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:||Karen Skinner, Academic Coordinator|
The Major in American Culture Studies
Total units required: 32 credits, 24 of which must be at the 300 level or higher. 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: Options for this requirement have recently included AMCS 220 Topics in AMCS: Race and American Popular Music, AMCS 206 "Reading" Culture: The Visible and the Invisible: Introduction to American Visual Culture Studies, and AMCS 202 The Immigrant Experience. Visit our Course Listings webpage for additional offerings by semester.
- AMCS 375A: Methods and Visions (3 credits): Visit our Course Listings webpage for the current offering, as the topic varies by semester.
- Fieldwork Experience (3 credits): 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 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 which must be at the 300 level or higher (refer to "Established Concentration Areas" below).
- 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): This is a multidisciplinary project that serves as the culmination of the program's 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. The capstone requirement may also be fulfilled within the context of an approved upper-level seminar course. For more information about the capstone project and proposal process, including important dates, please visit the AMCS website.
- Two 1-credit workshops — AMCS 490A AMCS Portfolio Workshop: Academic Citizenship and AMCS 490B: AMCS Senior Workshop: Connections and Explorations — taken in the senior fall and spring semesters, respectively (required for the Class of 2022 and beyond).
- At least two multidisciplinary 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 multidisciplinary courses that connect to the subjects or issues in their concentration area. AMCS 375A and the course taken to fulfill the fieldwork requirement may not also count toward the multidisciplinary 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 of which must be in a single discipline and two 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
The following list reflects 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 and 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 adviser 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 refer to the Frequently Asked Questions on our undergraduate page or review the AMCS approved programs on the Study Abroad webpage (by searching for "American Culture Studies" as the "Program Name" in the WUSTL Global Opportunities database, which can be accessed from the Planning for Study Abroad page).
Special Opportunity: Lynne Cooper Harvey Undergraduate Scholars: The Harvey Undergraduate Scholars are vital members of the AMCS community, serving as intellectual leaders and modeling innovative multidisciplinary research. They are asked to share their knowledge with the community in a variety of ways during their time as scholars, including through involvement in a project or initiative that brings them into collaboration with others in the AMCS community. These projects should contribute substantially to the scholars' learning and allow them to actively engage with and bolster all members of the AMCS community. Please visit the Harvey Undergraduate Scholars page for more information.
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 about the honors thesis and capstone project process, including important dates and criteria, please visit our Senior Honors Thesis page.
The Minor in American Culture Studies
Total units required: 15 credits, at least 9 of which must be at the 300 level or higher.
- Introductory Course (3 credits) as designated by American Culture Studies: Options for this requirement have recently included AMCS 220 Topics in AMCS: Race and American Popular Music, AMCS 206 "Reading" Culture: The Visible and the Invisible: Introduction to American Visual Culture Studies, 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 at the 300 level or higher) either in a single established Concentration Area (refer to the list of established concentrations below) or in three distinct disciplines outside the student's major.
- One additional AMCS course (3 credits).
- At least two multidisciplinary courses, taken as part of the above minor requirements and designated by AMCS. Minors who opt to do a concentration are encouraged to take at least one multidisciplinary course that connects to the subjects or issues in the chosen concentration area. AMCS 375A: Methods and Visions (a junior-level seminar) is also encouraged and may count as a multidisciplinary course. Visit our Course Listings webpage for a complete list of general and multidisciplinary 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).
Established Concentration Areas
The following list reflects 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 and 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 101 Lewis and Clark and the American Challenge
This central multidisciplinary course in the American Culture Studies program is taught by faculty members from the humanities and social sciences, with guest lecturers from the natural sciences. Its focus is the 1804 to 1806 "Voyage of Discovery" led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, which will serve as a basis for examining American cultures, past and present. This expedition of more than 7,000 miles dramatically altered the nation's identity by expanding its perception of America's enormous human and physical diversity and by forcing Americans to confront the issue of how much difference the United States could contain. Starting with selections from the expedition's journals, the course will introduce the varied and often contradictory ways (then and now) that different disciplines examine a problem: history, literature, art, anthropology, economics, political science, and biology, as well as race and gender perspectives. In this way, the course seeks to investigate how peoples of different perspectives and cultures interact: how they explore the unknown and try to explain it; how they gather and develop "knowledge"; and how they accept or reject information. To draw together these varied strands of inquiry and to expose students to the research process, the lectures will be complemented by weekly small-group discussions, with field trips to sites along the expeditionary route, including those of the upper Missouri River in North Dakota. Students will choose specific questions they wish to investigate and, organized into research groups of four or five, will create a website. In addition to this core seminar, students will enroll in a special section E Comp.
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 meant to introduce students to the study of American Politics. We will analyze the origins, developments, actors, institutions, and processes of the American political system. In addition to the three branches of government, we will also cover topics such as public opinion, the media, campaigns and elections, political parties, civil rights and liberties, and more. By the end of the class, students should become more careful and insightful consumers of political knowledge.
Same as L32 Pol Sci 101B
L98 AMCS 102 First-Year 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. Students will be challenged to use their "sociological imagination" and to connect personal problems to public issues, moving beyond commonly held views and using their own lives to advance knowledge. Through photography and weekly reflection pieces, students will learn how to situate their 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 110A Ampersand: Examining America: American Dreams: Art, Culture, Performance, and Politics
Rooted in Jeffersonian ideals of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," the notion of the "American Dream" actually has a complicated history, and its meanings are diverse and contested. This Ampersand course investigates how perceptions, representations, and meanings of the American Dream have changed throughout history and how they live on in the contemporary United States. Rather than seeking definitive definitions or answers, we carefully and thoughtfully examine case studies of American culture and the arts -- literature, theatre, film and painting -- as the lens for understanding images of nation and identity. Utilizing an intimate seminar format to facilitate the close reading and discussion of works in various media, this Ampersand course emphasizes both critical thinking and writing; it requires students to execute a creative project of their own making as well. We also visit a variety of exciting performances and exhibits, both on and off campus. Our primary goal is a compelling, interdisciplinary perspective on the American Dream that synthesizes the arts, performance and politics. This course is intended for first-year students; any seats remaining after first-year students enroll are open to other classes.
Same as L61 FYP 110A
L98 AMCS 111 First-Year 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 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 First-Year 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 120B Beyond Boundaries: Religious Freedom in America
The intersection of religion and law in American society has sparked some of the fiercest cultural engagements in recent memory: Should a for-profit religious corporation have a right not to fund birth control for its employees? Can a public college expel campus religious groups whose membership is not open to all students? May a Muslim in prison grow a beard for religious reasons? Should a cake baker or a florist be permitted to refuse services for a gay wedding? Can a church hire and fire its ministers for any reason? These current debates and the issues that frame them are interwoven in the American story. This course introduces students to the major texts and historical arguments underlying that story. Drawing from the respective expertise of the instructors, the course will expose students to a variety of scholarly methods related to the issue: legal history and case law, intellectual history and canonical texts, social history and narrative accounts, and political philosophy and contemporary analyses. This course is for first-year (non-transfer) students only.
Same as I60 BEYOND 120
Credit 3 units. EN: H
L98 AMCS 122 Ampersand: Pathfinder — 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 L61 FYP 122
L98 AMCS 130 First-Year Seminar: 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 US through the real-life stories of their residents. This is followed by an in-depth study of Chinese restaurants and food in a global diasporic context 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 discussions of Chinese migration and settlement, of representations of identity, and of cultural and spatial constructions in particular historical and social contexts. The assignments include fieldtrips to Chinese businesses, and a debate on whether or not Olive Blvd constitutes a Chinatown in St Louis. Course is for first-year, non-transfer students only.
Same as L97 IAS 135
L98 AMCS 160 First-Year Seminar: Contemporary American Memoir
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 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 and Madonna to "The Joys of Yiddish" and jewlicious.com. Moving from tradition to modernity to pluralism and transdenominationalism and then back to tradition (sometimes with a vengeance), we explore challenges to Jewish identity and creative responses through the cultural lens. Course is for first-year, non-transfer students only.
Same as L75 JIMES 180
L98 AMCS 200A Doctors and Terrorists: The Fictions of South Asian American
South Asians have always played an integral role in the culture, history and politics of the United States. However, for complex reasons, their presence has either been concealed, dismissed through dangerous stereotypes, or, just as inaccurately, celebrated for proving the generosity of American liberalism and multiculturalism. Racially misrecognized, this large and heterogeneous group has nonetheless shaped American categories of race, sexuality, and citizenship in intriguing and powerful ways. South Asian Americans have reached to fiction, music and popular culture to craft deeply intimate and original assessments of mainstream desires. In doing so, they have sought to resist the dictates of whiteness, to question U.S. imperialism, to garner acceptance and mobility, and to build solidarity with other U.S. minorities. In this course, we learn about the complex history and cultural productions of South Asians in America. How did "South Asia" become a category of identification, and who benefitted from that designation? What role have South Asians played in the economic, cultural and global ascendancy of the United States? How do South Asians connect with and control their countries of origin? What is the significance of storytelling in building the archive and questioning the fiction of South Asian America?
Same as L46 AAS 200
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.
L98 AMCS 2033 Introduction to Education Topics: Contradictions and Controversies in School Choice
Drawing from social scientific perspectives, this course surveys educational research and policy in contemporary U.S. society. It considers the relationship among controversial policy issues (e.g., school choice, public school closure, urban redevelopment) and education. Finally, it examines the implications of recent changes in education for social inequality, mobility, and group relations.
Same as L12 Educ 203A
L98 AMCS 206 "Reading" Culture: The Visible and the Invisible: Introduction to American Visual Culture Studies
See Section Description. Topic changes semester to semester.
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 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.
Credit variable, maximum 3 units. BU: BA, HUM
L98 AMCS 214B American Art and Material Culture of the Gilded Age
This sophomore seminar explores American art and material culture from the aftermath of the Civil War to the dawn of the 20th century. Readings and classroom discussions consider the interplay between artworks and complex cultural and historical developments of the period, including the rise of international travel and trade, rapid industrialization and urbanization, mass consumerism, growing income inequality, immigration, the crisis of faith, the closing of the West, and the changing status of women and African Americans. Key artists to be considered include James McNeill Whistler, John Singer Sargent, William Merritt Chase, Thomas Eakins, Mary Cassatt, and Henry Ossawa Tanner. We will end the semester with a sustained consideration of the work of Winslow Homer, in which major concerns of the Gilded Age -- about truth and falsehood, the boundaries of citizenship, and the power of art -- converge.
Same as L01 Art-Arch 214
L98 AMCS 2156 The Thrilling Story: Constructing the Civil Rights Movement
What does it mean to be at home? How do home and nation intersect? What are some of the ways African Americans have cultivated home spaces, and within what societal conditions? Using these questions and drawing from literature, geography, black feminism, and film, we will explore home space as a force and factor in shaping black identities in the U.S. As microcosms of cities and the nation, home spaces are structured by the social, economic, political, and historical landscape of a society. As places of individual and communal living and dwelling, home spaces shape and are shaped by people. To study home is necessarily to study nation, family and affective ties, gender, and built space. In the United States, slavery, Jim Crow, redlining, restrictive covenants, and gentrification have targeted and disproportionately affected black lives, communities, and home spaces. In the face of this dehumanization, devaluation, and discrimination, black people have found ways to claim, make, and obtain spaces and senses of home, whether fleeting or permanent, conceptual or concrete. Modes of homemaking serve as a lens through which to ascertain the challenges, triumphs, and banalities of black life in the U.S. throughout history
Same as L90 AFAS 215C
L98 AMCS 220 Topics in AMCS: Race and American Popular Music
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 225 Topics in AMCS: American Misfits: Rebels, Punks, and Outsiders
The topic of this course varies from semester to semester. Please see the Course Listings for a description of the current offering.
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 AMCS: #AmericanCultureStudies: Exploring the Field!
What does it mean to do American culture studies? This course teaches students how to critically analyze U.S. culture and society and introduces them to the history, methodologies, frameworks, and key questions that have shaped and continue to inform this interdisciplinary field. American culture studies is a broad and vast discipline that defies simple summary; it asks probing questions to uplift marginalized voices and experiences as part of an expansive definition of American identity. This course exposes students to practices that constitute American culture studies rather than demarcate a terrain for what it is: historically crossing disciplinary boundaries (arts, humanities, social sciences) and engaging diverse texts (film, literature, historical documents, popular culture, performance, material culture, etc.) American culture studies resists strict definition! In this course students study how knowledge and understandings about society and culture are produced and learn approaches to analyzing, curating and interpreting cultural objects and theorizing cultural phenomena. We examine the concept and idea of "America" in local, regional, national, and international contexts and continuums; we explore the lived experiences of diverse American communities within and across cultural and literal borders. Through a case study approach, the course engages questions related to the construction of ethnic and racial identities in the U.S.; visual, material, and digital cultures; social thought and social issues; mass media and popular culture; gender and sexuality; citizenship and nationhood; art, literature, and performance; and American imperialism.
L98 AMCS 230 Topics in Urban America
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 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 sixty 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 sixty 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 will focus on the different methods that we can employ when attempting to interpret and analyze American culture.
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 will deal 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 such as 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 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 ie 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 is membership in the Annika Rodriquez Program.
L98 AMCS 253 Sports & Society: Histories of American Sports
Commercialized spectator sports are a hugely influential part of American culture, politics, and economics. However, the story of how they got that way is too often assumed to be straightforward and self-evident. In this course, we will complicate such assumptions by examining the complex cultural web of American sports history and exploring the people, power structures, and social contexts in which our athletic games have developed, from the Civil War to the present. We will pay particular attention to matters of gender and race in traversing these histories, and students will be asked to consider the ramifications of sociocultural development in sports for American culture at large (and vice versa). Among the topics in sport that we will consider in detail are amateurism, commercialization, masculinity, mass mediation, and violence. We will analyze particular athletes of significance from the last 150 years, including Jack Johnson, Althea Gibson, Muhammad Ali, Serena Williams, Michael Jordan, and others. At the same time, we will examine the forms of media that shape our narratives and understandings of the competitions we consume. In addition, we will consider transnational competitions like the Olympics, which bring American conflicts over race and gender into a global context. No prior sports knowledge is necessary to enroll in the class. Students put themselves on the waitlist and will be enrolled manually by the registrar. Five seats are reserved for each class year for a total of 20 students. This course is affiliated with "Sports & Society: Culture, Power, and Identity," an American Culture Studies program initiative focused on the intersections of athletics, identity, and social power. "Histories of American Sports" is the first part of a two-course sequence. The second part -- "Sports & Society: Contemporary Issues in American Sports" -- will be offered in Spring 2021. As part of both courses, faculty affiliates of the Sports & Society Initiative will be invited to give the occasional guest lecture on topics relevant to their research. In addition, students will attend an academic talk, organized by the initiative, at which American sports history and culture will be considered by an outside speaker.
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 Harvey 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 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 280A African-American Religions
This course is an introduction to African-American religions, and it attends to the changes wrought in indigenous African religions by enslavement, the adoption of Christianity by slaves themselves, the building of African-American denominations, the rise of new black religious movements, and the role of religion in contemporary African-American life. The course begins with a brief introduction to key themes and problems in the study of African-American religions. The second part, which makes up the bulk of the course, moves chronologically and situates African and African-American religions in their shifting cultural and political contexts from the beginning of the European slave trade to the present. We will discuss African-Americans' practice of several religious traditions: indigenous African religions, Islam, Protestant and Catholic Christianity, and new religious movements. The final part of the course focuses on several key issues and debates that are informed by the study of African-American religions and that have important connections with contemporary American life.
Same as L57 RelPol 280
L98 AMCS 290 Islamophobia & U.S. Politics
The presence of Muslim minorities in the West is increasingly divisive across the United States and Europe as political leaders appeal to voters' fear of the "other" to promote Islamophobic agendas that reshape immigration and asylum policies and redefine Western identity as Christian. Politicians further exploit the rise of extremist groups like ISIS to justify anti-Muslim rhetoric and to critique multiculturalism, claiming that Islam and the West are inherently antithetical. In this course, we examine the phenomenon of Islamophobia as a form of anti-Muslim racism. We explore how, although the post-9/11 context gave way to an increase in incidents of anti-Muslim violence, contemporary manifestations of Islamophobia are deeply rooted in state level anti-Black racism from the early 20th century. We also analyze public U.S. debates on the boundaries of freedom of speech and freedom of religion.
Same as L57 RelPol 290
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 College Office and which must be filled out and signed by the faculty sponsor and the program prior to beginning internship work. Credit should correspond to actual time spent in work activities, e.g., 8-10 hours a week for thireen or fourteen weeks to receive 3 units of credit; 1 or 2 credits for fewer hours. Students are encouraged to obtain written evaluations about their work for the student's academic advisor 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 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 advisor. See the AMCS Academic Coordinator for more information. 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: Sonic Genius and Monster 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 3018 Race, Ethnicity, and Immigrants' Experiences in Present Day United States
Issues surrounding race, ethnicity, and immigration have become increasingly intertwined politically and publicly in the United States during the first 20 years of the 21st century. This course examines current social and political environments and the circumstances that surround these issues. We begin with a blunt examination of political and social conditions that surround these experiences, continue by considering existing theories that attempt to explain the social and political dynamics that account for current relations, and finish out the course by reading recent studies that address specific facets of race, ethnic, and immigrant circumstances and experiences, including variations in access to equitable education, economic opportunities, political representation, and technological resources.
L98 AMCS 301B Individual and Community
What social, political, and cultural forces shape the individuality of people and yet make them part of not just one community but many, each of which is greater than the sum of the individuals that comprise it? What role do families and friends fill in this process? Students explore answers to these questions by reading theories and case studies that try to explain the foundations of individuals' sense of self and the interdependence and responsibilities of individuals, families, and communities to one another. Cases students read highlight (1) how family and communal experiences (like school) influence individuals and (2) how virtual (online) and non-virtual communities are structured and sustained as social entities. In addition to readings, the class will rely on guests from the "real world" as well as field trips into virtual and non-virtual communities. AMCS Majors may count this course for Fieldwork credit with permission of instructor; a supplemental assignment might be required.
L98 AMCS 301C The American School
In this course we examine the development of American schooling. Our focus is on three general themes: the differing conceptions of schooling held by some American political, social, and cultural thinkers; the changing relationships among schools and other educational institutions such as the church and the family; and the policy issues and arguments that have shaped the development of schooling in America.
Same as L12 Educ 301C
L98 AMCS 301T Technology and American Culture
This 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 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 and Culture
Topics course focusing on instances of identity and culture within the American scope. Varies by semester. See Course Listings for description of current semester's offering.
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 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 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 3060 Current Affairs and Critical Issues in American Culture
What's in your newsfeed? Media outlets drive critical conversations and public discourse, and in this course students have the chance to keep up and weigh in. Students read the news and examine current affairs as they unfold week by week, critically analyzing and exploring modes of understanding, historicizing, and contextualizing contemporary issues in American society. The course introduces students to theoretical and conceptual frameworks for this engagement and asks questions such as the following: How are these issues related to the past? How have Americans experienced this issue before, and how is the contemporary context different? We will follow trends in pop culture, technology, politics, and society. Students learn to layer current issues with historical documents, the commentary of public intellectuals and cultural critics, and political, economic, and social policies. The course stresses research analysis, group process, critical thinking, multidisciplinary inquiry, and professional writing and speaking skills.
L98 AMCS 3066 American City in the 19th and 20th Centuries
This course will explore the cultural, political, and economic history of U.S. cities in the 19th and 20th centuries. The course will focus on New York, Chicago, St. Louis, Los Angeles, and Atlanta, although other cities may be included. Students will conduct significant primary research on sections of St. Louis, developing a detailed history of one of the city's neighborhoods. Much of the course readings address broad themes such as immigration, industrialization, deindustrialization, and race and gender relations in American cities.
Same as L22 History 3066
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 knowledgably, imaginatively, and articulately with our era of escalating social inequality, this course 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 (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 the hands-on analysis of successful rhetorical strategies sampled from The Hodges Harbrace Handbook, and, more importantly, from the scholarly writings 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: Living in a Material World
Variable topics course for courses best suited to the Visual, Digital, and Material Culture concentration area in American Culture Studies. Topics vary by semester so please see current course listing.
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. 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 310 Topics in Asian-American Literature
Topics in Asian-American literature which will vary from semester to semester.
Same as L14 E Lit 308
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: Girls' FIction
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
By starting with Allan Bloom's "The Closing of the American Mind," a book that helped to reignite the Culture Wars, this course will consider 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 period when we, as a nation, reconsidered the legacy of the 1960s, the Reagan revolution, and the end of the Cold War; it was a time of economic expansion and cultural tension. In our consideration of this period, we will take a multidisciplinary approach when tackling a variety of materials — ranging from literary fiction (Philip Roth's "The Human Stain," Jonathan Franzen's "The Corrections") and popular films (Spike Lee's "Do the Right Thing," the Cohen brothers' "The Big Lebowski") to personal memoir and the music of Nirvana and Public Enemy — in an attempt to come to a better understanding of our recent history. Throughout the semester, we will pursue the vexed cultural, political, and historical questions that Americans faced during the years between the fall of the Berlin Wall and the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and we will consider how literary texts imagined this period of American history.
Same as L14 E Lit 312W
L98 AMCS 3130 Education, Childhood, Adolescence and Society
This course examines the social and developmental experiences of children and adolescents at the national and international level. Readings will focus on the development of children and adolescents from historical, sociological, psychological, and political perspectives. Students will examine how both internal and external forces impact the developmental stages of children and adolescents. Students will investigate the issues that impact children and adults such as poverty, war, media, schooling, and changes in family structure. Students will explore some of the issues surrounding the education of children such as the effects of high quality preschool on the lives of children from low income families and the connection between poverty and educational achievement. Students will focus on the efficacy of the "safety nets" that are intended to address issues such as nutrition, health, violence, and abuse. Throughout the course, students will review and critique national and international public policy that is designed to address the needs of children and their families throughout the educational process.
Same as L12 Educ 313B
L98 AMCS 3131 Topics in English and American Literature
Called the "Age of Revolution," the Romantic Age of British literature, 1770-1830, witnessed the birth of new lyric forms, the effacement of traditional strictures on style and taste, and produced through poetic voice (and its quaverings and multiplications) what might be called, over simply, the modern subject. Within a developing discourse of human rights and personal freedom, this growing assertion through poetry of individual expressivity allowed William Blake to construct in a single work a visual and verbal "Jerusalem. It encouraged William Wordsworth to write a pathbreaking investigation of the sources of his own creativity that challenged conventional restraints on what topics can, and cannot, be confessed in poetry. Beginning with these two poets, we will consider the historical contexts, and the sometimes competing histories of ideas, that shaped the five major British Romantic poets: Blake, Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Lord Byron, and John Keats. We will follow an anthology for much of the poetry, including the poems and prose of influential contemporaries (female as well as male) who included the political philosopher Edmund Burke and Mary Wollstonecraft. Texts also to be assigned will include Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Byron's Don Juan.
Same as L14 E Lit 313
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. Yet "good" is a contested concept, especially in a diverse, multiracial society. Thus this class examines a) how state and non-state actors, including religious leaders, have attempted to regulate the lived experiences of Americans and b) the conflicts that emerge over what, exactly, is correct, or right, or good for individuals, society, and the state. To what degree does calling something moral or immoral articulate or obstruct policy solutions? What do political coalitions oriented around "values" accomplish? Is it possible to hew to moral frames and remain inclusive and tolerant? Topics may include marriage, abortion, immigration, alcohol, incarceration, disease, money, and medical care.
Same as L57 RelPol 315
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 Community Engaged 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: The Material World of Modern Segregation
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 3192 Surveillance & the City
In 2014, the urban street artist Banksy painted a mural of three government agents flanking a public telephone booth, each using spy gadgets to listen, record, and transmit a copy of the conversation had within. His work reflects the emergent concerns of citizen surveillance in Western democracies and the techno-logics of 21st-century political reality, where persistent monitoring, invisible identification, and data collection are features of both government control and data-driven capitalism. The rise in technological sophistication in both the capture and assessment of data makes adoption at scale by city governments affordable and relatively noncontroversial. But as the surveillance of bodies, habits, associations, and identities becomes more naturalized in the governing and policing institutions of urban areas, legal safeguards lag behind, concepts like privacy and security become fuzzier, and existing inequalities of race and class become hardcoded in the techno-systems supposedly designed as neutral tools. This fieldwork class will explore St. Louis as a landscape of the always observed, from community-level realities to online experiences. Readings and class discussions will be complemented by field trips to sites in the St. Louis region to interrogate the practice of observation in situ among different zip codes and communities where the blanketing presence of surveillance practices and surveillance technology warps a relationship to place; amplifies racial, cultural, and class inequalities and disenfranchisements; consolidates social and political control; and replaces human accountability with the veneer of the objective and rational machine.
L98 AMCS 3203 Civic Scholars Program Semester Two: Civic Engagement in Action
This is the second-semester foundation course for students in the Civic Scholars Program of the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement. This course provides students with a context for developing their civic projects. Students engage in a semester-long research and project planning process tied to their civic projects. Through research, lectures, workshops, and presentations, students develop a project proposal for their civic projects. Students will meet in class to discuss concepts, engage in critical reflection, and develop skills. Prerequisite: L98 3202.
L98 AMCS 3211 Topics in 19th-Century American Writing
Same as L14 E Lit 339
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: American Culture in Revolt: 1960-1970
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
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 21st, comics in the United States have long been preoccupied with identity. In this course students 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 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. Students 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. Students will 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 330 Topics in AMCS: Contemporary Genres of Immigration
What does an immigration story look like today? Can it be a thriller, an epic, or a love story? Can it be all three at the same time? And what does it mean for U.S. politics to tell these stories from a variety of global perspectives? This course explores the wealth of immigration narratives produced in the twenty-first century in order to investigate what characterizes U.S. immigration for this generation. Through an archive of contemporary novels, poetry, film, visual art, and music, we will examine the different strategies immigrants to the United States use to tell their stories and how those stories are impacted by national origin, race, gender, and class. From Lulu Wang's multigenerational tragi-comedy The Farewell to Valeria Luiselli's borderland essay Tell Me How It Ends, we will search for connection and contrast among different kinds of immigrant journeys, experiences, and art forms. This course is open to students at all levels who are willing to think deeply and creatively about the materials we study. Artists examined will include Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jhumpa Lahiri, Shaun Tan, and Jose Antonio Vargas. This topic varies by semester. See 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 Voice: Singing Difference in the United States
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: The Race for Criticism: African-American Culture and its Critics
Whom do we trust to tell us when something is a classic novel, album or film? Professional critics? Fan reviews? Academic analysts? How is such acclaim or denunciation determined? Indeed, the stakes of these questions are heightened when critique is directed at works produced by African-Americans. In this course, we will consider these and other questions by reading, viewing, and listening to a series of canonical African-American cultural texts across mediums (e.g., Lorraine Hansberry's "Raisin in the Sun," Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On," Barry Jenkins' "Moonlight," and, depending on current offerings, an exhibit at the St. Louis Arts Museum). Upon their initial reading/listening/viewing, students will work through methods of close reading of primary texts and provide their own critical reviews. Next, students will be tasked with employing a fieldwork method to consider how each text was critically received (a different fieldwork method will be required for each text we consider): (1) Using library resources to locate critical receptions in digital archives (e.g., newspapers, journals); (2) Interviewing folks for their critical receptions or memories of the text; and (3) For a more contemporary text, students will engage in an ethnographic approach. In turn, students will use their findings as primary data to be used toward a final paper, a blog, or another type of final project presentation. Beyond engaging with canonical works and multidisciplinary methods, this course introduces students to the various ways that black cultural production, as a whole, is critically received: What type of expectations are set? Where are these works consumed and reviewed? What kind of language is consistently used by critics? Answering these questions will help students to gain a sense of their own subjectivity in relation to their subject matter.
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 3332 Topics in Politics: American Elections and Voting Behavior
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 336
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 3350 Poverty and the New American City
This course presents an exploration of the structural changes that are transforming the American urban landscape, especially for low-income populations. We begin with a review of classic theories of urban poverty and consider their relevance in the modern context. We then analyze key political, economic, demographic, and geographic shifts in how urban poverty is organized and reproduced, including gentrification, immigration, social policy reform, and the credit crisis. Special attention will be devoted to exploring the social and political implications of changing urban policy approaches as well as the "suburbanization" of poverty. We will conclude by discussing how urban poverty interfaces with broader social structures, including law, markets, and the state. Prerequisite: an introductory course in sociology or consent of the instructor.
Same as L40 SOC 3350
L98 AMCS 336 Topics in AMCS: Reading American Fan Culture
The topic of this course varies from semester to semester. Please see the Course Listings for a description of the current offering.
L98 AMCS 3360 Topics in AMCS: Freedom Struggles: Race, Resistance & Revolution in Early America
The topic of this course varies from semester to semester. Please refer to the Course Listings for a description of the current offering.
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 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 JIMES 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 342A James Baldwin: Life, Letters & Legacy
In his 1972 essay "No Name in the Street," James Baldwin recounts that he could never in good conscience just write, because he had never been just a writer. Indeed, Baldwin saw himself as a "public witness to the situation of black people," compelled to speak truth to power in whatever form he deemed necessary. Baldwin -- as Black, gay, man, American, author, activist, and so much more -- has served as an essential figure in theorizing alterities of the presumed rigidity of these very concepts. In this respect, this course will center Baldwin the thinker as much as Baldwin the author. We will examine his classic novels and essays as well as his work across many less-examined domains: theatre, sermon, dialogue, film, and short story. Moreover, while committing ourselves to close reading methods, we will situate Baldwin's works within the sociohistorical context and consider how he shaped and was shaped by events, beginning with the Civil Rights Era through our precarious contemporary moment in which he remains -- often tragically -- a timely voice.
Same as L90 AFAS 3422
L98 AMCS 343 Constitutional Law
Introduction to constitutional law and practice in the United States. Emphasis on the role of the U.S. Supreme Court as an interpreter of the Constitution.
Same as L32 Pol Sci 3431
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 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: U.S. 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 3470 Gender and Citizenship
In this writing-intensive course we examine how ideas about gender have shaped the ways Americans understand what it means to be a citizen. We focus on a variety of cases in the past and present to explore the means by which women and men have claimed the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. The types of questions that we will ask include: What rights or duties devolve from the status of citizen? Who qualifies for citizenship and what qualifies them? What distinct models of citizenship have been available to Americans? How have individuals used notions of gender identity to make claims to political subjectivity? And finally, how do gendered claims to citizenship intersect or conflict with claims based on race, class, ethnicity, or humanity? PREQ: Previous coursework in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies or permission of the instructor. Not open to students who have taken L77 210
Same as L77 WGSS 347
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 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 349 Ancient Mound Builders of the Mississippi Valley
Study of the peoples in North America who built mounds and other earthen structures beginning more than 4000 years ago; why they erected earthworks; what the structures were used for; how they varied through time and across space; and what significance they had to members of society.
Same as L48 Anthro 347B
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 will try to answer the following 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? If time permits, 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 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 lives. Through multidisciplinary inquiries, this course provides a lens into the complexity and heterogeneity among Asian Americans. It situates Asian American experiences in the broader American, and at times transnational, ethno-racial and socio-political context. The texts and discussions cover a wide range of topics and pressing issues, such as identity, race, and (pan-)ethnicity, culture and religion, gender and sexuality, masculinity and femininity, and notions of invisibility and marginalization.
Same as L97 IAS 3512
L98 AMCS 3520 Topics in American Culture Studies
The topic of this course varies from semester to semester. Please see the Course Listings for a description of the current offering.
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. Students 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 readings, especially as students incorporate secondary sources into their own research.
L98 AMCS 354A Christian Theology and Politics in the Modern West
This course engages students in the reading and analysis of influential religious texts from the Western Christian world from the mid-16th century to the present. The course also examines these texts in their historical context, raising questions about the relationship between theology and politics in the West. The course pursues such questions chronologically, with the first weeks devoted to Catholic and Calvinist contests over revelation and political authority during the 16th century to Puritan ruminations during the 17th century on the nature of worldly calling and personal eschatology. The next weeks concern 18th-century views of reason as a critique of traditional Christianity and Protestant responses centered on true virtue as a hedge against worldly loyalties. We then examine 19th-century discussions of the relationship between ethics, tradition, and religious experience. For the 20th century, we discuss texts that address Christian conceptions of redemption to issues of hypernationalism and race. The final weeks are devoted to recent theologies that have to do with the self and one's identity and current political crises. Juniors and seniors only. Sophomores by permission.
Same as L57 RelPol 354
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 355B The FBI and Religion
This seminar examines the relationship between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and religion (i.e., faith communities, clerics, and religious professionals) as a way to study and understand 20th-century religion and politics. The course will investigate the history of the FBI as well as the various ways in which the FBI and religious groups have interacted. The course will pay particular attention to what the professor calls the four interrelated "modes" of FBI-religious engagement: counter-intelligence and surveillance, coordination and cooperation, censorship and publicity, and consultation.
Same as L57 RelPol 355
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 U.S. 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 357A God in the Courtroom
The U.S. Constitution holds a promise to secure freedom of religion through its First Amendment. Its two religion clauses declare unconstitutional any prohibition on the free exercise of religion and laws respecting the establishment of religion. The consequence is that, whenever a group demands to be recognized as religious and to be granted the right to exercise its religion, a court, a legislature, or an administrative official must determine whether the religious practice in question is legally religious. This means that law plays a uniquely important role in defining religion in the United States. In this seminar, we will explore the relation between law and religion in America. We will study the religion clauses in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, the histories of their interpretations by American courts in landmark cases, and the ways that religious studies scholars have understood and critiqued these cases.
Same as L57 RelPol 357
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 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 3601 Trans* Studies
This is an interdisciplinary course that was previously named "Transgender Studies"; the new course title represents the development of the field and the identity in U.S. culture. In this course, students will engage with the following questions: When and why did the category of gender emerge? What is the relationship between sex, sexuality, and gender? How have the fields of medicine and psychology dealt with gender? How have approaches to "gender dysphoria" changed over time? Why is LGBT grouped together as a social movement, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of this grouping? What are the legal obstacles faced by people who resist normative gender categories? What legal obstacles are faced by people who transition from one sex to another? To what extent do U.S. citizens have autonomy over defining their gender or sex? How are trans people represented in fiction? What does it mean to apply transgender theory to interpret fictional accounts of trans individuals? Any of the following are suitable (but not required) courses to take before enrolling in this class: L77 100B, L77 105, L77 205 or L77 3091.
Same as L77 WGSS 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 United States. 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 will 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 will analyze how methods of organizing reflect traditional forms of "doing politics," and we will also examine 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 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 will 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 will 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 L90 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. For AFAS majors, this course counts as Area Requirement 2.
Same as L90 AFAS 363
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 365A Slavery, Sovereignty, Security: Amerian Religions and the Problem of Freedom
The goal of this course is to think critically about freedom as an ideology and institution. What does it mean to be free? What are the relationships among individual liberties, national sovereignty, and civil rights? In what ways has freedom been defined in relation to -- and materially depended on -- unfreedom? At the same time, this course will treat American "religions" in a similar critical fashion: as a historically contingent category that has been forged and inflected within the same context of white Christian settler empire. Religion and freedom have intertwined throughout American history, including in the ideal of religious freedom. Our critical interrogation of freedom should help us think carefully about power, working with but also beyond tropes of domination and resistance.
Same as L57 RelPol 365
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 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 3712 Art and Culture in America’s Gilded Age
This course covers developments in American culture from the end of the Civil War to the turn of the century, including the novels, buildings, images, and public and private spaces of this transitional period. The Gilded Age was a time of new class formation, of unparalleled social diversity, and of new urban forms. The connections between art, literature, and social experience will be addressed. Representative figures include Henry James, Henry Adams, Louis Sullivan, Stanford White, Thomas Eakins, and 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 1970
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
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 375 The Trope of "China" in the Imagination of the Chinese Diaspora
When the first Chinese sojourners arrived in America during the California Gold Rush in 1848, the locals regarded them as inscrutable and inassimilable. Today, Chinese Americans are the American society's most productive and responsible citizens. From coolie to Fu Manchu, from Charlie Chan to the model minority, from Bruce Lee to Jackie Chan, from Kung Fu Panda to Yo-Yo Ma, this series of images tells some of the stories of the dynamics between immigrants and the local residents and the Chinese Americans' journey of assimilation. In this course, we will trace this historical trajectory by way of writers' and filmmakers' imagination and representation of the experiences of those Chinese who left their homeland in search for means to build a better life for their children back in the home country or here in the adopted land. We will explore questions such as: How do the Chinese diaspora long for their cultural origin "China" in their various lengths of living abroad? Does diaspora have an expiration date? Through works by writers such as Maxine Hong Kingston, David Henry Hwang, Gish Jen and Ha Jin, and filmmakers such as Wayne Wang and Ang Lee, we will also examine issues of community building, the politics of hyphenation (Asian-American, inter-national, pan-Asian, etc.), and the role of gender in identity construction.
Same as L16 Comp Lit 375
L98 AMCS 3751 Topics in Women's History: Women, Gender and Sexuality in Postwar America
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 American Culture: Methods & Visions: Populism, Politics, and Performance
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" requirement 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, and what was its impact on design, photography, and advertising? In addition to the fine arts, we will look at popular media, film, and photography. Lecture/discussion. Prerequisite: L01 211 or permission of the instructor.
Same as L01 Art-Arch 376
L98 AMCS 3785 Photography in America
This course will consider the practice and use of photography in America, from its invention up to the present, and it will offer various ways of thinking about the medium and its relation to society and culture. Students will 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 will 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 (L01 112), Intro to Modern Art (L01 211), or one course in American History or 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 3832 Topics in Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies: Spectacular Blackness: Race, Gender, & Visual Culture
Topic varies. See semester course listings for current offering.
Same as L77 WGSS 383
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 L22 History 3843
L98 AMCS 386A Topics in African-American Literature: Rebels, Sheroes, and Race Men
In this seminar-for we are fortunate to be an elite group this term--we will focus on the first century of African American prose writers. In genre terms that means we will largely, but not exclusively, read autobiographies and novels. Phillis Wheatley, Frederick Douglass, and Harriet Jacobs are now familiar names in U.S. literature surveys, but others are not yet household names, and in fact may never be. We will survey a core group of texts, available at the WUSTL bookstore, but also supplement our readings with materials placed on BlackBoard, via online databases (e.g., materials accessible digitally from the Schomburg Division of the New York Public Library). For AFAS majors, this course counts as Area Requirement 1.
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 Rejecting Reason: 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 century and the beginning of the 20th century through its late expressions in the beat culture and pop art of the 1950s and 1960s. Dada's emergence in Zürich and New York in the midst of World War I 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), Intro to Modern Art (L01 211), or permission of instructor.
Same as L01 Art-Arch 3875
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 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 389A 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.
Same as L32 Pol Sci 389A
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 Mormon History in Global Context
The focus of this seminar is Mormonism, meaning, primarily, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 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., 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 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 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. DuBois 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 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 advisor(s) during the final stages of thesis preparation. Prerequisite: Satisfactory standing as a candidate for a two-semester capstone, including successful completion of L98 400A Capstone Workshop I and permission of project advisor. 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 4014 Feminist and Queer Media Studies
This seminar serves both as an introduction to some of the foundational texts in feminist and queer media studies and a snapshot of recent scholarship in the field.
Same as L77 WGSS 4014
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 takes an interdisciplinary approach to children of immigrants as an analytical subject. Our investigation looks into the 1.5- and second-generation youth of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds in the United States (with a considerable number of case studies focusing on Asian Americans and Latinx). Discussion topics include migration and identity, ethnicity and race, bilingualism and biculturalism, family and school, youth culture, and other pressing issues such as mental health. The seminar offers a theoretical lens into children of immigrants by introducing different research methodologies in the social sciences. Students are required to conduct an individual research project among a selected group of children of immigrants.
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 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 415A Senior Seminar on the Presidency: The Trump Administration
This course uses the run-up to the presidential election as a point of departure for considering the current presidency. This is a research seminar that will begin with a series of common readings, after which students will constitute themselves into research teams that will explore the current state of the presidency in broad cultural perspective. 2020 Iteration: In Spring 2020, the course wiill focus on the election and presidency of Donald Trump as experienced by Washington University in particular and St. Louis in general. Prerequisite: AMCS 115.
L98 AMCS 4181 Studying the City: Approaches to Social Research
In this course we will explore social science/social scientific research methods. The course is designed primarily for students majoring in urban studies. However, the research skills that students will acquire can be applied to any substantive topic in the social sciences. The main goal of this course is that students develop the skills to independently design and execute high quality social research, regardless of their substantive interests. To develop these skills we will read about methods, assess published research from a methodological perspective, and complete original research projects.
Same as L18 URST 418
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 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 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 twentieth and twenty-first 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 4283 Topics in Comparative Politics
In this course, we will examine the relationship between politics and identity and the consequences for political stability and cohesion as a result of those relationships. We will consider different cases and explanations for the United States and, in comparative perspective, for how identity works with respect to gender, race, ethnicity, class and sexual orientation in the pursuit of political or social goals. How do these different identities impact social and political conflict, local and national cohesiveness, and political participation?
Same as L32 Pol Sci 428
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 4300 Pilgrims and Seekers: American Spirituality from Transcendentalism to the Present
This seminar focuses on the formation of "spirituality" in American culture, from the Transcendentalist world of Ralph Waldo Emerson on through more recent expressions of the "spiritual-but-not-religious" sensibility. How did "spirituality" come to be seen as something positively distinct from "organized religion"? What are the main contours of spiritual seeking in American culture, especially among those who claim no specific religious affiliation? The course also explores the social, political, and cultural consequences of this turn to the spiritual over the religious: for example, the consecration of liberal individualism, the relationship of religious exploration to both environmentalism and consumerism, the politics of cultural appropriation, the negotiation of religious pluralism, and the pursuit of the spiritual in art.
Same as L57 RelPol 430
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 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 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 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 4502 Techno-Orientalism: Race, Media & Society
From aliens and coolies, from the "yellow peril" to the "model minority," and from techies to subhuman quants, representations of Asians and Asian Americans have become tethered to the scientific and technological. This course examines the entanglements of race, science, technology, and politics in the Pacific world from the late 19th century to the present. Through the lens of techno-Orientalism -- an expansion and inversion of Edward Said's formulation -- we consider the historical conditions that have recast the East from an imagined "Orient" suspended in an eternal state of stagnation to a technoscientific "Orient" fetishized as the exotic future.
Same as L46 AAS 450
L98 AMCS 450A AMCS Harvey Scholar Seminar
In this course, AMCS Harvey Scholars examine critical issues in American studies while receiving support and structure for their Harvey projects. Students discuss seminal texts and explore creative, literary and artistic productions and representations of American diversities and social contrasts. Class activities integrate academic journals, media, visual artifacts, and other texts that support students' specific projects while deepening their competencies in the field of American cultural studies. Participation includes attending the monthly AMCS Americanist Forum, which brings together faculty, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students and undergraduates. This course is part of the AMCS Harvey Scholar Fall-Spring seminar sequence, which is designed to support the intellectual and community life of AMCS undergraduates. Permission of the program is required for participation. Students place themselves on the waitlist and will be manually enrolled.
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 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 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 4584 Contemporary American Fiction
Same as L14 E Lit 4584
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 Historical Racial Violence: Legacies & Reckonings
There is growing awareness of the legacies of historical racial violence in the United States and a related increase in reckoning efforts. Area histories of enslavement, lynching, and other racial terror and dispossession relate to inequality, conflict, and violence in the same places today. These "haunting legacies" include heart disease and other health disparities, homicide rates, white supremacist mobilization, and corporal punishment in schools. Meanwhile, many communities and institutions are moving to acknowledge and address legacies of historical racial violence in various ways. This course combines seminar-style readings and writing on legacies of racial violence with a practicum component, where individual students or groups of students will conceptualize and develop interventions intended to clarify and disrupt legacies of racial violence, facilitating contemporary reckoning. The practicum will explore and support a broad range of interventive efforts, including public policy measures, original research projects, archival development, commemorative efforts, and a related array of mediums, including visual art, design, film, digital projects, and other creative approaches.
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 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 4625 Topics in Politics: Democracy and Inequality in an Age of Globalization
Same as L32 Pol Sci 4625
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 U.S. and Mexico Between the Wars
Many areas of 20th-century U.S. culture between World Wars I and II were inspired by postrevolutionary 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 United States. 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 will support travel to Mexico City, funded by the Department of Art History and Archaeology. Students in this course must be graduate students or undergraduate majors or minors in Art History and Archaeology or Latin American Studies. Recommended prerequisite courses include one 300- or 400-level course in 20th-century U.S. art or history or one relevant course in the 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, including how artists and critics thought about the nature of our cultural heritage, both 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 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 481B Advanced Seminar: New York, New York: The Empire City from Stuyvesant to Trump
This research seminar engages the long history of greater New York City: from the place Native Americans called Manna-hata to the largest city in the United States and the world political, financial, and cultural capital that it is today. The course explores New York City's ambivalent relationship with America, with the world, and with itself. It focuses on matters of power - how, in different moments of the city's history, it was defined, who held it, and how various groups managed to contest for it; matters of exchange and extraction - political, cultural, and economic; and matters of belonging - whether a city of immigrants, exiles and refugees succeeded in becoming a home for the homeless. It pays close attention to both the micro - the street corner and the political ward; the bridge and the tunnel; the gentrifying neighborhood; the mosaic of the city's foodways; the theater, financial, slaughterhouse, brothel, and other districts - and the macro - the banks and the stock exchange; the port and transit authorities; the instrumentalities of knowledge and cultural production in the city's universities, print media, clubs, and salons; the sports empires; and the political machines, organized crime, grassroots labor and political movements, insurgencies, and undergrounds. Above all, the course will foreground the city's massive and unbearable contradictions, as a city of skyscrapers and of basement dives, lures, and snares; as a symbol of the future and freedom bound to traumatic, slave, and unfree pasts; as a symbol of modern independence bound to modern interdependence; and as a place of renaissances and ruinations, where the world either comes together or spectacularly falls apart. Sites of potential investigation, in a list that is suggestive rather than exhaustive, range from the African Burial Ground to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, from Hamilton to Hamilton, from Boss Tweed to Robert Moses, from the Five Points to Chinatown, from Delmonico's to Sylvia's, from Blackwell's Island Lunatic Asylum to Hart Island Potter's Field, from the African Free School to Ocean Hill-Brownsville, from Marcus Garvey to Amadou Diallo, from Billie Holiday to Andy Warhol, from James Baldwin's Harlem to Stonewall, from George Steinbrenner to Jerry Seinfeld, from the Gowanus Canal to Estée Lauder, and, in the spirit of the course title, from Stuyvesant to Trump. Students will engage with the history of New York City vai two three-page book reviews, a three-page site analysis, and two five-minute oral reports on assigned readings before conducting their own original research in consultation with the instructor that will culminate in a 15-page final essay. Attendance at all classes and participation in class discussions required.
Same as L22 History 48IB
Credit 3 units. BU: HUM
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. NOTE ABOUT ENROLLMENT: All students will be initially waitlisted. Because this is a writing intensive course, enrollment will most likely be 12-15 students. Enrollment preference will be given to students who are majoring/minoring in Educational Studies, Teacher Education, Applied Linguistics, History, American Culture Studies, and Children's Studies and to students needing to complete their Writing Intensive requirement. Instructor will e-mail students about enrollment.
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 490A AMCS Portfolio Workshop: Academic Citizenship
How can students develop a stronger sense of academic identity and purpose? How can 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. This participation is a kind of "academic citizenship" with 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 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 is a response to students' feedback. Graduating seniors said 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 490B AMCS Portfolio Workshop: Connections and Explorations
Where have your studies in American culture taken you? In this workshop, AMCS majors work with mentors and peers to curate their AMCS portfolio, to reflect on their journey through the major, and to prepare for the public presentation of their capstone research. The course gives AMCS majors space and time to think more deeply about what they have achieved academically and where their intellectual and personal priorities intersect. It helps AMCS students to discover connections among what they have done and learned in the program and to clarify their post-college goals and pursuits. Some of the workshop activities are required for the major (e.g., the capstone presentation); the course provides structure, support, and academic credit for doing them. The Senior Spring Workshop is part of a workshop series designed to help AMCS majors develop a student portfolio and to provide additional training and support for particular milestones in the program. The portfolio and workshops are a response to students' feedback. Graduating seniors said they would have liked more structured time to reflect on their work in the major; they would have liked to document their progress and growth in the program more fully; and they wanted more opportunities to strengthen their class cohort. The Senior Workshop will foster all of these things while centering students' attention on the connections among their academic, personal, and career interests.
Credit 1 unit.
L98 AMCS 4926 Contemporary Art of the U.S.-Mexico Border and Beyond
The question of the materiality of borders has attained new urgency with the resurgence of nationalist and anti-globalist movements. Calls for a "big, beautiful wall" on the U.S.-Mexico border are but one striking example of this phenomenon. A wall, a fence, a line, or a zone may focus attention on a narrow space, but it does so at the expense of broader narratives of structural inequality, the lingering violence of colonialism, and the rapid scale of climate change. The simplicity of a barrier is a particularly damaging fiction, one that avoids examinations of the larger forces that divide us. This upper-level and graduate seminar will delve into the history of "border art" as a category -- whether public art, sculpture, installation, new media, or performance -- using the U.S.-Mexico border as an extended in-depth case study. Analysis will not be limited to this region, as the course encourages a comparative approach that places disparate regions into dialogue with each other. In addition, we will also consider the issue of divides and borders locally, within the St. Louis area and its suburbs. Prerequisites: Intro to Western Art or Intro to Modern Art, plus one 300-level course in Art History.
Same as L01 Art-Arch 4926
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 will 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: Intro to Western Art (L01 112) or Intro to Modern Art (L01 211); 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 INTER D 4992
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