studies, AMCS 206 "Reading" Culture: How to Read Images: Visual Culture and Visual Literacy, and AMCS 202 The Immigrant Experience. Visit our Course Listings webpage for additional offerings by semester.
- AMCS 375A Methods & Visions: Audiences, Spectators, and Fans (3 credits)
- Fieldwork Experience (3 credits) (FW): Enrollment in an approved fieldwork course such as AMCS 479: On Location: Exploring America or completion of a field-based independent project under the guidance of AMCS faculty (in most cases under the course number L98 AMCS 298 Directed Fieldwork in American Culture Studies).
- General Americanist Course Work (18 credits): Six courses taken in the following groupings:
- Prime Concentration Area Course Work (9 credits): Three courses in a single concentration. At least two of these courses must be at the 300-level or higher. Refer to the list below of established Concentration Areas.
- Distribution Course Work –or– a Second Concentration Area (9 credits): Courses taken in three different disciplines or fields ("Distribution") or three courses in a second concentration area. At least two of these courses must be at the 300-level or higher.
- Senior Capstone Project (3 credits): A multidisciplinary project culminating the course work and past fieldwork study. Proposed during the spring of the junior year, this 3-credit project is granted academic credit in the fall through AMCS 400A AMCS Capstone Workshop I. Students pursuing the Senior Honors Thesis will earn an additional 3-credits in the spring through AMCS 400B AMCS Capstone Workshop II. In some cases, the capstone project may be fulfilled within the context of an approved, upper-level seminar course. For more information on the capstone project and proposal process, including important dates, please visit our AMCS website.
- Two 1-credit workshops, AMCS 490A AMCS Senior Workshop: Academic Citizenship and L98 AMCS 490B: AMCS Senior Workshop: Connections and Explorations, taken in the senior fall and spring, respectively.
- At least two multidisciplinary (MD) courses, taken as part of the above major requirements and designated by AMCS (this does not usually require additional course work). Students are encouraged to take MD courses that connect to the subjects or issues in their concentration area. AMCS 375A and the course taken to fulfill FW may not also count toward the MD requirement.
Disciplinary Foundations Course Work: In addition to completing the above requirements, students are expected to take three courses (9 credits) with heavy methodological content and approved by the student's adviser/the program, at least two (2) of which must be in a single discipline and two (2) of which must be at the 300 level or higher. A suitable second program of study may be used to fulfill this expectation.
Established Concentration Areas
These areas reflect areas of longstanding student interest. Majors are welcome to propose new concentrations or to tailor an established one to suit their interests. AMCS currently has nine established Concentration Areas:
- 20th-Century America
- Early America
- The Construction of Race and Ethnicity in American Life
- Policy-Making in American Society
- Popular Culture
- A Sense of Place: Community, Region & Landscape
- Social Thought and Social Problems
- Visual, Material and Digital Cultures in the United States
- War and Peace
AMCS gives majors considerable freedom in defining their course of study, allowing them to learn how cultural study is done in multiple fields and periods even as they define concentration areas in ways that suit their specific interests. Pairing the AMCS major with a second major in a complementary discipline is an especially enriching model of cultural study, and AMCS will work closely with students to ensure that double-majoring works well.
Study Abroad: Majors intending to study abroad should consult with the AMCS Study Abroad Advisor well in advance to plan a course of study and discuss its impact on their work in the major (including their fieldwork and capstone projects). For further information, please visit the Frequently Asked Questions on our undergraduate page or review the AMCS approved programs on the Study Abroad webpage, searching for "American Culture Studies" as the approved department under the "Selecting a Program" option (in the left navigation bar under the category “Plan”).
Senior Honors: Writing an AMCS honors thesis is one way to fulfill the Capstone Project requirement. It allows students to complete an extended study of a cultural topic with the input of faculty from more than one discipline, and it provides both a support system and an audience of peers for that study. For more information on the honors thesis and capstone project process, including important dates and criteria, please visit our Senior Honors Thesis webpage.
The Minor in American Culture Studies
Units required: 15 credits, at least 9 of which must be 300-level or above.
- Introductory Course (3 credits): Courses designated as such by American Culture Studies have recently included AMCS 220 Topics in American Culture Studies: Introduction to American Culture Studies, AMCS 206 "Reading" Culture: How to Read Images: Visual Culture and Visual Literacy, and AMCS 202 The Immigrant Experience. Visit our Course Listings webpage for the full listing by semester.
- Distribution Course Work (9 credits): At least three courses on American subjects (two of which must be upper-level) either in a single established Concentration Area (refer to the list of established concentrations below, or students may propose their own) — or — in three distinct disciplines outside the student's major.
- One additional AMCS course (3 credits)
- At least two multidisciplinary (MD) courses, taken as part of the above minor courses and designated by AMCS. Minors who opt to do a concentration are encouraged to take at least one MD course that connects to the subjects or issues in the chosen concentration area. AMCS 375A Methods & Visions: Audiences, Spectators, and Fans (a junior-level methods seminar) also is encouraged and may count as an MD course. Visit our Course Listings webpage for a complete list of general and MD courses that count toward the AMCS major.
- Only one of the courses taken to complete the minor requirements may be home-based in the same discipline as the student's major(s) (effective for the Class of 2019 and beyond).
Established Concentration Areas
These reflect areas of longstanding student interest. Minors are welcome to propose new concentrations or to tailor an established one to suit their interests. AMCS currently has nine established Concentration Areas:
- 20th-Century America
- Early America
- The Construction of Race and Ethnicity in American Life
- Policy-Making in American Society
- Popular Culture
- A Sense of Place: Community, Region & Landscape
- Social Thought and Social Problems
- Visual, Material and Digital Cultures in the United States
- War and Peace
Visit our undergraduate AMCS webpage for more information about the minor requirements and concentration areas, as well as other resources and announcements for AMCS students.
Visit online course listings to view semester offerings for L98 AMCS.
L98 AMCS 1012 Introduction to Urban Studies
This course provides a survey of the field of urban studies, utilizing the city of St. Louis as a field site. The major purpose of the course is to gradually reveal how a city operates internally, and how it operates externally with its sister cities, surrounding metropolitan areas and neighboring states, amidst competing and often contradictory interests. Utilizing historical analysis as a guide, the course will briefly revisit the experiences of previous waves of ethnic groups to the St. Louis metropolitan area, as a lens for understanding the current social, political and economic dilemmas which many urban dwellers in St. Louis now face. The course will reveal to students the intricacies of social welfare issues and policies among high density populations, in St. Louis, that are homogeneous and heterogeneous, at the same time. Visits and discussions with various governmental and nongovernmental agencies, and how such agencies function or dysfunction for various constituencies allow students to ask crucial questions regarding equality of opportunity in a democratic society. Students will also encounter diverse communities and neighborhoods and the intended and unintended consequences of social welfare policies designed to ameliorate urban dilemmas such as poverty and inequality, homelessness, educational underachievement, gentrification, migration and immigration, development, health care, fiscal issues, the informal economy, and issues concerned with crime and social justice, among others. Readings are reinforced and challenged through visits, interactions and observations with broad constituencies and institutions, ranging from city officials to community residents. As such, this course offers a survey discussion of the rich interdisciplinary field of urban studies for those who may be interested in pursuing a standalone major in the field of urban studies.
Same as L18 URST 101
L98 AMCS 101B American Politics
This course provides an overview of the politics of the American system of government. Among the topics to be covered are the historical developments of American politics, federalism, political participation (voting, interest groups, parties), institutions (congress, the courts, the president), and public opinion. A theme underlying our examination of these and other topics is the fact that political actors are purposive in their strategic pursuit of various objectives. We explore the many ways in which this aspect of political behavior impacts institutions and the interactions between political actors throughout the American political system.
Same as L32 Pol Sci 101B
L98 AMCS 102 Freshman Seminar: Visualizing and Documenting Race, Class and Gender
How do you know someone is a woman or a man, upper or lower class, Hispanic or white? What signals these identities and what do we associate with them? In this course we will use photography and narrative accounts to explore intersections of race, class, and gender. Our investigation will cover three broad topics: systems of power, structures of institutions, and performances or displays of identities. You will be challenged to use your "sociological imagination" and connect personal problems to public issues, moving beyond commonly held views and using our own lives to advance knowledge. Through photography and weekly reflection pieces you will learn how to situate your writings within the academic literature developing skills in articulating arguments, analyzing theory, conducting visual methods, and directing a critical eye upon even the most taken for granted social positions: our own, as we discover our place within the Washington University community.
L98 AMCS 105 History of Jazz
History of jazz to the present, including its African elements.
Same as L27 Music 105
L98 AMCS 109 Ragtime
A history of ragtime music: survey of composers and performers. Emphasis on St. Louis and the music of Scott Joplin. University College students should register for U24 109 Section 02.
Same as L27 Music 109
L98 AMCS 111 Freshman Seminar: Race and Ethnicity on American Television
This course presents a historical overview of the forms that racial and ethnic representations have taken in American television. The course charts changes in public perception of racial and ethnic difference in the context of sweeping cultural and social transformations. The course examines notions of medium and ponders the implications for these identities of the contemporary practice of "narrowcasting." Required screenings.
Same as L53 Film 110
L98 AMCS 112 First Year Seminar: Race and Ethnicity in American Cinema
From the early documentary roots of cinema through the Civil Rights movement and to the recent democratization of the means of media production, questions of race and ethnicity have proved crucial both to the content of American films and also to the perspective from which they are made. This class looks at the representation of historical moments from the Civil War to Hurricane Katrina, the production of cinematic stereotypes as well as their appropriation for subversive purposes, and the gradual evolution of multiculturalism as a central factor in the stories told and the telling of stories on the American screen. Students use film texts to develop a critical understanding of one of the most important issues in American history. Required screenings.
Same as L53 Film 112
L98 AMCS 115 First Year Seminar: The Presidency 101: From Washington to Obama
Is this your first presidential election? Or are you a policy wonk? Regardless of your political experience, this course provides an opportunity for students to learn about the American Presidency as a contemporary political institution with deep roots in American history. This freshman seminar introduces undergraduates to the presidency by considering the institution in its political and cultural contexts. Using the selection of a new president and the departure of Barack Obama as a point of departure, this course will explore how the current president as well as the aspiring candidates of 2016 reveal broader trends in American political culture. In addition to introducing students to the study of the presidency, this course will also introduce students to diverse means of studying culture, with assignments that range from political speeches to policy documents to popular media.
L98 AMCS 116 First Year Seminar: Cult TV: Critical Approaches to Fans and Fictions
What do such disparate television series as Dr. Who, Star Trek, The Avengers, Monty Python's Flying Circus, The X-Files, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Xena: Warrior Princess and Sealab 2021 have in common? They all attract loyal audiences, stimulate "subcultural" sensibilities, lend themselves to "textual poaching," and thus qualify as examples of "Cult TV," a term that has become increasingly salient within critical studies of the medium. In this course we explore the subject of cult television from a variety of social, cultural and thematic perspectives, so that by the end of the semester students have gained a deeper understanding of its historical importance as a barometer of both popular and oppositional tastes. We examine how these and other examples of genre-based network and cable programming complicate distinctions between lowbrow and highbrow tastes while sustaining worldwide "interpretative communities" years after their original air dates. Students also examine the importance of syndication, home video technologies, ancillary markets, publishing and the internet in the construction of fan cultures. Required screenings.
Same as L53 Film 116
L98 AMCS 1162 First Year Seminar: Bruce Springsteen's USA
This course examines the career and work of Bruce Springsteen as songwriter, singer, rock musician, pop star, and public figure. Conducted in seminar format, the primary course materials are Springsteen's recordings and videos, as well as the many interviews he has given. Selections from the vast body of popular and academic scholarship on Springsteen also inform class discussions. The course is limited to freshmen.
Same as L27 Music 1162
L98 AMCS 1181 First-Year Seminar: Beats & Rhymes Hip-Hop in American Culture
On its surface, hip-hop is fundamentally about making music: a creative combination of beats, flow, samples and rhymes. And yet, beneath the surface lies so much more. Although hip-hop culture writ large (lyrics, fashion, dance and lifestyle) influences many on a global level, this class will explore the meaning of hip-hop primarily from African-American informed social and political perspectives. In what ways does hip-hop intersect with American culture, specifically on the fields of race, ethnicity, class, gender and sexuality? Without a doubt, it does so in intriguing, contested, and often problematic ways.
Same as L90 AFAS 1181
L98 AMCS 118A Geology of National Parks
Survey of geologic processes occurring at the Earth's surface and its interior using national parks and monuments as the prime venue for presentation. Volcanism and mountain-building; the work of streams, glaciers and wind; lake and coastline development; stratigraphy and sedimentation; and Earth history. Material presented in a geographic context, with emphasis on landforms and landscape evolution, relating geology to the development and settlement of the U.S.
Same as L19 EPSc 118A
L98 AMCS 1201 Freshman Seminar: Race and Performance
What does it mean to "act black"? What about "acting Jewish"? This course looks at performances of racial and ethnic identity, mostly in the United States, mostly in the 20th century. We examine novels (such as Nella Larsen's Passing), plays (such as Anna Deavere Smith's Fires in the Mirror), and performances of everyday life (such as "Cowboys and Indians") to investigate the performance of race in public. Once we begin to explore the social and cultural performance of race, will it all turn out to be "only" an act?
Same as L15 Drama 120
L98 AMCS 1210 First Year Seminar: Youth Culture and Visual Media
Since the advent of cinema through the recent development of online social networking, visual media in the United States and around the world have been identified with a market of youthful consumers and producers. This course will look at the development of youth culture in the United States and its unique relationship to visual media, including film, television, comic books, video games, and the internet, in the 20th and 21st centuries. We will examine youth culture as a social phenomenon generated by the young, a means of representing the experience of being youthful, and as part of the ongoing debates over the effects of media on the young. As alternately mass culture, popular culture, counter culture, and participatory culture, youth culture holds a privileged place in the history of American visual media and continues to influence production and innovation within the media marketplace.
Same as L53 Film 121
L98 AMCS 122 First-Year Seminar: A Sense of Place: Discovering the Environment of St. Louis
Go exploring in and around St Louis. You'll learn about the St. Louis backyard, and your "home" for the next four years. Through field trips, readings, and discussion, you'll see first-hand what challenges face the environment and the people who live here. You will learn how to examine multiple perspectives, how to think critically and how to approach problems from an interdisciplinary and holistic approach. You'll also learn why it is important to know a community at the local level if you're going to affect change on any level-state, national, or international. In addition to weekly readings and discussion, this class includes several field trips.
Same as L82 EnSt 122
L98 AMCS 126 First-Year Seminar: Law and Society
This course considers the basic aspects of the American legal system: its foundations, processes, institutions and rights. We will also study some specific substantive areas of the law. The course consists of two 1-1/2 hour Socratic lectures per week. Upon completion of this course, you should have a basic knowledge of the American legal system, an important part of a general education. Our hope is that such knowledge will enable you to better understand and assess current legal events. We also hope that you, if you have not already done so, develop an interest in those events. Further, this course should enable you to consider law as a future area of study and career. Interested students may continue their study in the spring semester with an optional 1-credit seminar focusing on contemporary Supreme Court cases. Open only to first-year students.
Same as L43 GeSt 126
L98 AMCS 130 First Sem: The Ritual Landscape of Cahokia: Perspectives on the Politics of Religion & Chiefly Power
The purpose of this class is to engage and challenge freshman students in an open discussion about the prehistoric Mississippian community of Cahokia. The focus of this course is two-fold. The first is to study the way in which the archaeological evidence has been interpreted. The second is to examine other perspectives on Cahokia, especially from the Native American descendants who consecrated this landscape nearly a millennium ago. An underlying tenet of this seminar in understanding Cahokia can also be achieved through the traditions and literature of Native Americans. In the end we want to understand the basis for Cahokia’s organization as a prehistoric Native American community, and the role that ritual and religion played in the rather dramatic and dynamic history of this community and the surrounding region.
Same as L48 Anthro 130
L98 AMCS 135 First-Year Seminar - Chinatown: Migration, Identity, and Space
"Chinatown," as a cultural symbol and a spatial entity, links various topics and studies in this course. Our survey starts with a historical and geographical glimpse of five Chinatowns in the U.S. through the real-life stories of their residents. This is followed by an in-depth study of Chinese restaurants and food all over the world using texts, images and films that reveal how Chinese cuisine is inherited in and adapted to each local culture and society. The seminar culminates in a discussion of Chinese migration and settlement, the representations of identity, and the cultural and spatial constructions in particular historical and social contexts. The assignments include field trips to Chinese businesses, and a debate on whether or not Olive Boulevard constitutes a Chinatown in St Louis.
Same as L97 IAS 135
L98 AMCS 160 First-Year Seminar: Easy Riders, Migrant Laborers: Mobility in Literature and Film
Reading course, limited to 15 students. Prerequisite: first-year standing.
Same as L14 E Lit 160
L98 AMCS 163 Freedom, Citizenship and the Making of American Culture from the Colonial Era to the Present
This course offers a broad survey of American history from the era before European settlement of North America to the late 20th century. The course explores the emergence and geographic expansion of the United States and addresses changes in what it meant to be an American during the nation's history. Tracing major changes in the nation's economic structures, politics, social order and culture, the course chronicles, among other issues, changes in the meanings of freedom, citizenship and American identity. Introductory course to the major and minor.
Same as L22 History 163
L98 AMCS 172 Literature Seminar for Freshmen: Life Writing
Reading courses, each limited to 15 students. Topics: selected writers, varieties of approaches to literature, e.g., Southern fiction, the modern American short story, the mystery; consult course listings. Prerequisite: first-year standing.
Same as L14 E Lit 172
L98 AMCS 180 First-Year Seminar: Jewcy: Jewish Culture in the 21st Century
This course will examine cultural expressions of American Jewish identity within an ethnographic context. We will analyze processes of assimilation, Americanization and innovation, as well as Jewish contributions to popular American culture and entertainment, from Irving Berlin to Madonna, and the The Joys of Yiddish to jewlicious.com. Moving from tradition to modernity, pluralism and transdenominationalism and back to tradition (sometimes with a vengeance) we explore challenges to Jewish identity and creative responses through the cultural lens.
Same as L75 JINE 180
L98 AMCS 2010 Religion and American Society
This course explores religious life in the United States. We will focus our study on groups and movements that highlight distinctive ways of being both "religious" and "American," including the Americanization of global religions in the U.S. context. Major themes will include religious encounter and conflict; secularization, resurgent traditionalism, and new religious establishments; experimentalism, eclecticism, and so-called "spiritual" countercultures; the relationship between religious change and broader social and political currents (including clashes over race, class, gender and sexuality); and the challenges of religious multiplicity in the U.S. Students will: 1) acquire knowledge of the disparate religions practiced in North America during the 20th century and beyond; 2) examine some of the chief conflicts as well as alliances between religion and the American social order in a global context; and 3) develop interpretive tools for understanding religion's present and enduring role in the U.S. and the world.
Same as L57 RelPol 201
L98 AMCS 2011 The Roots of Ferguson: Understanding Racial Inequality in the Contemporary U.S.
Overview of sociological understandings of race, with a particular focus on race relations in the contemporary United States. We begin by investigating how sociologists understand racial distinctions, asking: What comprises a racial group? What constitutes a "group" in the social sense? We then shift our attention to patterns of racial inequality in the U.S., investigating the intersection of economic, political, and racial stratification. After analyzing national trends in racial stratification, we narrow the focus to particular regions and metropolitan areas, including St. Louis, to shed light on pressing public concerns such as the interrelationships between race and the criminal justice system. The course ends by looking beyond U.S. borders to compare the way that race is understood in other countries. Are there common patterns of racial classification shared by many societies? What makes the U.S. system of racial stratification distinctive? No prerequisites.
Same as L40 SOC 2010
L98 AMCS 202 The Immigrant Experience
This course explores the history and politics of immigrant groups in the 19th- and 20th-century United States. Topics include legislation, patterns of migration, comparisons of different waves of immigration, and changing social attitudes. This course is a core requirement for the ethnic studies concentration in American Culture Studies.
L98 AMCS 2033 Introduction to Education: Contradictions and Controversies in School Choice
This course is a broad look at the diverse issues surrounding education not only in the United States but around the world. Students examine schooling in areas such as the Pacific Rim, Middle East, Europe and America. We also take a look at educating when working with children with special needs. In addition, students explore some of the ideas and issues unique to the experience of teaching and learning in the U.S. Students work in small groups throughout the semester in projects designed to deepen their understanding of Education in the 21st Century. Throughout the semester, students participate in the Each One Teach One program as tutors. (This course is recommended for freshmen and sophomores only.)
Same as L12 Educ 203A
L98 AMCS 2055 Forever War: American Literature and Culture from Vietnam to Afghanistan
You have now lived more of your life since 9/11 than before it. How does your personal and generational experience help us to define and interact with such an impenetrable concept as war, let alone the "forever" war of contemporary memory? The term itself is relatively recent. Indeed, if you search "forever war" in the library catalog, you will get two hits: a 1974 sci-fi novel The Forever War written by veteran Joe Haldeman that fictionalizes his experiences with the endless futility of the Vietnam War (but in outer space); and a 2008 nonfiction book The Forever War by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Dexter Filkins that chronicles Iraq, Afghanistan, and the long history of the War on Terror. In line with Haldeman's and Filkins' fatigue over modern war's interminability, this course studies the literature and culture of contemporary American war from Vietnam to Afghanistan. Because this is an introductory course to American Culture Studies, we pay particular attention to how our strategies for interpreting the culture of contemporary warfare connects with our understanding of contemporary culture more broadly.
L98 AMCS 206 "Reading" Culture: How to Read Images: Visual Culture and Visual Literacy
Refer to section description.
L98 AMCS 208B African-American Studies: An Introduction
Lectures, readings, films, and discussions reflect a range of academic approaches to the study of African-American people. Course materials drawn from literature, history, archaeology, sociology, and the arts to illustrate the development of an African-American cultural tradition that is rooted in Africa but created in the Americas. Required for the major.
Same as L90 AFAS 208B
L98 AMCS 209B Scriptures and Cultural Traditions
When we think of the word "scripture" in antiquity, we might think of the texts that have been compiled in the different holy books that we currently have today. Yet the function of "scriptures" within a community, and the status given to different texts treated as "scriptural," has changed in different times and places. In this course, we will consider texts that would eventually come to be part of the Hebrew Bible, New Testament, and the Qu'ran as well as several of the exegetes and reading communities that shaped their various interpretations. We will explore how non-canonical sources played a role in the formation of the various canons we have today, comparing the authoritative status given to these texts to that given to other works from antiquity, such as the epics of Homer. Special attention will be played to the role of the receiving community in the development of "scripture," and the variety of the contexts in which scripture can function in the construction of and opposition to religious authority.
Same as L93 IPH 209
L98 AMCS 2101 The Linguistic Legacy of the African Slave Trade in Interdisciplinary Perspective
This course explores the linguistic consequences of the African slave trade, and in so doing introduces students to basic concepts in linguistic science that are relevant to human language development and controversial educational theories that are based on race. Anthropological, linguistic, and psychological dimensions of African-American culture are embedded within complementary evaluations of educational controversies surrounding the teaching of (standard) English to American slave descendants, including the Ebonics controversy and its relevance to larger questions of social efficacy, and the affirmative action debate that has consumed the nation. Students work individually or in groups to produce a major intellectual artifact (e.g., a term paper, a scholarly webpage, or a project pertaining to the linguistic plight of citizens within this African diaspora). Students are introduced to foundational African-American studies in anthropology, education, English, linguistics and psychology.
Same as L90 AFAS 210
L98 AMCS 212 The American Dream: Work, Class, and Culture
Race and gender are widely discussed and their ramifications well studied, but a great silence still surrounds the issue of class in America, which is often called a classless society where those who work hard enough can attain the American dream. With the 20th-century worker and workplace as the focus, students study texts (among them Rivethead, China Men, Mules and Men), films (Modern Times, Salt of the Earth, and Saturday Night Fever), and music (blues, folk, rock) as a way to consider the changing concepts and valuations of class, the history and culture of working-class America, its portrayal in popular media, and where class-related matters stand today. Multicultural perspective. Guest speakers and a tour of a factory.
Credit variable, maximum 3 units. BU: BA, HUM
L98 AMCS 2152 The Theory and Practice of Justice: The American Historical Experience
This introductory course uses historical case studies combined with readings in law, literature and philosophy to illuminate key episodes where definitions of justice were contested in 19th- and 20th-century America. Some of the conflicts to be explored include: Cherokee Removal, Civil War era debates over southern secession; whether reparation should be offered to freed people to redress the injustices of racial slavery; the denial of voting rights to women as a case of "taxation without representation"; 20th-century controversies over legal bans on racial intermarriage; free speech versus hate speech in the 1960s and '70s; and recent debates over affirmative action and gay marriage. Attendance required.
L98 AMCS 2156 The Thrilling Story: Constructing the Civil Rights Movement
Same as L90 AFAS 215C
L98 AMCS 220 Topics in American Culture Studies: Introduction to American Culture Studies
This course introduces students to the different approaches and methodologies within the American Culture Studies field, including those represented by literature, history, sociology and political science; at the same time, they learn key concepts within the field that inform their future work. These are presented in a semester-specific topic of focus; please refer to course listings for a description of the current offering. The course is ideal for AMCS majors and minors, but others are welcome. This course fulfills the introductory course requirement for AMCS majors and minors.
L98 AMCS 2250 First-Year Seminar: African-American Women's History: Sexuality, Violence, and the Love of Hip-Hop
Black women, much like their male counterparts, have shaped the contours of African-American history and culture. Still, close study of African-American women's history has burgeoned only within the past few decades as scholars continue to uncover the multifaceted lives of Black women. This course will explore the lived experiences of Black women in North America through a significant focus on the critical themes of violence and sexuality. We will examine African-American women as the perpetrators and the victims of violence, as the objects of sexual surveillance, as well as explore a range of contemporary debates concerning the intersections of race, class and gender, particularly within the evolving hip-hop movement. We will take an interdisciplinary approach through historical narratives, literature, biographies, films and documentaries.
Same as L90 AFAS 2250
L98 AMCS 225A Religion and Politics in American Society
The United States has often been imagined as both a deeply Christian nation and a thoroughly secular republic. These competing visions of the nation have created conflict throughout American history and have made the relationship between religion and politics quite contentious. This course surveys the complex entanglements of religion and public life from the colonial era through the contemporary landscape. Topics covered include: religious liberty and toleration, secularization, the rise of African-American churches, the Civil War, national identity and the Protestant establishment, the religious politics of women's rights, religion and the presidency, the Cold War, the religious left and right, and debates over church-state separation.
Same as L57 RelPol 225
L98 AMCS 2280 Introduction to Aural Culture: Silence, Noise, Music
In-depth study in areas of special interest. Prerequisite: permission of instructor.
Same as L27 Music 228
L98 AMCS 229 Introduction to American Culture Studies: Sport in the University
The topic of this course varies from semester to semester. Please refer to course listings for a description of the current offering.
L98 AMCS 230 Topics in Urban America: The Sensory Landscape of the American City
This course foregrounds the interpretive and analytical approaches used in the study of American cities. The city is a crucial frame for understanding the nation's cultural, economic, social, political and ecological concerns and evolution. Employing multiple perspectives, we interpret urban space as a product of culture, explore the city's importance in shaping American society, and investigate the ongoing evolution of the built environment. This course lays the basis for interdisciplinary thinking and research in American culture studies. The topic varies by semester. Please refer to course listings for a description of the current offering. The course is ideal for AMCS majors and minors, but others are welcome. This course fulfills the introductory course requirement for AMCS students.
Credit 3 units. BU: BA, HUM
L98 AMCS 232 Workshop in Media Culture: Narrative and Historical Storytelling
Whether Hollywood representations of Civil War politics in Lincoln, documentary reconstruction of the civil rights movement in Eyes on the Prize, or modern day news coverage of the Ferguson protests through Internet and social media, our understanding of history and culture are always mediated by the presence of storytelling techniques. This exploration-based workshop considers how media makers reconstruct historical people, places, and events using different media-based storytelling techniques. Through criticism and analysis of various media artifacts (e.g., documentary and narrative film, podcasts, and online/gallery exhibits), we seek to understand issues like the effects of manipulating historical facts to enhance a story, the ethics of portraying a person's life on screen, and the challenges of representing contesting voices within a narrative framework. We consider the broader political, social, and cultural ramifications wrought when media makers, intentionally or not, misrepresent people, movements, issues, ideas, and events. Students visit local historical archives such as the W.U. Film & Media Archive to examine primary source materials and to learn how they are utilized in the narrative construction of media projects. In addition they are trained in basic archival research, interview, and oral history techniques. Throughout the semester, students actively create media projects that synthesize their class learning into a final short film, documentary, podcast, exhibit, or other form that engages in, or actively critiques, historical narrative construction. Final projects will be created with regular consultation of the instructor. **Note: Technology and equipment needed for a particular final project may not be available through the course. It is best for students to be able to provide their own equipment for their project of choice, such as basic editing software (Moviemaker or iMovie), camera (consumer grade or even cell phone cameras will suffice), or whatever else a project might need. Media production knowledge is not a prerequisite for taking this course.
L98 AMCS 236 Cultural History of the American Teenager
This course explores the recent history of the teenager in the United States, from the rise of teen culture in the 1950s to the current state of adolescence in the new century. Why have so many novels and films memorialized adolescence? How has the period of development been portrayed in books and film? How have depictions and attitudes toward teen culture changed over the past 60 years? In our consideration of teen culture, we take a multidisciplinary approach when tackling a variety of materials — including historical readings, literary fiction, Young Adult fiction, comic books, popular films, and popular music — in an attempt to come to a better understanding of how the notion of the American teenager has evolved over the past 60 years. We begin with J.D. Salinger's classic novel of adolescence alienation, The Catcher in the Rye, a book that in many ways helped initiate the rise of the youth movement in the 1950s and '60s. Our readings focus on the middle decades of the 20th century, when teen culture moved to the forefront of American life, but we end the semester by considering how teen life has recently been imagined in such novels as The Hunger Games. Our class also discusses a few films, such as Rebel Without a Cause and American Graffiti, which have helped shape our conception of the American teenager. Ultimately, we question what these depictions of teen culture can tell us about larger trends and concerns in American life. As this course serves as an introduction to American Culture Studies, we focus on the different methods that we can employ when attempting to interpret and analyze American culture.
L98 AMCS 237 Don't Believe the Hype: Race, Media, and Social Movements in America
"Don't Believe the Hype" will provide students with the tools to critique popular media and its association to social movements in America. This course will explore and analyze how media, broadly defined, including (but not limited to) music, art, film, literature, television and social media, has influenced social movements in very profound ways over the last century. The course will centralize the African-American experience and the Black Freedom Movement in particular and will teach students how to contextualize media and critically assess its impact, and examine the various ways media has played pivotal roles in social movement. Using these skills we will answer the following questions: What is the audience for a particular form of media? When does a social movement become part of popular culture? What is the purpose of media in these situations? How effective has media been for organizing? An integral part to this course will be the use of the Henry Hampton Archive in the Washington University Film & Media Archive. The archive is a repository of primary materials that will be utilized throughout the semester. By using the Hampton Collection students will also learn to analyze and interpret primary documents while also having a more nuanced understanding of history and how media is constructed and informs the way we process socio-political currents that evolve into social movements. Attendance mandatory during first two weeks.
L98 AMCS 239 Performance and Culture
What are Lady Gaga & Beyonce doing? How do young men and women in poverty use performance for survival? Why do we create performance and for whom? In this class we apply the vocabulary and concepts of Performance Studies to social and theatrical worlds, understanding performance broadly: from popular culture to everyday life to theatre. To understand performance, we will look closely at ethnographies, plays and literature. Subjects span a range of topics: racial impersonation, drag/house balls, celebrity culture, reality television, black-Latino theatre, and slam poetry. Key course questions: How does performance inform everyday culture? How does culture inform popular culture and theatrical performance? This course takes seriously the "doing" and the "undoing" of things — as culture shifts, transforms, and adjusts as bodies engage in the art of performance.
Same as L15 Drama 239
L98 AMCS 244 War, Rebellion and the Formation of American Identity, 1754-1865
This course surveys the United States' experiences with rebellion and organized armed conflict from the origins of the American Revolution until the Civil War. Though the class deals with war, its focus is not on military tactics or the outcome of battles - indeed several of the conflicts it considers were entirely bloodless. Rather, the course utilizes war and rebellion as a prism through which to view the ways in which Americans conceived of themselves. Students address a number of questions: How and why did people in North America conceive of themselves as distinct from Europeans? Did war lead to more inclusive or exclusive views of who was considered "American?" How did people of different backgrounds view violent conflict? Why did some wars become central to American myth and others largely forgotten? Did war and rebellion promote a newly formed nationalism or did they help lead to sectionalism and the Civil War? Readings consist of secondary materials from a range of disciplines and primary documents that include novels, speeches, newspaper articles, letters, memoirs, editorial cartoons, and paintings.
L98 AMCS 245 Images of Disability in Film and Literature
This course critically examines the portrayal of persons with disabilities in literature and film, exploring how those images either shape or mimic general public impressions. We discuss the implications of messages from the media on American responses to people with disabilities, as well as formulating strategies for promoting positive, inclusive messages. Perspectives from social science, health care, communications and other fields provide frameworks for analysis. Literature includes fiction, biography and autobiography in books, essays, drama, poetry and short stories. Selections from fictional, educational and documentary films are reviewed during the semester. We also investigate images in newspapers, magazines and advertising.
Same as L43 GeSt 249
L98 AMCS 246 Introduction to Film Studies
How do film images create meaning? What are the tools the film artist uses to create images? This course introduces students to basic techniques of film production and formal methodologies for analyzing film art. Students learn the essential components of film language — staging, camera placement, camera movement, editing, lighting, special effects, film stock, lenses — to heighten perceptual skills in viewing films and increase critical understanding of the ways films function as visual discourse. The course is foundational for the major in Film and Media Studies. Required screenings.
Same as L53 Film 220
L98 AMCS 248 Latino/a Experiences in the United States
Identity is a term that begins to give humans a sense of understanding who we are. In terms of the Latino/a diaspora in the United States, issues of ethnicity, gender, nation, class, sexuality and race are key theoretical categories that aid us in theoretical and practical understandings of identity. In this course we analyze and discuss the concept of order to understand the constructions and varied meanings of the term. There is a special emphasis placed on anthropological, historical and social science literatures of the Caribbean, Latin America and the United States as they pertain to deeper understandings of identity. Prerequisite: membership in the Annika Rodriquez Program.
L98 AMCS 250 Topics in Asian-American Studies
An introductory survey covering United States immigrant populations from throughout Eastern and Southern Asia.
L98 AMCS 252A Sophomore Seminar: Artist in Crisis
What is the artist's responsibility to society? Should social and political concerns constrain or shape the work of the artist? What about when that artist is a member of an oppressed group? What about during a moment of historic, cultural, or planetary crisis? Can we separate the work of art from the (perhaps reprehensible) behaviors or views of the artist? What role does art's solicitation of emotion play in stimulating compassion and moral action? As art moves closer to activism, what standards of judgment should we apply? These are big questions and have been explored by philosophers, artists, and cultural critics across the globe. Many of them have been recently revived by contemporary social movements, including #MeToo, Black Lives Matter, and Occupy Wall Street. While this course examines these questions in artistic sites ranging from ancient Greek tragedy to 1920s Harlem poetry to 1980s feminist art, we will have ample opportunity to link our historical study to present-day concerns. Theatre, performance, literature, film, music, and dance will be explored. By looking at artistic works as well as the ethical and cultural debates that surround their creation, we will think together about artistic and civic responsibility, aesthetics, ethics, and tactics for social change. No artistic experience is required. Sophomores given priority.
Same as L15 Drama 252
L98 AMCS 255 Religion, Environmentalism, and Politics
This course explores the intersections of anthropology, theology, economic interests, and activism. We will draw on a range of sources including social-scientific theories about religion and ritual, discussions of disenchantment and re-enchantment, and indigenous claims to land. These theoretical frameworks will provide context for discussing contemporary religious responses to ecological disaster, including both environmentalist and anti-environmentalist movements.
Same as L57 RelPol 255
L98 AMCS 256 Imagining Interdisciplinary: The Interdisciplinary Workshop in American Culture Studies
Why study American culture? In this workshop we explore some of the many answers to this provocative question, as well as some of the objects of study available to us as students of American culture. Intended as a foundation for the American Culture Studies (AMCS) major and minor, the course is practical, exploratory and discussion-oriented. It helps students to get acquainted with AMCS as a community while imagining the types of projects that get done there. Sessions feature guest speakers, field trips to sites of cultural interest, and short readings that introduce different approaches to American culture studies. Students also examine the methods and questions that define their other field(s), and identify topics and fieldwork projects that especially engage them. Along the way, they are mentored by one of the program's Undergraduate Scholars, and helped to locate themselves in an inter-departmental program that supports a wide range of intellectual pursuits. The final assignment is a contribution to the "anthology project," a student-generated compilation of resources and readings that will be shared with future AMCS students.
Credit variable, maximum 1 units.
L98 AMCS 257 From Champagne to Champlain: French Culture in North America
Taught in English. Following Champlain's founding in 1604 of the first French settlement in Nova Scotia (formerly Acadia), the French began to build what they hoped would be a vast empire, from Quebec to the Gulf of Mexico. Over the next 200 years, French culture and language spread throughout North America and could well have been the dominant one in this country had history moved in different directions. This course examines the history, literature, religion, architecture, music, and cuisine of the vast territory known as "New France." Through use of conventional textual documents, as well as films, slides, CDs, and field trips to Missouri historical sites, it will expose the student to the continuing richness of French culture all around us. Drawing on local resources (e.g., Fort de Chartres, Cahokia Courthouse, and Sainte Genevieve), students will learn about many fundamental connections between America and France. Topics include early explorations, Jesuit missions, literary representations of the New World, colonial architecture, the French and Indian War, the Louisiana Purchase, Cajun and Mississippian culture.
Same as L34 French 257
Credit 3 units. BU: ETH
L98 AMCS 258 Law, Politics and Society
This course is an introduction to the functions of law and the legal system in American society. The course material stresses the realities of the operation of the legal system (in contrast to legal mythology), as well as the continuous interaction and feedback between the legal and political systems. There are four specific objectives to the course: (1) to introduce legal concepts and legal theories; (2) to analyze the operation of the appellate courts, with particular emphasis on the U.S. Supreme Court; (3) to analyze the operation of American trial courts, especially juries and the criminal courts; and (4) to examine the linkages between culture and law. Not open to students who have previously taken Pol Sci 358.
Same as L32 Pol Sci 258
L98 AMCS 2590 First-Year Seminar: From the "City on a Hill" to 9/11: Religion and Social Justice in America
From the Puritans' search to build the "city on a hill," to the growing conflation of Islam with terrorism, Americans have long nurtured a self-identity as "God's chosen people," an idea that has helped them justify and normalize a theology of both conquest and suffering. This course will analyze how religion served to both buttress and contest notions of social domination, punishment, reform and revolution in the U.S. from the colonial era to the present. Topics will include the American Jeremiad, abolitionism, slave rebellions, Native American Catholicism, Fundamentalism, the Catholic Worker Movement, Pacifism, the Black Freedom Struggle, the Moral Majority, and Post-9/11 military and gender interventions with the Islamic world.
Same as L22 History 2590
L98 AMCS 261 The Cultural Lives of Things: An Introduction to American Material Culture
American culture is so often defined by its obsessive attachment to material things — the iPhones, coffee cups, favorite t-shirts and Harley-Davidson motorcycles that fill our everyday lives. This course will explore our contradictory relationship to such objects — the possessions that serve practical functions and give us a sense of identity, meaning and power, but just as often come to possess or control us. How do things take hold of us? What gives them potency, value, and cultural significance? What psychological, social, economic and political purposes do they serve? Do Americans have a distinct relationship (or a dysfunctional attachment) to their possessions? In answering such questions, we will consider objects of all kinds, from the mundane and utilitarian to the strange, rare and often-fetishized. We will explore their histories, their participation in regimes of commodification and power, their everyday and symbolic functions — in short, the twists and turns of their rich cultural lives. The course will introduce different strategies for interpreting objects as cultural evidence, drawing upon work in anthropology, art history, sociology, literature and museum studies, as well as theorists (Marx, Freud, Baudrillard and others) who have influenced modern conceptions of material life. Students should also look forward to some in-the-field analysis of different historic, museum, and personal objects around St. Louis (field trips!).
L98 AMCS 2651 Urban America
The city is a crucial frame for understanding the nation's cultural, economic, social, political and ecological concerns. This course discusses its importance in shaping American society and considers urban environments as living, breathing, contracting and expanding regions in the landscape. Questions of race, class and gender will be explored in an attempt to understand the current configuration of American cities, and to allow students to engage meaningfully with the continual transformation of urban space. Attention will be paid to the role played by popular imagination in the formation of public policy, civic spatial arrangement, suburban development and urban historical geography.
Same as L22 History 2561
L98 AMCS 2674 Sophomore Seminar: Slavery and Memory in American Popular Culture
Sophomores receive priority registration. The history of slavery has long created a sense of unease within the consciousness of many Americans. Recognizing this continued reality, this seminar examines how slavery is both remembered and silenced within contemporary popular culture. Although slavery scholarship continues to expand, how do everyday Americans gain access to the history of bondage? Taking an interdisciplinary approach to these intriguing queries, we will examine a range of sources: literature, public history, art/poetry, visual culture, movies and documentaries, as well as contemporary music including reggae and hip-hop. The centerpiece of this course covers North American society; however, in order to offer a critical point of contrast, students will be challenged to explore the varied ways slavery is commemorated in others parts of the African diaspora.
Same as L22 History 2674
L98 AMCS 2910 Alternative Facts: An Introduction to the Social Construction of Reality
Introduction to the concept of social construction-the idea that our "objective" reality is shaped by our social positions and through social interactions. Recent political events and social conflicts highlight deep divisions in American society, raising critical questions about the media and objectivity (e.g., alternative facts and "fake" news), networks and segregation (e.g., who talks to whom), who gets to decide what is viewed as "truth," and the role of researchers and academia in combating (or contributing to) misinformation. This course explores these questions with a sociological lens. We will use foundational sociological theories to learn how to recognize the existence of multiple realities, and consider the implications of social constructionism for key domains of everyday life, American politics, and the production of knowledge. We will also discuss the ways that cutting-edge technological innovations and academic research can — or cannot — help us distinguish facts from "alternative" facts. Introductory level, no prerequisites.
Same as L40 SOC 2910
L98 AMCS 297 Undergraduate Internship in American Culture Studies
Students receive credit for a faculty-directed and approved internship. Registration requires completion of the Learning Agreement which the student obtains from the Career Center and which must be filled out and signed by the Career Center and the faculty sponsor prior to beginning internship work. Credit should correspond to actual time spent in work activities, e.g., 8-10 hours a week for 13 or 14 weeks to receive 3 units of credit; 1 or 2 credits for fewer hours. Students may not receive credit for work done for pay but are encouraged to obtain written evaluations about such work for the student's academic adviser and career placement file. Permission of department required before enrollment. Only AMCS majors and minors may enroll for L98 297.
Credit variable, maximum 3 units.
L98 AMCS 298 Directed Fieldwork in American Culture Studies
Fieldwork under the direction of an AMCS-affiliated faculty. All proposals for study must be submitted for review and approved by the AMCS adviser. Visit the AMCS website for the appropriate form. By permission of instructor.
Credit variable, maximum 3 units.
L98 AMCS 299 The Study of Cities and Metropolitan America
This course serves as the introductory course analyzing the forces shaping America’s cities and surrounding metropolitan areas. It examines, as well, strategies for dealing with many of the profound social issues affecting urban/metropolitan America. Emanating from an historical perspective, it examines the ways in which industrialization and deindustrialization shaped Northern American cities and the consequences of deindustrialization on urban citizenry. It further surveys the demographic and spatial transformation of American cities, examining the consequences of urban transformation on federal, state and local politics, on society and on her institutions. Similarly, the course focuses on the origin and societal changes and emerging goals of urban development, gentrification and evolving patterns of metropolitanism and the necessity for central city as well as neighborhood reconstruction. The dynamics of racial residential segregation, crime and punishment, issues of academic achievement and under-achievement, the social cleavages of urban marginalized communities, family structure, urban homelessness, urban sprawl, and health care, among others, are viewed from the perspective of social justice by exploring social, political, economic, racial and ethnic factors that impact on access, equity and care. Various theoretical perspectives and philosophies are introduced that have dominated the discourse on race and urban poverty. A field-based component complements the course work, and is designed to build interest, awareness and skills in preparation for outreach to urban communities. Prerequisite: sophomore standing.
Same as L18 URST 299
L98 AMCS 3002 Directed Study in Legal Culture
Directed study with an AMCS-affiliated faculty. All proposals for study must be submitted for review and approved by the AMCS adviser. Visit the AMCS website for the appropriate form. By permission of instructor.
Credit variable, maximum 3 units.
L98 AMCS 3005 Research in Washington, D.C.: Directed Study in Politics and Political Culture
Directed study under the direction of an AMCS-affiliated faculty. All proposals for study must be submitted for review and approved by the AMCS advisor. See the AMCS website for the appropriate form. By permission of instructor.
Credit variable, maximum 3 units.
L98 AMCS 3006 Local Archives: Directed Study in St. Louis
Directed study with an AMCS-affiliated faculty. All proposals for study must be submitted for review and approved by the AMCS adviser. Visit the AMCS website for the appropriate form. By permission of instructor.
Credit variable, maximum 3 units.
L98 AMCS 3014 American Popular Music and Media
This course considers the history of American popular music as delivered by successive mass media platforms in the industrial and post-industrial eras: from mass-produced sheet music in the mid-19th century to digital music and video on the internet. Historical contextualization and in depth analysis of musical scores and various kinds of audio recordings and audiovisual texts will be at the center of the course. Topics to be considered include: the history of sound recording technologies and formats; the role of electronic mass media structures (radio, film, television, the internet); urbanization, national commercial music centers (New York, Hollywood, Nashville), and the importance of regional sounds in a national context; the formation and transformation of select genres (rock, country, various black musics); legal frameworks relating to music as a commodity (copyright, sampling); the impact of visual media on music dissemination, performance, and meanings; and how recorded media of all kinds have transformed the act of listening. Issues of race, gender, sexuality, personal, and national identity will be considered across the course. Prerequisites: Music 121C (Theory I) or Music 121J (Jazz Theory I) or permission of instructor.
Same as L27 Music 3015
L98 AMCS 3015 Topics in Popular Culture: End of the Century: American Culture during the 1990s
Starting with Allan Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind, a book that helped re-ignite the Culture Wars, this course considers the debates and problems that pervaded American culture during the 1990s. From the end of the Cold War to the sexual scandals that rocked Bill Clinton's presidency, from the emergence of the internet to the rise of grunge and rap, the 1990s were a time of vast change in American culture. It was a period when we, as a nation, reconsidered the legacy of the 1960s, the Reagan revolution, and the end of the Cold War, a time of economic expansion and cultural tension. In our consideration of the 1990s, we consider a variety of materials — ranging from news reports and political essays, literary fiction (Philip Roth's The Human Stain and Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections) and popular films (Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing and The Cohen brothers' The Big Lebowski), to the music of Nirvana and Public Enemy — in an attempt to come to a better understanding of our recent history. By examining a wide variety of texts, we not only explore the cultural and political questions that Americans faced in the years between the fall of the Berlin Wall and the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, but also come to a better understanding of how cultural studies can be performed.
L98 AMCS 3016 The Politics of Kanye West: Black Genius and Sonic Aesthetics
As a hip-hop artist Kanye West has had unprecedented impact on the sonic force of music, fashion, politics and videography. Coupling his controversial moments with his corpus of musical texts with special focus on sonic production, this course illuminates "Mr. West" as a case study for interrogating the interplay between fame, gender, sexuality and race. Mostly, we explore how racialized ways of doing iconography, complex ways of seeing, create a distorted or reductive frame through which we see the black and famous. Nonetheless, the course oscillates with entertaining these nuances, while being entertained by the decade-long catalogue of music and visual imagery. Together, we extract the "Politics of Mr. West" in his music and life, while also illuminating the importance of a politics of genius-making in the larger arc of black pop culture tradition.
Same as L90 AFAS 3010
L98 AMCS 301B Individual and Community
L98 AMCS 301C The American School
An analysis of the development of American schooling within the context of American social history. Focus on three general themes: differing conceptions of schooling held by leading American educational thinkers; changing relationships among schools and such other educational institutions as the church and the family; and policy issues that have shaped the development of schooling in America. Prerequisite: sophomore standing.
Same as L12 Educ 301C
L98 AMCS 301T The Automobile is the Devils Wagon: The Appeal, Controversy, and Impact of the Early Automobile
This topics course prepares students to critically engage the complex relationship between technology and American culture, and to read technology as expressive of broader cultural tensions and social, political, and social problems. Such inquiry requires historical and theoretical frameworks for conceptualizing what, exactly, comprises the "technologic" American imagination, from the early era of the colonies through to the contemporary moment. Building on these frameworks, students will study various forms and incarnations of technology at different moments throughout the history of the U.S., drawing upon multiple disciplinary practices in order to do so. They will also learn how the material characteristics of technology (whether hardware or software, industrial manufacture or DIY) give expression to ideas of national identity and issues of power, politics, race, class and gender that have emerged in different historical moments. This work will serve as an introduction to the research and study of technology and material culture in America. Topics vary by semester. Please refer to course listings for the current offering.
L98 AMCS 301U Historical Methods - United States History
This is a small-group reading course in which students are introduced to the skills essential to the historian’s craft. Emphasis is on acquiring research skills, learning to read historical works critically, and learning to use primary and secondary sources to make a persuasive and original argument. Refer to course listings for current topics. Required for history majors. Preference given to history majors; other interested students welcome.
Same as L22 History 301U
L98 AMCS 3020 Native American Musical Traditions of the Western United States
Exploration of music and its historical and contemporary contexts among Native American cultures of the southwest and the northern plains, chiefly Navajo and Lakota, but with some considerations of Pueblo, Shoshone, and other nations. Examinations of inter-tribal pow-wow movements, crossover musics, European appropriation and refashioning of Native American culture in Hollywood and elsewhere.
Same as L27 Music 3022
L98 AMCS 3023 Jazz in American Culture
This course will address the role of jazz within the context of 20th-century African-American and American cultural history, with particular emphasis on the ways in which jazz has shaped, and has been shaped by, ideas about race, gender, economics and politics. We will make use of recordings and primary sources from the 1910s to the present in order to address the relationship between jazz performances and critical and historical thinking about jazz. This course is not a survey, and students should already be familiar with basic jazz history. Prerequisite: L27 Music 105 or permission of instructor.
Same as L27 Music 3023
L98 AMCS 3024 Music of the African Diaspora
This course explores musical cross-fertilization between the African continent and South America, the Caribbean, and Europe. Beginning with traditional musics from selected regions of the African continent, the course examines the cultural and musical implications of transnational musical flows on peoples of the African diaspora and their multicultural audiences.
Same as L27 Music 3021
L98 AMCS 3025 Topics in AMCS: Sports & Culture
Topics course focusing on instances of identity and culture within the American scope. Varies by semester, refer to course listings for description of current semester's offering.
L98 AMCS 3026 Home, Bittersweet Home: Histories of Housing and Homeownership in America since 1850
The idea of owning one's own home has been central to realizations of the American dream or the "good life." By 1931, Herbert Hoover called the idea "a sentiment deep in the heart of our race and of American life." While the dream continues, the reality of homeownership has been elusive or fraught with struggle and sacrifice for many Americans. If home ownership is such a central part of American identity, why have so many generations of Americans struggled to achieve it? In this course, we explore the histories of different versions of home and homeownership by touching down in different locations at pivotal moments in order to investigate the varied meanings of housing and homeownership in the context of a particular place and time in American history. Using a case-study approach, the course travels across time and space to explore diverse forms of housing, including the following: the big house and slave house in the south under slavery, the immigrant tenement in New York City, the company town in south Chicago, the Midwest homestead, the planned postwar suburban neighborhood, high rise public housing and gated communities. This format exposes students to the important role of federal and local policies as well as themes of housing including: homes as private and domestic realms; housing as a commodity and the largest form of American debt; housing as an icon and encoder of social status; housing as exclusionary and inclusionary; housing as racial or socio-economic discrimination; the suburbs and their discontents; and the recent housing crisis.
L98 AMCS 3028 Music of the 1960s
The music of the 1960s played a significant and widely noted role in an era of global political and social upheaval. This course surveys a broad range of music produced during the decade, spanning the world but with emphasis on Anglo-American popular music. While a music course traditionally deals with a single genre such as "world music," classical or jazz, this course analyzes several genres together to show how each influenced the others and how all were informed by broader social and cultural concerns. The course thus both familiarizes students with diverse musical traditions and introduces them to a new way of thinking about music and culture. Topics discussed include the transnational music industry; the contested concept of "folk" and "traditional" music; music and political protest; music and migration; and music’s relation to ethnic and class identity.
Same as L27 Music 3028
L98 AMCS 3029 And Justice for All? American Inequalities
In recent decades social inequalities have deepened and calcified in the United States. But just what does that mean? How should we conceptualize the particular modes and forms of inequality in the contemporary United States? What is the empirical reality? How did we get here? Why do inequalities persist? How are they reproduced? What are the consequences of such drastic disparities? In this course we examine the empirical reality of social inequality in the United States. At the same time, we raise questions about how social position shapes identity and lived experience in America. Because the focus is on the contemporary U.S., much of the course will be devoted to the examination and analysis of patterns and trends in class, race, and gender inequality in this country. Course readings are drawn from sociology, urban history, economics, social epidemiology, and education. Throughout the course we focus on the development of inequality, what it looks like today, the mechanisms of its reproduction, the culturally diverse ways it is experienced, and possible strategies to ameliorate the stark social disparities characteristic of contemporary America. We also keep in mind the interdisciplinary debate among scholars about how best to define and measure social disparities. We begin the course with an examination of the historical and structural roots of American inequality. Next, we look at some conceptual and methodological tools social scientists use to examine social disparities. We will then turn to the central institutions and mechanisms that sociologists argue are responsible for creating, reproducing, reducing and changing the structure of inequalities in the U.S. today, including education, labor markets, families and social policies, neighborhoods and segregation and the criminal justice system. Within each topic area, we will pay special attention to the significance of race and ethnicity, social class, and gender-as well as their intersections and cleavages. We will focus on the present period but place each topic in a broader historical context. In the final part of the course, we turn our attention to social change via social policy and social movement.
L98 AMCS 3031 Gender and Education
An examination, through the lens of gender, of educational practices at the preprimary, primary, secondary, and higher education levels. A sociological and historical approach links gender discrimination in education to other forms of discrimination as well as social forces. Students' own gender-related educational experiences are analyzed in the context of the literature used in the course. Prerequisite: sophomore standing, or permission of instructor.
Same as L12 Educ 303
L98 AMCS 3034 Race and Ethnicity in American Politics
This seminar discusses the continuing importance of race and ethnicity in American politics and the politics of racial minority groups in America. It examines the disadvantage minorities have in the American political structure including problems with political participation. It examines how the structure and functions of the branches of government and its bureaucracy affect the aspirations of minorities. The roll of pressure groups on political structure is discussed. Additional discussion focuses on urban politics and tensions.
Same as L32 Pol Sci 3031
L98 AMCS 3041 Sex, Gender and Popular Culture
A critical survey of sex and gender in the production, reception and content of contemporary popular culture. Possible topics include: television, film, advertising, popular fiction, music, comics, internet, foodways and fashion. Themes include: the representation and stylization of sexed and gendered bodies; popular models of sexual and gendered social relations; production of normative and alternative sex and gender identities through media consumption; sex and gender in systems of popular cultural production.
Same as L77 WGSS 304
L98 AMCS 3042 Making Sex and Gender: Understanding the History of the Body
This course provides an overview of the history of the body from antiquity to modern times using an interdisciplinary approach. By exploring selections from medical texts, literature, fashion, art, accounts of "new world" exploration, legal records, self-help books and contemporary media representations of human bodies, we consider the changing historical perception of the body. The intersection of gender, race and class factor significantly in our discussions of how the body has been construed historically and how it is currently being constructed in contemporary American culture. This course also provides an introduction to feminist/gender methodologies that apply to understanding the history of the body. This course is not open to students who have taken WGSS 204. Prerequisite: any 100- or 200-level Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies course or permission of instructor.
Same as L77 WGSS 3041
L98 AMCS 3044 Foundations of American Democracy
Since its founding, the United States of America has been strongly identified with principles of democratic rule. This course provides an introduction to some philosophical and historical foundations of American democracy. Over the course of the semester, we will ask what democracy means, and what it requires. We will examine thinking about political rights and liberty at the American founding. We will ask what democratic inclusion and political equality entail. We will ask what democracy means, and what it should mean, in the American context, and whether and to what extent American institutions embody democratic ideals.
Same as L32 Pol Sci 3044
L98 AMCS 305A Between Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr.: Race, Religion, and the Politics of Freedom
This course focuses on the political and spiritual lives of Martin and Malcolm. We will examine their personal biographies, speeches, writings, representations, FBI Files, and legacies as a way to better understand how the intersections of religion, race, and politics came to bare upon the freedom struggles of people of color in the U.S. and abroad. The course also takes seriously the evolutions in both Martin and Malcolm's political approaches and intellectual development, focusing especially on the last years of their respective lives. We will also examine the critical literature that takes on the leadership styles and political philosophies of these communal leaders, as well as the very real opposition and surveillance they faced from state forces like the police and FBI. Students will gain an understanding of what social conditions, religious structures and institutions, and personal experiences led to first the emergence and then the assassinations of these two figures. We will discuss the subtleties of their political analyses, pinpointing the key differences and similarities of their philosophies, approaches, and legacies, and we will apply these debates of the mid-20th century to contemporary events and social movements in terms of how their legacies are articulated and what we can learn from them in struggles for justice and recognition in 21st-century America and beyond.
Same as L57 RelPol 305
L98 AMCS 306M Visualizing Segregation: A History of St. Louis, Chicago and New Orleans
This interdisciplinary course is designed to introduce students to the history of three of America's major cities. We will explore the political, social, and cultural histories of each of these cities while tracing changes in architecture and the built environment. We chose these three cities for their diverse and intersecting histories. In many ways, St. Louis, Chicago and New Orleans represent the major social and political forces that forged the modern American city. From westward expansion and the growth of the slave system, through mass European immigration and industrialization, the rise of Jim Crow and the decline of American industry, suburbanization, mass incarceration, and gentrification: All are visible in the landscapes of these American cities. Segregation of social groups, so often seen as natural or inevitable, is the result of historical processes, political decisions, public policies and individual actions. The course, in addition, will provide students with the opportunity to use some of the research techniques employed by urban scholars. We will engage in a major research project, tracing the history of St. Louis through a variety of primary sources. Our aim will be to trace the historical processes that generated urban landscapes divided along lines of race, class, ethnicity or religion.
Same as I50 InterD 306M
L98 AMCS 3070 Politics and Policymaking in the American States
The American federal system is often overlooked in discussions about politics in the United States; however, state governments unquestionably touch the lives of Americans everyday. As such, an education in American politics is not complete without serious examination of state governments and their political institutions. This course illuminates the importance of the American states in U.S. politics and policy making by critically examining topics such as: intergovernmental relations; the historical evolution of American federalism; the organization and processes associated with state legislative, executive and judicial branches; state elections; political parties; interest groups; and specific state policy areas including budgeting, welfare, education and the environment. Prerequisite: Pol Sci 101B.
Same as L32 Pol Sci 3070
L98 AMCS 3073 The Global War on Terrorism
This course presents an historical assessment of the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) from the perspective of its major participants: militant Sunni Islamist jihadists, especially the Al-Qaeda network, and the nation states that oppose them, particularly the United States and its allies. The course then concludes by analyzing the current state and future of Islamist jihad and the GWOT.
Same as L22 History 3073
L98 AMCS 3075 The American Radical Novel: Literature Versus Inequality
Intended to help students reckon knowledgeably, imaginatively and articulately with our era of escalating social inequality, this class is a writing-intensive study of representative American radical novels stretching from the 19th-century abolitionism of Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin to the 21st-century dystopianism of Gary Shteyngart's Super Sad True Love Story. Its main goals are two: (1) to introduce students to the long history and current significance of efforts to pit American literature against American inequality; and (2) to improve the quality of advanced student writing in the related fields of American Culture Studies and English literature. The first goal is pursued through close analysis of both radical novels and the contemporary political documents that inform them, juxtaposing such texts as Upton Sinclair's The Jungle and Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto, Alice Walker's Meridian and Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Nonviolence and Racial Justice." The second goal is pursued through hands-on analysis of successful rhetorical strategies sampled from The Hodges Harbrace Handbook and, more importantly, from the scholarly writing of students themselves.
L98 AMCS 3081 City on a Hill: The Concept and Culture of American Exceptionalism
This course examines the concept, history, and culture of American exceptionalism — the idea that America has been specially chosen, or has a special mission to the world. First, we examine the Puritan sermon that politicians quote when they describe America as a "city on a hill." This sermon has been called the "ur-text" of American literature, the foundational document of American culture; learning and drawing from multiple literary methodologies, we will re-investigate what that sermon means and how it came to tell a story about the Puritan origins of American culture — a thesis our class will reassess with the help of modern critics. In the second part of this class, we will broaden our discussion to consider the wider (and newer) meanings of American exceptionalism, theorizing the concept while looking at the way it has been revitalized, redefined and redeployed in recent years. Finally, the course ends with a careful study of American exceptionalism in modern political rhetoric, starting with JFK and proceeding through Reagan to the current day, ending with an analysis of Donald Trump and the rise of "America First." In the end, students will gain a firm grasp of the long history and continuing significance — the pervasive impact — of this concept in American culture.
L98 AMCS 3085 Topics in Visual, Material, and Digital Culture
Variable topics course for courses best suited to the Visual, Digital, and Material Culture concentration area in American Culture Studies.
L98 AMCS 3091 Poverty and Social Reform in American History
This course explores the history of dominant ideas about the causes of and solutions to poverty in American society from the early republic to the end of the 20th century. We will investigate changing economic, cultural, and political conditions that gave rise to new populations of impoverished Americans, and to the expansion or contraction of poverty rates at various times in American history. We will, however, focus primarily on how various social commentators, political activists and reformers defined poverty, explained its causes, and struggled to ameliorate its effects. The course aims to highlight changes in theories and ideas about the relationship between dependence and independence, personal responsibility and social obligation, and the state and the citizen.
Same as L22 History 3091
L98 AMCS 3094 Anthropology of Latinxs
This course will introduce students to the anthropological study of Latinxs. The approach of this course is deeply intersectional and will focus on the interrelation of Latinx identities and experiences with gender and sexuality. Other key topics include: immigration, the U.S.-Mexico border, marginality and belonging — in both rural and urban settings, Afro-Latinidad, and activism.
Same as L48 Anthro 3094
L98 AMCS 310 Topics in Asian-American Literature: Identity and Self-Image
Topics in Asian-American literature which will vary from semester to semester.
Same as L14 E Lit 308
L98 AMCS 3105 American Holidays, Rituals, and Celebrations
This seminar examines a variety of holidays, festivals and rituals in American history and culture. Topics include: conflicts over Christmas, the sentiments of greeting cards, African-American emancipation celebrations, Roman Catholic festivals dedicated to the Virgin Mary, modern renderings of Jewish ritual (including Hanukkah), the masculinity embodied in fraternal lodge ceremonies, Neopagan festivals, and Halloween Hell Houses. Various interpretive approaches are explored, and the intent is to broach a wide range of questions about history and tradition, gender and race, public memory and civic ceremony, moral order and carnival, through this topical focus on ritual and performance. A major emphasis is also placed on original research and writing, evident in the weight given the concluding seminar report and the final paper.
L98 AMCS 310A From Hysteria to Hysterectomy: Women's Health Care in America
This course examines issues surrounding women's health care in America. While the scope is broad, the major emphasis will be on the 19th and 20th centuries. Through an examination of popular writing, scientific/medical writing, letters, diaries and fiction, we will look at the changing perceptions and conceptions of women's bodies and health in America.
Same as L77 WGSS 310
L98 AMCS 3121 Topics in American Literature
Topic varies. Writing intensive.
Same as L14 E Lit 316W
L98 AMCS 312A Introduction to Digital Humanities
It is a truism that computers have changed our lives and the way we think and interact. But in fact systematic efforts to apply current technologies to the study of history and culture have been rare. This course will enable students to consider how these technologies might transform the humanities. We will explore the various ways in which ideas and data in the humanities can be represented, analyzed and communicated. We will also reflect on how the expansion of information technology has transformed and is continuing to transform the humanities, both with regard to their role in the university and in society at large. Readings and classwork will be supplemented by class presentations and a small assigned group project.
Same as L93 IPH 312
L98 AMCS 312W Topics in English and American Literature: End of the Century: American Culture During the 1990s
This course explores the theme of consolation in medieval poetry. We read narratives that represent the consolation of a variety of melancholy figures — philosophers in exile, lovers in mourning, citizens in plague-ridden cities, and women disturbed by misogynous writing. We examine the connection between representations of consolation and the act of reading, and think about literature itself (along with other art forms) as a contested site of entertainment, moral guidance, self-fashioning and redemption. Authors may include Boccaccio, Boethius, Chaucer, Christine de Pizan, Abelard and Heloise, and the Pearl-poet. As a writing-intensive class, we spend time writing and talking about writing in the classroom. We read our literary texts as "arguments" about literature in addition to other topics, and we read secondary articles as examples of scholarly writing that we may or may not want to adopt as models.
Same as L14 E Lit 312W
L98 AMCS 3130 Education, Childhood and Society
An examination of childhood, child development and education from different perspectives. Observation of children in a variety of settings, including classrooms. Through historical, sociological, psychological and political readings, students clarify current ideas about children, investigate the nature of childhood, and begin to understand how and why childhood is constructed as it is. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Limited to 45 students.
Same as L12 Educ 313B
L98 AMCS 3132 Topics in Composition: Exploring Cultural Identity in Writing
An advanced writing course focusing on selected topics related to writing. Topics to be chosen by department/instructor. Refer to section description for details about specific class emphases. (Note: In some cases, this course may be cross-listed with other programs/departments and may satisfy the writing-intensive requirement.) Prerequisites: Writing 1 (L13 100) and junior standing.
Same as L13 Writing 314
L98 AMCS 3142 Native Americans at Westward Expansion
Issues precipitated by Euro-American contact, colonization and expansion between 1492 and 1810 across Eastern North America, the Plains and the Rocky Mountains. Impacts of exploration and settlement and responses by native peoples: epidemics, population loss, breakdown of Southeastern chiefdoms, resistance, relocation and shifts in economic strategies. Perspectives and policies of Native Americans as well as Europeans and non-Indian Americans, including Lewis and Clark.
Same as L48 Anthro 3461
L98 AMCS 314A Urban Inequality: Racism, Segregation, & Ghettoization in the American City
The academic study of urban inequality proceeds from the understanding that: 1) cities are deeply unequal, especially when considered in terms of race and class; 2) rather than being random or natural, urban inequality is the product of human ideas, policies, and practices; and 3) urban inequality has substantial and enduring impacts on city life and life chances, especially for racial minorities and the poor. Echoing these general themes, this course closely examines the causes, development, and consequences of urban inequality in the U.S. context. In order to explore U.S. urban inequality most clearly, the course focuses on the African-American urban experience and what has variously been called the "black belt," the inner city, and, most importantly, the ghetto. The scope is still national, though, with analyses of New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, D.C., Detroit, Chicago, New Orleans, Oakland, and St. Louis, among other cities. The course primarily draws from sociology and history but also includes insights from anthropology, political science, criminology, and law, among other disciplines.
Same as L90 AFAS 3140
L98 AMCS 315B Virtues, Vices, Values: Regulating Morality in Modern America
This course takes morality and the question of "what's right" seriously as a lens through which to understand and assess modern American history. "Morality" is, of course, a devilishly flexible rhetoric, a language invoked to tell people how to act and how to be good, or, conversely, to criticize and to shame. When the state or a community wants its citizens or members to be "good," it crafts laws and creates customs to encourage or inhibit behaviors. This class examines how state and non-state actors have attempted to regulate the lived experiences of Americans and the conflicts that emerge over what, exactly, is correct, or right, or good for individuals, society, and the state. It interrogates what values the state impresses upon its citizens and what values citizens want the state to uphold.
Same as L57 RelPol 315
L98 AMCS 316F Rediscovering the Child: Interdisciplinary Workshops in an Urban Middle School
It is said that at this time in history the entire country must make a commitment to improve the positive possibilities of education. We must work to lift people who are underserved; we must expand the range of abilities for those who are caught in only one kind of training; and we must each learn to be creative thinkers contributing our abilities to many sectors of our society. In this course, we expand our views about learning by experimenting with the creative process of lateral thinking. In the first six weeks of the semester, we learn about learning by meeting with exceptional people with many scholarly, professional, and civic engagement accomplishments. We also learn by working in teams to develop an exciting set of 2-D/3-D, hands-on, problem-solving workshops for middle-schoolers from economically disadvantaged urban families; the workshop curriculum will be based upon your knowledge and passion as well as your interests. During the last eight weeks, we deliver these workshops once a week to students at Compton-Drew Middle School (adjacent to the Science Center in the city of St. Louis). In this course we celebrate the choices of studies we each pursue, and expand our experience by learning from each other's knowledge bases and creativity. The course is open to students from all disciplines, schools, freshmen through seniors, and meets the multidisciplinary Fieldwork requirement for AMCS majors. CET course.
L98 AMCS 3173 Queer Histories
Queer history is a profoundly political project. Scholars and activists use queer histories to assert theories of identity formation, build communities, and advance a vision of the meanings of sexuality in modern life and the place of queer people in national communities. This history of alternative sexual identities is narrated in a variety of settings — the internet as well as the academy, art and film as well as the streets — and draws upon numerous disciplines, including anthropology, geography, sociology, oral history, fiction and memoir, as well as history. This discussion-based course examines the sites and genres of queer history, with particular attention to moments of contestation and debate about its contours and meanings.
Same as L77 WGSS 3172
L98 AMCS 317S Service Learning: Documenting the Queer Past in St. Louis
Around the U.S. and the world, grassroots LGBTQ history projects investigate the queer past as a means of honoring the courage of those who have come before, creating a sense of community today, and understanding the exclusions and divisions that shaped their communities and continue to limit them. In this course, we participate in this national project of history-making by helping to excavate the queer past in the greater St. Louis region. Course readings will focus on the ways that sexual identities and communities in the United States have been shaped by urban settings since the late 19th century, with particular attention to the ways that race, class and gender have structured queer spaces and communities. In their community service project, students will work with local LGBTQ groups, including the St. Louis LGBT History Project, to research St. Louis's queer past. Each student will also conduct an oral history interview with an LGBTQ community member. Important Note: This is a service-learning class, which means it combines classroom learning with outside work at a community organization. In addition to regular class time, there is a service requirement, which necessitates an additional 3-5 hours a week. Before beginning community service students must complete required training. Prerequisite: Introduction to Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies or Introduction to Queer Studies, or permission of instructor.
Same as L77 WGSS 3173
L98 AMCS 3190 Engaging the City
See course listings for current offering.
L98 AMCS 3191 Contemporary American Women Poets
An introduction to the work of contemporary American poets who are women; extensive reading of both poetry and prose. Readings include the work of poets such as Bishop, Rich, Plath, Sexton, Clampitt, Gluck, Moss, Graham, Howe, Dove, Oliver, Forche, Lauterbach.
Same as L14 E Lit 3191
L98 AMCS 320A Religious Freedom in America
This interdisciplinary course, co-taught by a law school professor and an American historian, concerns the intersection of religion, liberty and law in American culture. It introduces students to the major texts and historical issues concerning religious liberty, using legal history and case law, intellectual and social history, and political philosophy. It will address issues of significant contemporary debate — from the role of religious groups on college campuses to bakers and gay weddings — along with the deep historical background, from English settlement of North America and the making of the Constitution, through the Civil War, to the Cold War and the recent political developments.
Same as I50 InterD 320
L98 AMCS 321B American Religion and the Politics of Gender and Sexuality
Religious beliefs about gender and sexuality have long played a vital role in American politics, vividly evident in debates over such issues as birth control, censorship, pornography, funding for AIDS research, abortion, contraceptive access, abstinence-only sex education, sexual harassment, same-sex marriage, and more. Educated citizens need to understand the impact of these religiously inflected debates on our political culture. This course explores the centrality of sex to religion and politics in the U.S., emphasizing Christianity (both Protestant and Catholic forms) and its weighty social and political role regulating the behavior of women and men, children and teens, as well as its uses in legal and judicial decisions. Alongside scholarly readings in gender and sexuality, we will discuss popular devotional texts — on chastity, marriage, and homosexuality — with a political bent. Students will leave the course able to analyze how religious beliefs about sex shape specific gender norms central to U.S. politics.
Same as L57 RelPol 321
L98 AMCS 3222 Major American Writers: The Contemporary American Novel
Same as L14 E Lit 3222
L98 AMCS 3231 Sex, Drugs, and Rock N Roll: The Theatre of the Sixties
A rotating topics course on various subjects relating to the history and theatrical practice of modern American drama.
Same as L15 Drama 323
L98 AMCS 3232 Selected American Writers: James Baldwin Now
Intensive study of one or more American writers. Consult course listings for offerings in any given semester.
Same as L14 E Lit 323
L98 AMCS 3237 The Art of Popular Song: From Folk and Musical Theatre to Rock and Contemporary A Capella
This course explores the art of songwriting through the lens of American popular music. Students examine landmark songs from multiple eras and create their own original songs in a variety of styles, from classical music, folk music and Broadway to rock, pop and a capella. Through composing and arranging, listening and analysis, students gain insight into the sonic structure and cultural significance of popular music. The course also responds to students' individual interests and performance backgrounds, offering opportunities to write music for vocal ensembles, small groups, singer-songwriter formats, and electronic media.
Same as L27 Music 3237
L98 AMCS 326 American Economic History
Basic theoretical concepts applied to analyze the changing structure and performance of the American economy from colonial times to the present. Prerequisites: Econ 1011 and 1021.
Same as L11 Econ 326
L98 AMCS 3262 Literature of the Color Line
In 1903's The Souls of Black Folk, W.E.B. Dubois wrote "for the problem of the 20th century is the problem of the color-line." This literature course includes texts written by African-American authors to examine the ways African Americans came to be portrayed in American literature and culture by writers of color, paying special attention to the changing concept of race and African-American citizenship as influenced by American political thought at a time when many of the gains made by African Americans during the period of Reconstruction were repealed. We read fiction, poetry, essays and pamphlets by African-American writers writing through the late 19th and early 20th century, including but not limited to Charles Chesnutt, W.E.B Dubois, Booker T. Washington, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Pauline Hopkins, Frances E.W. Harper, Paul Laurence Dunbar. In addition to the texts, students are asked to briefly examine portrayals of African Americans in other forms of media, such as visual culture and film.
Same as L90 AFAS 326
L98 AMCS 327 Public Opinion and American Democracy
This course is about the salience of public opinion and its influence on American Politics. Topics covered include many of the theories developed to explain how public opinion is formed, if and why it changes, and the relationship between public opinion and the political behavior of citizens and elites. Therefore, the course describes and analyzes many of the factors that influence the formation, structure and variation in public opinion: information processing, education, core values, racial attitudes, political orientation (ideology and party identification), political elites, social groups, the media and religion. Additional topics include presidential approval, congressional approval, and the relationship between public opinion and public policy. The course also trains students in several concepts of statistical analysis (assuming no prior knowledge) so that students can use these tools as part of their own research projects. Prerequisites: previous course work in American politics or communications.
Same as L32 Pol Sci 3211
L98 AMCS 3270 Comics, Graphic Novels and Sequential Art
This course traces the evolution of comics in the America from the "comic cuts" of the newspapers, through the development of the daily and Sunday strips, into the comic book format, and the emergence of literary graphic novels. While not a uniquely American medium, comics have a specifically American context that intersects with issues of race, class, gender, nationalism, popular culture, consumerism and American identity. Comics have repeatedly been a site of struggle in American culture; examining these struggles illuminates the way Americans have constructed and expressed their view of themselves. The way comics have developed as a medium and art form in this country has specific characteristics that can be studied profitably through the lens of American Culture Studies.
L98 AMCS 3272 The Superhero in American Culture
The superhero is an American cultural figure that enjoys great metaphoric resonance in contemporary America and about contemporary America, much as the Western did during the Cold War. But this metaphoric resonance has existed since the genre came into being with Superman in 1938 as part of the nation's response to modernity, and predates the creation of the genre through the hero figures that contributed tropes to the superhero genre. Through a cultural historical and transmedia approach, this course examines the superhero and the superhero genre as a myth medium and contested site for portraying and shaping ideas about American identity, masculinity, modernism, race, class, gender and humanity. The prehistory of the superhero is examined in 19th- and early 20th-century frontier stories, science fiction and pulp fiction. The definition of the superhero and the genre's evolution in comics, film, television, and fan-produced works are examined, with a focus on how the genre has served and mediated the conflicting needs of creators and audiences.
L98 AMCS 3273 American Graphic Storytelling and Identity
From editorial cartoons presenting African Americans in racist caricature during the Civil War and Reconstruction, to the appearance of the "Yellow Kid" in the comic strip "Hogan's Alley," to graphic narratives that reinforce (or challenge) racial and gender stereotypes in the late 20th century, comics in the United States have long been preoccupied with identity. In this course we trace the development of identity as a major preoccupation in the comics medium.
L98 AMCS 3283 Introduction to Global Health
This course provides a general introduction to the field of public health. It examines the philosophy, history, organization, functions, activities, and results of public health research and practice. Case studies include infectious and chronic diseases, mental health, maternal and reproductive health, food safety and nutrition, environmental health, and global public health. Students are encouraged to look at health issues from a systemic and population level perspective, and to think critically about health systems and problems, especially health disparities and health care delivery to diverse populations. No background in anthropology or public health is required.
Same as L48 Anthro 3283
L98 AMCS 3295 Beautiful Losers: The French in North America, 1500-1850
Adventurous fur-traders, fun-loving carnival-goers, magnanimous noblemen, simple but goodhearted Catholic peasants: the portrait of the French in the Americas rarely goes beyond these time-honored stereotypes. The French have usually been treated as quaint remnants of a bygone age, vanquished first by the British army, and then by the march of modernity. This class seeks to rescue these historical actors from the typecasting to which we often condemn them. Through this examination of the French presence in the Americas, we will rethink and revisit the familiar stories of British North America, stories of slavery, commerce, property, piety and migration. The contrasted differences will also allow us to reflect on the nature of colonialism and question some ready-made understandings about colonial British America and the Early Republic.
Same as L22 History 3293
L98 AMCS 3296 Race & Ethnic Relations in the United States
This course is designed to explore relations within and between the racial and ethnic groups of the United States. We examine the social, economic and political similarities and differences of African Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos, and New Immigrants that distinguish their American experience. Of particular interest are their respective experiences in relation to one another and the majority population for understanding the origins of conflict and unanimity within and between the different groups. We pay specific attention to events in Ferguson, Missouri, and the tensions between political leaders, policing and minorities more generally, the disproportionate levels of poverty experienced by African Americans and Mexican Americans, and the vilifying of certain minorities by the majority population.
L98 AMCS 329F Tale of Two Cities: Documenting Our Divides
The metropolitan St. Louis area has become the nation's symbol of modern segregation erupting into urban unrest and violence foiled against nonviolent direct-action interventions, youth-driven social protests and grassroots revitalization. With the assistance of a faculty seed grant from the Divided City Initiative, in partnership with the Center for the Humanities in Arts & Sciences and the Mellon Foundation, Tale of Two Cities: Documenting Our Divides will bring together students working in transdisciplinary teams to create documentary videos of street events, meetings and interviews that capture the immediacy of this historical moment. Students will partner and engage with a local nonprofit organization, grassroots movement or religious institution. Topics can include personal and/or institutional issues of a "divided city" that are exacerbated by race, gender, economic status, sexual orientation or geography. Successful completion of this course involves researching and creating a short video with a distinctive perspective and point of view that will draw upon the team's collaborative voices from history, performing arts, economics, law, social work, African-American studies, architecture and art. Skills will be developed in the fundamentals of story development, video and audio-capture in the field, editing with Adobe Premier and archival preservation. No prerequisites.
Same as I50 InterD 329F
L98 AMCS 330 Topics in American Culture Studies
Refer to course listings for current offering.
L98 AMCS 3301 History of American Cinema
This course traces the history of the American cinema from the earliest screenings in vaudeville theaters through the birth of the feature film to movies in the age of video. The course examines both the contributions of individual filmmakers as well as the determining contexts of modes of production, distribution and exhibition. The course aims to provide an understanding of the continuing evolution of the American cinema, in its internal development, in its incorporation of new technologies, and in its responses to other national cinemas. Required screenings.
Same as L53 Film 330
L98 AMCS 3303 Politics and Policies of Immigration in the United States
This class examines the history and politics of American immigration from colonial times to the present. It begins with an overview of the colonial period, then discusses the immigration waves of the 19th and early 20th centuries, and concludes with an examination of current topics and debates about immigration. Issues include racial, ethnic and class relations among groups; changes in immigration policies over time; comparative group experiences; transnational issues in immigration; and the impact of immigration on other American social and political processes and events. This class is a writing-intensive and modified version of Pol Sci 226/AMCS 202. Students who have taken that course should not take this course. Because this is a writing-intensive class, we also spend time studying research paper design and writing.
Same as L32 Pol Sci 3302
L98 AMCS 330A Native American/Euro-American Encounters: Confrontation of Bodies and Beliefs
This course surveys the history and historiography of how Native Americans, Europeans and Euro-Americans reacted and adapted to one another's presence in North America from the 1600s to the mid-1800s, focusing on themes of religion and gender. We will examine the cultural and social implications of encounters between Native peoples, missionaries and other European and Euro-American Protestants and Catholics. We will pay particular attention to how bodies were a venue for encounter — through sexual contact, through the policing of gendered social and economic behaviors, and through religiously-based understandings of women's and men's duties and functions. We will also study how historians know what they know about these encounters, and what materials enable them to answer their historical questions.
Same as L57 RelPol 330
L98 AMCS 330C Culture & Identity: The Politics of Black Criminality and Popular Protest
Topics course focusing on instances of identity and culture within the American scope. Varies by semester; refer to course listings for description of current semester's offering.
L98 AMCS 330D Culture and Identity: Urban Ethnography in St. Louis
Topics course focusing on instances of identity and culture within the American scope. Varies by semester, refer to course listings for description of current semester's offering.
L98 AMCS 3312 Gender and American Politics
This course examines the ways in which issues pertaining to gender are salient in U.S. politics. The course is divided into four parts. First, we will examine theoretical approaches to the study of gender and politics, including the use of gender as an analytical category, and the relationship between gender, race, ethnicity and power. Second, we will study gender-based social movements, including the suffrage and woman's rights movements, women's participation in the civil rights movement, the contemporary feminist and anti-feminist movements, the gay rights/queer movement and the women's peace movement. Third, we will examine the role of gender in the electoral arena, in terms of how it affects voting, running for office and being in office. Finally, we will examine contemporary debates about public policy issues, including the integration of women and gays in the military, sexual harassment, pornography and equal rights.
Same as L32 Pol Sci 331B
Credit 3 units. BU: BA, ETH
L98 AMCS 3325 Topics in Politics: Constitutional Politics in the United States
The principal purpose of this course is to introduce students to the politics of constitutional interpretation. We first discuss the origins of the constitution, the structure operation and work of courts, and judicial decision-making. Afterward, we examine various areas of the law relating to institutional powers and constraints (e.g., federalism, presidential powers, Congressional authority). In so doing, we develop an understanding for the legal doctrine in each area of the law and also examine explanations for the legal change we observe.
Same as L32 Pol Sci 3325
L98 AMCS 332A Getting Paid: A Sociological Investigation of Wages and Salaries
A Burger King worker in the U.S. today performs the same duties and requires the same skills as a Burger King worker in Denmark. Yet the Denmark worker earns two-and-a-half times as much. Why? A full-time construction worker in the U.S. today earns $10,000 less per year, adjusted for inflation, than in 1973. Construction work cannot be shipped overseas, so why the decline? What determines our pay? Are we paid fairly? How do we know? This course seeks to answer these questions. We will draw on a range of comparative, historical, and contemporary case studies to explore changes in the ways in which American workers get paid. Key areas of focus include employer strategies to prevent workers from realizing their market value, to the role Wall St. plays in influencing pay, to ongoing efforts to measure and reward individual productivity. The ultimate goal of the course is to upend our taken-for-granted assumptions about pay-setting, and provide students with a richer, more complex understanding of the contemporary world of wage and salary determination.
Same as L40 SOC 3320
L98 AMCS 3340 A History of the Golden Age of Children's Literature
A comprehensive survey of the major works for children written during this period.
Same as L14 E Lit 334
L98 AMCS 336C The Cultural History of the American Teenager
This course explores the recent history of the teenager in the United States, from the rise of teen culture in the 1950s to the current state of adolescence in the new century. Why have so many novels and films memorialized adolescence? How has the period of development been portrayed in books and film? How have depictions and attitudes toward teen culture changed over the past 50 years? We begin with J.D. Salinger’s classic novel of adolescence alienation, The Catcher in the Rye, a book that in many ways helped initiate the rise of the youth movement in the 1950s and ’60s. From there, we read a series of novels and historical studies that trace the changes in teen culture that have occurred over the past half century. Our class also considers a few films, such as Rebel Without a Cause and Dazed and Confused, which have helped shape our conception of the American teenager. Ultimately, we question what these depictions of teen culture can tell us about larger trends and concerns in American life. Readings include Judy Blume’s Forever, Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight, and Colson Whitehead’s Sag Harbor.
Same as L66 ChSt 336
Credit 3 units.
L98 AMCS 3370 Music and Performance
In his 1998 book, Musicking, Christopher Small asserts that music is not a thing but an activity — something that people do. Starting from this premise, this course explores musical performance as a live event, one in which additional aspects of performance — dramatic enactments, costume, choreography, and stage design — also come into play. While recorded music plays an important role in our investigations, we focus on musical events that take place before and with live audiences. Exploring the choices of performers and the expectations of audience members in settings from gospel churches to Radio City Music Hall, this course moves through a wide variety of musical genres, including cabaret, blues, opera, protest song, musical theater and rock. We examine artists whose work blurs the line between "music" and "theater," including George Clinton, Taylor Mac, and Gertrude Stein, as well as everyday people, such as the singers of the Civil Rights Movement, who used the power of live musical performance to change the course of human history. We also attend performances around St. Louis, guided by the interests of the class. Students with an interest in music, theater, dance, cultural history, American studies, and African-American studies are especially welcome.
Credit 3 units. A&S IQ: HUM
L98 AMCS 3381 Topics in Politics: National Security, Civil Liberties and the Law
This course is intended primarily for sophomores and juniors. The topic of this course varies by semester, dependent on faculty and student interests.
Same as L32 Pol Sci 3381
L98 AMCS 3400 Topics in 20th-Century American Writing: American Literature 1914-1945
An introduction to major American works and writers from the later 19th century through the mid-20th century. Writers studied include Twain, James, Crane, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Faulkner, Frost, Eliot and Stevens. The course assumes no previous acquaintance with the material and is directed toward a broad range of majors and non-majors with a serious but not scholarly interest in the subject. Students with little or no background in literature might be advised to take E Lit 213C Chief American Writers, while English majors looking to do advanced work should consider the 400-level American literature sequence. Students who have taken E Lit 213C should not enroll in this course.
Same as L14 E Lit 340
L98 AMCS 3405 For Freedom's Sake: The Civil Rights Movement in America
This course provides an introduction to the period of struggle in American history known as the Civil Rights Movement. Our primary task is to survey the major historical figures, organizations, locations, strategies and ideas that coalesce to make the history of the movement. The course broadly covers the years of the Black Freedom Struggle between 1945 and 1971, with a sharper focus on the pivotal years of 1954-1965. By placing the movement within a broader context, the course seeks to identify the historical developments and social realities that made the movement necessary and possible. The class also looks at the years following the movement, and the general transition from Civil Rights to Black Power.
Same as L90 AFAS 3405
L98 AMCS 341 Understanding the Evidence: Provocative Topics of Contemporary Women’s Health and Reproduction
Contemporary topics of women’s health and reproduction are used as vehicles to introduce the student to the world of evidence-based data acquisition. Selected topics span and cross a multitude of contemporary boundaries. Issues evoke moral, ethical, religious, cultural, political and medical foundations of thought. The student is provided introductory detail to each topic and subsequently embarks on an independent critical review of current data and opinion to formulate their own said notions. Examples of targeted topics for the upcoming semester include, but are not limited to: Abortion, Human Cloning, Genetics, Elective Cesarean Section, Fetal Surgery, Hormone Replacement, Refusal of Medical Care, Medical Reimbursement, Liability Crisis and Gender Bias of Medical Care.
Same as L77 WGSS 343
L98 AMCS 3410 The Jewish People in America
History of the Jews in North America from the colonial era to the present. Close reading of primary sources, with an emphasis on the central issues and tensions in American Jewish life; political, social and economic transformations; and religious trends.
Same as L75 JINE 341
L98 AMCS 341A Gender in Society
Introduction to the sociological study of gender. The primary focus is U.S. society, but we will also discuss gender in an international context. From the moment of birth, boys and girls are treated differently. Gender structures the experiences of people in all major social institutions, including the family, the workplace and schools. We will explore how gender impacts lives and life chances. The central themes of the course are historical changes in gender beliefs and practices; socialization practices that reproduce gender identities; how race/ethnicity, class and sexuality shape the experience of gender; and the relationship between gender, power and social inequality. Prerequisite: introductory course in sociology or consent of the instructor.
Same as L40 SOC 3410
L98 AMCS 342 The American Presidency
Consideration of part played by the president in American politics and public policy. The powers of the president; the staffing and organization of the executive office; the relations of the president with Congress, the bureaucracy, and other participants in American politics; presidential elections. Recommended: Pol Sci 101B.
Same as L32 Pol Sci 342
L98 AMCS 3422 Americans and Their Presidents
How have Americans understood what it means to be President of the United States? This seminar uses that question as a point of departure for a multidisciplinary cultural approach to the presidency in the United States, examining the shifting roles of the chief executive from George Washington through Barack Obama. In addition to a consideration of the president's political and policymaking roles, this course examines how the lived experiences of presidents have informed the ways Americans have conceived of public and private life within a broader political culture. In the process, this course uses the presidency as a means to explore topics ranging from electioneering to gender, foreign policy to popular media. Readings are drawn from a broad range of fields.
L98 AMCS 3430 Two Cultures: Literature and Science
The relation between biology and literature as it has been examined and expressed in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction of the past two centuries.
Same as L14 E Lit 343
L98 AMCS 344 Courts and Civil Liberties
This course focuses on constitutional law principles in the Bill of Rights, and examines how Supreme Court decisions influence these principles in everyday life. We explore how the courts, and particularly the Supreme Court, have interpreted these rights in light of changing times and emerging issues. Topics include the First Amendment; free exercise of religion and the establishment clause; freedom of speech, assembly and association; freedom of the press; the Fourth Amendment and the rights of those accused and convicted of crimes; the right to privacy, including reproductive freedom and the right to die; equal protection and civil rights, including race, gender, sexual orientation; immigrants’ rights and voting rights; and civil liberties after September 11. Recommended for the Liberal Arts and Business (LAB) Certificate.
Same as L32 Pol Sci 344
L98 AMCS 3441 Defendant’s Rights
This course explores the operations of the American criminal justice system. Substantial emphasis on the constitutional rights accorded to the criminally accused. Readings consist primarily, but not exclusively, of Supreme Court cases.
Same as L32 Pol Sci 3441
L98 AMCS 3450 Sexual Politics in Film Noir and Hardboiled Literature
Emerging in American films most forcefully during the 1940s, film noir is a cycle of films associated with a distinctive visual style and a cynical worldview. In this course, we explore the sexual politics of film noir as a distinctive vision of American sexual relations every bit as identifiable as the form's stylized lighting and circuitous storytelling. We explore how and why sexual paranoia and perversion seem to animate this genre and why these movies continue to influence "neo-noir" filmmaking into the 21st century, even as film noir's representation of gender and sexuality is inseparable from its literary antecedents, most notably, the so-called "hard-boiled" school of writing. We read examples from this literature by Dashiell Hammett, James Cain, Raymond Chandler and Cornell Woolrich, and discuss these novels and short stories in the context of other artistic and cultural influences on gendered power relations and film noir. We also explore the relationship of these films to censorship and to changing post-World War II cultural values. Films to be screened in complete prints or in excerpts include many of the following: The Maltese Falcon, Double Indemnity, Murder My Sweet, Phantom Lady, Strangers on a Train, The Big Sleep, The Killers, Mildred Pierce, The High Wall, Sudden Fear, The Big Combo, Laura, The Glass Key, The Big Heat, Kiss Me Deadly, The Crimson Kimono, Touch of Evil, Alphaville, Chinatown, Taxi Driver, Devil in a Blue Dress, The Bad Lieutenant, and Memento. Required screenings.
Same as L53 Film 345
L98 AMCS 3463 From Golden Age to Wasteland: US Television in the 1950s and 1960s
How did television become the dominant news and entertainment medium of the second half of the 20th century? How did the medium come to define itself and American identities in the post-WWII era? In an era where various social movements began to lay claim to the cultural center, why did "mad men" eventually give way to magical women and fantastic families? This course examines the cultural, industrial, and aesthetic changes in U.S. television broadcasting during a time that was crucial to defining its relationship to the public as well as to Hollywood, the government, critics, and American commerce. The class explores the relationships and shifts that made television the U.S.'s most popular consensus medium but one that also would profit by the expression of alternative tastes, politics and identities. Required screenings.
Same as L53 Film 346
L98 AMCS 3465 Race, Literature, and Environmental Justice
The course will permit an introduction to the field of Environmental Humanities through an exploration of environmental writings, practices, and artistic expressions. We will draw primarily from literature, as well as legal proceedings, history, culture, art, and digital media in order to understand the relationship between human beings and natural and built environments. We will also examine the interaction of health and well-being to the physical environment, with attention to women, people of color, and the poor as a way of thinking expansively about environmental justice issues. While social inequality shapes how environmental problems are created, recognized, and dealt with, we will explore how differences of culture and power complicate the meaning of concepts like "environment" and "justice" within and between groups. To do so, we will examine the specific roles the humanities have played in facilitating an environmental consciousness and activism amongst various groups of people. We will begin by posing questions regarding what is nature in order to think more expansively about what the term "environment" can denote.
Same as L90 AFAS 346
L98 AMCS 346A The Politics of Privacy in the Digital Age
This course explores the changing nature of privacy in contemporary society.
Same as L32 Pol Sci 3462
L98 AMCS 347A Global Energy and the American Dream
This lecture course explores the historical, cultural and political relationship between America and global energy, focusing on oil, coal, natural gas, biofuels and alternatives. Through case studies at home and abroad, we examine how cultural, environmental, economic and geopolitical processes are entangled with changing patterns of energy-related resource extraction, production, distribution and use. America's changing position as global consumer and dreamer is linked to increasingly violent contests over energy abroad while our fuel-dependent dreams of boundless (oil) power give way to uncertainties and new possibilities of nation, nature, and the future. Assuming that technology and markets alone will not save us, what might a culturally, politically and socially-minded inquiry contribute to understanding the past and future of global energy and the American dream?
Same as L48 Anthro 3472
L98 AMCS 3482 Rethinking the "Second Wave": Race, Sexuality and Class in the Feminist Movement
The U.S. women's movement has been called "the 20th century's most influential movement," but until recently assessments of its origins, characteristics and impact have been largely impressionistic and subjective, left to movement participants and popular culture. Building on a recent explosion of historical studies of American feminism, this course examines the history of the so-called "second wave" of the women's movement from its origins in the early 1960s to its alleged demise in the late 1980s. Topics to be covered include the origins of feminist activism; the traditional history of the women's movement and recent revisions; how race and class shaped the feminist movement; how feminist ideas and organizing transformed American society; feminism and individual experience; and responses to the women's movement. In this discussion-based course, we read scholarly analyses of the women's movement as well as memoirs, popular essays, and many primary documents from the period.
Same as L77 WGSS 348
L98 AMCS 348A Economic Realities of the American Dream
Exploration of the realities of economic life in the U.S. and how they correspond to the American Dream. Interdisciplinary perspectives from economics, sociology, and other areas of social inquiry. Emphasis on the consistency between empirical data and different concepts of the American Dream. Specific topics to include sources of economic growth and changing living standards, unemployment, impact of globalization on U.S. citizens, economic mobility, poverty and inequality, and social justice. Prerequisites: Econ 1011 and Econ 1021, or consent of the instructors.
Same as L11 Econ 348
L98 AMCS 3490 Media Cultures
This course is an introduction to the interdisciplinary field of cultural and media studies. Through a focus on television and new media, it analyzes current theoretical ideas and debates about culture. Main topics include the relationship between new technologies and everyday life and popular culture; analysis of media messages and images; how media help construct new identities and mark differences between groups; analysis of the globalization of the production and circulation of media culture; the rise of multimedia cultural industries; and the role of the audience. Required screenings.
Same as L53 Film 349
L98 AMCS 3500 On Location: Exploring America
L98 AMCS 3504 The Making of American Conservatism Since 1932, From Herbert Hoover to Trump
Beginning with Hayek's The Road to Serfdom and Buckley's God and Man at Yale, this course examines some of the major conservative writers and thinkers in the United States since World War II. The course includes readings by Russell Kirk, Richard Weaver, Barry Goldwater, Phyllis Schlafly, Irving Kristol, Newt Gingrich, and Pat Buchanan as well younger conservatives like Mark Steyn, Jonah Goldberg, Ramesh Ponnuru, S.E. Cupp, and Kevin Williamson. Several classes are devoted to black conservatives including Thomas Sowell, Shelby Steele, and Walter Williams. We try to answer the questions: What is conservatism and who are its adherents? Can we speak of conservatism in the singular or are there several types of conservatism? Are the various forms of conservatism politically and intellectually compatible? How has conservatism changed since Reagan and the 1980s? What inroads has conservatism made in the cultural and political life of the United States? Is the United States essentially a conservative nation? Time permitting, we may also watch a few Hollywood movies by conservative filmmakers.
L98 AMCS 3507 Legal Conflict in Modern American Society
Thousands of lawsuits are filed daily in the state and federal courts of the United States. The disputes underlying those lawsuits are as messy and complex as the human, commercial, cultural and political dynamics that trigger them, and the legal processes for resolving those disputes are expensive, time-consuming and, for most citizens, seemingly impenetrable. At the same time, law and legal conflict permeate public discourse in the United States to a degree that is unique in the world, even among the community of long-established democracies. The overarching objective of the course is to prepare our undergraduate students to participate constructively in that discourse by providing them with a conceptual framework for understanding both the conduct and resolution of legal conflict by American legal institutions, and the evolution of — and values underlying — the substantive law American courts apply to those conflicts. This is, at core, a course in the kind of legal or litigation "literacy" that should be expected of the graduates of first-tier American universities. Some of the legal controversies that are used to help develop that "literacy" include those surrounding the permissible use of lethal force in self-defense, the constitutionality of affirmative action in university admissions, contracts that are unconscionably one-sided, sexual harassment in the workplace, the duty of landlords to prevent criminal assaults on their tenants, groundwater pollution alleged to cause pediatric cancers, and warrantless searches of cellphone locator data by police.
L98 AMCS 351 History of Electronic Media
This course traces the history of electronic media as they have become the dominant source for entertainment and information in contemporary culture, starting with over-the-air broadcasting of radio and television through to cable and the "narrowcasting" achieved by digital technologies. While some attention is paid to other national industries, the chief focus of the course is on electronic media in the United States to determine, in part, the transformative role they have played in the cultural life of the nation. The course explores the relationship of the electronic media industries to the American film industry, determining how their interactions with the film industry helped mutually shape the productions of both film and electronic media. Required screenings.
Same as L53 Film 350
L98 AMCS 3510 Topics in American Politics: The Supreme Court
This course is intended primarily for sophomores and juniors. The topic of this course varies by semester, dependent on faculty and student interests.
Same as L32 Pol Sci 3510
L98 AMCS 3512 Model Minority: The Asian-American Experience
This course explores Asian-American experience revolving around the concept of "model minority." It investigates the historical origins of "model minority" and reconsiders this concept in socio-political discourses as well as in everyday Asian-American experience. This course employs multidisciplinary inquiries to examine the complexity and heterogeneity among Asian Americans. Through a wide range of topics, such as identity, race, and (pan-)ethnicity, culture and religion, gender and sexuality, masculinity and femininity, and notions of invisibility and marginalization, this course situates Asian-American experiences in the broader American (and at times transnational) ethno-racial and socio-political context.
Same as L97 IAS 3512
L98 AMCS 352A The Black Athlete in American Literature: Frederick Douglass to LeBron James
The black athlete is a central figure in American entertainment, and has been since Frederick Douglass decried Christmastime slave games in his Narrative. This course will examine literary depictions of black athletes — in novels, memoirs, essays and poems — in order to better understand the cultural significance of sportsmen and women in the African-American struggle for equality, from abolitionism to the "Black Lives Matter" movement. We will read works by Douglass, Ralph Ellison, Maya Angelou, and John Edgar Wideman, among others, and examine the lives and athletic pursuits of prominent athletes such as Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali, Wilma Rudolph, Michael Jordan, and LeBron James. Popular perceptions of gender and sexuality, in addition to race and racism, will factor into our readings, especially as students incorporate secondary sources into their own research.
L98 AMCS 3550 Sociology of Work
Sociological understanding of work, and in particular, how work reduces or replicates inequality. Classic and contemporary sociological theories of work; how work in the U.S. has changed over time; and how workers are matched to "good" and "bad" jobs. Threaded through the course is the exploration of barriers to racial, gender, and class inclusion and advancement at work. We will explore how organizational structures, policies and practices can increase or decrease those barriers. Prerequisite: introductory course in sociology or consent of the instructor.
Same as L40 SOC 3550
L98 AMCS 3551 The Welfare State and Social Policy in America
How can we understand the recent debate about fundamental health care reform? Should social security be partially or wholly privatized? Was the 1996 welfare reform a success? Contemporary political questions frequently focus on the American welfare state and the social policies that comprise it. The first half of this course describes the American welfare state broadly construed, places it in a comparative context, and elucidates major political science explanations for the size and scope of American social policy. We touch on several areas of social policy while constructing the generalized lenses through which particular political outcomes can be understood. The second part of the course then focuses on three major aspects of the American welfare state: health care, old age pensions, and policies related to work, poverty and inequality.
Same as L32 Pol Sci 3551
L98 AMCS 3561 Law, Gender, & Justice
This course (formerly called "Women and the Law") explores how social constructions of gender, race, class and sexuality have shaped traditional legal reasoning and American legal concepts, including women's legal rights. We will begin by placing our current legal framework, and its gender, race, sexuality, and other societal assumptions, in an historical and Constitutional context. We will then examine many of the questions raised by feminist theory, feminist jurisprudence, and other critical perspectives. For example, is the legal subject gendered male, and, if so, how can advocates (for women and men) use the law to gain greater equality? What paradoxes have emerged in areas such as employment discrimination, family law, or reproductive rights, as women and others have sought liberal equality? What is the equality/difference debate about and why is it important for feminists? How do intersectionality and various schools of feminist thought affect our concepts of discrimination, equality and justice? The course is thematic, but we will spend time on key cases that have influenced law and policy, examining how they affect the everyday lives of women. Over the years, this course has attracted WGSS students and pre-law students. This course is taught by law students under the supervision of a member of the School of Law faculty. Students who have taken L77 3561 Women and the Law can not take this class.
Same as L77 WGSS 3561
L98 AMCS 3563 Television Culture and Cult TV: Critical Approaches to Fandom
Why do television series inspire passionate involvement on the part of some viewers? What are the differences among being a viewer, an audience member, and a fan? How can we make scholarly sense of cultural practices such as learning to speak Klingon or building a "repli-car" of the General Lee? Studies of fandom have attempted to answer such questions and continue to explore issues that are crucial to understanding contemporary television culture. The phenomenon of "Cult TV" offers fertile ground for examining the complex dynamics at play among fans, popular culture, the institutions of American media, and individual programs. In its exploration of cult television and fans, this course engages with key issues in contemporary media such as the proliferation of new media technologies and the repurposing of existing media forms, the permeable boundaries between high and low or mass and oppositional culture, and the fragmentation and concentration of media markets. The class combines close textual analysis with studies of fan practices to examine a variety of television programs, from canonical cult texts such as Star Trek and Doctor Who to "quality" fan favorites such as Designing Women and Cagney & Lacey to contemporary cult/quality hybrids such as Lost and Heroes. In mapping out this cultural territory, we develop a set of critical perspectives on audience identities and activities and examine the continuing and conflicted imagination of fans by media producers, distributors, regulators and critics. Required screenings. Prerequisite: Film 220 or Film 350, or consent of instructor.
Same as L53 Film 356
L98 AMCS 3570 Quality Television and the "Primetime Novel"
Over the past four decades, the cultural status of television in the United States has been reconfigured and complicated with changes in industrial structures, audience formations, regulatory presumptions, and production techniques and strategies. This course examines these interrelated forces, particularly as they have fostered a set of programs and practices often hailed as Quality Television. The class surveys the institutional paradigms that gave rise to particular generations of programming celebrated as "quality" and analyze the systems of distinction and cultural value that make the label socially and industrially salient. We critically investigate the role of audiences and the conceptions of viewer choice at play in these developments. In addition, the course analyzes the textual features that have come to signify narrative complexity and aesthetic sophistication. We examine foundational historical examples of this phenomenon from The Mary Tyler Moore Show to Hill Street Blues, and Cagney & Lacey to Northern Exposure, as well as more contemporary broadcast and cable fiction such as LOST, The Wire, and Mad Men. In addition, students are expected to watch a complete series, chosen in consultation with the instructor, as part of their final research project. Required screening. Prerequisite: Film Studies 220 or Film Studies 350 or consent of instructor.
Same as L53 Film 357
L98 AMCS 3575 US Foreign Policy: Theory and Practice
In this class we focus on the procedures and institutions that shape U.S. foreign policy decisions. This is neither a course on international relations theory nor a history of U.S. foreign policy. Rather, this course examines the domestic politics surrounding U.S. foreign policy decisions. How do public opinion, electoral politics, and interest groups shape foreign policy? Which branch controls foreign policy — the president, Congress, the courts? Or is it ultimately the foreign affairs bureaucracy that pulls the strings? We examine these topics through reading and writing assignments, class discussion, and simulations to promote deeper understanding and build practical skills.
Same as L97 IAS 3575
L98 AMCS 358 Law, Politics and Society
This course is an introduction to the functions of law and the legal system in American society. The course material stresses the realities of the operation of the legal system (in contrast to legal mythology), as well as the continuous interaction and feedback between the legal and political systems. There are four specific objectives to the course: (1) to introduce students to legal concepts and legal theories; (2) to analyze the operation of the appellate courts, with particular emphasis on the U.S. Supreme Court; (3) to analyze the operation of American trial courts, especially juries and the criminal courts; and (4) to examine the linkages between culture and law.
Same as L32 Pol Sci 358
L98 AMCS 3580 Combat Movie Music and Sound after Vietnam
This course considers the Hollywood combat movie genre after the Vietnam War (post 1975) by listening closely to how these always noisy films use music and sound effects to tell stories of American manhood and militarism. Centering on an elite group of prestige films — action movies with a message for adult audiences — the course examines 35 years of Hollywood representations of World War II, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War and post-9/11 wars against terrorism. Close analysis of how combat film directors and composers have used music and sound in conjunction with the cinematic image are set within a larger context of ancillary texts (source materials, soundtrack recordings, published and unpublished scripts), media folios ( press kits, reviews, editorials, newspaper and magazine stories and interviews), and scholarly writing from across the disciplines. Films screened include Apocalypse Now, Platoon, Hamburger Hill, Courage Under Fire, Saving Private Ryan, The Thin Red Line, We Were Soldiers, Flags of our Fathers, The Hurt Locker and Act of Valor, as well as pre-1975 combat films starring John Wayne. The ability to read music is not required. Required screenings. Prerequisite: none.
Same as L53 Film 358
L98 AMCS 3581 Scribbling Women: 19th-Century American Women Writers
In 1855, Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote to his publisher, William Tichnor, that "America is now wholly given over to a damned mob of scribbling women and I should have no chance of success while the public taste is occupied with their trash." In this class, we examine works of those scribbling women of the 19th century. We read one of the best-selling novels of the century, one that created a scandal and ruined the author’s literary reputation, along with others that have garnered more attention in our time than their own. In addition to focusing on these women writers, we also explore questions about the canon and American literature: What makes literature "good"? What constitutes American literature? How does an author get in the canon and stay there? Finally, in this writing intensive course, there are frequent writing assignments and a strong emphasis on the essential writing process of drafting and revising.
Same as L77 WGSS 358
L98 AMCS 3590 The American Musical Film
Film musicals were crucial to the success of the American film industry from the dawn of sound film in the late 1920s to the demise of the studio system in the late 1950s. This course examines the American film musical from a variety of aesthetic, critical and historical perspectives, with particular attention to how the genre interacted with popular music and dance and the major political and social trends of the 1930s, '40s and '50s. Required screenings.
Same as L53 Film 359
L98 AMCS 359A (Re)Writing Slavery
This special topics course considers black-authored texts ranging from the 18th to the 21st century to examine the ways slavery has been discussed in American literature and culture. We pay attention to the role of slavery in creating the African diaspora, the contribution of slave narratives to the Abolitionist movement, and how the structures of American slavery did not disappear after the Civil War. We look at the ways Civil Rights-era and contemporary African-American writers such as Margaret Walker, Toni Morrison, and Charles Johnson have appropriated the slave narrative to engage and critique present day concerns. Their works are read against 19th-century slave narratives by ex-slaves such as Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs. In addition to the texts, students are asked to consider how slavery and its aftereffects have been portrayed in film and other forms of media.
Same as L90 AFAS 359
L98 AMCS 360 History of the Film Score
This course looks at the role of music in Hollywood films from the beginning of the sound era to the present. Larger themes include the importance of technology, industry structures shaping the nature of scores, notable film music composers, the relationship between music, gender and genre, music's role in the adaptation of literary texts to film, the power of directors to shape the content of film scores, and the importance of popular music as a driving economic and aesthetic force in film music history. Films screened include From Here to Eternity, Stagecoach, High Noon, The Night of the Hunter, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Born on the Fourth of July, Casino, Jarhead and The Social Network. Required screenings.
Same as L53 Film 360
L98 AMCS 360A Religion and the Modern Civil Rights Movement, 1954-1968
The modern Civil Rights Movement is a landmark event in the nation's political, civic, cultural and social history. In many contexts, this movement for and against civil and legal equality took on a religious ethos, with activists, opponents and observers believing that the net result of the marches, demonstrations and legislative rulings would redeem and/or destroy "The Soul of the Nation." This seminar examines the modern Civil Rights Movement and its strategies and goals, with an emphasis on the prominent religious ideologies and activities that were visible and utilized in the modern movement. The course pays particular attention to the Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, and Islamic traditions, figures and communities that were indifferent, combative, instrumental and/or supportive of Civil Rights legislation throughout the mid-20th century.
Same as L57 RelPol 360
L98 AMCS 361A Women and Social Movements: Gender and Sexuality in U.S. Social Movements
This course examines the history of grassroots activism and political engagement of women in the U.S. Looking at social movements organized by women or around issues of gender and sexuality, class texts interrogate women's participation in, and exclusion from, political life. Key movements organizing the course units include, among others: the Temperance Movement, Abolitionist Movements, the Women's Suffrage Movements, Women's Labor Movements, Women's Global Peace Movements, and Recent Immigration Movements. Readings and discussion pay particular attention to the movements of women of color, as well as the critiques of women of color of dominant women's movements. Course materials analyze how methods of organizing reflect traditional forms of "doing politics," but also strategies and tactics for defining problems and posing solutions particular to women. Prerequisites: any 100- or 200-level Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies course or permission from the instructor.
Same as L77 WGSS 361
L98 AMCS 363 The American Frontier: 1776-1848
This course will examine the nation's shifting frontier from independence through the Mexican-American War. It will consider people and places in flux as their nationality, demography and social order underwent dramatic changes. Students will make use of an extensive electronic archive of primary sources including period documents, historic maps and contemporary artwork, in order to consider how these sources confirm, reject or expand on the ideas they encounter in published scholarship.
Same as L22 History 3632
L98 AMCS 3632 Mapping the World of "Black Criminality"
Ideas concerning the evolution of violence, crime and criminal behavior have been framed around many different groups. Yet, what does a typical criminal look like? How does race — more specifically blackness — alter these conversations, inscribing greater fears about criminal behaviors? This course taps into this reality examining the varied ways people of African descent have been and continue to be particularly imagined as a distinctly criminal population. Taking a dual approach, students consider the historical roots of the policing of black bodies alongside the social history of black crime while also foregrounding where and how black females fit into these critical conversations of crime and vice. Employing a panoramic approach, students examine historical narratives, movies and documentaries, literature, popular culture through poetry and contemporary music, as well as the prison industrial complex system. The prerequisite for the course is AFAS 3880 (Terror and Violence in the Black Atlantic) and/or permission from the instructor, which will be determined based on a student's past experience in courses that explore factors of race and identity. Enrollment limit: 20.
Same as L90 AFAS 363
L98 AMCS 365 The New Republic: The United States, 1776-1850
"Go get yourself some democracy!" Americans have so often preached to other nations. But just how did Americans themselves go about creating the world's largest and most successful democratic republic? And how democratic was this violent new nation that reeled from one crisis to another, and ultimately to the brink of collapse in its first 75 years? This survey of American history from the creation of the Republic to the eve of the Civil War explores the Revolution and its ambiguous legacies, the starkly paradoxical "marriage" of slavery and freedom, and the creation of much of the America that we know; mass political parties; a powerful Presidency; sustained capitalist growth; individualistic creeds; formalized and folkloric racism; heteronormative patriarchal family life; technological innovation; literary experimentation; distinctively American legal, scientific and religious cultures; and the modern movements of labor, feminism, and African-American empowerment.
Same as L22 History 365
L98 AMCS 3651 Black Women Writers
When someone says "black woman writer," you may well think of Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison. But not long ago, to be a black woman writer meant to be considered an aberration. When Thomas Jefferson wrote that Phillis Wheatley's poems were "beneath the dignity of criticism," he could hardly have imagined entire Modern Language Association sessions built around her verse, but such is now the case. In this class we survey the range of Anglophone African-American women authors. Writers likely to be covered include Phillis Wheatley, Harriet Wilson, Nella Larsen, Lorraine Hansberry, Octavia Butler and Rita Dove, among others. Be prepared to read, explore, discuss and debate the specific impact of race and gender on American literature.
Same as L90 AFAS 3651
L98 AMCS 366 The Civil War and Reconstruction: 1848-1877
This course focuses on the Civil War and Reconstruction as the central drama of American life in the 19th century, and also, the central event of American history itself, to the present day. How do we begin to understand the significance of the killing fields of the American Civil War, its three-quarters of a million dead? The bloody conflict, and its causes and consequences, are explored from multiple perspectives: those of individuals such as Lincoln, McClellan, Davis, Douglass, Grant, Longstreet, and Lee, who made momentous choices of the era; of groups such as the African-American freedpeople and the Radical Republicans, whose struggles for freedom and power helped shape the actions of individuals; and of the historians, novelists, filmmakers and social movements that have fought to define the war's legacy for modern America. How is the Civil War both long ended and, at the same time, very much alive and still contested in contemporary America? How has it shaped modern Americans' eruptive engagement with race?
Same as L22 History 366
L98 AMCS 3660 Women and Film
The aim of this course is primarily to familiarize students with the work of prominent women directors over the course of the 20th century, from commercial blockbusters to the radical avant-garde. Approaching the films in chronological order, we consider the specific historical and cultural context of each filmmaker's work. In addition we discuss the films in relation to specific gender and feminist issues such as the status of women's film genres, representations of men and women on screen, and the gender politics of film production. Required screenings.
Same as L53 Film 366
L98 AMCS 3671 The Long Civil Rights Movement
The Civil Rights Movement is known as a southern movement, led by church leaders and college students, fought through sit-ins and marches, dealing primarily with non-economic objectives, framed by a black and white paradigm, and limited to a single tumultuous decade. This course seeks to broaden our understanding of the movement geographically, chronologically, and thematically. It pays special attention to struggles fought in the North, West and Southwest; it seeks to question binaries constructed around "confrontational" and "accommodationist" leaders; it reveals how Latinos, Native Americans, and Asian Americans impacted and were impacted by the movement; and it seeks to link the public memory of this movement with contemporary racial politics.
Same as L22 History 3670
L98 AMCS 367H Medicine, Healing and Experimentation in the Contours of Black History
Conversations regarding the history of medicine continue to undergo considerable transformation within academia and the general public. The infamous Tuskegee syphilis experiment serves as a marker in the historical consciousness regarding African Americans and the medical profession. This course taps into this particular evolution, prompting students to broaden their gaze to explore the often delicate relationship of people of African descent within the realm of medicine and healing. Tracing the social nature of these medical interactions from the period of enslavement through the 20th century, this course examines the changing patterns of disease and illness, social responses to physical and psychological ailments, and the experimental and exploitative use of black bodies in the field of medicine. As a history course, the focus is extended toward the underpinnings of race and gender in the medical treatment allocated across time and space — the United States, Caribbean and Latin America — to give further insight into the roots of contemporary practice of medicine.
Same as L22 History 3672
L98 AMCS 3680 The Cold War, 1945-1991
This course presents an assessment of the Cold War from the perspective of its major participants. Topics include: the origins of the Cold War in Europe and Asia; the Korean War; the Stalin regime; McCarthyism and the Red Scare; the nuclear arms race; the conflict over Berlin; Cold War film and literature; superpower rivalry in Guatemala, Cuba, Vietnam, Africa, and the Middle East; the rise and fall of detente; the Reagan years and the impact of Gorbechev; the East European Revolutions; and the end of the Cold War.
Same as L22 History 3680
L98 AMCS 3682 The U.S. War in Iraq, 2003-2011
This course presents a historical assessment of the United States' eight year war in Iraq from its inception on March 20, 2003, to the withdrawal of all combat troops on December 15, 2011. Topics to be covered include: the Bush Administration's decision to make Iraq part of the "War on Terror" and the subsequent plan of attack; the combat operations; losing the victory; sectarian violence; torture; the insurgency; battling Al-Qaeda in Iraq; reassessment; the surge; the drawdown; and the end of the war. The course will conclude with an assessment of the war's effectiveness regarding the Global War on Terrorism and U.S. policy in the Middle East.
Same as L22 History 3681
L98 AMCS 369 American Horrors
Horror movies. Fright films. Scream marathons. Blood and gore fests. Why should we want to look at movies that aim to frighten us? What is the attraction of repulsion? Is there an aesthetics of ugliness? Except for some early prestige literary adaptations like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the horror film began as a low class genre, a notch above exploitation movies. In the 1970s-1980s, it became the dominant commercial genre by offering increasingly graphic images of violence and mayhem. The horror film had arrived: lavish budgets, big stars, and dazzling special effects in mainstream major studio films competed with low-budget, no frills productions that helped establish artistically ambitious and quirky filmmakers like George Romero and David Cronenberg. By a chronological survey of the American horror film, this course explores how differing notions of what is terrifying reflect changing cultural values and norms. Throughout, we consider the difficult questions raised by horror’s simple aim of scaring its audience. In addition to weekly screenings, work for the course includes analytical and theoretical essays on the horror film. Written analyses of films with a close attention to visual style are required. Prerequisite: Film 220. Required screenings.
Same as L53 Film 370
L98 AMCS 370 The American West: The Image in History
Examines representations of the American West and of the frontier encounter between Euro-American and Native American cultures, from the early 19th to the early 20th centuries. We consider travel accounts, fiction painting, ledger drawings, photography and film in order to analyze the ways in which historical circumstances have shaped artistic and literary representations. At the same time, we look at how images and texts have shaped formative myths about the West that in turn leave their impact on history.
Same as L01 Art-Arch 370
L98 AMCS 3703 Religion and the Origins of Capitalism
This course explores the economic, cultural, and social history of the origins of Anglo-American capitalism from 1500 to 1800. Throughout we will discuss the worldviews and day-to-day business decisions of the merchants who created England's transatlantic market order and empire. Rather than treat early capitalism only in terms of material or purely economic dynamics, it probes the intellectual constructs that combined with commercial innovations to form capitalism into a social system.
Same as L57 RelPol 370
L98 AMCS 3711 The History of Popular Culture in the United States
This course surveys major developments in the history of popular culture in America, stretching from the mid-19th century to the present. It explores topics such as literature, drama/theater, dance halls, movies, radio, advertising, television, music and the internet; it covers different types of popular culture such as printing, performance, image and audio; it looks at how popular culture has been depicted in terms of icons, myths, stereotypes, heroes, celebrities and rituals; it addresses the rise of mass production and consumption; it examines the ways in which race, class, gender, ethnicity and sexuality have been perceived and are portrayed in popular culture; and it illustrates how the content of popular culture shapes and reflects our personal, social, political and intellectual beliefs and values.
Same as L22 History 3711
L98 AMCS 3712 Art and Culture in America’s Gilded Age
Developments in American culture from the end of the Civil War to the turn of the century: novels, buildings, images, public and private spaces of this transitional period — a time of new class formation, of unparalleled social diversity, and of new urban forms. The connections between art, literature and social experience. Representative figures include Henry James, Henry Adams, Louis Sullivan, Stanford White, Thomas Eakins, Louis Tiffany.
Same as L01 Art-Arch 3712
L98 AMCS 371A Sociology of Immigration
A review of theoretical and empirical research on how and why people migrate across international borders, and the consequences of international migration for immigrants and natives in the United States. While immigration is one of the most controversial issues in the contemporary United States, these contentious debates are not new. Americans once voiced the same concerns about the economic and social impact of Southern and Eastern European immigrants that today are aimed at immigrants from Latin America, Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. In this course we will compare historical (1880-1920) and contemporary (1965-present) waves of immigration to the United States. We will explore why and how people migrate, immigrant integration, the impact of immigration on native-born Americans, and how government policies — at the national, state, and local level — shape immigrant assimilation and what it means to be considered truly "American" in a social as well as a legal sense. Prerequisite: completion of an introductory sociology course or consent of the instructor.
Same as L40 SOC 3710
L98 AMCS 372 American Art to 1960
From the beginnings of modernism in the visual arts of the United States, around 1900, to Abstract Expressionism and the Beat aesthetic. Focus on the cultural reception and spread of modernism, native currents of modernist expression, from organicism to machine imagery, the mural movement and the art of the WPA, the creation of a usable past, abstraction and figuration, regionalism and internationalism, photography and advertising.
Same as L01 Art-Arch 372
L98 AMCS 3729 The United States in the 20th Century
This course explores the dramatic changes that transformed American society from the 1890s to the 1980s. Covering the main themes of 20th century U.S. history, students connect domestic policies and developments to international events, and study how Americans of diverse backgrounds thought about, experienced, and defined democracy and citizenship in the United States.
Same as L22 History 3729
L98 AMCS 3730 History of the United States: Foreign Relations to 1914
This course explores the major diplomatic, political, legal, and economic issues shaping U.S. foreign relations in the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries, up until the U.S. entry into the First World War.
Same as L22 History 373
L98 AMCS 3740 Contemporary American Foreign Policy
This course surveys post-War American foreign policy in historical perspective. It begins by evaluating the rise of the United States as a world power during the 20th century, its current position of primacy and its consequences in the post Cold War period, and the distinctive traditions and institutions shaping the making of American foreign policy. It then examines the origins of the strategy of containment in the early Cold War period before considering how these debates animated the changing course of American foreign policy through the various phases of the Cold War conflict. The course concludes by analyzing American foreign policy since the end of the Cold War, up to and including debates about the consequences of September 11, 2001, for the United States' position of primacy, the Bush Doctrine and the American-led intervention in and subsequent occupation of Iraq.
Same as L32 Pol Sci 374
Credit 3 units. EN: S
L98 AMCS 3742 Social Landscapes in a Global View
From the beginning of the human campaign, societies have socialized the spaces and places where they live. This socialization comes in many forms, including the generation of sacred natural places (e.g., Mt. Fuji) to the construction of planned urban settings where culture is writ large in overt and subtle contexts. Over the past two decades or so, anthropologists, archaeologists and geographers have developed a wide body of research concerning these socially constructed and perceived settings — commonly known as "landscapes." This course takes a tour through time and across the globe to trace the formation of diverse social landscapes, starting in prehistoric times and ending in modern times. We cover various urban landscapes, rural landscapes, nomadic landscapes (and others) and the intersection of the natural environment, the built environments and the symbolism that weaves them together. Chronologically, we range from 3000 BCE to 2009 CE and we cover all the continents. This course also traces the intellectual history of the study of landscape as a social phenomenon and investigates the current methods used to recover and describe social landscapes around the world and through time. Join in situating your own social map alongside the most famous and the most obscure landscapes of the world and trace the global currents of your social landscape!
Same as L48 Anthro 374
L98 AMCS 3751 Topics in Women's History: U.S. Women since 1945
We will explore the history of the United States since 1945 by focusing on the ways that gender and sexuality have shaped the lives of Americans, particularly the diverse group of women who make up more than half the nation's population. Topics will include: domesticity and the culture of the 1950s; gendering the cold war; the gender politics of racial liberation; the sexual revolution; second-wave feminism and the transformation of American culture; the new right's gender politics; and the impact of new conceptions of sexual and gender identity at century's end. Course texts will include scholarly literature, memoirs, novels and film.
Same as L22 History 3751
L98 AMCS 3755 Disability, Quality of Life & Community Responsibility
The increasing prevalence of disability presents major challenges for American society. Social participation can be a challenge for people with disabilities, while resources to address these needs tend to be limited. This course will begin by critically analyzing concepts of disability, quality of life, health and social participation. We will construct a framework for examining social participation and community resources across the lifespan. Public health, educational and environmental theories and methods will be applied to programs and services that aim to enhance quality of life with disabilities. We will analyze ecological approaches to enhancing social participation. Upon completion of this course, students will be equipped to analyze challenges and prioritize resources for individual and population health.
Same as L43 GeSt 375
L98 AMCS 375A Methods & Visions: Audiences, Spectators, and Fans
Required course for AMCS majors. Consult semester listing for current topic. As a Writing Intensive course, 375A serves as an occasion for AMCS students to think about matters of argument and presentation, and to develop ideas and models for future research. This course is intended for students at the junior level or higher; it fulfills the "multidisciplinary" (MD) requirement for AMCS minors and the "Methods Seminar" requirements for AMCS majors.
L98 AMCS 376 American Modernism, 1900-1940
American modernism: What is it? What is the nature of its encounter with mass culture? What happened to modernism as it migrated from its "high" European origins to its "middlebrow" version in America between the turn of the century and the eve of World War II? What was the rhetoric of modernism in everyday life — its impact on design, photography, advertising? In addition to the fine arts, we look at popular media, film and photography. Lecture/discussion. Prerequisite: Art-Arch 211 Introduction to Modern Art or permission of the instructor.
Same as L01 Art-Arch 376
L98 AMCS 3785 Photography in America
This course considers the practice and use of photography in America from its invention up to the present, offering various ways of thinking about the medium and its relation to society and culture. Students come to understand the ways photographic practices shape public perceptions of national identity, ethnicity and gender, nature, democratic selves, and a host of other concerns. We discuss famous practitioners such as Matthew Brady, Jacob Riis, Lewis Hine, Walker Evans, and Robert Frank. We consider not only the social and public uses of the medium through such episodes as the New Deal/FSA and photojournalism, but also the private explorations of "fine art" photographers, and the everyday practices of the snapshot. Prerequisites: Intro to Western (Art-Arch 112) or Intro to Modern (211), or one course in American History, American Cultural Studies, or permission of the instructor.
Same as L01 Art-Arch 3785
L98 AMCS 378B Contemporary American Theater
This course is a focused investigation of the aesthetic, political, and urban landscapes of the contemporary American theatre. We will read published and unpublished plays, familiarize ourselves with the country's most important companies, festivals, and institutions, and discuss issues facing the American theatre now. We will explore the role of the arts in urban planning and development, and address the relationship between higher education and arts institutions, paying particular attention to ideas of community engagement and social justice work undertaken by both. Artists to be studied may include Tony Kushner, Suzan-Lori Parks, Caryl Churchill, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Lynn Nottage, Young Jean Lee, and Lin-Manuel Miranda. This course will include a mandatory class trip at the end of March to the Humana Festival of New American Plays in Louisville, Kentucky. Students will prepare for this trip by reading the works of featured playwrights and establishing a research project that will be carried out on-site. Findings from the research project will be presented upon the return to St. Louis. Admission to the course is by instructor permission only; an application form will be sent to all registered students at the conclusion of the registration period. In consultation with and with the permission of the instructor, this course may fulfill the Fieldwork requirement for American Culture Studies majors.
Same as L15 Drama 378
L98 AMCS 379 Banned Books
Why would anyone want to burn a book? Under what circumstances would you support censorship? Several years ago a Russian student was exiled to Siberia for possessing a copy of Emerson's Essays; today, school boards in the United States regularly call for the removal of Huckleberry Finn and The Catcher in the Rye from classrooms and library shelves. Actions like these dramatize the complex interconnections of literature and society, and they raise questions about what we read and the way we read. The course explores these issues by looking closely at several American and translated European texts that have been challenged on moral, sociopolitical or religious grounds to determine what some readers have found so threatening about these works. Possible authors: Goethe, Voltaire, Rousseau, Defoe, Hawthorne, Flaubert, Twain, Chopin, Brecht, Salinger, Aldous Huxley, Ray Bradbury. Brief daily writing assignments.
Same as L14 E Lit 381
L98 AMCS 3840 Gender & Consumer Culture in U.S. Fiction of the Late 19th and Early 20th Century
The decades between the end of the Civil War and the 1930s saw the rise of a mass consumer culture that would dramatically reshape America. The fiction writers of this period, keen to capture the spirit of the age, helped to create the enduring idea that consumerism and an orientation toward material acquisition are at the heart of gendered concepts of American identity. Their stories documented, and sometimes celebrated, the emergence of recognizable "types" of American womanhood and manhood — such as self-made millionaires, ambitious "working girls," bargain-hunting middle-class housewives, and the commercially minded women and men of the social and intellectual elite. At the same time, their stories articulated anxieties about U.S. consumer culture and its impact on the world. Students in this course will read, discuss and write about novels and short stories by writers such as Henry James, Mary Wilkins Freeman, Kate Chopin, Theodore Dreiser, Edith Wharton, Nella Larsen, Langston Hughes and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Students in the course will also examine primary materials such as magazine advertisements, and will read and respond to relevant scholarship on the period. Writing Intensive course.
Same as L77 WGSS 384
L98 AMCS 3843 Filming the Black Freedom Struggle in St. Louis
This interdisciplinary course introduces students to the history of the Black freedom struggle in St. Louis and to the complex and multiple ways historic narratives are constructed. We will explore the political, economic and cultural history of St. Louisans who challenged racial segregation in housing and work, fought white mobs in city streets, and battled the destruction of Black communities by federal urban renewal and public housing policies. Students, working with a historian and a filmmaker, will research and make a documentary film on a piece of St. Louis' crucial contribution to the Black Freedom Struggle in America. We bring together documentary filmmaking and history research to draw attention to the multiple narratives (many long-neglected) of African-American and urban history, and to the multiple approaches to presenting history.
Same as I50 InterD 3843
L98 AMCS 386A Topics in African-American Literature: Rebels, Sheroes, and Race Men
Same as L90 AFAS 386A
L98 AMCS 3871 African-American Literature: Early Writers to the Harlem Renaissance
Same as L14 E Lit 387
L98 AMCS 3876 Dada and Surrealism in Europe and the United States
In this multimedia, interdisciplinary course, we will consider the history, theory and practice of Dada and Surrealism, from its Symbolist and Expressionist roots at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries through its late expressions in Beat culture and Pop art of the 1950s and 1960s. Dada's emergence in Zürich and New York in the midst of the First World War set the tone for its stress on irrationality as an oppositional strategy. Surrealist research into the domain of the unconscious continued this extreme challenge to dominant culture, but in a revolutionary spirit that proposed new possibilities for personal and collective liberation. The international character of the movements, with substantial cross-transmission between Europe and the United States, will be emphasized. Prerequisites: Intro to Western Art (L01 112) or Intro to Modern Art (L01 211) or permission of instructor.
Same as L01 Art-Arch 3875
L98 AMCS 387A In Living Color: Performing the Black 90s
From Cross Colours overalls, to oversized sweatshirts, to boom boxes, the 1990s was loud, colorful, and in your face. But along with the fun of house parties and the growing prominence of hip-hop, black people in the U.S. also contended with heightened criminalization and poverty codified through the War on Drugs, welfare reform, police brutality, and divestment from public education. In the midst of insurgency, creativity, and the quiet that undergirded both, we will study the various cultural productions of black performers and consumers as they navigated the social and political landscapes of the 1990s. Focusing primarily on urban centers, we will study major works growing out of hip-hop, R&B, comedy, television shows, films, and popular literature that attends to the regional differences throughout the nation. In this course, we will use theories from performance and cultural studies to understand the specificities of blackness, gender, sexuality, religion, and geography in the 1990s.
Same as L15 Drama 387
L98 AMCS 3880 Terror and Violence in the Black Atlantic
From the period of bondage through the 21st century, terror and racialized violence have consistently been used as a form of social control. This course is constructed to explore the historical foundations of extreme threats of violence inflicted among populations of African descent. The fabric of American culture has given birth to its own unique brand of terrorism, of which this class spends considerable time interrogating. Yet, in recognizing that these practices are commonly found in other parts of the Black Atlantic, students are encouraged to take a comparative view to better tease out the wider strands of violence operative in places like England, the Caribbean and Latin America. Within this course, we explore the varied ways in which music, films, newspapers and historical narratives shed light on these often life altering stories of the past. Some of the themes touched upon include: the use of punishment/exploitation during the era of slavery, lynching, sexual violence, race riots, police brutality, motherhood, black power and community activism.
Same as L90 AFAS 3880
L98 AMCS 389 Women and the Law
Credit 3 units.
L98 AMCS 3891 Power, Justice, and the City
This course examines normative theoretical questions of power and justice through the lens of the contemporary city, with a particular focus on American urban life. It explores urban political economic problems, questions of racial hierarchy and racial injustice in the modern metropolis, and the normative and practical dilemmas posed by "privatism" in cities and their suburbs. In addition, the course devotes considerable attention to honing students' writing skills, through class assignments that stress rewriting and revising, and also through four in-class writing workshops devoted to formulating a thesis and making an argument, revising and rewriting, writing with style, and peer consultation.
Same as L32 Pol Sci 389
L98 AMCS 389C For Freedom's Sake: African-American History Since Emancipation
The events that unfolded in Ferguson this past fall revealed the contradictions of a national government that is led by a black president yet also sanctions the susceptibility of its black citizens to police brutality. What has freedom really meant for African Americans since emancipation? This course addresses key events and movements that shaped African Americans' definition and pursuit of freedom and citizenship, emphasizing various strategies, successes, failures, and legacies developed as a result. Key developments will include the Reconstruction, Jim Crow, the Harlem Renaissance, the World Wars, the Civil Rights Movement, and mass incarceration.
Same as L22 History 388C
L98 AMCS 3900 Mormonism and the American Experience
The focus of this seminar is Mormonism, meaning, primarily, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (or LDS Church), which is the largest Mormon body. Mormons in the United States have gone from being one of the most intensely persecuted religious groups in the country's history to the fourth largest religious body in the U.S. (by one count), with a reputation for patriotism and conservative family values. In addition to introducing who the Mormons are, their beliefs and religious practices, this seminar will explore issues raised by Mormonism's move toward the religious mainstream alongside its continuing distinctiveness. These issues include: What is the religious "mainstream" in the U.S.? How did conflicts over Mormonism during the 19th century, especially the conflict over polygamy, help define the limits of religious tolerance in this country? How have LDS teachings about gender and race, or controversies about whether or not Mormons are Christian, positioned and repositioned Mormons within U.S. society?
Same as L57 RelPol 390
L98 AMCS 391 Gender Violence
This course explores the issue of violence against women within families, by strangers in the workplace, and within the context of international and domestic political activity. In each area, issues of race, class, culture and sexuality are examined as well as legal, medical and sociological responses. Readings cover current statistical data, research and theory as well as information on the history of the battered women's movement, the rape crisis center movement, violent repression of women's political expressions internationally, and the effect of violence on immigrant and indigenous women in the United States and abroad. Not open to students who have taken U92 (UCollege) WGSS 363.
Same as L77 WGSS 393
L98 AMCS 395 American Indians and American Empire
Through readings of historical and contemporary texts drawn from American Indian testimonial, scholarship and literature; anthropology; and history, we explore past struggles for cultural and political survival and contemporary politics of self-determination of indigenous peoples. We consider these issues alongside American "Empire": the past and present politics of nation-building, expansion and rule that characterize the United States. Topics include race, anthropology and 19th-century imperialism; education, the Indian and American democracy; sovereignty and tribal self-determination; Indian political movements; and the contemporary politics of energy, resources and Indian lands.
L98 AMCS 3950 Topics in Religion and Politics: Islam and Muslims in the United States
This course explores various topics in Religion and Politics.
Same as L57 RelPol 395
L98 AMCS 3961 Gender and Social Class
This course examines the intersection of class and gender from the late 19th century to the present. It begins by asking how a focus on women challenges conventional notions of class. Some of the topics covered include women, race and class; class and family formation; women, class and globalization; class and feminist politics; women and work; class and domestic labor; women and unionization; and class and sexual identity. The emphasis is on women and class in the U.S., but includes analysis of women and class in a broader, global context. This course examines these topics using nonfictional and fictional texts. Prerequisites: one 100- or 200-level Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies course or permission of instructor. Students who have taken L77 3561 Women and Social Class can not take this class.
Same as L77 WGSS 396
L98 AMCS 397 Gender and Sexuality in 1950s America: Writing-Intensive Seminar
Historians have recently begun to reconsider the dominant view of the 1950s as an era characterized by complacency and conformity. In this writing intensive seminar we will use the prism of gender history to gain a more complex understanding of the intricate relationship between conformity and crisis, domesticity and dissent that characterized the 1950s for both women and men.
Same as L22 History 39F8
L98 AMCS 3970 W.E.B. Du Bois and the Origins of Modern Black Studies
In particular, we will use the biographies about and the autobiographies by Du Bois to trace and learn about his life and the times in which he lived. Next, we will read most or all of The Philadelphia Negro (1899), Black Reconstruction in America (1935), The Souls of Black Folk (1903), John Brown (1909), and Black Princess (1928), each an example, respectively, of his sociology, history, essays, biography, and literature. Next, we will reassess his legacy within and without scholarship, especially focusing on his impact on sociology, history, political science, and anthropology. Lastly, we will take a closer look at several of his most influential views and concepts, including the talented tenth, double consciousness, the veil, and the psychological wages of race. In this, we will also consider his disagreement and rivalry with Booker T. Washington (and others) as well as his views on and relationship to race, gender, sexuality and art. The overall goal of the course is to provide a comprehensive introduction to the life, thought, and legacy of W.E.B. Du Bois. Through class activities and course assignments, students should also improve their critical analysis, reading, and writing skills. While a previous course in African and African-American Studies, History, or Sociology may be helpful, there are no prerequisites to the course.
Same as L90 AFAS 397
L98 AMCS 3975 Wolves of Wall Street: American Business and Popular Culture
America's perceptions about Big Business and the Free Enterprise system have evolved and changed over time from the 1920s to the present. During the 1980s, for example, Oliver Stone's Wall Street seemed to endorse the notion that "greed is good." Today, however, the topic of rising income inequality has been connected with the collapse of prestigious Wall Street firms, the "housing bubble," a declining middle class, and widespread fear about the future of "The American Dream." This course examines a variety of artistic, ethical and historical perceptions about American Business as depicted in popular culture and the arts over the past hundred years. How have America's foremost artists (among them F. Scott Fitzgerald, Eugene O'Neill, Arthur Miller, Martin Scorsese), dealt with questions of conspicuous consumption, the acquisition of capital for its own sake, and the disparity between rich and poor? We survey several artistic genres and artistic forms, including American tragic works like The Great Gatsby and Death of a Salesman, to popular musicals such as How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying and The Producers.
L98 AMCS 39SL Blacks, Latinos and Afro-Latinos: Constructing Difference and Identity: Writing-Intensive Seminar
Dominant discourses on Black-Latino relations focus on job competition, while a few others celebrate the future of an America led by "people of color." What is at stake in these narratives? How did we come to understand what is "black" and "Latino"? Students taking this course examine the history of African Americans' and Latinos' racialization under British, Spanish, and American empires, paying attention to both the construction of the racial "Other" by European elites, the reclaiming of identities by the racially marginalized through the Black and Brown liberation movements of the 1960s and 1970s, and the movements' impacts on black-Latino electoral and grassroots coalitions, mass incarceration of youth, and Afro-diasporic productions of hip-hop.
Same as L22 History 39SL
L98 AMCS 4000 Urban Education in Multiracial Societies
This course offers students an analysis of the historical development and contemporary contexts of urban education in English-speaking, multiracial societies. It examines legal decisions, relevant policy decisions, and salient economic determinants that inform urban systems of education in Western societies including, but not limited to, the United States, Canada, Great Britain, and South Africa. The course draws on quantitative, qualitative, and comparative data as an empirical foundation to provide a basis for a cross-cultural understanding of the formalized and uniform system of public schooling characteristic of education in urban settings. Given the social and material exigencies that shape urban school systems in contemporary societies, special attention is given in this course to the roles of migration, immigration urbanization, criminal justice, industrialism, de-industrialism, and globalization in shaping educational outcomes for diverse students in the aforementioned settings. Prerequisite: junior standing or permission of instructor.
Same as L18 URST 400
L98 AMCS 4007 American Democracy and the Policy Making Process
This course is part of the Semester in DC Program.
Same as L32 Pol Sci 4001
Credit 3 units. EN: S
L98 AMCS 400A AMCS Capstone Workshop I
This workshop is required for AMCS majors completing an independent capstone project, whether by means of a 3-credit capstone project, a Latin Honors (6-credit) thesis, or a two-semester (6-credit) non-honors project. In all three cases, the capstone project is intended to serve as the culmination of the major — an opportunity to build on previous work and to engage with the broader field of American Culture Studies while developing a multidisciplinary framework suited to the goals of the project. The workshop is intended to foster intellectual community and provide support during the research and writing process. Students share aspects of their work in large- and small-group settings; discuss methods, models, and challenges of cultural studies; participate in several peer-review workshops; and develop insights and skills directly relevant to their capstone work. Barring circumstances which prevent it, the 3-credit capstone should be completed by the end of the fall semester. Students pursuing a 6-credit project (either a Latin Honors thesis or non-honors project) will continue their work into the following semester by enrolling in L98 4XX. Enrollment by permission of Program pending approval of project proposal, which will be submitted in the spring of junior year. Students seeking to earn Latin Honors in AMCS must meet the university cumulative GPA minimum (3.65) and have permission of their thesis adviser.
Credit 3 units.
L98 AMCS 400B AMCS Capstone Workshop II
This course is required for students planning to complete the Latin Honors thesis or a 6-credit non-honors project through American Culture Studies. It builds on work done in L98 400A: AMCS Capstone Workshop I, and involves periodic workshops and conferences with the instructor and project adviser(s) during the final stages of thesis preparation. Alternatively, students seeking to earn an additional 1-2 credits for their one-semester capstone will enroll in this course after their petition to expand their capstone has been approved and expectations have been defined in consultation with the capstone adviser and workshop instructor. Prerequisites: satisfactory standing as a candidate for a two-semester capstone, including successful completion of L98 400A Capstone Workshop I and permission of project adviser. Latin Honors eligible students must meet the university GPA minimum. Course will meet every other week, time/date to be determined based on participants' schedules.
Credit variable, maximum 3 units.
L98 AMCS 401 Race, Sex and Sexuality: Concepts of Identity
This course examines changes in the meanings of three concepts of identity — race, sex and sexuality — from the early modern period to the present. The course begins by looking at early modern constructions of these concepts in Western Europe. We then focus on changes occurring during the course of the 18th and 19th centuries in Europe and the United States and at how such changes were similar and different among these three concepts. We then examine 20th-century challenges to 19th-century constructions. The course concludes by studying the relationship between these challenges and 20th-century identity political movements organized around these concepts. Prerequisite: completion of at least one WGSS course or permission of the instructor.
Same as L77 WGSS 403
L98 AMCS 4010 Pluralism, Liberalism and Education
How should liberal democratic states respond to religious and cultural pluralism? In what ways is pluralism different from mere disagreement, and what normative implications does pluralism have for public policy? How can liberal states justify using their coercive power against a background of pluralism and in ways that systematically disadvantage certain religious and cultural groups in society? In particular, what is to be done when religious parents and the liberal state make conflicting judgments about the proper education of children? When should the state defer to parental judgments and what are the grounds for legitimately refusing to do so? Readings are taken from contemporary political philosophy. Prerequisites: Pol Sci 106, Pol Sci 107, Phil 340 or permission of instructor.
Same as L32 Pol Sci 4010
L98 AMCS 403 Culture and History of the Southwestern United States
This course integrates archaeological, historical, and early ethnographic dimensions of American Indian societies in the southwestern United States and northwest Mexico, a region famous for its challenging environment, cultural diversity, and the contributions made by its Native inhabitants. Emphasis is placed on the development of sophisticated desert agriculture and on the rise of regionally integrated cultures including Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde. The impact of Spanish, Mexican, and American colonization are explored. Ethnographies of Tohono O'odham (Papago), Hopi, Zuni, Rio Grande Pueblo, and Navajo societies are discussed.
Same as L48 Anthro 403
L98 AMCS 4030 Political Theory of Education
This course explores issues of authority, legitimacy, citizenship, freedom, and equality through contemporary readings in the political theory of education. What is to be done when parents, citizens, and educational experts make conflicting judgments about the proper education of children? When should the state defer to parental judgments and what are the grounds for legitimately refusing to do so? How should public schools aim to equip their students for the responsibilities of citizenship in a diverse liberal democratic state? What do the concepts of equality and equality of opportunity mean in the context of education, and (how) should governments pursue these values through education policy? We shall explore these issues through contemporary works of political theory as well as through considering a number of important U.S. court cases, including those dealing with the schooling of children from minority religious and cultural groups, affirmative action in university admissions, and school desegregation plans. Prerequisite: one previous course in political theory or political philosophy.
Same as L32 Pol Sci 4030
L98 AMCS 4036 Children of Immigrants: Identity and Acculturation
This seminar examines two sub-groups: child immigrants and the native-born children of immigrants. It interrogates cultural/ethnic identity, cultural adaptation, bilingualism and biculturalism, and challenges and achievements of this young generation through ethnography, literature, and sociological accounts. We aim to scrutinize the studies of the "1.5" generation and the second generation, and theories such as "segmented assimilation," across a wide range of ethnic groups, from people of East Asian origins to those with Latin American ancestries, by mainly focusing on their experiences in the United States.
Same as L97 IAS 4036
L98 AMCS 4060 Sexual Health and the City: A Community-Based Learning Course
In this community-based learning course, students partner with a St. Louis AIDS service organization (ASO) or sexual health agency to explore how the interrelationships among gender, class, race/ethnicity and sexual identity shape sexual health decisions, outcomes and access to services. Students also examine the complex relationship between men's and women's life goals and constraints, on the one hand, and the public health management of sexual health, on the other. In collaboration with their community partner and its clients, students develop a project that addresses an identified need of the organization and the community it serves. Course readings draw from the fields of anthropology, public health, feminist studies and policy making. Prerequisite: PHealth 4134 The AIDS Epidemic: Inequalities, Ethnography and Ethics or permission from the instructor, which is determined based on past student's experience in the fields of medical anthropology or sexual/reproductive health.
Same as L90 AFAS 406
L98 AMCS 4090 The Modernist Revolution in the Arts
What is/was Modernism? How did this worldwide phenomenon impact the arts in every genre and medium from the turn of the 20th century to the present? Do we still live in the age of Modernism, or should we consider ours a new, Postmodern age? This course examines these and other questions as they relate to the theater, prose, poetry and the visual arts. Our investigation focuses on most of the major literary and artistic movements, including Naturalism, Impressionism, Symbolism, Surrealism and Expressionism. We examine literary manifestoes that help to illuminate the periods under discussion, as well as look at individual works themselves. Central to our approach in the course is an interdisciplinary perspective. Among the luminaries whose work is considered are Ibsen, Strindberg, Chekhov, Hemingway, Dali, Picasso, Stravinsky, Artaud, Kafka and Beckett.
Same as L15 Drama 409
L98 AMCS 4120 Rainbow Radicalisms!: Ethnic Nationalism(s), the 1960s and the Politics of the New Left
The Black Panther Party remains one of the most iconic groups of the 1960s and 1970s. Perhaps one of the most understudied aspects of the Panther's legacy is their radical influence upon other American racial and ethnic groups, including Asian Americans, Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans and American Indians, among others. This seminar considers the emergence of ethnic and racial nationalism among these various groups, as a result of their contact and relationship(s) with the Black Panther Party. Considering the politics of groups such as the Red Guard, the Brown Berets, the Young Lords and the American Indian Movement, this course charts the rise and fall of rainbow radicalism as a general offspring of the Black Power Movement and part and parcel of what is commonly referred to as "the New Left." It also considers these groups in relation to the State by probing the dynamic push and pull between repression and democracy. Ultimately, this course grants insight into the contemporary racial domain and current political landscape of America as we discuss how these groups helped to shape modern identity formations, discourses on multiculturalism and definitions of "minority," "diversity" and "equality."
Same as L90 AFAS 4121
L98 AMCS 4123 Argumentation Through Ethnography
Ethnography is the traditional mainstay of anthropological academic writing. Through ethnography, anthropologists do more than simply describe a culture or a group of people; rather, they organize and present their field materials in particular ways in order to make intellectual, theoretical, and sometimes even political arguments. This seminar will explore the different ways anthropologists have used ethnography to make intellectual claims and frame theoretical or practical arguments. The aim of the course is to help students develop critical reading skills for engaging ethnographic materials as well as to explore the ways in which ethnography, when done well, can be a persuasive and engaging means of academic argumentation. This course is intended as a sequel to Anthro 472. Prerequisite: Anthro 472 or permission of instructor.
Same as L48 Anthro 4123
L98 AMCS 4134 The AIDS Epidemic: Inequalities, Ethnography and Ethics
In the year 2000, HIV became the world's leading infectious cause of adult death, and in the next 10 years, AIDS is expected to kill more people than all wars of the 20th century combined. As the global epidemic rages on, our greatest enemy in combating HIV/AIDS is not knowledge or resources, but global inequalities and the conceptual frameworks with which we understand health, human interaction and sexuality. This course emphasizes the ethnographic approach for cultural analysis of responses to HIV/AIDS. Students explore the relationship between local communities and wider historical and economic processes, and theoretical approaches to disease, the body, ethnicity/race, gender, sexuality, risk, addiction, power and culture. Other topics covered include the cultural construction of AIDS and risk, government responses to HIV/AIDS, origin and transmission debates, ethics and responsibilities, drug testing and marketing, the making of the AIDS industry and "risk" categories, prevention and education strategies, interaction between bio-medicine and alternative healing systems, and medical advances and hopes.
Same as L48 Anthro 4134
L98 AMCS 4135 Tobacco: History, Culture, Science, and Policy
Tobacco is the most important public health and medical problem of our time, the leading cause of cancer and other chronic diseases. This course examines tobacco's important role in shaping the modern world and global health over the course of the last five centuries, from indigenous uses of tobacco to plantation slavery to the cigarette boom to the politics of health and smoking in the 21st century. Through in-depth historical and anthropological case studies, tobacco provides a window into trends in government and law, medicine and public health, business and economics, society and culture, including changing social meanings of gender, race, class, sexuality, advertising, consumerism, risk, responsibility and health in the United States and worldwide. This course also introduces students to public health approaches to noncommunicable disease prevention, environmental health, and healthy lifestyle promotion. No background in anthropology or public health is required.
Same as L48 Anthro 4135
L98 AMCS 4209 New Media Literacy and Popular Culture in Education
At the closing of the 20th century, the "digital turn" began to shape how individuals learn, communicate and interact with one another. Current and emerging media technologies have continued to change how individuals (youth and adults alike) gather information; consume, produce and disseminate texts; and participate in both local and global communities through print- and screen-based platforms such as email, blog, podcast and mash-ups, among others. In this course, we explore what we mean by technology, the various types and uses of technology and the relationship of technology to literacy and education. We begin with characteristics of "new media" and consequences of the digital revolution. Then, we examine conceptualizations of literacy in a historical context — from literacy as reading and writing to literacy as multimodality, convergence and participation. Finally, we shift our inquiry to investigate how new media literacies and technologies are shaping (and are shaped by) different forms of popular culture in U.S. and international contexts, including parts of Asia, Australia, Europe, Africa, and North and South American. We make explicit the connections to education and explore possible directions for research and practice, including copyright and fair use issues present in educational settings. Readings, discussions and activities online and in actual communities culminate in individual- and class-based new media productions. Prerequisite: at least junior standing or permission of the instructor.
Same as L12 Educ 4211
L98 AMCS 4214 From Mammy to the Welfare Queen: African-American Women Theorize Identity
How do representations of identity affect how we see ourselves and the world sees us? African-American women have been particularly concerned with this question, as the stories and pictures circulated about black female identity have had a profound impact on their understandings of themselves and political discourse. In this course we look at how black feminist theorists from a variety of intellectual traditions have explored the impact of theories of identity on our world. We look at their discussions of slavery, colonialism, sexuality, motherhood, citizenship, and what it means to be human.
Same as L77 WGSS 421
L98 AMCS 4224 The 1904 St. Louis World's Fair: German and Austrian Art Exhibited
The St. Louis World's Fair of 1904 (The Louisiana Purchase Exposition) was one of the greatest events of its time. At the beginning we will deal with the historical development that lead to the purchase of the Louisiana Territory in 1803, will review the developments of World's Fairs since 1851 and will have a look at the grand dimension of the 1904 World's Fair (connected with the Olympic Games). Of central importance are the Art Exhibits from Germany and Austria with their cultural-political implications. The German Emperor had a hand in selecting the German paintings to be sent to St. Louis, and his opposition against modern movements like Impressionism caused opposition in Germany. Austria was different: In their Art Nouveau Pavilion they included secessionists (Hagenbund). The Wiener Werkstaetten (Vienna's Workshops) attracted a lot of attention. Different from the paintings, German Arts and Crafts represented avant-garde movements. We will visit libraries, archives, and museums in St. Louis that have World's Fair holdings. The seminar is for advanced undergraduate students but beginning graduate students can take it with permission of the instructor. Course conducted in English. May not be taken for German major or minor credit.
Same as L97 IAS 4224
L98 AMCS 4225 European Utopian Settlements in the American Midwest (1814-1864): Diversity and Antislavery
During the first part of the 19th century, a number of utopian visionaries from Europe (Germany, France and England) tried to establish communities in the American Midwest. These colonies were based either on religious or philosophical/social ideals which could be traced back to interpretations of the Old and the New Testament or to Enlightenment principles of freedom and equality that had been propagated during the revolutions in Europe of 1789, 1830 and 1848 which in turn had been influenced by the American war of independence. These groups showed strong antislavery convictions. The Midwest was chosen since the areas in the vicinity of the confluence of the Mississippi and the Missouri were seen as open to new social experiments. Part of the seminar are field trips to the St. Louis-based Missouri History Library as well as to the St. Louis Public Library and one-day excursions to New Harmony in Indiana, Nauvoo in Illinois, and to small towns in Warren County, Missouri.
Same as L97 IAS 4225
L98 AMCS 422A Film Stardom, Performance, and Fan Culture
This course focuses on the Hollywood star system. We will explore stars in relation to celebrity and consumerism, especially how "stardom" is created by a system that seeks to create effects in film viewers whether conceived as audiences, fans or spectators. We will examine the performance element of stardom and its relationship to genre, style, and changing film technology. Also of concern will be how stars and the discursive construction of stardom intersect with gender representation, race, ideology, sexuality, age, disability, nationality, and other points of theoretical interest to and historical inquiry in contemporary film studies. While emphasis will be placed on mainstream commercial U.S. cinema, students are encouraged to pursue questions beyond this framework within their own research. Required screenings.
Same as L53 Film 422
L98 AMCS 4232 Slavery and the American Imagination
Same as L14 E Lit 4232
L98 AMCS 4243 The Plundered Past: Archaeology's Challenges in the Modern World
The public imagination thrills at the fantastic adventures of Indiana Jones and Laura Croft, Tomb Raider; but the reality of modern archaeology is more complex, ethically challenging and interesting than a simple treasure hunt. In the U.S. and Canada, our science museums and museums of anthropology still display artifacts that are regarded as sacred and culturally definitive by Indian nations, although such holdings are now subject to negotiation and repatriation. Art museums in Europe and the U.S. are still stocked with looted ancient masterpieces that are revered as vital heritage by the nations from which they were stolen. We display looted art alongside a much smaller number of legitimately excavated artifacts of masterpiece quality, so it is no surprise that our popular images of archaeologists as avid and undiscerning collectors raise little concern. But modern archaeologists are not extractors of art or even of scientific information, from places as passive and inert as the museums' objects ultimately occupy. Archaeologists work with living people inhabiting societies and states that care deeply about their pasts and the relics of it. They are active agents engaged with many other people in the production of knowledge about the past. In our rapidly shrinking world, educated sensitivity to the many ancient cultural legacies that shape the values of modern global society is more than a moral imperative; it is a basic form of collaboration in the common project of survival. Archaeologists are ethically charged to advance that project through education about the complex contemporary arena of artifacts, sites, and information they occupy.
Same as L48 Anthro 4240
L98 AMCS 4244 Topics in African-American Literature: Texts and Contexts of the Harlem Renaissance
Same as L14 E Lit 4244
L98 AMCS 424A Broadcasting Equality: Radio, Television and Social Change in Postwar America
The period between World War II and the 1970s was one of profound cultural, political, and demographic shifts that brought the problems of ethno-religious and racial prejudice to the forefront of U.S. national consciousness. Religious leaders, secular social activists, media industry professionals, and African-American civil rights leaders often worked together to combat intolerance, bigotry and inequality. What did these activists achieve in their attempts to deploy U.S. broadcast media in what they sometimes referred to as "propaganda against prejudice"? How did this activism relate to the institutions of broadcast media, including governmental agencies, national networks and local broadcasters? What was television and radio's impact on the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s? In addressing these questions, we will consider a wide range of media: public service programming as well as commercially produced series, specials, network news and documentaries produced between the 1940s and the 1970s. Programs considered will include New World A-Coming, Amos 'n' Andy, American Bandstand, NBC White Papers: Sit In, Sanford and Son, Eyes on the Prize, and Soul Train, among many others. Required screenings.
Same as L53 Film 424
L98 AMCS 4252 Seminar in Video Games: Video Games, Gender and Sexuality
This seminar considers different topics that illuminate the relationship of video games to culture. Topics vary by semester. The course may have a variety of analytical frames: gender and sexuality, interactivity and reception, narrative and aesthetic theory, industrial or technological history. Prerequisite is graduate status or completion of a 300-level FMS or WGSS course and permission of the instructor. Required lab/screening time weekly.
Same as L53 Film 425
L98 AMCS 425A Law, Religion, and Politics
What is the role of religious argument in politics and law? What kinds of arguments are advanced, and how do they differ from one another? Are some of these arguments more acceptable than others in a liberal democracy? This course will explore these questions through the work of legal scholars, theologians and political theorists. Our topics include the nature of violence and coercion in the law, constraints on public reason, the relationship between religion and government, and the nature of religious practice and tradition.
Same as L57 RelPol 425
L98 AMCS 4261 Politics of the Civil Rights Movement
This course is intended primarily for sophomores and juniors. The topic of this course varies by semester, dependent on faculty and student interests. Prerequisite: Pol Sci 101B.
Same as L32 Pol Sci 426
L98 AMCS 426A Performing the Political in American Dance
This course is an exploration of the politics of performance and the performance of politics through the lens of American dance in the 20th and 21st centuries. Through readings, screenings and discussion, we will examine the ways in which American dance developed against and alongside political movements in the United States, particularly ones concerning nationalism, race, gender and human rights. We will also investigate how the lens of dance and choreography offers an expansive means to conceptualize political questions of citizenship and social protest, broadening our understanding of embodied performance. Guided by several key philosophical texts, our class will focus on concepts necessary to examining the convergence of performance and politics (such as representation, ritual, spectacle, body, mimesis, propaganda, etc.) while also paying special attention to the politics of funding and censorship that has governed the creation and presentation of dance in the United States. No dance experience is necessary.
Same as L29 Dance 426
L98 AMCS 4280 History of Urban Schooling in the United States
This reading colloquium examines the history of urban schooling and school policy in the United States. Readings focus on the growing literature in the history of urban schooling and on primary source material. We explore urban schooling in general and we examine particular primary source material as well as particular cities and their school districts. Such districts may include New York, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta and others. The course has two goals: to develop a strong contextual understanding of the conditions of urban schooling, the history of urban school reform, and the debates over the purposes of urban schools; and to examine the ways historians have explored urban schooling in the U.S. Students should expect to read a book a week as well as primary source materials and occasional articles.
Same as L12 Educ 4280
L98 AMCS 4289 Neighborhoods, Schools and Social Inequality
A major purpose of the course is to study the research and policy literature related to neighborhoods, schools and the corresponding opportunity structure in urban America. The course is informed by theoretical models drawn from economics, political science, sociology, anthropology, education and law. A major focus is to gain greater understanding of the experiences and opportunity structure(s) of urban dwellers, in general, and urban youth, in particular. While major emphasis is placed on data derived from the interface of urban environments and the corresponding institutions within them, the generational experiences of various ethnic groups complement the course foci.
Same as L12 Educ 4289
L98 AMCS 4291 The American Renaissance
Literature of the mid-19th century with attention to social and intellectual backgrounds and the sources of the transcendentalist movement.
Same as L14 E Lit 426
L98 AMCS 4292 Polarization in American Politics
This course examines the political polarization of the American political parties and explores its effects on the mass public and American democracy more generally. We examine what exactly is polarization, how it is measured, historical changes, potential causes, and its potential effects on the mass public and governance. Prerequisites: Pol Sci 101B Intro to American Politics, Pol Sci 363 Quantitative Political Methodology or equivalent.
Same as L32 Pol Sci 4291
Credit 3 units.
L98 AMCS 429A Mass Culture & Modern Media Fantasylands: Cinema, Spectatorship, and the Spatial Imagination
Film 429 provides an introduction to cultural theories that are pertinent to the study of cinema, mass culture, and modernity. Rotating topics will highlight different aspects of cinema's relationship to popular culture, urbanism, modern technology, capitalism, and mass media. Students will encounter key theorists for understanding modern life and subjectivity, such as Marx, Freud, Foucault, Benjamin, and Raymond Williams. In addition, the course introduces core readings in the history and cultural theory of early cinema, which may include work by Miriam Hansen, Anne Friedberg, Tom Gunning, Charles Musser, Giuliana Bruno, Jacqueline Stewart, and others. Topics may include: cinema and modernity, cinema and mass culture, cinema and leisure, cinema and urbanism, and cinema and consumer culture.
Same as L53 Film 429
L98 AMCS 4303 Clown Princes
"Dying is easy, comedy is hard," runs an old theatrical adage. Nevertheless, some of the most popular actors in American film have chosen the hard path by typecasting themselves in comedy, playing repeated variations on the same character. "Comedian comedy," representing films that showcase the distinctive skills of great clown-actors, is the central concern of this course. We will analyze how individual comedians rework performance traditions through the distinctive concerns of their time and culture to create idiosyncratic comic personae. We will look at films starring Charles Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, Laurel and Hardy, the Marx Brothers, Jack Benny, Peter Sellers, Jim Carey and Eddie Murphy. Work for the course will require reading in comic theory and analytical essays. Required screenings.
Same as L53 Film 430
L98 AMCS 436 Seminar in Black Social Science
Credit 3 units.
L98 AMCS 436A Black Sexual Politics
Borrowing from Patricia Hill Collins' perspective in Black Sexual Politics, this seminar examines the historic and popular understandings of black sexuality and how they maintain color line, as well as threaten to spread what Hill Collins refers to as a "new brand of racism." Particularly, this course engages questions about sexuality that have only begun to be discussed with African-American Studies and the larger public sphere. Taking the intersections of identities very seriously, this course interrogates the ways in which these constructions have affected black women, while also being attentive to how "others" are implicated within discourses of black sexuality. Similarly, we will also engage the various distortions of black men — depictions of the black and masculine as almost always violent, sexually and socially irresponsible, brutish, questionable and unfaithful. Together we will use various critical texts and media to better understand the impact and the importance of visual and material images in the interplay of race, sex and politics in contemporary America.
Same as L77 WGSS 436
L98 AMCS 436B Seminar in Black Social Science
This seminar applies a deep reading to social science texts that examine the construction and experiences of black people in the United States from the point of view of black scholars. Readings include theoretical and empirical work. The seminar focuses on the influence of the disciplines of psychology, sociology, and anthropology on the policy and social practices that characterize dominant North American institutions. Advanced class level strongly advised.
Same as L90 AFAS 434B
L98 AMCS 4370 Music and Performance
In his 1998 book, Musicking, Christopher Small asserts that music is not a thing but an activity — something that people do. Starting from this premise, this course explores musical performance as a live event, one in which additional aspects of performance — dramatic enactments, costume, choreography, and stage design — also come into play. While recorded music plays an important role in our investigations, we focus on musical events that take place before and with live audiences. Exploring the choices of performers and the expectations of audience members in settings from gospel churches to Radio City Music Hall, this course moves through a wide variety of musical genres, including cabaret, blues, opera, protest song, musical theater, and rock. We examine artists whose work blurs the line between "music" and "theater," including George Clinton, Taylor Mac, and Gertrude Stein, as well as everyday people, such as the singers of the Civil Rights Movement, who used the power of live musical performance to change the course of human history. We also attend performances around St. Louis, guided by the interests of the class. Students with an interest in music, theater, dance, cultural history, American studies, and African-American studies are especially welcome.
L98 AMCS 4373 Immigration, Identity, and the Internet
This class examines a critical issue in contemporary societies: How do changes in technology affect the process of immigration and how immigrant identity is shaped?
Same as L32 Pol Sci 4373
L98 AMCS 440A Religion, Politics, and the University
This course explores in-depth current issues related to pluralism, difference, and belonging in matters pertaining to religion and other important issues, with a particular focus on how these play out in the university context. The instructors, John Inazu and Eboo Patel, are two of the leading national commentators on these issues. Prerequisite: Students enrolling in this class must submit a brief statement of interest to Professor John Inazu.
Same as L57 RelPol 440
L98 AMCS 442 Oil Wars: America and the Cultural Politics of Global Energy
This seminar explores the historical, cultural and political relationship between America and global energy, focusing specifically on oil and natural gas. Our central objective is to examine how oil and natural gas shape our own lives and entangle us in the cultural, political and economic lives of the rest of the world. We ask what anthropological and social science approaches might contribute to our understanding of a situation that has become, in most popular terms, a national "crisis" of global dimensions.
L98 AMCS 444 Seminar
Rotating upper level seminar. Senior seminar normally offered each semester and meant to satisfy the 400-level requirement for the drama major.
Same as L15 Drama 445
L98 AMCS 4455 Ethnographic Fieldwork
This is a practice-based course in ethnographic fieldwork. Using a local case study (the cultural politics of schooling), we examine ethnographic fieldwork as an academic instrument and public social action. The course prepares students for independent research in academic or professional fields, developing skills in critical thought, thesis and question development, background and internet research, perspective and empathy, social and political-economic analysis, observation, interviewing, oral histories, note-taking, data analysis, cultural interpretation, and writing. Student work contributes to the ongoing "St. Louis Schools' Ethnographic Documentation Project."
Same as L48 Anthro 4455
L98 AMCS 4456 Ethnographic Fieldwork: Energy Politics
This is a practice-based course in ethnographic fieldwork that will focus on the politics of fossil fuels and the renewable energy transition in St. Louis and Missouri. We will situate ourselves as anthropologists with an interest in understanding relationships between global warming, the socio-technical arrangements of energy production, circulation, and use in the city and region, public knowledge, health, and social and cultural practices, and the roles and activities of businesses, political institutions, and elected officials. Through case studies we will work to produce critical knowledge aimed at pushing institutions, the city, and the region toward the transition to renewable energy. Our efforts will produce empirical documentation, case studies, and proposals and may include field trips to resource extraction sites and government offices
Same as L48 Anthro 4456
L98 AMCS 4491 American Unbelief from the Enlightenment to the New Atheism
This seminar examines American secularism, humanism and atheism from the Enlightenment forward to the present. Topics emphasized include: the relationship between believers and nonbelievers, the civil liberties of atheists, religion in the public schools, social radicalism and women's rights, and the more recent growth of religious disaffiliation and public atheism. The course considers not only the intellectual dimensions of freethinking unbelief but also the broader politics of secularism in a nation routinely imagined as "under God."
Same as L57 RelPol 4491
L98 AMCS 4501 Tennessee Williams Playwright
Topics in American Drama.
Same as L15 Drama 453
L98 AMCS 4510 American Television Genres
Questions of genre are central to any exploration of television's texts, whether they are being analyzed as craft, commerce, or cultural phenomenon. Genre has been used by critics and historians to ascribe "social functions" to groups of programs and to diagnose cultural preoccupations, while genre has been used industrially to manage expectations among audiences, advertisers, programmers, producers, and creative professionals. Investigating genres ranging from the soap opera to the western, workplace situation comedies to sports, and game shows to cop shows, this course explores the role of genre in the production, distribution and reception of American television. Students gain a critical understanding of genre theory and key arguments about the form and function of television texts and develop a set of tools for analysis of televisual narrative and style, the social uses and meanings of genre, the institutional practices and presumptions of the American television industry, and the persistence of textual forms and audience formations in the face of structural changes such as deregulation, media convergence, and globalization. Required screenings.
Same as L53 Film 451
L98 AMCS 4520 Industrial Organization
Theoretical and empirical analysis of the presence and value of competitive forces in the United States economy. Theories of industrial organization and development of criteria for performance of noncompetitive industries. Prerequisite: Econ 4011.
Same as L11 Econ 452
L98 AMCS 4521 Immigration, Identity and New Technology
This course examines how immigration is being transformed by changes in information and communication technology. With these new technologies, immigrants can stay in contact with family and friends much more easily, travel to and maintain relationships in their home countries, and form bonds with other immigrants in the new country. How do these changes affect how immigrants view themselves in their new countries? Are they more or less likely to settle permanently? Do they change their patterns of political participation? We will answer these and other questions using literature from sociology, communication, psychology, anthropology and political science. Students will be expected to explore internet sources as well as traditional materials.
Same as L97 IAS 452
L98 AMCS 4522 Topics in American Politics: The Voting, Campaigns and Elections
This course is intended primarily for sophomores and juniors. The topic of this course varies by semester, dependent on faculty and student interests.
Same as L32 Pol Sci 4522
Credit 3 units.
L98 AMCS 453 Sociology of Education
This course provides an overview of sociological theory and research on education in contemporary U.S. society. Drawing from sociological perspectives, it covers the implications of schools and schooling for social inequality, mobility and group relations. It examines major theoretical perspectives on the purpose and social organization of mass education in the United States, and topics related to the organization and function of schools, access to educational resources, and group disparities in school experiences and outcomes.
Same as L12 Educ 453B
L98 AMCS 454 Environmental Policy
This course examines the relationship between environmental economics and environmental policy. The course focuses on air pollution, water pollution, and hazardous wastes, with some attention given to biodiversity and global climate change. The course examines critically two prescriptions that economics usually endorses: (1) "balancing" of benefits against costs (e.g., benefit-cost analysis) and the use of risk analysis in evaluating policy alternatives; (2) use of market incentives (e.g., prices, taxes or charges) or "property rights" instead of traditional command-and-control regulations to implement environmental policy. Prerequisite: Econ 1011.
Same as L11 Econ 451
L98 AMCS 4564 American Pragmatism
This course examines the history of American pragmatism through three of its primary founders, the philosophers Charles Peirce, William James and John Dewey. It considers pragmatism as a response to the experience of uncertainty brought on my modernity and contextualizes it amid late 19th- and early 20th-century thought and politics, namely, scientific methodology, evolutionary theory, the probabilistic revolution, Transcendentalism, the rise of secularism, slavery, Abolitionism and the Civil War. Major essays by each thinker are read as well as three intellectual biographies and one critical survey.
Same as L22 History 4564
L98 AMCS 457 American Film Genres
By close examination of three or four specific types of film narratives, this course will explore how genre has functioned in the Hollywood mode of production. Students will gain an understanding of genre both as a critical construct as well as a form created by practical economic concerns, a means of creating extratextual communication between film artist/producers and audience/consumers. Genres for study will be chosen from the western, the gangster film, the horror movie, the musical, screwball comedy, science fiction, the family melodrama, the woman's film, and others. In addition to film showings, there will be readings in genre theory as well as genre analyses of individual films. Required screenings Tuesdays at 4 p.m.
Same as L53 Film 450
L98 AMCS 457A From Vitaphone to YouTube: Popular Music and the Moving Image
This course considers American popular music as represented in audiovisual media from 1926 to the present. The relationship between the popular music industry (a commercial sphere oriented primarily toward the selling of sheet music and audio recordings) and audiovisual technologies (various screens and formats encountered in changing social and commercial contexts) will be explored along two complementary tracks: popular music performers as presented in performance-centered media and popular music as a narrative topic or resource in feature films. Three related analytical frames will shape our discussions: industrial and technological history (the material conditions for the making and distribution of popular music and moving images); the question of "liveness" in recorded audiovisual media; aesthetics of various popular music styles as translated into audiovisual forms and contexts. The course is in seminar format. The ability to read music is not required but students with music reading or transcription skills will be encouraged to draw upon these tools. Prerequisites: graduate status or completion of a 300-level FMS or Music course and permission of the instructor.
Same as L53 Film 457
L98 AMCS 4581 Major Film Directors
What does the film director do? In the earliest movies, film directors modeled themselves on their theatrical counterparts: They chiefly focused on how to stage an action in a confined space for a stationary camera that represented an ideal member of the audience. As the camera began to be used to direct audience attention, first through cutting, then through actual movement, the film director evolved from a stager of events to a narrator. By analyzing the work of one or more major film directors, this course will explore the art of film direction. We will learn how film directors may use the camera to narrate a scene, to provide their own distinctive view of the actions playing out on the movie screen. May be repeated for credit with permission of the instructor. Required screenings.
Same as L53 Film 458
L98 AMCS 4584 Contemporary American Fiction
Same as L14 E Lit 4584
L98 AMCS 4591 Philosophies of Education
An examination of distinct educational philosophies (traditional, progressive and radical) and an analysis of perennial topics in the philosophy of education (educational goals, the teacher’s and student’s roles, and curricular content). Discussion of such recent themes as gender relations and education, democracy and education, and moral values and education. Seminar format.
Same as L12 Educ 459F
L98 AMCS 460 Urban Economics
Economic function of the city and the role of the city in a national economy. Local decisionmaking; financing of local government expenditures. An analysis of selected urban problems, such as causes and effects of housing market segregation; decay and abandonment, landlord-tenant relations, crime, and urban transport systems. Prerequisite: Econ 4011.
Same as L11 Econ 460
L98 AMCS 4607 Topics in African-American Studies: Health in the Black Community: A Social Science Perspective
Health matters for every facet of social life. In this course, we use a critical sociological perspective to explore the dynamic nature of health and health care experiences among blacks in the United States. We draw upon core concepts in Sociology, the Sociology of Health, Illness, and Care as well as Critical Race Theory and Social Epidemiology to guide our discussions throughout the semester. Using contemporary, real-world examples, we examine the causes and consequences of racial health disparities that too often situate blacks in positions of disadvantage. We use the work of scholars such as Patricia Hill Collins, David Williams, and Dorothy Roberts to explore topics ranging from racism in the health care system to the black immigrant health advantage to health and hip-hop. We consider how poor health and health care outcomes among blacks in the United States matter on a global scale. Throughout the course, we consider practical policy and programmatic interventions that can be implemented to eliminate poor health in black communities.
Same as L90 AFAS 4601
L98 AMCS 461B Construction and Experience of Black Adolescence
This course examines the construct of black adolescence from the general perspectives of anthropology, sociology and psychology. It begins by studying the construct of black adolescence as an "invention" of the social and behavioral sciences. The course then draws upon narrative data, autobiography, literature and multimedia sources authored by black youth to recast black adolescence as a complex social, psychological, cultural and political phenomenon. This course focuses on the meaning-making experiences of urban-dwelling black adolescents and highlights these relations within the contexts of class, gender, sexuality and education.
Same as L90 AFAS 461B
L98 AMCS 462 Politics of Education
Politics is interpreted broadly to include not just government, but any situation in which people have to solve a problem or come to a decision. This course focuses on schools and the processes through which certain stories, identities, and practices are promoted, and others, not.
Same as L12 Educ 462
L98 AMCS 4621 The Political Economy of Urban Education
Defining a political economy of urban education involves the examination of power and wealth and the manner in which they operate in urban settings. It requires analysis of the larger urban social and economic context and consideration of historical forces that have brought the schools to their present state. In this course, we consider various political and economic factors that have influenced and shaped urban education in the United States, drawing upon the extant literature on urban education and related social science disciplines to characterize and discuss them. A particular focus of this course will be on the dynamic interrelationships among the political economy, urban education, and social stratification.
Same as L12 Educ 4621
L98 AMCS 4661 Historical Archaeology
This course focuses upon the methods and techniques employed in historical archaeology. We will include method of integration of written records through contextual studies, discussion of specific artifact type identification techniques, and seminar type treatments of other aspects of the field. The class will include some hands-on lab work, working primarily with materials from the first American fort west of the Mississippi (Fort Belle Fontaine) and two Civil War period mansions. Prerequisite: 3 credits of archaeology or permission of instructor.
Same as L48 Anthro 4661
L98 AMCS 4689 American Intellectual History to 1865
This course presents an overview of American intellectual history from the early 17th century and the founding of the first English settlements in North America to the mid-19th century and the American Civil War. We investigate how different thinkers responded to and helped shape key events and processes in colonial and early American history, concentrating in particular on developments in religious, political, social, scientific and educational thought. We cover major topics such as: Puritanism, the Enlightenment, Evangelicalism, Romanticism and the inner Civil War. We address concepts central to the formation of the nation's identity including those of the covenant, republicanism, citizenship, equality, freedom, liberty, natural law, transcendentalism, order, reason, progress and democracy.
Same as L22 History 4689
L98 AMCS 470 American Intellectual History Since 1865
This course concentrates on social, cultural, philosophical and political thought since the end of the Civil War, and investigates how American thinkers have responded to the challenge of modernity. After an examination of the end of the old religious order and the revolt against Victorianism, it analyzes the subsequent rise of pragmatism, progressivism, literary modernism, radical liberalism, political realism, protest movements and the New Left, neo-conservatism and the New Right, and the current state of intellectuals in post-911 America.
Same as L22 History 469
L98 AMCS 472 American Art and Culture, 1945-1960
The rise and "triumph" of Abstract Expressionism has long dominated the story of American art following World War II. This seminar puts Abstract Expressionism into context with parallel developments in the arts, photography and film. Among the topics we consider: the conversation between émigré artists and American culture during and after the war; the emergence of a "noir" aesthetic in film and literature; the early work of Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg and the so-called "aesthetic of indifference" in relation to Abstract Expressionism; artistic collaborations at Black Mountain College; New York school photography and photojournalism; and the cultural impact of the A-bomb. Prerequisites: a 300-level course on 20th-century art, photography or history, or permission of the instructor.
Same as L01 Art-Arch 4721
L98 AMCS 474 Americans and Their Presidents
How have Americans understood what it means to be President of the United States? This seminar uses that question as a point of departure for a multidisciplinary cultural approach to the presidency in the United States, examining the shifting roles of the chief executive from George Washington through Barack Obama. In addition to a consideration of the president’s political and policy-making roles, this course examines how the lived experiences of presidents have informed the ways Americans have conceived of public and private life within a broader political culture. In the process, this course uses the presidency as a means to explore topics ranging from electioneering to gender, foreign policy to popular media. Readings are drawn from a broad range of fields.
L98 AMCS 4744 TransAmerica: The US and Mexico between the Wars
Many areas of 20th century U.S. culture between World Wars I and II were inspired by post-revolutionary Mexico. The Mexican Revolution (1910-1917) profoundly reoriented modern Mexico, introducing new cultural and aesthetic forms and historical themes over subsequent decades. Mexican artists contributed to a new national consciousness drawing on indigenous Mexico and on the new politics of workers and peasants, given monumental expression in mural painting. The bidirectional exchange between U.S. and Mexican artists was of great importance for the cultural revitalization of the New Deal and after in the U.S. Among artists, writers, anthropologists and tourists, the vogue for things Mexican was fed by many sources, including increasing travel, diplomatic exchange, and a yearning for alternatives to U.S. modernity. The seminar supports travel to Mexico City, funded by the art history and archaeology department. Must be a graduate student, or an undergraduate major or minor in art history and archaeology. Recommended courses: one 300- or 400-level course in 20th-century U.S. art or history; or one relevant course in Latin American Studies program.
Same as L01 Art-Arch 4744
L98 AMCS 476 The City in American Arts and Popular Culture, 1900-1940
From the mid-19th century forward, artists, writers, sociologists, and cultural critics have identified the city as the primary site of a vast array of historical changes associated with modernization. This course will explore the range of cultural responses to the new 20th-century city up to World War II. The American city was seen as both an incubator of difference, and of mass conformity and manipulation; a dynamic space in which to form fluid networks that catalyzed new forms of creativity, and a place of strangers and social alienation. We will trace the history of these polarized responses in the 20th-century arts and literature of the city, looking at the vibrant popular culture of film, vaudeville, and cross-dressing; new aesthetic forms such as collage and expressionism; and new urban subjects. Prerequisites: 300-level course in American 20th-century cultural history, American art, literature, or permission of instructor.
Same as L01 Art-Arch 475
L98 AMCS 4774 Art and Culture in '20s and '30s America
Mass consumption and the expansion of mass culture; mechanization; and the birth of a new visual culture that turned on animation, advertising, photography, and film. Taking our cues from the cultural contradictions and historical tensions embedded in F. Scott Fitzgerald's great novel of 1925, and the 2013 film inspired by it, this seminar will trace what many at the time called the "Rediscovery of America" and its tribulations. American artists, writers, and cultural theorists embraced the possibilities and pitfalls of American modernity, the nation's mythic promise and its historical dilemmas in the face of growing commercialization and standardization. This seminar is a interdisciplinary look at the art, visual culture, music, literature, and cultural essays of the 1920s through the lens of nation, race, region, and cultural identit(ies). Prerequisite: 300-level 20th-century American art, history, or literature course, or permission of instructor.
Same as L01 Art-Arch 4774
Credit 3 units. Art: AH
L98 AMCS 4785 Art and Culture in 1920s America
This interdisciplinary seminar examines the relationship between art and 1920s culture in the United States: how artists and critics thought about the nature of our cultural heritage — its rich possibilities and its limitations; the potential of technology and urbanization as well as the threats they pose to older cultural values; the nature of a multicultural society and the contributions of minority traditions to the evolution of American culture; the lure of the Southwest; early criticism of popular media; and the conversation between popular culture and high art. Prerequisite: Art-Arch 112 or permission of instructor.
Same as L01 Art-Arch 4785
Credit 3 units. Art: AH
L98 AMCS 4792 Globalization and National Politics
This seminar examines globalization and its interaction with national politics. The movements of ideas, capital, goods, services, production and people across national borders provide a skeletal framework for the global political economy. Politicians, policymakers and societies discover new opportunities, but also dilemmas, as expanding interdependence challenges traditional notions of sovereignty and national policy autonomy. Prerequisite: Pol Sci 102 or Pol Sci 103.
Same as L32 Pol Sci 4792
L98 AMCS 480 Education and Public Policy in the United States
This course takes a triangulated approach to the field of public policy as it relates to education and social problems. First, the course emphasizes theories of public policy that frame the field of policy studies. Major questions extending from this course feature include: What is public policy, policy behavior, its defining processes/features and what social function does it serve? Second, the course emphasizes the skills related to the exercise of policy analysis. These skills include the crafting of technical documents within the field of public policy (e.g. a policy brief) and the application of scientific methods to the exploration of social problems/governmental actions. Likely issues related to this course feature include the use of scientific knowledge in political arenas, engagement with stakeholders and the intended/unintended consequences of policy science to political decision-making. Third, this course simulates the policymaking context through students' participation in mock congressional testimonies. These focal areas will become central to an understanding of four social concerns: school desegregation following the Brown decisions; affirmative action in higher education; Head Start programs and/or the ESEA Act of 1965, also known as No Child Left Behind. Educational opportunity, achievement inequality and social change will be the primary interests that link these course features.
Same as L12 Educ 489
L98 AMCS 481W History of Education in United States
Examines education within the context of American social and intellectual history. Using a broad conception of education in the United States and a variety of readings in American culture and social history, the course focuses on such themes as the variety of institutions involved with education, including family, church, community, work place, and cultural agency; the ways relationships among those institutions have changed over time; the means individuals have used to acquire an education; and the values, ideas, and practices that have shaped American educational policy in different periods of our history.
Same as L12 Educ 481W
L98 AMCS 487 Topics in American History
This course explores the racial construction of the use of legal and illegal substances in American history from the mid-19th century to the present. We will spend time engaging in a historical analysis of the social, economic, and racial dynamics that defined drug addiction in popular imagination, and examine how these factors contributed to discussions about legality, access to substances, one's ability to be rehabilitated, and criminal status. Regarding criminality we will particularly explore sociological and theoretical perspectives of labeling, habitual and occasional offenders, and moral panic in order to understand how racial minority groups were targeted for different rhetorical, legislative, and economic purposes. One major goal of the course will be to outline the early 20th century beginnings of the war on drugs and connect it to the century long growth of a militarized police system and prison industrial complex. We will secondly work to understand the role of local and national political actors, law enforcement, and the media in manufacturing and maintaining connections between race, crime and drugs. Ultimately, we will use our study of drugs to contextualize 21st-century issues of police violence, increases in homicide in minority communities, mass incarceration, poverty, segregation, and mass movements of protest.
Same as L22 History 487
L98 AMCS 4908 Advanced Seminar: Women in the History of Higher Education and Professions
An advanced seminar with readings exploring education, historical studies, and feminist theory. Each student writes a paper, based on research in local archives and in other primary sources, on a topic related to women in higher education and/or professions. Prerequisite: junior standing or above; some background in American history.
Same as L12 Educ 440
Credit 3 units.
L98 AMCS 490A AMCS Senior Workshop: Academic Citizenship
How can I develop a stronger sense of academic identity and purpose? How can my research translate into opportunities beyond the classroom, from service to politics? In this workshop AMCS majors explore these questions while receiving support at a crucial milestone, the Senior Capstone. Through reflection and writing students develop a stronger intellectual identity, and consider how their research prepares them to participate in conversations and activities that transcend scholarship. We think about this participation as a kind of "academic citizenship": students leveraging their learning to engage intellectual, social, and political life in and beyond campus. Students do this primarily through consideration of their capstone research, happening concurrently in the AMCS Capstone Workshop or in an approved seminar. While encouraging majors to consider the intersection of their academic and personal goals, the workshop supports research (e.g., guest faculty discuss methodology), gives structure to activities already required for the major (e.g., the capstone abstract), and builds community (e.g., peer-led discussions). The workshop also provides time and space for students to curate their AMCS portfolio. The Fall Workshop is part of a new 1-credit workshop series designed to help AMCS majors develop their portfolio and provide additional training and support at particular milestones in the major. The portfolio and accompanying workshops are a response to students' feedback. Graduating seniors tell us they would have liked more structured time to reflect on their work in the major; they would have liked to document their progress in the program more fully; and they wanted more opportunities to strengthen their class cohort. The Fall Workshop will provide all of those things, while centering students' attention on their growth as scholars and engaged citizens.
Credit 1 unit.
L98 AMCS 495A Religion and the State: Global Mission, Global Empire
This course explores the complex intersections among U.S. political power on a global stage, and religious institutions and identities. Readings and discussions are organized around two very broad questions. First: How has this nation's history been shaped by religious "others" both inside and outside its borders? Second: How have perceptions of those others in turn affected U.S. responses to circumstances of global consequence — including, for example, foreign policy and diplomacy, missionary activity, and economic practices?
Same as L57 RelPol 495
L98 AMCS 4982 Public Art: History, Practice, Theory
The course will consider the history and functions of public art, with special attention to public art in St. Louis. We survey not only the obvious forms of public art in urban sculpture and mural painting, but also less traditional intersections of art and public in such sites as the internet. We will also examine the operations of institutions — national and local arts agencies, international exhibitions, nonprofit centers and the like — that foster a public engagement with contemporary art. Finally, we will consider new priorities and projects in public art, especially socially oriented and environmentally sustainable initiatives. Prerequisites: L01 Art-Arch 112 Introduction to Western Art or L01 Art-Arch 211 Introduction to Modern Art; one 300-level course in art history preferred, or permission of instructor.
Same as L01 Art-Arch 4982
L98 AMCS 4984 The Problem of New World Freedom: The Age of Democratic Revolution in the United States and the Americas
Ever since the improbable alliance of the English pirate and slave trader Sir Francis Drake and the fugitive slave Cimarrons on the Atlantic coast of Panama many centuries ago, the history of freedom in the New World has unfolded in unlikely fits and starts. The course will explore two related conjectures: first, that maroon politics (the often short-lived alliances between slaves, quasi-free blacks and white allies), slave rebellion, provincial secession and civil war were the widespread and normative conditions of post-colonial regimes throughout the New World; and second, that the problem of freedom was especially challenging in a New World environment in which freedom was fleeting and tended to decompose. Special attention will be given to antislavery insurgencies, interracial politics and alliances in the Unites States and the perspectives on freedom they produced, but the readings will also include materials on debates over freedom in the Caribbean and South America over the course of the long age of democratic revolution, 1760-1888.
Same as L22 History 4984
L98 AMCS 4992 The Business of Us All: In/equality in Theory and Practice
This course uses a transdisciplinary approach to discuss in/equality and its interrelated topics of inequality, inequity and social justice. While the focus is on the U.S. predominantly, lessons learned from our global partners are important components of our discussions. The course will emphasize the implications of our findings for other ethnic/racial minorities around the world. Equality speaks to issues of priority, fairness and impartiality. On the other hand, inequality is defined as marked difference among individuals or groups of individuals in the distribution of social goods. Inequity, which considers bias, discrimination and injustice in distributive systems, pushes the discussion further. As the various forms of social, political and economic inequalities are mutually reinforced, we examine economic inequality, residential segregation and housing quality; dis/investment in neighborhoods and communities; resource allocation to low income, city and predominantly ethnic minority schools; academic underachievement of minority youth; access to and provision of appropriate health care; curtailment of social welfare programs; the presentation of stereotypical images of persons of color in the media and school curricula; morbidity, mortality, and longevity rates for persons of color; environmental hazards; the surge in incarceration related to substance abuse and escalating criminal prosecution, as well as discriminatory behavior of police and judges. All of the foregoing is made worse by race and gender status variables. Such factors cannot be considered inconsequential to social im/mobility and equality in the larger society. The collateral damage borne by the intergenerational transfer of social im/mobility and in/equality to future generations are integral to course discussions.
Same as I50 InterD 4992
L98 AMCS 49MA Advanced Seminar: Visual Culture and American History
How does United States history look different with visual culture at the center of the story? Focusing on the 19th century in particular, this course investigates how images and other visual objects did not simply reflect, but also shaped society, culture, politics, ideas and identities. The course moves from the Revolution to the mass-culture society of the early 20th century. During this period, America experienced a litany of profound transformations in the growth of cities to the emancipation of slaves.
Same as L22 History 49MA
L98 AMCS 49PK The Founding Fathers' Government in an Electronic Age
This is a research seminar that examines how Americans sought to translate their notions of government into a realistic set of priorities and a functioning set of public institutions. Extending from 1789 through the 1820s, this course investigates how the federal government came into being, what it did, and who populated the civilian and military rank of American officialdom. This is also a course in digital history. Students create new knowledge through their own contributions to an ongoing digital project that seeks to reconstitute the early federal workforce. In the process, students learn a variety of digital techniques, ranging from encoding languages to electronic systems to software packages.
Same as L22 History 49PK
L98 AMCS 49SA Advanced Seminar: Slavery in America: The Politics of Knowledge Production
This course focuses on the long history of black chattel slavery in America, from origins to emancipation. The course foregrounds the struggles over power, life and death, that were at the heart of slavery's traumatic and grotesquely violent 250-year career in North America, with attention to hemispheric context. At the same time, it highlights the fiercely contested historical battleground where scholars have argued about how to define American slavery — as a system or site of labor, reproduction, law, property and dispossession, racial and gender domination, sexual abuse and usurpation, psychological terror and interdependency, containment and marooning, selfhood and nationality, agency, revolutionary liberation and millennial redemption.
Same as L22 History 49SA
L98 AMCS 479 On Location: Exploring America
Every other summer, AMCS travels to a new location to explore fundamental questions of national identity and meaning through the study of the interdependent relationship between culture and place. By visiting landmarks, historic sites, museums, memorials, etc. — sites best understood through direct engagement with consideration of their rich material, historical, political, and social meanings — students become in-the-field observers and learn from local experts and faculty. Past On Location destinations have included: California, Hawaii, New York City, Washington D.C., the "Industrial Southwest," and American Indian landmarks. For more information and a description of past travel sites, please visit our "On Location" webpage.