American Culture Studies
The American Culture Studies (AMCS) program in Arts & Sciences at Washington University fosters the multidisciplinary study of the Americas. We promote a pluralistic and transnational view of American historical, social, political, material and cultural contexts. Our approach is theoretically and empirically inclusive, emphasizing the enormous diversity within American society and the wider world. We are especially concerned with issues of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class and other social contrasts that spur so much debate, expression and conflict within the United States and across borders.
We offer one major (American Culture Studies) and two minors (American Culture Studies and Asian American Studies) in our undergraduate program. For undergraduates and graduate students, including the Harvey Graduate Fellows and Harvey Undergraduate Scholars programs, AMCS and Asian American Studies offer diverse curricular opportunities for transdisciplinary study as well as mentoring from faculty in different fields who can support students' intellectual growth. The AMCS major includes a series of concentration areas such as Ability and the Body; Citizenship, Nationhood, and Identity; Gender and Sexuality; Place, Space, and the Environment; and Race and Ethnicity.
The minor in Asian American Studies is designed to enrich students' critical understanding of both individual experiences and collective histories of Asian Americans in regional, national and transnational contexts. As an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary program, it underlines transnational contexts and comparative perspectives for the study of Asian American experiences.
Above all else, our aim is to foster expansive and critical perspectives and understandings of the historical, social and cultural dimensions of life across the Americas.
|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.
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 Invisible: Introduction to American Visual Cultures 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 multidisciplinary project 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 Portfolio Workshop: Connections and Explorations, which are 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 requirement 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.
Established Concentration Areas:
- Subject Concentration
- Race & Ethnicity
- Gender & Sexuality
- Ability & the Body
- Place, Space, & the Environment
- Popular Culture
- Citizenship, Nationhood, & Identity
- Methods Concentration
- Archives & Texts
- Audio, Visual, & Material Studies
- Journalism & Ethnography
- Law, Politics, & Policy Studies
- Digital Methods
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 works closely with students to ensure that double-majoring works well.
Study Abroad: Majors intending to study abroad should consult with the AMCS study abroad advisor well in advance to plan a course of study and discuss its impact on their work in the major (including their fieldwork and capstone projects). For further information, please 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: 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.
For more information about the other minor offered by American Culture Studies, please visit the Asian American Studies page of this Bulletin.
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 Invisible: Introduction to American Visual Cultures 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 7000 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; after being organized into research groups of four or five, they will create websites addressing those issues. Students will enroll in a special section of E Comp in addition registering for this core seminar.
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 stand alone major in the field of Urban Studies. This course is for first-year, non-transfer students only.
Same as L18 URST 101
L98 AMCS 101B American Politics
In a polarized era of American politics, it is critical to have a working knowledge of the American political process and the analytical skills with which to interpret contemporary events. This course is designed to accomplish these dual objectives. In the first few weeks of the semester, we will explore both the key principles of social scientific thinking and trace the evolution of the fundamental characteristics of American government. We will use this foundation throughout the remainder of the semester to assess the contemporary challenges to American institutions and the context in which they, and the general public, make decisions. At the end of the semester, students should be able to understand and critically engage with information about American politics, as well as actively engage with the American political system (should they choose to do so).
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 1022 Popular Music in American Culture
American popular music from 1800s to the present, with emphasis on technology, social and political contexts, and popular music as a realm of interracial encounter. Musics covered include early jazz, classic blues, swing, classic pop, rock and roll, soul, disco, hip hop and the changing relationship between popular music, film, and television.
Same as L27 Music 1022
L98 AMCS 102C First Year Seminar: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats for 21st Century Education
This first-year seminar will highlight various aspects of critical topics in K-12 education to consider the current strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in contemporary K-12 education. This will be primarily a discussion-based course covering topics such as (but not limited to) trauma-informed care and school-based mental health, advancing technology, restorative practices, design schools, and equity in education. The course will provide students with an opportunity to observe a classroom at the P-12 grade level(s) with varied and diverse student populations for the purpose of introduction to and analysis of the culture of schooling and classrooms. Enrollment limited to first-year students.
Same as L12 Educ 102
L98 AMCS 102E First Year Seminar: Black Lives Matter and Educational Justice for Black Youth
In the wake of the global uprising against racial injustice, this introductory course examines how schools in the United States can create opportunities for Black youth to thrive. We will examine the schooling experiences of Black children and youth amid pervasive anti-blackness, analyze the relevance of educational models for racial justice, and imagine radical ways that P-16 schools might dismantle white supremacy.
Same as L12 Educ 102C
L98 AMCS 105 History of Jazz
History of jazz to the present, including its African elements.
Same as L27 Music 105
L98 AMCS 1101 Ampersand: Examining America: American Dreams: Art, Culture, Performance, and Politics
Does the "American Dream," rooted in Jeffersonian ideals of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," still hold sway in the American imagination, or have we moved on from its tantalizing promises? To answer this question, this Ampersand course investigates how perceptions, representations, and meanings of the American Dream manifest-or struggle to be realized-in the contemporary United States. As the American Dream relies deeply on the interaction between American culture and performance, we turn to case studies of the arts-theatre, literature, film, and painting-as lenses for understanding the complexities of nation and identity inherent to the American Dream. Utilizing an intimate seminar format to foreground our close reading and discussion of these multimodal texts, this Ampersand course emphasizes both critical thinking and writing. We also consider (and visit) a variety of exciting local theatrical performances and art exhibits, both on and off-campus. In synthesizing our interdisciplinary approach to the American Dream-or is it American Dreams?-the course culminates with a creative project with opportunities for performance during the final week of classes. This course is restricted to first-year students only.
Same as L61 FYP 1100
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 111A First-Year Seminar: The Vietnam Wars
US-centric historical narratives of the Vietnam War obscure the perspectives and lived experiences of the Vietnamese. The social, ethnic, and religious diversity, and the political and gender-related complexities of the Vietnamese are typically neglected. By focusing almost exclusively on Vietnam, US narratives of the war also tend to gloss over the wider regional dimensions of the conflict. In the interest of redressing this imbalance, this course examines the outlook, values, agency, and experiences of northern and southern Vietnamese, as well as rural and urban Cambodians and Laotians. Drawing on a wide range of primary and secondary sources it provides a macro and micro level historical analysis of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos from the premodern era until the present. In so doing, it explores the early sociocultural foundations of ancient Southeast Asian civilizations, the impact of Chinese and French colonialism, and Japanese occupation, the rise of Indochinese nationalist and communist revolutionary movements, the process of decolonization, the impact of US military intervention, the rise and fall of the Khmer Rouge, postwar political and economic developments, and the memories and multiple meanings of the Vietnam Wars for Southeast Asians. Course is for first-year, non-transfer students only.
Same as L97 GS 111
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 1165 First-Year Seminar: On Broadway - Musicals, Race, Place
The Broadway theatres are closed, but pressure to make these stages more racially and ethnically diverse when they re-open is strong. This course looks at the history of the Broadway theatres and the ways this coveted theatrical real estate in midtown Manhattan has played host to white and non-white performers in the signature American theatrical genre: the musical. Using digital and archival research tools, including an abundance of maps, our study stretches from the creation of the Theatre District at the turn of the 20th century to the present. We will examine groundbreaking and all-too-typical shows -- from "Show Boat" to "Hamilton" -- and look closely for how systemic racism has played out on Broadway stages for Broadway's mostly white audience. We will produce original research and explore digital humanities methods related to questions of racial inequality in commercial popular culture. This course is for first-year, non-transfer students only.
Same as L27 Music 1165
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 EEPS 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 and mostly in the 20th century. We will examine novels (e.g., Nella Larsen's "Passing"), plays (e.g., Anna Deavere Smith's "Fires in the Mirror"), and performances of everyday life (e.g., "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
L98 AMCS 1212 Ampersand: Pathfinder - A Sense of Place: Discovering Missouri's Natural Heritage
This is the first course in the Pathfinder program, and it will introduce students to their new home for the next four years. This interdisciplinary course will cover Missouri geology, climate, archaeology, and native megafauna. We will explore many of the habitats found in Missouri (prairie, forest, glade, and stream) and the biology of our diverse plant and animal wildlife (arthropods, mollusks, fish, salamanders, lizards, birds, and mammals). This will provide a foundation that will inform the study of ecology, policy and management in other courses. In addition to weekly lectures and discussions, students in this course will visit sites across the state during three weekend camping trips and two one-day trips. Attendance on field trips is an essential component of the course. Course enrollment is open only to students admitted into the Pathfinder Fellowship program.
Same as L61 FYP 121
L98 AMCS 122 Ampersand: Pathfinder — A Sense of Place: Discovering the Environment of St. Louis
Students will go exploring in and around St. Louis, where they will learn about the St. Louis backyard and their "home" for the next four years. Through field trips, readings, and discussion, students will see firsthand what challenges face the local environment and the people who live here. They will learn how to examine multiple perspectives, how to think critically, and how to approach problems from an interdisciplinary and holistic approach. They will also learn why it is important to know a community at the local level if to affect change on any level, whether state, national, or international. This course includes several field trips in addition to weekly readings and discussions.
Same as L61 FYP 122
L98 AMCS 125 St. Louis and the Documentary Image
From magazines to maps to documentary movies and TV, we look to pictures to tell us the truth. But no image is ever completely objective; every visual reflection of the real world is mediated by technology, culture, politics, and memory. How do we-as viewers, as creators, as people-sort out the complicated claims pictures make on the world around us? Drawing on collaborations between four areas in two schools-Visual Arts, English, American Culture Studies, Film and Media Studies-this class will introduce students to theories and practices of visual nonfiction within the city of Saint Louis. Through immersive, site-specific course units focused on a variety of approaches to visual nonfiction in different media, students will engage with the tumultuous history, material culture, and landscapes of St. Louis. The course will introduce first-year students both to their city and their university, preparing them to explore existing coursework in Arts & Sciences and the Sam Fox School. This course is for first-year (non-transfer) students only. Students who are not first year students will be unenrolled from this course.
Same as I60 BEYOND 125
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 United States. 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. It will also examine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Chinatowns in the United States and elsewhere. The assignments include surveys of Chinese businesses and a debate on whether or not Olive Blvd. constitutes a Chinatown in St. Louis. Attendance on the first day of class is mandatory to reserve class enrollment.
Same as L97 GS 135
L98 AMCS 136A First-Year Seminar: 20,000 Years on Turtle Island: A Deep History of North America
The twin premises of this course are that humans are the subject of history and that history should begin at the beginning. American history courses normally begin with the colonization of the New World by Europeans beginning in the 15th century, sometimes with a cursory chapter dedicated to the 20,000 years of history that came before. This course will invert this structure and place what we normally think of as American history in the context of a much longer story by drawing on sources from many disciplines, including archaeology, ethnography, ecology, geology, linguistics, and oral history. We will focus on contested events or issues, where our sources tell different stories, and we will consider what is at stake for defenders of different narratives. Throughout the course, we will ask how the lack of written records limits our understanding of North American history, but we will also consider how other sources of evidence about the past can be used to include populations and themes normally underrepresented by textual histories. The goals of this course are as follows: (1) to put recent American history in its proper context; (2) to show how historical narratives are constructed and contested; and (3) to give students tools other than written records with which to construct history. Course is for first-year, non-transfer students only.
Same as L48 Anthro 136
L98 AMCS 144 First Year Seminar: Monumental Anti-Racism
As sources of national memory and identity, public monuments, place names, historical markers, and other elements of commemorative landscapes are potential sites of cultural violence (e.g., alienation, disrespect, and erasure) contributing to broader conflict and inequality; they are therefore important considerations in movements for equal opportunity and justice. Some contend that memory sites are "the new lunch counters," where our racial politics are worked out. This course examines the racial politics of commemorative objects and practices as well as commemorative intervention as a strategy of anti-racist activism. We begin with an historical survey of various ways that racism has been inscribed on the commemorative landscape, and readings in history, political theory, cultural studies, and other fields will be used to gain insight into these contested commemorative objects, their development, and social significance. We then turn to a critical assessment of efforts to remove and recontextualize commemorative objects and to erect new objects commemorating neglected figures and issues. We consider how these reparative efforts relate to what political theorists call "remedies of recognition" and specifically how they might aid in advancing equal opportunity and justice. Through our study and engagement with contested commemorative landscapes (including local, national, and global cases), students will become familiar with the burgeoning interdisciplinary field of memory studies, diverse forms and sites of commemoration, local and global efforts to advance what has been termed "commemorative justice," and the challenges being faced.
Same as L90 AFAS 144
L98 AMCS 160 First-Year Seminar: Immigrants and Exiles
Literature has traditionally been a welcoming space for people who, by choice or history, do not fit easily in the mainstream of community life. The widespread changes and upheavals of the last century have vastly expanded the ranks of such people, accelerating the processes of immigration and exile while fundamentally altering traditional notions of home and belonging. This course will examine fiction by writers such as Jhumpa Lahiri, Albert Camus, Jean Rhys, Franz Kafka, and Teju Cole, who write from and about the position of "outsider," exploring what such texts have to say about living in an unsettled, diasporic modern world - a world in which real belonging seems an increasingly elusive goal. In reading these texts, we will investigate how their authors have portrayed the journeys, hopes, and hardships of dislocation and alienation, as well as the role literature might play in creating a sense of community for immigrants, refugees, and people living in various forms of exile. Course is for first-year, non-transfer students only.
Same as L14 E Lit 160
L98 AMCS 163 Freedom, Citizenship, and the Making of American Life
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 165D Latin America: Nation, Ethnicity and Social Conflict
This class is an interdisciplinary introduction to the academic study of modern and contemporary Latin America. The course focuses on main issues in Latin American politics, history and culture, both in the continent at large and in the specific regions and sub-regions within it. The class will particularly explore topics such as nation creation, national identity, modes of citizenry, the role of race, ethnicity, gender and class in the region's historical development, as well as social and political conflicts, which have defined the region over the centuries. This course is suggested before taking any other upper-level courses on Latin America or going abroad to other countries, and required for all Latin American Studies majors and minors. Through the course, students gain basic bibliographic knowledge and experience with research tools for a comparative study of Latin American politics society and culture. Prereq. None.
Same as L45 LatAm 165D
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 2002 Doctors and Terrorists: The Fictions of South Asian America
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, or dismissed through dangerous stereotypes, or just as inaccurately, excessively 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 US imperialism, to garner acceptance and mobility, to build solidarity with other US 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? Why do discourses of sex and intimacy rise to the surface in this history, and what is the significance of story-telling in building the archive and questioning the fiction of South Asian America? Course enrollment is limited to first-year and sophomore students.
L98 AMCS 2010 Religion and American Society
This course explores religious life in the United States in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Comprehensive coverage of such a diverse landscape is not our goal. Rather, we will focus on some of the basic social categories that organize our society and that make religion a social phenomenon. How do religious belief and practice relate to race, class, or gender? How do we understand the role of religion in relation to region and space? How can we understand the many different stories that Americans tell about their own country as a special-even sacred-place? Major themes include religion and race; nation, land, and migration; religion, class, and money; evangelicalism and the religious right; business, class, and prosperity; religion and gender; religious nationalism; and the enduring challenges of religious multiplicity in the U.S.
Same as L57 RelPol 201
L98 AMCS 2011 The Roots of Ferguson: Understanding Racial Inequality in the Contemporary U.S.
An overview of sociological understandings of race, with a particular focus on race relations in the contemporary United States. The course begins by inquiring how sociologists understand racial distinctions, asking: What comprises a racial group? What constitutes a "group" in the social sense? The course then shifts to explore patterns of racial inequality in the U.S., particularly through investigating the intersections of economic, political, and racial stratification. After analyzing national trends in racial stratification, the course narrows its 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 2022 The Essay: From Montaigne to The New Yorker
The essay has a storied past and present as well as a variety of purposes. In this course, we trace the history of this form, beginning with those long forgotten and not necessarily identified as essays and moving swiftly to present-day essays. We read works by such authors as Michel de Montaigne, Jonathan Swift, W. E. B. Du Bois, and Virginia Woolf, plus articles in 2020 issues of The New Yorker. We practice brief reflective and long formal essays, including a profile, a reportage, and a film review. By the end of the semester, students will have a good understanding of the essay's history and form and a good sensibility for writing it.
Same as L59 CWP 202
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 203B Introduction to Education: Myths and Mysteries of Memory
In this course, we will learn about the science of memory and how it relates to education, broadly construed, by taking a tour through the many ways in which memory influences everyday life. We will cover topics like how to learn effectively, individual differences in memory ability, the effect of trauma on memory, why people are susceptible to misinformation, and how collective memories shape the way we remember history. In the process of learning about these topics and others, we will critically evaluate widely believed myths about memory, try to explain mysteries of memory, and explore the implications for education in formal and informal contexts. By gaining a better understanding of memory and how it works, you will acquire skills and knowledge that you can apply to your education and life more generally.
Same as L12 Educ 203E
L98 AMCS 203C Introduction to Education: Social Inequality, Development, & Early Childhood Education
Education begins long before children are introduced to formal schooling, and factors both internal and external to schools influence children's education. An understanding of the social, political, and economic contexts of families and schools is essential to understanding how social factors impact individuals. Race, class, health, and place exert influence on individual achievement and opportunity throughout the life course. This course will examine such factors as they relate to early developmental outcomes, school readiness skills, later academic achievement, and success in schooling. Course readings and activities will examine the influence of families, neighborhoods, the built environment and health on early childhood development and education and will offer corresponding implications for education policy. This course will examine the complex ecosystem of neighborhoods and schooling and will offer students a broad overview of these themes as we critically examine inequality and education in the United States.
Same as L12 Educ 203C
L98 AMCS 203D Introduction to Education: Immigrants, Refugees, and English Learners in U.S. Schools
What is the distinction between immigrant, refugee, migrant, and newcomer students in schools? How are their needs similar, and how are they different? Although U.S. schools have historically served multilingual children, many have seen an increase in the racial, ethnic, and language backgrounds of the students they designate as English learners (ELs). As such, educators are still coming to understand how to best support this highly diverse group. In addition to clarifying distinctions between EL and student background classifications, this course will examine: federal, state, and local policies impacting immigrant and refugee student integration into schools, how school practices for several kinds of multilingual students vary, and how existing educational structures can better support designated EL students and their families.
Same as L12 Educ 203D
L98 AMCS 203E Introduction to Education: Disability Law, Policy, and Institutional Implications
This seminar is designed to provide students with a working knowledge of the laws and policies governing disabilities and how they impact governmental, social, economic, political, and educational institutions. This introduction to disabilities is provided from a legal perspective and will appeal to self-motivated students interested in learning more about how disability awareness might impact their everyday lives. Topics for discussion include IDEA, ADA, and Section 504 accommodations and how these laws apply to K-12 schools, higher education, immigration, housing, substance abuse, courts, employment, and access to public transit and public accommodations.
Same as L12 Educ 203B
L98 AMCS 2052 Conspiracy Theories and Online Hoaxes: The Rhetoric of Disinformation
Why do people believe in conspiracies, and what can we do to quell disinformation? This course will build on foundational information literacy skills by studying conspiracy theories and hoaxes that originate and are circulated online and that are then used for political advantage. Taking a multidisciplinary approach, we will read texts in composition and rhetoric, media studies, philosophy, history, sociology, political science, and psychology to understand how conspiracy theories, hoaxes, and other forms of disinformation are amplified through social media networks and come to be believed by millions. Working with case studies such as QAnon, climate change denial, the anti-vaccination movement, and the Flat Earth Society, this course will explore the rhetoric that convinces people to believe in disinformation and the networks that contribute to its proliferation while also studying ways to combat disinformation, from methods for debunking conspiracy theories and hoaxes to the actions that journalists, educators, and others can take to resist the spread of disinformation.
Same as L59 CWP 205
L98 AMCS 206 "Reading" Culture: The Visible and Invisible: Introduction to American Visual Cultures Studies
The topic of this course changes from semester to semester. See the Course Listings for the current offering.
L98 AMCS 2062 Visualizing the American City
Mound City. Gateway to the West. A "city of neighborhoods." One of the most segregated places in America. A sports town with "the best fans in the world." The heart of the Silicon Prairie. Flyover country. St. Louis has been called all of these things and many more over the past 200 years. Like all cities, its evolving identity has been shaped by stories, ideas, place memories, and local branding efforts that are deeply rooted in the visual imagination -- those "pictures of the mind" that define a distinct sense of place. Such pictures are at once personal and shared. And some -- like aerial photos of the Arch -- become definitive elements of the visual imaginary and are reproduced endlessly, from art galleries to tourist maps to baseball caps. This introductory course explores the visual culture of the American city, seeking to understand its powerful political and social significance at key moments in urban history. We will engage the rich archives of urban life, culture, and economic development associated with Chicago, New York, St. Louis, Detroit, and other cities, working with maps, engravings, photographs, travel guides, souvenirs, billboards, posters, and many other visual technologies, including digital representations and experimental formats. In so doing, we will attend to various historical phenomena -- from world's fairs and urban renewal projects to catastrophic violence and slum clearance to gentrification and social reform, as well as their visual representations -- that have shaped these cities' public lives and identities and contributed to broader urban imaginaries that are still powerfully present today. Students will develop their analysis and writing skills through short artifact readings.
L98 AMCS 2072 The Scholar and Social Change: Writing between Research and Political Urgency
While scholarship has a fraught relationship with timely action, some scholars understand and position their intellectual activities as promoting real-world change to bring about a more equitable and just future: By better understanding a seemingly intractable problem, we should be better able to empower others with actionable knowledge. And by better reflecting on the socio-political role of scholarship, we should be able to bridge the gap between knowledge and action. This composition course is devoted to reflecting on our role as members of both a scholarly community and a system beset by powerful interests working to preserve exploitative practices that degrade our health, our environment, and our dignity. Specifically, "The Scholar and Social Change" develops theoretical models and research strategies to investigate how overlapping histories of systemic oppression affect the production of knowledge and power. In seminar-style class discussion we will connect urgent affairs of the day to academic literature on environmental justice, critical race theory, postcolonialism, intersectionality, corporate disinformation, and neoliberalism. Ungraded research exercises will practice finding and making use of Supreme Court decisions, government research agencies, newspapers, and case studies on St. Louis and Washington University. Readings will include works by scholars reflecting on political action, modeling social engagement, and holding their own disciplines to account. As we read the authors on the syllabus -- including Naomi Oreskes, Keeanga Yamahtta-Taylor, Julie Sze, Nick Estes, Laura Pulido, Kendall Thomas, Gayatri Spivak, and Judith Butler -- we'll ask how scholarship can be a political vocation and what that may mean for us as writers and researchers. Assessment will include research essays, peer interviews, reflection posts, and oral presentations with graded draft workshops built into the class schedule. Considerable freedom will be given to students to craft their final research project on a topic consistent with the spirit of the class.
Same as L59 CWP 207
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 2110 Social Inequality in America
Americans face different challenges and opportunities that depend on a variety of characteristics, including race, class, gender, and sexual orientation. This class examines these intersecting categories from a sociological perspective - not simply as ways to classify people, but as social constructions that help to explain social inequality. Students will examine these systems in a variety of institutional contexts, such as popular culture, family life, education, the criminal justice system, and the labor force. No prerequisites.
Same as L40 SOC 2110
L98 AMCS 2118 First-Year Seminar: Angels, Prostitutes and Chicas Modernas: Women in Latin American History
Women have been active players in the construction of Latin American nations. In the last two decades, leading scholars in the field have taken up the challenge of documenting women's participation. This research explosion has produced fruitful results to allow for the development of specialized courses. This course looks at the nation building process through the lens of Latin American women. Students will examine the expectations, responsibilities and limitations women confronted in their varied roles from the Wars of Independence to the social revolutions and dictatorial regimes of the twentieth century. Besides looking at their political and economic lives, students will explore the changing gender roles and relations within marriage and the family, as well as the changing sexual and maternal mores.
Same as L22 History 2118
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" in which 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," and "Mules and Men"), films ("Modern Times," "Salt of the Earth," and "Saturday Night Fever"), and music (blues, folk, and 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 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 225A Religion and Politics in American Society
Throughout the twentieth century, the state was a critical arbiter over what constituted religion and religious practice in the United States. Molded by evolving notions of race, ethnicity, gender, the family, citizenship, and social inclusion, a variety of communities and institutions have strained against state perceptions of their practices and beliefs. This course traces such contestations from the turn of the twentieth century through the dawn of the new millennium. Case studies such as the Moorish Science Temple, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and the Nation of Islam, among others, will guide our conversation on changing definitions of "religion" and "the state" in the US.
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 United States; 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 60 years? In our consideration of teen culture, we take a multidisciplinary approach when tackling a variety of materials -- including historical readings, literary fiction, young adult fiction, comic books, popular films, and popular music -- in an attempt to come to a better understanding of how the notion of the American teenager has evolved over the past 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 1960s. 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." This course 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 244B Religion and Music in American Culture
In this course, students will examine public discourse on popular music as a way of understanding questions of religious identity and community formation. Through case studies ranging from the Pueblo Indian dance controversy of the 1920s to post-9/11 disputes about the Islamic call to prayer, students will consider how debates over what "counts" as sacred or secular music reveal disputes over notions of religious authority and authenticity in American culture.
Same as L57 RelPol 244
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 Rodriguez Scholars Seminar: Latinx Experiences in the United States
Identity is a term that begins to give humans a sense of understanding who we are. In terms of the Latino/a diaspora in the United States issues of ethnicity, gender, nation, class, sexuality and race are key theoretical categories that aid us in theoretical and practical understandings of identity. In this course we analyze and discuss the concept of order to understand the constructions and varied meanings of the term. There is a special emphasis placed on anthropological, historical, and social science literatures of the Caribbean, Latin America, and the United States as they pertain to deeper understandings of identity. Prerequisite: membership in the Annika Rodriquez Program.
L98 AMCS 248B Religion, Health, and Wellness in Modern America
Religion, Health, and Wellness in Modern America will examine changing conceptions of health and wellness in America from the late nineteenth-century to the present. With media, artifacts, and literature drawn from the histories of medicine, religion, and capitalism, this class will cover the proliferation of alternative health regimens, the rise of the medical establishment, claims of divine healing, and the impact of market forces on wellness cultures. Course topics include the raced and gendered dynamics of care, socioeconomic status, technological innovation and media, the role of nature, health activism and radical self-care, and New Age spirituality and mental health. Special attention will be paid to how the politics of the body and its regulation intersect with religious and consumer practices in the modern wellness industry
Same as L57 RelPol 248
L98 AMCS 250A Sophomore Seminar:Stranger Than Fiction: True Crime from In Cold Blood to I'll Be Gone in the Dark
Topic will vary by semester.
Same as L14 E Lit 250
L98 AMCS 252C Catholicism Confronts Modernity: A Global History from the French Revolution to Pope Francis
This course explores how the Catholic Church confronted the challenges of modernity-from liberal democracy and human rights; to capitalism and modern science; to fascism and communism. We will examine also how Catholicism itself has shaped modern politics and culture. The course will draw from the experience of Catholics in different countries (with no pretense of being exhaustive) over the past two centuries. We will begin with the French Revolution and the first "culture wars" between Catholics and liberals and end with the ambivalent legacies of Vatican II. We will appreciate how US Catholicism cannot be fully understood without reference to this global context.
Same as L57 RelPol 252
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.
L98 AMCS 254 Topics in AMCS: A Year in Review: Hindsight is 2020: Piety, Pandemic, and Politics
What was 2020? This course examines a year that will be remembered alongside 2001, 1968, 1945, 1929, 1865, 1800, and 1776 as one of the most consequential in American history and culture. We willconsider how the COVID-19 global pandemic, the bitterly contested 2020 Presidential election, and a summer of renewed protest for social justice reverberated through spheres of American arts, culture, education, energy, health care, labor, religion, sports, the university, technology and more. A series of guest experts from Washington University and around the country will provide instruction via lecture once per week, with students sharing their own experiences and analysis in discussion sections during the other weekly course meeting. The course is open to all, but it is geared toward first-year students and sophomores. It fulfills the Intro course requirement in the AMCS major. This is a variable topics course for courses best suited to the reviewing pf a significant year in American Culture Studies. Topics vary by semester, so please see the current course listing.
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 2580 Families and Social Inequality
Families have changed dramatically in recent decades in the United States. Dual-earner families, single parents, cohabiting families, and blended families are now common in the contemporary family landscape. The prevalence of increasingly diverse and complex family configurations varies substantially by social class, race and ethnicity, and gender. Men's and women's work and family lives have also become more similar over time, but gender inequalities in child care remain significant. Drawing on insights from sociology, demography, and economics, this course aims to understand the causes and consequences of social inequalities in family life. The course focuses primarily on the contemporary U.S. context, but also explores historical and cross-national variation in families. The course also considers the role of social policy in affecting inequalities. No prerequisites.
Same as L40 SOC 2580
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 270B Sophomore Seminar: U.S.-China Relations: Perceptions and Realities
The United States and China are the two most important global powers today, and the bilateral relationship is one of the most comprehensive, complex, consequential, and competitive major-power relations in the world. The course aims to examine the attitudes, ideas, and values that have shaped the relationship, from the era of colonial expansion in the 1800s to the rise of China as a major political and economic power in the 21st century. Drawing upon visual images, literature, films, policy statements, and other materials, the course will analyze the patterns of perceptions that have informed and shaped the understanding of realities. This course, which uses an interdisciplinary approach, will include discussions and debates from both American and Chinese perspectives. Prerequisite: sophomore level only.
Same as L04 Chinese 270
L98 AMCS 271 The American Musical Theater Songbook
From its birth in vaudeville and musical reviews to current future classics such as "Hamilton," American musical theater has produced a voluminous catalogue of material referred to herein as the "American Musical Theater Songbook." Part survey and part performance, this course will focus on the composers, lyricists, performers and subject matter that have been instrumental in defining musical theater and its role in describing a continually evolving human psychology and sociology. The performance aspect of the course will develop students' existing vocal skills and knowledge of style. As both singing and non-singing students are welcome to participate in the course, adjustments for non-singing students will be accommodated so that they may participate fully in the class. The format of the course will be a seminar of student-generated presentations, discussions, and workshop performances. A sampling of shows from which repertoire will be sourced includes the following: early song-and-dance shows ("Girl Crazy," "Anything Goes," "Kiss Me Kate"); Rodgers and Hammerstein ("Oklahoma!," "Carousel," "South Pacific"); Stephen Sondheim ("Gypsy," "Sweeney Todd," "Sunday in the Park With George"); modern era ("West Side Story," "A Chorus Line," "Cabaret," "Hair," "Pippin"); and contemporary ("In the Heights," "Caroline, or Change," "Kinky Boots," "Dear Evan Hansen," "Hamilton"). This course serves as a prerequisite for L15 372.
Same as L15 Drama 271
L98 AMCS 2710 First-Year Seminar: Beyond the Melting Pot: Life in Immigrant America
This course uses a sociological lens to explore contemporary immigration to the United States. The more than 43 million immigrants living in the United States today come from across the globe. Their reasons for migrating to the United States are complex, as are the laws, policies, and social structures they must navigate before and after their arrival. In the first half of the course, students will get to know Mexican immigrants who split their lives between Brooklyn and their small hometown in Mexico, fourth-generation Chinese Americans who are still asked, "Where are you from?", and West Indian immigrants forced to confront a U.S. racial order where they are defined by their Blackness. In the second half of the course, students will learn about Iranian-American youth navigating life in post- 9/11 America and the challenges of becoming a young adult when one learns that they lack any legal status. Who are these immigrants? Why and how did they come here? How well are they and their children integrating into American society? Readings will be drawn from sociological research that opens windows into the lives of immigrants in America. Students will also conduct their own hands-on research to better understand life in immigrant America. No prerequisites. Open to first-year students only.
Same as L40 SOC 2710
L98 AMCS 280A African-American Religions
This course is an introduction to African-American religions. This course attends to change wrought in indigenous African religions by enslavement, the adoption of Christianity (and severe critiques of it) 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. At every stage of the course, religion is discussed with reference to key political developments in broader African-American history African diasporic history. The course proceeds in three parts. The course begins with a brief introduction to key themes and problems in the study of African-American religions. For example, is there such thing as a "black church," and how does the study of African-American religion differ from the study of other religious groups or traditions? The second part, 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: creole 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 288 Muslims in the Media and Popular Culture
In the post-9/11 context of the United States, Muslims have been a constant presence in news media, typically cast in a negative light as political others who are backwards, threatening, and inherently prone to violence. This pattern has long been replicated in films in which Muslims serve as static and dehumanized perpetrators of violence and/or as symbols of a backwards and depraved culture, antithetical to U.S. values and interests. In recent years, however, Muslims have become increasingly visible in the entertainment industry as protagonists and producers of their own media, including G. Willow Wilson's "Ms. Marvel," Hulu's "Ramy," and Netflix's "Man Like Mobeen." This course explores a selection of recent media projects created by Muslim writers, actors, musicians, and comedians. We will be pairing films, television shows, music, and comics with scholarship on Islam and religion in the media to analyze Muslim representation and storytelling in contemporary popular culture. We will evaluate these works on their own terms, noting the ways in which gender and racial hierarchies dictate who gets to represent American Muslims while also assessing how these new media both disrupt and further reify Muslims' construction as religious and political outsiders.
Same as L57 RelPol 288
L98 AMCS 2881 Free the Land: Black Histories of Environmental Racism
Black history is inextricable from the study and discussion of environmental racism and environmental justice in the United States. Environmental racism is defined by Dr. Robert Bullard ("the Father of Environmental Justice") as "any policy, practice or directive that differentially affects or disadvantages (where intended or unintended) individuals, groups or communities based on race." This course expands and illuminates this definition through examinations of watershed moments -- from the Transatlantic Slave Trade to struggles in the Greater St. Louis area today -- in which Black communities bear the deadly brunt of toxic fumes, poisoned groundwater, nuclear waste, perilous disaster work, land theft, and the slow violence of biological extermination. Throughout the semester, we will read scholarly texts, engage primary sources, analyze popular and independent media, and study testimony and self-published materials from Black activists.
Same as L90 AFAS 288
L98 AMCS 290 Islamophobia & U.S. Politics
The presence of Muslim minorities in the West is increasingly divisive 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 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 that parallels hostility towards other religious and racial minorities in the US. We explore how while 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 twentieth century, as well as in anti-Muslim attitudes that date back to the colonial period. By examining academic literature, political speeches, and news media sources, we situate Islamophobia within its historical context and also analyze how US anxieties about Islam and Muslims are not only gendered and racialized, but also exist across the political spectrum.
Same as L57 RelPol 290
L98 AMCS 290A Latinx Art
What is Latinx art? This seemingly simple question holds a number of complicated, contradictory answers. Latinx art is art created by (and often for) Latinx communities in the United States, but who determines the scope of representation? Is Jean-Michel Basquiat, the famed Haitian-Puerto Rican-American of 1980s NYC, a Latino artist? How about the Cuban-born Ana Mendieta, who lived and worked primarily in the United States? This course will consider who gets counted as Latinx in the art world and why. Topics covered include the Chicano/a movement in the 1970s, the Border Art movement in the 1980s and 1990s, the rise of "multiculturalist" rhetoric in the United States, and the contemporary global art market and its relationship to the category "Latinx." We will also consider issues of gender, sexuality and race, as they pertain to Latinx artists. This is an introductory course, and requires no prior knowledge of Art History or Latinx Studies. Prerequisites: none
Same as L01 Art-Arch 290
L98 AMCS 2910 Alternative Facts: An Introduction to the Social Construction of Reality
This course acts as an introduction to the concept of social construction — the idea that an "objective" reality is shaped by one's 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 through a sociological lens. Students 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. Students will also evaluate the ways that cutting-edge technological innovations and academic research can — or cannot — help people distinguish facts from "alternative" facts. 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. The credit earned should correspond to actual time spent in work activities; for example, eight to 10 hours a week for 13 or 14 weeks to receive 3 units of credit, or 1 or 2 credits for fewer hours or work per week. Students are encouraged to obtain written evaluations of their work for the their academic advisor and career placement file. Prerequisite: Permission of department. Only AMCS majors and minors may enroll.
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
Students register for this course for directed study with an AMCS-affiliated faculty member. All proposals for study must be submitted for review and approved by the AMCS advisor. Consult the AMCS academic coordinator for more information. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.
Credit variable, maximum 3 units.
L98 AMCS 300D From Shaft to Django: The History of Blaxploitation Film
Hollywood was in steep decline in the late 1960's. On the brink of collapse, the film industry was rescued by an unprecedent boom in films that featured Black casts and targeted Black audiences. Narratives of slick-talking hustlers and afro-sporting femme fetales intent on "sticking it to the man," these would come to be known as Blaxploitation films. This class will historically contextualize and critically examine the Blaxploitation phenomenon of the 1970's. We will explore what led to the emergence of Blaxploitation, the peaks of its popularity, the controversies that surrounded it, its rapid demise, and its lasting influence. Blaxploitation was a brief, bombastic and highly polarizing era in the history of American film. Heralded by some as a revolution in representations of Black empowerment and by others as pandering to longstanding racial stereotypes. Indeed, it's influence on Black culture stretches beyond the 1970's and into cultural realms beyond the silver screen. While this is primarily a film course emphasizing close readings of canonical Blaxploitation cinema, we also will explore: Blaxploitation soundtracks (i.e., Curtis Mayfield and Isaac Hayes), Black Pulp Fiction novels that inspired the films (i.e., Ernest Tidyman and Sam Greenlee), the aesthetics of Blaxploitation promotion via the Black Film Promotional Material Collection located in the Julian Edison Department of Special Collections, and finally we will consider how Blaxploitation aestheticism influenced subsequent cultural movements like the 1990's renaissance in Black film, Hip-Hop and contemporary satire.
Same as L90 AFAS 3003
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 nineteenth 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.
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 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: (1) the differing conceptions of schooling held by some American political, social, and cultural thinkers; (2) the changing relationships among schools and other educational institutions, such as the church and the family; and (3) the policy issues and arguments that have shaped the development of schooling in America.
Same as L12 Educ 301C
L98 AMCS 301D A History of African-American Theater
A survey of African American theatre from post-Civil War "coon" shows and reviews to movements for a national black theatre, such as Krigwa, Lafayette and Lincoln, and the Black Arts Movement. Early black theatre and minstrels; black theatre movement and other ethnic theatre movements in America. Critical readings of such plays as Amiri Baraka's "Dutchman," Lorraine Hansberry's "A Raisin in the Sun," Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston's "Mulebone." Also works by August Wilson, Ed Bullins, Charles Fuller, Georgia Douglas Johnson.
Same as L90 AFAS 301
L98 AMCS 301T Topics in AMCS
Course varies by semester, see semester listing for description,
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 twentieth-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 in not a survey, and students should already be familiar with basic jazz history.
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
This is a topics course focusing on instances of identity and culture within the American scope. The topic varies by semester. See the Course Listings for a description of the 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 302A The Great American Novel
Same as L14 E Lit 302
L98 AMCS 3031 Gender and Education
An examination of educational experiences, practices, and institutions across multiple levels (PK-university) using gender as a critical lens. Key topics include common beliefs, practices, and expectations related to gender in educational spaces, as well as the intersections between gender and other identities that may influence educational experiences and outcomes. Readings are drawn from multiple disciplines, including sociology, history, psychology, and philosophy. Students should be prepared to analyze their own gendered educational experiences in the context of the scholarship explored in the course, while also listening respectfully and reflecting on the experiences shared by classmates.
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 3035 Roots of Lofi Hip Hop: Amateur Music Making, Recording Technology, and Globalization
Lofi hip hop is a style of music made by amateur beatmakers that mixes Japanese and African American aesthetics. It relies on anime visuals, scratchy jazz samples, and repetitive drum loops. It serves primarily as background music. This course is about the sounds and popularity of lofi hip hop in the twenty-first century. But to understand this genre, students will also focus on the genre's roots. We learn about French composers' early attempts to create background music at the turn of the twentieth century. We learn about American teenagers who took over their suburban garages to create an energetic style of rock and roll during the 1960s. We learn about how anthropologists during the 1930s thought that low fidelity recordings of blues and country musicians was evidence of their musical authenticity. And we will learn about how jazz harmonies and samples influenced the music of groups like A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul. Lofi gives us a jumping off point for exploring a wide range of genres and histories. The final assignment will be a collaborative effort. As a class, students will make and publish a podcast about lofi hip hop and its antecedents. This podcast will feature original lofi hip hop made by the class. The original music will also serve as background music to a study-session event organized by the class towards the end of the semester.
Same as L27 Music 3034
L98 AMCS 304 Research in American Culture Studies
This course is an introduction to research for second-year students. Students work under the supervision of a sponsor.
Credit 3 units.
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 304B Survey of Brazilian Cultures: Race, Nation and Society
This course will introduce students to Brazilian culture from the colonial period to the present through literature, art, music, film and other cultural forms. The course gives a historical overview of Brazilian culture and society, exploring major sociohistorical and artistic moments from the colonial, imperial, and republican periods, and their "legacies" or influences on Brazilian society. Students will learn about the Amerindian, European, and African influences of Brazilian culture through the study of representative texts and cultural practices. The course also illustrates Brazil's place within Latin America and the world. The course will seek to deconstruct and expand preconceived notions of Brazil, such as Lusotropicalism and racial democracy. Classes will combine lectures by the instructor, student presentations, collective debates and cooperative learning, and will entail the use of required bibliography and audiovisual materials. Prereq. None.
Same as L45 LatAm 304
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 bear upon the freedom struggles of people of color in the United States 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 the 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; we will then 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 VMD
Topics vary by semester; see semester listing for course description.
L98 AMCS 3086 Living in a Material World
In the months after 9/11, President Bush urged Americans to buy cars and take vacations to show their patriotism and unity and also to send a message to terrorists that "our way of life" could not be stolen. Such calls to consume have often been made in times of crisis, and consumption has long been something of a national pastime (some would say a national pathology!). However, frugality, simple living, and ethical consumerism have also at times been declared American values, and they are now just as likely to be advanced by celebrities, entrepreneurs, or corporations as by political activists. This multidisciplinary course explores our complex and evolving relationship to materialism and materiality, focusing on moments in U.S. history when consumption has been especially consoling or haunting or when it has been aligned with ideas of the public good or social and political change. Along the way, we will study material goods that have been declared symbols of American values (e.g., soap, Tupperware, Harley-Davidson motorcycles, #MAGA hats); influential advertising campaigns and models of "good" and "bad" consumer behavior (e.g., shoplifting, hoarding, "good housekeeping," thrifting); and anti-materialist positions, from Thoreau's "Walden" to the Occupy Movement to today's "off-the-grid" cooperative-living communities. Students will write short analytical response papers, conduct a study of their own consumer practices, and do a final project on a recent "ethical consumption" campaign in historical perspective. This course counts as Multidisciplinary for AMCS students and as Visual Culture for Sam Fox students.
L98 AMCS 308S The Racialized Sporting Landscape of St. Louis: Athletics, Aesthetics, Bias, and Opportunity
This interdisciplinary course considers the racialized landscape of St. Louis through the lenses of sporting cultures and creative practices. Co-taught by John Early (Sam Fox) and Noah Cohan (American Culture Studies), this seminar will examine the history of sports and race in St. Louis, illuminate the realities of access and inequity in the sporting landscape of the city, and imagine more equitable futures. In addition to writing bi-weekly reading responses and one historical paper, students will maintain a research sketchbook, design and print a zine, and create a public-facing creative project. Students in the College of Art and in the AMCS program will be given enrollment priority. Prerequisites: None
Same as I50 INTER D 308C
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. However, we will 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 3095 The Incas and Their Ancestors: Archaeology of the Ancient Andes
From the hyper-arid desert of the Pacific Coast to the high-mountain plateaus of the Andes more than 12,000 feet above sea level to the lush forested Amazonian lowlands, Western South America presents one of the most diverse natural and cultural environments in the world and one of the few places where social complexity first developed. Beginning with the earliest human occupations in the region more than 12,000 years ago, this course examines how domestication, urbanization, the rise of early states, and major technological inventions changed life in the Andes from small village societies to the largest territorial polity of the Americas - the Inca Empire. Students will become familiar with the major debates in the field of Andean archaeology. Together, we will examine archaeological evidence (architecture, art, ceramics, metals, textiles, plant and animal remains, etc.) from context of everyday life (households, food production, craft production) to the rituals and ceremonies (offerings, tombs) that took place in domestic and public spaces. We will also touch on the role of Andean archaeology in the context of national politics and heritage sustainability.
Same as L48 Anthro 3095
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 3120 African Immigration to the United States of America
The United States of America has historically been known as a "nation of immigrants." However, current rhetoric has brought this notion into question. This country has consistently been a magnet for millions of people from all over the world, and this course seeks broadly to understand recent African immigration. In Black studies, most attention has been paid to the forced migration of the enslaved during the Atlantic Slave trade. Studying 20th and 21st African immigration is key to truly understanding the Black experience in America. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, 2.1 million Africans live in America as of 2015. The majority of these migrants are from Sub-Saharan Anglophone Africa (Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa), but they are also from war-torn countries such as Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Somalia. The primary focus of this course will be on contemporary African labor immigrants, including skilled professionals, children who arrived in the United States for family reunification, refugees, and winners of the Diversity Visa lottery who are now permanent residents. The migratory flux also includes people who were forced to leave their birth countries for political reasons as well as genocide. Through the class, we will examine the "push and pull" factors of immigration. The second part of the course explores the lived experience of Africans in America, whether they are well educated as compared with other migrant communities or whether they are laborers. We will study the role of remittances, language barriers, paths to naturalization, and job opportunities once Africans reach American soil. Increasingly, repatriation (both voluntarily and forced), xenophobia and Islamophobia are challenges that rock African immigrant communities. Today, many Africans live between two countries: Africa and America. This transnationalism allows them to navigate different lives, stories, identities, and cultures. Several activities are organized in the African local community. There is a large group of Ghanaians, Kenyans, Egyptians, Senegalese, Nigerians, Ethiopians, and Somalians in St. Louis. We will invite these individuals to the class as guest speakers so that students can fully understand their multiple lives in the St. Louis metropolitan area.
Same as L90 AFAS 3120
L98 AMCS 3121 Topics in American Literature: Girls' FIction
Topic varies. Writing intensive.
Same as L14 E Lit 316W
L98 AMCS 3123 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 3123
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 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 Literature: Asian American Writings: Contesting American Constructions of the Alien Other
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 3140 Topics in Literature: The 1960s: Literature, Culture, Politics, and the Beginnings of Now
Same as L14 E Lit 314
L98 AMCS 3142 Native Americans at Westward Expansion
Issues precipitated by Euro-American contact, colonization and expansion between 1492 and 1810 across Eastern North America, the Plains and the Rocky Mountains. Impacts of exploration and settlement and responses by native peoples: epidemics, population loss, breakdown of Southeastern chiefdoms, resistance, relocation and shifts in economic strategies. Perspectives and policies of Native Americans as well as Europeans and non-Indian Americans, including Lewis and Clark.
Same as L48 Anthro 3461
L98 AMCS 314B Global Circuits: Religion, Race. Empire
This seminar explores how American entanglements of race and religion shape and are part of larger global processes. Over the course of the semester, we will investigate these entanglements through conceptual, historical, and ethnographic questions about and insights into the remapping of religious traditions and communal experiences onto imperial terrain. We will examine this through a range of problem spaces, including colonial rule and racial hierarchies; religious difference and migration; the racialization of religion; diaspora and empire; persecution and power; and global geographies of the War on Terror. This course is not an exhaustive account of the enmeshment of race and religion in the United States or globally. Rather, this course aims to critically unpack formations of religion and race and their contemporary mediation by American geopolitics.
Same as L57 RelPol 314
L98 AMCS 314M Topics in St. Louis:
Topics vary by semester; see semester listing for course description.
L98 AMCS 314S Sociolinguistics, Literacies, Schools, and Communities
Literacy learning and development within a thriving community require attention to the linguistic, cultural, and economic diversity of students. Within an era of state standardization and accountability, it is imperative to use a systems approach in education that unites homes, schools, and communities. Differentiating instruction to meet the needs of all students, including English language learners and other traditionally marginalized groups of students, is essential. This course will introduce students to sociocultural theories of literacy across settings. It will prepare students to analyze how race, ethnicity, class, gender, and language influence the development of literacy skills. We will develop a multifaceted view of literacy that is embedded within culture and that acknowledges the influences of social institutions and conditions. We will incorporate strategies for individual student needs based on students' backgrounds and prior experiences to deliver differentiated instruction and to teach students to set learning goals. Offered in fall semester only.
Same as L12 Educ 314
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 United States 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 as well aas building an understanding of the exclusions and divisions that shaped these communities and that 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. Note: This is a community-engaged learning class, which means that 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 three to five hours per week. Before beginning the community service component, students must complete required training. Prerequisite: Introduction to Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; 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 3205 The Intellectual History of Race and Ethnicity
This course is designed to introduce students to a wide range of historical ideas, contexts, and texts that have shaped our understandings of race and ethnicity. We will examine the ways in which our definitions and categories of race and ethnicity have helped us to construct (and continuously reinvent) our sense of who counts as human, what counts as human behavior, the possibilities of artistic expression, the terms of political engagement, and our critical and analytical frameworks. Students should be prepared to do quite a bit of reading of some very challenging yet rewarding texts.
Same as L93 IPH 320
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, pornography, funding for AIDS research, abstinence-only sex education, sexual harassment, same-sex marriage, abortion, 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 adults and children as well as its uses in legal and judicial decisions. Alongside scholarly readings in gender and sexuality, we will discuss popular devotional texts on gender and sexuality 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 and the law.
Same as L57 RelPol 321
L98 AMCS 321C Introduction to Colonial Latin America until 1825
This course surveys the history of Latin America from the pre-Columbian civilizations through the Iberian exploration and conquest of the Americas until the Wars of Independence (roughly 1400-1815). Stressing the experiences and cultural contributions of Americans, Europeans, and Africans, we consider the following topics through primary written documents, first-hand accounts, and excellent secondary scholarship, as well as through art, music, and architecture: Aztec, Maya, Inca, and Iberian civilizations; models of conquest in comparative perspective (Spanish, Portuguese, and Amerindian); environmental histories; consolidation of colonialism in labor, tributary, and judicial systems; race, ethnicity, slavery, caste, and class; religion and the Catholic Church and Inquisition; sugar and mining industries, trade, and global economies; urban and rural life; the roles of women, gender, and sexuality in the colonies. Geographically, we will cover Mexico, the Andes, and to a lesser extent, Brazil, the Southwest, Cuba, and the Southern Cone. Pre-modern, Latin America.
Same as L22 History 321C
L98 AMCS 321D Debating Cultures: Inclusion & Expulsion, Memory, and Erasure in the Hispanic World
In this course, we will analyze and discuss the ways in which the Hispanic world has lived, regulated and represented its great religious and cultural diversity. As we progress in our understanding of these multifaceted and varied responses, we will examine the two most important ethical choices that the Hispanic peoples of both sides of the Atlantic Ocean have had in front of them at different points in time: (1) the choice between inclusion and exclusion; and (2) the concerted decision to either memorialize or forget history and the consequences of having chosen to exclude or include certain individuals, ideas, religions or cultural aspects of society. The consideration of these two choices -- as they appear represented in laws, texts and images -- will help us acquire the ability to better understand the challenges and dilemmas that the various Hispanic peoples have encountered in the past and the decisions they continue to make in the present moment when confronted with diversity. Each module of this course will be anchored by an official document or policy that rubber stamped the decision to include, exclude, remember, or forget those who were different because of their origins, their religion, their language, their way of living, or their political choices. Examples of these laws or decrees are the Capitulations of Granada, the Edict of Expulsion of 1492, the New Laws of the Indies, the laws of land confiscation of the 19th century, the persecutions and censorship of the dictatorial regimes in both Spain and Latin America, and the recent Spanish law for the recovery of historical memory. Also, each module will begin in the past and end in the present, with an exploration of the contemporary consequences of those laws and policies. These diachronic studies will contribute to inform the analysis of both social issues and cultural artifacts, and they will enrich the class presentations and discussions. This course will have a strong, mandatory and graded oral communications component, and it is taught in Spanish. Prerequisite: Span 303 or Span 308E. Students who have taken more than two Spanish culture or literature classes are not allowed in this course and must proceed to a Researching Cultures class.
Same as L38 Span 3211
L98 AMCS 321E Debating Cultures: Unveiling the Secrets of Fantasy, Magic, Mystery in Latin America
In this course we will explore a variety of Spanish American discourses (short fiction, essays, films, artwork) built around the unveiling of secrets, mystery, fantasy, and magic through the art of detection, whereby the reader or a viewer becomes engaged in the process of sleuthing, either alone or alongside the fictional figure of a detective. We will explore the creative and versatile ways in which Spanish American writers and artists make use of existing aesthetic paradigms-such as magical realism, literary gothic, fairy tales, science fiction, surrealism, film noir, and detective fiction, among others-as they adapt them to the diverse political, economic and socio-cultural realities of their countries. In many of these discourses, overarching themes of imagination, dreams, madness, criminality, and metaphysical search become intertwined with gendered sensibilities and heterogeneous perspectives profoundly embedded in socio-political realities. Some of the mysteries and crimes that often elude detection and punishment have to do with corruption and state-sanctioned violence, as it happens in the cases of systemic violence in Colombia, of the plight of the "disappeared" persons under the dictatorial regimes of the Southern Cone (Argentina, Chile), or the systemic corruption surrounding narcotrafficking. Authors to be studied include Borges, Ocampo, Cardenal, Casey, Quiroga, Valenzuela, Cortázar, Rulfo, Paz Soldán, Téllez, García Márquez, Schweblin, Dávila, Vega Serova, Benítez Rojo, Bahr, and Enríquez, among others. This course is conducted in Spanish and has a strong, mandatory and graded oral component. Prereq. Spanish 303 or 308D. Students who have taken more than two Spanish culture or literature classes are not allowed in this course and must proceed to a Researching Cultures class.
Same as L38 Span 3217
L98 AMCS 3221 Debating Cultures: Media, Materiality and Cultural Production in Greater Mexico and the U.S.-Mexico
This course is an invitation to explore the complex mediatic landscape of Greater Mexico and the U.S.-Mexico borderlands throughout the nineteenth and twentieth century. What did an early Spanish-language press look like in the United States? What are the connections it holds with the United Farm Workers publications later in the twentieth century? How did these publications interact with other platforms, such as Spanish-language radio? What are the political and cultural implications of hearing or seeing in the present-day militarized border zone? These are just some of the questions that we will collectively attempt to answer as we approach the cultural and artistic practices of the region. The course will deal with print, visual and aural culture, and you will have the chance to explore material such as Spanish-language newspapers, border ballads, radio, performance art, digital art and activism, among many others. We will discuss issues like ethnic identity, language, race, citizenship and gender, as they intersect with cultural production and its mediality. Moreover, you will become familiar with transnational frameworks for the study of culture, critically engaging with the work of border studies exponents such as Gloria Anzaldu´a and Ame´rico Paredes. This overarching approximation of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries is meant to encourage a comprehensive understanding of the cultural processes of the borderlands: its fluctuations, as well as the continuities it maintains with present-day border culture.
Same as L38 Span 3221
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 the precursors of American music to folk, rock, pop, rhythm and blues, Broadway, and a cappella. The course materials include applied popular music theory while examining the musical languages of each genre. 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, singer-songwriter formats, bands and electronic media. Traditional composition and contemporary production practices are examined in detail as students learn to critically listen and find their personal musical styles.
Same as L27 Music 3237
L98 AMCS 3255 Development of the American Constitution
The U.S. Constitution has been so long maintained because it has adapted to new circumstances. Contrary to common mythology, this adaptation goes far beyond formal amendment and court interpretation. But past performance is no guarantee of future results. The course examines the processes through which American constitutional democracy has developed, considers its successes and failures, and assesses some of its most pressing challenges. In doing so the course treats topics such as: the Electoral College; the justice system; executive powers in war and peace; Congress versus the president; reuglation and taxation; civil rights and Reconstructions; amendment politics; and constitutional rhetoric and beliefs.
Same as L32 Pol Sci 3255
L98 AMCS 325B Cultures of Health in Latin America
This course is a survey of the cultural and political-economic aspects of health, illness, and embodied difference in Latin America. We will approach these themes from an interdisciplinary perspective with an emphasis on anthropology and history, exploring how local, national, regional, and global factors affect health and healthcare and how people experience and respond to them. Topics will include interactions between traditional healing practices and biomedicine; the lasting impacts of eugenic sciences on contemporary ideas about race and disability; the unequal impacts of epidemic disease; Indigenous cosmologies and healing systems; the politics of access to healthcare; the cultural and political specificities of reproductive health; and the intersections of race, gender, ethnicity, class, and bodily capacities in the pursuit of well-being. This course is designed for students of all levels interested in health and/or Latin American cultures. It will be taught in English.
Same as L45 LatAm 325
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 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: TBD
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 3304 The Politics of Black Criminality and Popular Protest
This course will explore the meanings and perceptions of Black criminality in modern American culture. It will consider issues of rioting and racial violence; movements ranging from hip-hop to Black power; the crucial matter of police brutality; and cultural associations between criminality and Black masculinity. Our work will be informed by an awareness of the historical interactions between African Americans and legal and other systems of authority: in particular, the ambiguous boundaries of legality under slavery, post-emancipation convict leasing, Jim Crow laws, Black gangs, and the functions of illegal acts in the lives of Black citizens. The course will give special attention to the ways that popular thought, imagination, and culture -- and particularly Black thought and culture -- have addressed crime. How does criminality connect to popular forms of protest, resistance, and discussions about inequality and identity?
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 Topics in AMCS: TBD Asian American Studies course
This course topic changes; see semester listing for current course offering.
L98 AMCS 330D Culture and Identity
Topics vary by semester; see semester listing for course description.
L98 AMCS 330S Topics in Gender and American Culture
This topics course introduces students to gender as a category of analysis. Students investigate why and how gender becomes infused with cultural meanings. Through various methodological approaches, they explore how these socially constructed meanings shape Americans' everyday lives and societal dynamics more broadly. The topic varies by semester; common focal points include the intersection of gender with race and ethnicity, social class, health care, education, and politics. This course fulfills the Social Differential requirement. Please see the course listings for a description of the current offering.
L98 AMCS 3312 Gender and American Politics
This course examines the ways in which issues pertaining to gender are salient in U.S. politics. The course is divided into four parts. First, we will examine theoretical approaches to the study of gender and politics, including the use of gender as an analytical category, and the relationship between gender, race, ethnicity and power. Second, we will study gender-based social movements, including the suffrage and woman's rights movements, women's participation in the civil rights movement, the contemporary feminist and anti-feminist movements, the gay rights/queer movement and the women's peace movement. Third, we will examine the role of gender in the electoral arena, in terms of how it affects voting, running for office and being in office. Finally, we will examine contemporary debates about public policy issues, including the integration of women and gays in the military, sexual harassment, pornography and equal rights.
Same as L32 Pol Sci 331B
Credit 3 units. BU: BA, ETH
L98 AMCS 331A Topics in Politics: Theories of Social Justice
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 331
L98 AMCS 3325 Topics in Politics: Constitutional Politics in the United States
This is a topics course in Political Science.
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 3345 The Politics of Play and Protest: Religion and Sports in America
Play is an essential component of human life. Yet, while the word play evokes leisure and frivolity, it can be serious work. Cultural values, spiritual truths, and social politics arise from play, particularly when they are codified in sports. From raucous games of Chunkey in pre-Columbian North America to Tim Tebow's gameday prayers, sports have long been used as instruments of social cohesion and as a way to connect a people to their gods. This course will examine the close relationship between religion and sport in modern American history and will push students beyond the sports-as-religion paradigm to consider sport as a medium of exchange between the overlapping influences of celebrity, national politics, religion, and the economy. We will cover how sports and religion intersect with topics like nationalism, gender, race, sexuality, identity formation, commercialism, mass-media, recreation, and labor. Concepts like ritual, collective effervescence, and sacred space will be used to analyze key historical movements and organizations, such as muscular Christianity, the YMCA, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Olympics, amateurism and the NCAA, and Black Lives Matter. Key figures for examining sport as a site of piety and protest include Muhammad Ali, Serena Williams, Tim Tebow, Jackie Robinson, Colin Kaepernick, and Abe Saperstein. Throughout the course we will ask: How, where, and when do sports act religiously? What do sports and religion accomplish together that they cannot accomplish alone?
Same as L57 RelPol 3345
L98 AMCS 334R Religion, Race, and Migration: Borders of Difference?
This seminar is an experiment in studying the intersections of religion, race, and migration through the idea of difference. We discuss how particular understandings of religion, race, and migration inform contemporary scholarship and shape national and international legal and governmental practices. Specifically, this course explores how difference-of community, body, and place-produces conditions of possibility. Over the semester, we will investigate various borders of difference, using binaries to guide our analysis. We will examine this through a range of problem spaces including: religion/secularism; race/ethnicity/sect; terrorist/citizen; and refugee/migrant. Ultimately, this course aims to critically unpack the relations of power by which people, places, and ideas are differentially constructed, maintained, and transformed
Same as L57 RelPol 334
L98 AMCS 3350 Poverty and the New American City
This course is an exploration of the structural changes that are transforming the American urban landscape, especially for low-income populations. The course begins with a review of classic theories of urban poverty and considers their relevance in the modern context. Students will 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. The course will conclude by discussing how urban poverty interfaces with broader social structures, including law, markets, and the state. Prerequisite: Successful completion of an introductory sociology course or permission of instructor.
Same as L40 SOC 3350
L98 AMCS 3351 The Ancient Maya: Archaeology and History
This course focuses on the ancient Maya civilization because there are many exciting new breakthroughs in the study of the Maya. The Olmec civilization and the civilization of Teotihuacan in the Valley of Mexico will be considered as they related to the rise and development of the Maya civilization. The ancient Maya were the only Pre-Columbian civilization to leave us a written record that we can use to understand their politics, religion, and history. This course is about Maya ancient history and Maya glyphic texts, combined with the images of Maya life from their many forms of art. The combination of glyphic texts, art, and archaeology now can provide a uniquely detailed reconstruction of ancient history in a New World civilization.
Same as L48 Anthro 3351
L98 AMCS 336 Topics in AMCS: Archiving St. Louis: The City as the Crossroads of the World
In 1904 a burgeoning St. Louis played host to the centennial commemoration of the Louisiana Purchase and the first Olympiad outside Europe, memorable events for the largest small city of the Midwest aspiring to emulate the cosmopolitan urban hubs of the north and east. The spectacle of the 1904 World's Fair featured hyperbolic optimism about the 20th century and about American identity as an emerging military, intellectual, and industrial-capitalist power. But for all the opulence and promise of world-building a better future, the Fair also highlighted many themes marking a cultural and political transition to the 20th century fraught with racial tension, colonialism and war, economic disparity, technological change, and decay of a "moral public." With the World's Fair serving as a backdrop, we'll explore the St. Louis region of this era from a number of vantage points, including industrialism and manufacturing (read: beers and cars), progressivism in technology and politics, urban planning, neighborhood formations, and racial separation and violence, among others. Our principle resource will be the substantial holdings of the Missouri Historical Society's archives, and we'll work with professional archivists to navigate our region's history and identity through a wide variety of primary materials. Regularizing the experience will help students understand the organizational culture and logistical methodologies of archives (including the principles of collecting, preserving, and accessing) while promoting independent research and generative research questions. This course satisfies the AMCS fieldwork requirement.
L98 AMCS 3360 Topics in AMCS
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 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 3411 Topics in Politics: Surveillance Capitalism
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 3411
Credit 3 units. BU: BA
L98 AMCS 341A Gender in Society
This course acts as an introduction to the sociological study of gender. The primary focus of the course will be on 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. Students 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: Successful completion of an introductory sociology course or permission of instructor.
Same as L40 SOC 3410
L98 AMCS 342 The American Presidency
Consideration of part played by the president in American politics and public policy. The powers of the president; the staffing and organization of the executive office; the relations of the president with Congress, the bureaucracy, and other participants in American politics; presidential elections. Recommended: Pol Sci 101B.
Same as L32 Pol Sci 342
L98 AMCS 3422 Americans and Their Presidents
How have Americans understood what it means to be President of the United States? This seminar uses that question as a point of departure for a multidisciplinary cultural approach to the presidency in the United States, examining the shifting roles of the chief executive from George Washington through Barack Obama. In addition to a consideration of the President's political and policymaking roles, this course examines how the lived experiences of presidents have informed the ways Americans have conceived of public and private life within a broader political culture. In the process, this course uses the presidency as a means to explore topics ranging from electioneering to gender, foreign policy to popular media. Readings are drawn from a broad range of fields.
Same as L22 History 3420
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 345A Histories of Intelligence: Topics in Science and Society
The use of data, computing, and quantitative methods has become central to politics, economics, and daily life. This course uses the concept of "intelligence" to survey the history of technoscientific efforts to understand and represent the intersections of minds, machines, and society. The course title has a deliberate double meaning; it is about both the people who seek to study and measure humans and their knowledge capacities as well as the knowledge or information that is increasingly collected, measured, and automated by machines. Organized topically and chronologically, this discussion-based seminar will examine the changing meanings and significance of intelligence, their impact on politics and social organization, and the questions raised about the relationship between specific technologies and specific models of human reasoning. We will consider these questions from diverse perspectives, including race, gender, class, ability, and materiality from the 19th century to the present. Topics covered include histories of artificial intelligence, racial dynamics, meritocracy, informational labor, state secrecy, and the self as data.
Same as L93 IPH 3451
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 3464 Contested Histories and Landscapes: Western and Indigenous Perceptions of Time and Place
How we conceive of time and place influences the stories we tell about the past, how we form identities in the present, and how we plan for the future in the face of environmental threats like global climate change. The archaeological study of North American Indigenous history has been dominated by Western philosophical thought that takes for granted a particular view of the world, and of being, espoused by the likes of Socrates, Hobbes, Descartes, and Rousseau. Indigenous scholars have critiqued these biases and asked that we recognize ways of perceiving the world that are often fundamentally different than the Euro-American frame of reference.Using archaeological case studies in addition to reading Native American philosophers and intellectuals, we will explore how different ways of understanding the world, and your place in it, influence how we explain the past. We will also consider how these differences play out today regarding issues such as environmental justice, land treaties, tribal sovereignty, and climate change.
Same as L48 Anthro 3462
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 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
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 ethno-racial and social-political contexts as well as considering transnational dimensions. From a brief historical survey of Asian immigration and exclusion to analysis of the contemporary landscape of Asian America, this course explores Asian American cultures and identities, intermarriage and religious practices, and Asian Americans in popular culture, higher education, and professional fields while facilitating discussion of new forms of invisibility and marginalization in the contemporary era.
Same as L97 GS 3512
L98 AMCS 3520 Topics in American Culture Studies:
Topics vary by semester; see semester listing for course description.
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 353A Sports & Society: Contemporary Issues in American Sports
Athletes like Colin Kaepernick, Ally Raisman, LeBron James, and Megan Rapinoe leave no doubt: sporting spaces are powerful platforms for political and social activism. In this era of division and social unrest, sports cannot be stuck to. But what to make of the various messages these athletes espouse, and how can we understand the intersectional influence of sporting cultures on American politics, economics, and culture? In this class students will examine major contemporary issues in American sports by examining scholarship, fan behavior, and narratives provided by athletes themselves. Among the topics students will consider are: racism and sexism in coaching, LGBTQ and Trans athlete identity, amateurism and athletic labor, mascots, traumatic brain injuries, and social media.
L98 AMCS 354A Christian Theology and Politics in the Modern West
This course engages students in reading and analysis of influential religious texts from the western Christian world from the mid-sixteenth 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 sixteenth century to Puritan ruminations during the seventeenth century on the nature of worldly calling and personal eschatology. The next weeks concern eighteenth-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 nineteenth-century discussions of the relationship between ethics, tradition, and religious experience. For the twentieth century, we discuss texts that address Christian conceptions of redemption to issues of hyper-nationalism 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.
Same as L57 RelPol 354
L98 AMCS 3550 Sociology of Work
This course presents an overview of the sociological understandings of work and, in particular, how work reduces or replicates inequality. This course will cover classic and contemporary sociological theories of work; how work in the United States has changed over time; and how workers are matched to "good" and "bad" jobs. Threaded throughout the course is the exploration of racial, gender, and class barriers to inclusion and advancement at work. Students will explore how organizational structures, policies, and practices can increase or decrease those barriers. Prerequisite: Successful completion of an introductory sociology course or permission of 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 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.
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 course, we will 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 will examine these topics through reading and writing assignments, class discussions, and simulations to promote deeper understanding and to build practical skills.
Same as L97 GS 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 358A Conscience & Religion in American Politics
Conscience is as American as apple pie and baseball, but its meaning and implications are deeply contested in American religion and politics. What is conscience? To what extent is conscience laden with theological -- and, more specifically, Christian -- commitments? What role should conscience, whether religious or ethical, play in political life? By considering what conscience means and what vision of politics it implies, we will reflect on what it means to be American: how religion should relate to politics, how individuals should engage with democratic laws and norms, and how religious and political dissenters might oppose American politics. We will focus on key moments in the history of American religion and politics through the lens of conscience, from the Interwar Period, the perceived threat of communism during the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Vietnam War to the "culture wars" on abortion, marriage equality, LBGTQ rights, and the death penalty. This course draws on interdisciplinary sources from religious studies, political theory, law, and history in 20th- and 21st-century American politics.
Same as L57 RelPol 358
L98 AMCS 359 Topics in American Culture Studies: Protest and Power in Modern America
The topic of this course varies from semester to semester. Please see Course Listings for a description of the current offering.
L98 AMCS 359H Hot Takes: Cultural Criticism in the Digital Age
The twenty-first century has seen a new and exciting wave of cultural criticism, and along with it a new wave of public intellectuals. Ta-Nehisi Coates, Roxane Gay, Jia Tolentino, Anne Helen Petersen, Jo Livingstone, Hanif Abdurraqib-at their best, writers like these aspire to the sort of indispensability on political, social, and artistic matters that their forebears like Susan Sontag, Norman Mailer, and James Baldwin had at midcentury. But these voices are unique because they emerged through and alongside a specifically online critical sphere, a space betwixt and between the comments section and the little magazine. This is the space of viral tweets and threads, "hot takes" and "think-pieces." It's a space of potentially greater democratization and diversity even as it is an opportunity for bigots and trolls. These writers are beholden to their networks, but those networks are far wider, more idiosyncratic and inclusive and incendiary-more unstable-than anything buttressing the vaunted public intellectuals of the past. This course examines the cultural critics of the contemporary moment in context of the critical space they opened and now occupy. We'll begin with a quick history of the "public intellectual" from the eighteenth century to the present before we log on. The rise and fall of Gawker, Grantland, and The Awl; The New Republic's controversial digital pivot; the feminist communities of The Hairpin and The Toast; the conservative "intellectual dark web"; the message boards of the early 2000s; the emergence of semi-academic sites like the Los Angeles Review of Books; the blogs and tumblrs and livejournals that nurtured the talents and provocateurs that we now find indispensable or unavoidable. We will dissect their style, understand their theory and practice, engage with their subjects, and investigate the way their writing has intersected with and propelled social media movements like Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, and #OscarsSoWhite. And we will consider the way these critics have influenced the way scholars and students approach the texts and topics we always have.
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
Trans* Studies is an interdisciplinary course that uses material from History, Psychology, Sociology, Law, Medicine, Gender Studies, Media Studies and Trans* autobiographies to critically analyze cisgender privilege in U.S. American culture. The course traces the historical development of the concept of gender and the history of Trans* activism to critically analyze how trans* visibility and collective organizing shape contemporary politics. 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 3604 Researching Cultures: Making Latin America Popular
"Despacito," futbol, telenovelas: All of these are forms of Latin American popular culture that are increasingly part of our everyday reality here in the United States. All are also inseparable from stories of inequality, ethnic tensions and celebrations, understandings of gender relations, and notions of hope that blend ideas of nation with cultural consumption. While popular culture in Latin America is often considered a contemporary phenomenon linked to the 20th century and the mass production of cultural goods -- film, books, and music -- it has deeper roots. We can trace these back to the 19th century, where people, cultural processes, and phenomena literally began making Latin America popular. This course will survey the emergence and variety of modern popular culture in Latin America, from the 1800s to the present. Readings may include best sellers, gaucho poetry, stories of urban life and folk heroes, and materials engaging themes from dictatorship to contemporary Latinx experiences. We will learn about the intersections between race, nation, and music; explore the emotional and political power of futbol, along with the intense gender divisions it reveals; and delve into the appeal of telenovelas across socioeconomic divides. Historical and anthropological essays will also guide us throughout the semester. This course will have a strong, mandatory and graded written communications component, and it is taught in Spanish. It also fulfills the Writing Intensive (WI) requirement for Arts & Sciences students. Prerequisite: Span 303 or Span 308D, and one (or preferably two) of the following: Span 341, Span 342, Span 343, Span 370, Span 380, or Debating Cultures. Students who have taken more than four Spanish culture or literature classes are not allowed in this course and must proceed to a Major Seminar.
Same as L38 Span 3604
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 3613 Researching Cultures: The Paradoxes of Contemporary Cuba: The Good, the Bad, and the In-Between
In the wake of such momentous events as president Obama's visit to Cuba (March 2016), Fidel Castro's death (November 2017) and the end of Raul Castro's presidency (April 2018), for many Americans the island has advanced from the category of a forbidden and exotic fruit to a full-fledged reality. Now is a good time to ask not only "What is next for Cuba?" but also "What can we learn from Castro's revolutionary experiments"? This course explores from interdisciplinary perspectives the paradoxes of Cuban lives on the island and in the diaspora-the good, the bad and the in-between-along with the intertwined histories of the United States and Cuba. Using a combination of literary texts (Carpentier, Cabrera Infante, Ponte, Bobes, Obejas, Morejón, Padura), films ("Strawberry and Chocolate," "Guantanamera," "The Promise," "The New Art of Making Ruins"), artwork (Mendieta, Bruguera, Garaicoa), political speeches, and unique visual materials compiled by the instructor throughout her many research trips to Cuba, we will look at the island's contemporary reality through the lens of its colonial and postcolonial past. Topics include ethnic and gender identities, the history of slavery and plantation economy, the "myths" of Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, African-Cuban spirituality, popular music, political oppression and dissent, and the interplay of migration and exile, along with multiple perspectives on everyday life (foreign tourism, food rationing, dual-currency economy, restoration of colonial Course description: Havana, education, and healthcare). Due to the interdisciplinary perspectives inherent to this course, students will have an opportunity to engage their knowledge of and interest in disciplines outside the humanities (including but not limited to: public health, law, political science, urban studies, anthropology) in the exploration of Cuba's past, present, and future. This course will have a strong, mandatory and graded written communications component and is taught in Spanish. It also fulfills the Writing Intensive (WI) requirement for Arts and Sciences students. Prereq. Spanish 303 or 308E, and one (or preferably two) of the following: 341, 342, 343, 370, 380 or Debating Cultures. Students who have taken more than four Spanish culture or literature classes are not allowed in this course and must proceed to a Major Seminar.
Same as L38 Span 3613
L98 AMCS 3619 Researching Cultures: Graphic Latin America
This course examines the visual, affective and linguistic registers that graphic novels, comics and illustrations have used in Latin America to represent popular desire, enjoyment and resistance. We will challenge traditional perceptions of graphic formats as "minor literature" and we will delve into the relationship between popular consumption and structural changes in Latin American countries. Some of the questions that would lead the units are: Is there a specific storytelling attached to graphic narratives? What are the cognitive and perceptual challenges that graphic texts pose to the readers? What do we mean when we talk about "Latin America Graphic Fiction"? What does it mean to read "massive texts"? Can reception have a transformative power in Latin American societies? The genres analyzed include memoirs, political satire, parodies, science fiction and radical zines. This course fulfills the Writing Intensive (WI) requirement for Arts and Sciences students. Prereq. Spanish 303 or 308E, and one (or preferably two) of the following: 341, 342, 343, 370, 380 or Debating Cultures. Students who have taken more than four Spanish culture or literature classes are not allowed in this course and must proceed to a Major Seminar. In Spanish. 3 units. This course fulfills the Writing Intensive (WI) requirement for Arts and Sciences students. Prereq. Spanish 303 or 308D, and one (or preferably two) of the following: 341, 342, 343, 370, 380 or Debating Cultures. Students who have taken more than four Spanish culture or literature classes are not allowed in this course and must proceed to a Major Seminar.
Same as L38 Span 3619
L98 AMCS 3620 Researching Cultures: Politics of Melodrama in Latin American Media:From Serialized Novels to Teleno
This course explores the social and political history of melodrama in Latin America. We will discuss the role that melodrama has had within Latin American media following a long-term chronological approach that begins with nineteenth-century serialized novels (folletín) and ends with recent streaming television. As a language of emotions and familiarity, Latin American melodrama has been a key tool to reflect on the most important social and political issues, from mid-twentieth century populisms to globalization, from modernization to the human rights abuses of the 1970s' dictatorships. Thus, in this course we will delve into the political power of tears and smiles. The course will address the uses of melodrama in print media, radio, cinema, and television, in order to explore how the melodramatic imagination shaped the experience of modernity in the region and allowed Latin American audiences to deal with issues of class inequality, gender roles, sexuality, national identities, and racism. Course materials may include tango albums, 1940's Argentine and Mexican films, Cuban radionovela El derecho de nacer, Manuel Puig's novel El beso de la mujer araña [Kiss of the Spider Woman], as well as telenovelas from Colombia, Mexico, and Argentina. As part of the course, students will engage in active research on the interplay of politics and melodrama in contemporary Latin American media. This course fulfills the Writing Intensive (WI) requirement for Arts and Sciences students. Prereq. Spanish 303 or 308E, and one (or preferably two) of the following: 341, 342, 343, 370, 380 or Debating Cultures. Students who have taken more than four Spanish culture or literature classes are not allowed in this course and must proceed to a Major Seminar. In Spanish.
Same as L38 Span 3620
L98 AMCS 3623 Researching Cultures: Decolonial Imaginaries in Latinx Cultures
Latinx-typically defined as the Latin American descendant and migrant populations settled in the US-is a hotly contested category and a fast-growing presence in US cultural and political life. In this course, we will examine cultural productions: literature, film, television, popular music, and more, to interrogate and attempt to understand the contours of Latinx experience. We will consider questions such as: what is the relationship of Latinx identity to language, migration, colonialism, labor, borders, race, ethnicity, and sexuality? How do race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexualities, citizenship, geography, and imperialism work with or push against Latinx identification? We will also consider the role of shared histories of coloniality in Latin America have on the formation of Latinx identity in the United States. Is there a shared decolonial impetus in Latinx cultural forms? Using an interdisciplinary lens, we will analyze how Latinx identities are imagined and produced through culture, and what they offer Latin American and US American cultural traditions as they push against multiple colonial orders. This course is taught in Spanish. It also fulfills the Writing Intensive (WI) requirement for Arts and Sciences students. Prereq. Spanish 303 and at least one Debating Cultures (32XX). Students who have taken more than four Spanish Debating/Researching classes are not allowed in this course and must proceed to a Major Seminar (4XX).
Same as L38 Span 3623
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 3661 Caste: Sexuality, Race and Globalization
Be it sati or enforced widowhood, arranged or love marriage, the rise of national leaders like Indira Gandhi and Kamala Harris, or the obsession with "fair" skin, caste shapes possibilities and perceptions for billions. In this class we combine a historical understanding of the social caste structure with the insights made by those who have worked to annihilate caste. We will re-visit history with the analytic tools provided by the concepts of compulsory endogamy, "surplus woman," and "brahmanical patriarchy," and we will build an understanding of the enduring yet invisible "sexual-caste" complex. As we will see, caste has always relied on sexual difference, its ever-mutating power enabled by the intersectionalities of race, gender and class. We'll learn how caste adapts to every twist in world history, increasingly taking root outside India and South Asia. We will delve into film and memoir, sources that document the incessant injustices of caste and how they have compounded under globalization. The class will research the exchange of concepts between anti-race and anti-caste activists: how caste has shaped the work of prominent anti-racist intellectuals and activists in the United States such as W.E.B. DuBois and Isabel Wilkerson and in turn, the agenda and creativity of groups such as the Dalit Panthers. Finally, the course will build a practical guide to engaging with and interrupting caste in the context of the contemporary global world today. Waitlists controlled by Department; priority given to WGSS majors. Enrollment cap 15.
Same as L77 WGSS 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 Capitalism in Modern America
This course examines the relationship between religion and the development of a capitalist economy in Europe, England, and America from 1550 to 1800. It relies on intellectual, social, and economic histories. We cover major thinkers from the early mercantilist thinkers such as William Petty to Adam Smith.
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
This course reviews 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, students will compare historical (1880-1920) and contemporary (1965-present) waves of immigration to the United States. In this, students 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: successful 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 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 of 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:
Required course for AMCS Majors. See semester listing for current topics. As a Writing Intensive course, 375A serves as an occasion for AMCS students to think about matters of argument and presentation, and to develop ideas and models for future research. This course is intended for students at the Junior Level or Higher; it fulfills the "multidisciplinary" (MD) requirement for AMCS Minors and the "Methods Seminar" requirements for AMCS Majors.
L98 AMCS 375B From Vision to Praxis: The Capstone Project Incubator
This course is intended for AMCS juniors following the completion of L98 375A Methods & Visions. After sustained attention on methodological practices in 375A, students will shift focus in 375B toward the fundamentals of developing a senior-year project. Emphasis will be on process and skill enhancement, with areas of concentration including drafting project ideas; identifying animating research questions; enhancing scope and focus; exploring mediums of expression; creating a developmental bibliography; and planning for summer research. Learning modes will include lecture, reading and discussion, and peer workgroups. Assignments will develop formal and informal writing, drafting and rewriting, and scholarly reading. The final product will be two-fold: (1) a polished prospectus outlining project focus, research area, initial scholarship summary, and rationale for medium; and (2) a summer planning document outlining reading and writing goals in preparation for the capstone workshop senior year.
L98 AMCS 375W Political Writing
Defined most simply, politics is that which pertains to the "affairs of the polis," one's community. In its real-life context, writing always interacts with a community in some way, engaging a defined audience to produce an intended effect. In this sense, writing always touches the affairs of a polis, and thus, writing is inherently political, regardless of whether the writer considers this during composition. In this class, we will focus on explicitly political writing by writers who are not politicians, that is to say, sanctioned experts in the affairs of the polis. Foregoing public policy memoranda and economic analyses, we will look at how journalists, grassroots organizers, and creative writers have consciously written to intervene in the affairs of their communities despite their outsider status. Using techniques of rhetorical analysis and logical structure, we will examine how these writers crafted works that inspire and move audiences through the conventions of several genres: essay, polemic, journalism, and satire.
Same as L13 Writing 375
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 215 or permission of 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. Prerequisite: One course in Art History at the 100 or 200 level.
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 3822 From McDonald's to K-pop: New Movements in East Asia
This course introduces contemporary East Asian cultures and societies from transregional and transnational perspectives through the lens of consumer and popular cultures. We employ McDonald's as the first case study to look into East Asian responses to Western cultural products and ideas. For K-pop, we examine its emergence and transregional receptions and impact across different regions in East Asia as well as in the US Beginning with these two subjects, our investigation extends to other examples of transregional cultural phenomena such as J-pop, Hello Kitty, e-commerce, and western holidays in East Asia. While focusing on transnational cultural movements originating in or being adapted to the East Asian context, our discussions also reflect on key topics in the study of East Asian cultures such as "face," filial piety, and social networks. Attendance on the first day of class is mandatory to reserve class enrollment.
Same as L97 GS 3822
L98 AMCS 382R Topics in Christianity:
The topic covered in this course varies. Recent course topics include: "The 'Other' Catholic Church: The Lived Experiences of Eastern Orthodoxy" and "The Apostle Paul: Communities and Controversies."
Same as L23 Re St 382
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 383A Topics in WGSS:Sex in the City: Gender, Sexuality, and the Urban Landscape
Topic varies. See semester course listings for current offering.
Same as L77 WGSS 383A
Credit 3 units. BU: BA
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 385A Topics in Jewish or Near East Studies: Jews Between America's Frontiers
Consult Course Listings for current topics. Please note: L75 585A is intended for graduate students only.
Same as L75 JIMES 385
L98 AMCS 3860 Sports, Health, and Society
Sports is a lens onto social issues of health, fitness, and the body. Case studies in this course deal with injury and abuse, the role of medicine and pharmaceuticals, corporations and mass media, gendered aggression, doping scandals, disabled athletes, trans athletes, and video games, among other topics. A wide range of sports will be covered, including basketball, American football, college athletics, sumo wrestling, martial arts, ordinary activities like running and exercise, and mass spectacles such as the Olympics. By adopting cross-cultural and intersectional approaches, this course will consider how race, gender, and other social contrasts shape ableisms, body norms, violences, and hard-driving business interests in sports and society.
Same as L48 Anthro 3860
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 3870 Science and Society
Encounters with science are ubiquitous in daily life. We read papers hailing scientists' most recent achievements. We adjust our lifestyles to their findings, and we sometimes even allow them to change our beliefs about the world. As students, we learn about the scientific method, run labs, and memorize facts and equations. This course invites students to estrange themselves from these familiar scenes by challenging some assumptions about what science is and how it works. In the course, we launch from the premise that science is itself a cultural activity, permeated by social norms and values. Surveying a rich, cross-disciplinary literature, the course thus aims to unpack the deep imbrications between science, society, technology, economy, and politics from the perspective of the field of science and technology studies.
Same as L48 Anthro 3870
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: L01 113, Intro to Western Art; L01 215, Intro to Modern Art; or permission of instructor.
Same as L01 Art-Arch 3875
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. Because of its vigorous missionary program, the LDS Church now has more members outside the U.S. than inside. This seminar will introduce the basic practices and beliefs, and explore issues regarding economics, race, gender, and sexuality within the faith. These issues include: 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? What does the LDS faith look like in other parts of the world, and how does its identification with U.S. prosperity and politics shape its growth in other places?
Same as L57 RelPol 390
L98 AMCS 3950 Topics in Religion and Politics: Islam and Muslims in the United States
For over a quarter-century, journalists have broken story after story about sexually abusive clergy in the U.S., many of them serial abusers of children and adolescents. While most accounts have focused on Catholic priests, many have also emerged of abusive evangelical and other Protestant ministers. The stories have illuminated how church bureaucrats have consistently protected abusers and subverted the efforts of victims and their families to seek recompense, accountability, and justice. These protections have often succeeded because of churches' political connections to law enforcement and legislators who have helped hide perpetrators and stymie survivors. Together we will analyze this cautionary tale about religion and politics by contextualizing it within the broader history of Christianity in the United States and beyond. Is this a case simply of a few bad apples or of institutional corruption? How has the church's response been shaped by fear of scandal, antipathy toward secularism, and theological teachings on gender and homosexuality? How does sexual abuse fit into the history of the church as a hierarchical institution? What challenges has the crisis posed to people of faith who are committed to the church, and can trust be repaired? Readings include legal case studies, internal church correspondence, victims' statements and criminal justice reports, documentary films and memoirs, and both journalistic and scholarly analysis of the clergy sex abuse crisis in the U.S. church.
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 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 399B Topics in Politics: American Judicial Politics
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 399
L98 AMCS 39SM Women and Crime in the Evolution of American History
Crime happens. Property is damaged and stolen, lives are lost, and law, order, and justice evolves. This course taps into that ongoing reality by centering the herstorical evolution of female crime, highlighting women and girls of many kinds across time and spaces of America. It moves across centuries (through to the contemporary period) probing within and far beyond icons to unveil the gendered nature of crime and moreover to empower students to see and trace everyday female criminality that ignited across racial, ethnic, as well as lines of age in the winding path of American history. While men and boys dominate public and even scholarly expectations of crime and carceral conversations for many, students will leave this course with a far more rigorous understanding of the herstories gained by taking serious the types of crimes that women and girls acted out by exploring: robbery, assault, infanticide, larceny, murder, arson, prostitution, serial killers, and drug-related crimes. As well as going further to probe state and federal power through carceral medicine - showing the interior world of female prisoners, physicians, the movement of females into "asylums'' and mental state hospitals, incarceration based on "insanity" while going further to examine births, illnesses, and death of women and teens in jails and prisons. Students will be likewise pushed to engage America's timeline of race, gender, and executions that includes women and girls. Racialized and gendered criminality, law enforcement violence, healthcare and deathcare in prisons are critical public health issues that students can better understand the complicated evolutions by deeply probing the herstorical lives of women, girls, and crime through this course. Students will read, learn, dig up the past, and write to ensure a future of herstory and remembrance.
Same as L22 History 39SM
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 4001 Directed Study in American Culture Studies
Students in this course perform directed study with AMCS-affiliated faculty. All proposals for study must be submitted for review and approved by the AMCS adviser. See the AMCS website for the appropriate form. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.
Credit variable, maximum 3 units.
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 4009 Slavery and Public History
Public history, or applied history, encompasses the many and diverse ways in which history is put to work in the world and applied to real-world issues. This course teaches public history practice with particular emphasis on engaging in the public history of slavery through research and interpretation on the regional histories of enslavement within St. Louis and at Washington University. Students will learn by engaging critical scholarship on public history, debates about how public history is practiced, and learning core tenets of public history interpretation, museum best practices, oral history, preservation, and material culture and their particular application to public history interpreting slavery. This includes grappling with the politics of memory and heritage that shape, limit, and empower public history practice on slavery, and how white supremacy has shaped what histories we absorb in the public.
Same as L90 AFAS 4008
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 it involves periodic workshops and conferences with the instructor and project advisor during the final stages of thesis preparation. Prerequisite: Satisfactory standing as a candidate for a two-semester capstone, including successful completion of L98 400A and permission of the project advisor. Students eligible for Latin Honors must meet the university's minimum grade-point average. Meetings for this course will occur every other week, with the dates and times 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 402E Higher Education Administration for Social Justice and Equity: Achievable or Only Dreamable?
Higher education has long been the subject of much general public interest and discourse. Understanding the complexity of the system, its history, practices, and expertise will help define whether and how campuses can work toward social justice and equity. In this course, students will study the history, policies, and organizational decisions that underly the current state of higher education in America. These perspectives and theories will be studied with an eye toward social justice and understanding possible changes that may lead toward equity on American college campuses. Through engaged discussions around readings and case studies, students will tackle complex social questions, including: how our college campuses became so complex? Why pervasive social issues, such as system racism, sexism, and classism, continue to exist on our campuses? How and when technology and the SAT/ACT began to rule our lives in college? Perhaps even deeper, students will grapple with finding alternate, more socially just, and equitable alternatives to create more equity on our campuses.
Same as L12 Educ 4022
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. The course texts are in sociology, anthropology, and cultural studies, and a significant number of our case studies focus on 1.5- and second-generation Asian Americans and Latinx. Identity and identity politics are main topics; in addition, the course will critically examine theories on acculturation and assimilation. Our discussions cover a wide range of topics from culture, ethnicity, and race, to bilingualism, education, family, school, ethnic community, and youth culture. Students are required to conduct an individual research project among a selected group of children of immigrants. Attendance on the first day of class is mandatory to reserve class enrollment.
Same as L97 GS 4036
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 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 415B Historic Preservation, Memory and Community
Whose history is significant enough to be worth preserving in physical form? Who gets to decide, and how? Does the choice to preserve buildings, landscapes and places belong to government, experts or ordinary people? How does the condition of the built environment impact community identity, structure and success? This place-based course in historic preservation pursues these questions in St. Louis' historically Black neighborhood The Ville, where deep historic significance meets a built environment conditioned by population loss, disinvestment and demolition. The course explores the practice of historic preservation as something far from neutral, but a creative, productive endeavor that mediates between community values, official policies and expert assertion. Critical readings in preservation and public history will accompany case studies, community engagement and practical understanding. This course is open to both undergraduates and graduates and will meet together with ARCH 315B.
Same as L56 CFH 415B
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 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 4233 Political Sociology
In this course we will be discussing politics, the way that people interact with politics, and the way that politics shape our lives. Why do individuals participate in politics (e.g., vote) or become engaged in their communities (e.g., join a voluntary association, protest, etc.)? What role do our social connections play in political and civic engagement? What does political competition in the US look like today? What accounts for increasing political partisanship in the United States? Who has access to political institutions? How amenable is our political system to change? Who has the power to impact policy and institutions? How do shifts in political participation, civic engagement, and partisanship all shape policymaking? How does policy shape participation? In this class we will engage with these questions through course discussion, group work, class data collection and analysis, and more.
Same as L40 SOC 423
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 A 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 4263 Memory for the Future
The year-long Studiolab "Memory for the Future" (M4F) will create spaces and practices of humanities education, practical public history, and collaboration in the spirit of "multidirectional memory." This concept tries to address the interlinked histories and legacies of the Holocaust, slavery, apartheid, and colonialism and create opportunities for dialogue between communities impacted by and implicated in these forms of violence. Our principal aims are to explore, enrich, and sustain the global and local focus of "reparative memorial practices" in St. Louis. Focusing on commemorative efforts through public memorials, monuments and especially museums, M4F will engage survivors, activists, institutional leaders, and scholars (students and faculty) in the development of educational materials, artistic representations, exhibitions, and other approaches to bringing the past into the present. We strive to support the efforts of local and regional initiatives and venues to end racism, antisemitism, and homophobia and their related violence through innovative and inclusive memory work. Alongside classroom-based instruction focusing on discussing scholarship and acquiring practical, curatorial, and pedagogical skills, students will work with area institutions and initiatives to apply their study of multidirectional memory. This practicum is an integral part of the course and requires students to leave campus and regularly work with one of our partners (The Griot Museum of Black History, George B. Vashon Museum, St. Louis Kaplan Feldman Holocaust Museum, The Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Reparative Justice Coalition of St. Louis, St. Louis Community Remembrance Project). Participants of the Studiolab are expected to attend regular weekly meetings and engage in self-directed and collaborative project work. We are also preparing study trips to regional sites of memory and education. The M4F Studiolab will convene at the Lewis Collaborative, a living-learning-commercial space at the west end of the Delmar Loop. All A&S graduate students and advanced undergraduates are invited to participate. Undergraduate enrollment by permission of the instructors. For History majors, this course fulfills the capstone requirement as an Advanced Seminar. As a year-long course, students are expected to enroll in both the fall and spring sections. For more information, please consult https://www.m4f.community/
Same as L56 CFH 426
L98 AMCS 426A Performing the Political in American Dance
This course is an exploration of the politics of performance and the performance of politics through the lens of American dance in the 20th and 21st centuries. Through readings, screenings, and discussions, 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, this course will focus on the concepts necessary for examining the convergence of performance and politics (e.g., representation, ritual, spectacle, body, mimesis, propaganda) 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
More than ever, schooling in urban areas is researched, and it is at the center of debates for improving U.S. schooling. This course, which is framed by contemporary issues, focuses on the history of urban schooling and policy to deepen our understanding of the contemporary landscape. We will focus on particular cities and their school districts; these may include New York, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Atlanta. In this course, students will 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, past and present.
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 will be 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 will be placed on data derived from the interface of urban environments and the corresponding institutions within them, the generational experiences of various ethnic groups will complement the course foci. Enrollment note: Undergraduate students must enroll in Educ 4289, and graduate students must enroll in Educ 5289.
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 Topics in Politics: 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 429G The Unruly City
The history of the American city is the history of conquering the "unruly": real estate parcels, neighborhoods, buildings, and even people that represent decay, obstacles to capital, unlawfulness or disorder. Designers denigrated unruliness in the pursuit of modernization in the 20th century, but today seem more conflicted on the constitution and remedies for disorder. Is disorder in the eye of the beholder? What disrupts urban life more, the broken windows of vacant houses or the arrival of an upscale grocery in a poor neighborhood? Neighborhoods that have lost most of their population and buildings, or new football stadiums offered as economic and architectural solutions to blight? Programs of housing, urban planning, infrastructural urbanism, zoning, policing, historic preservation and mass transportation have impacts that can either squelch or protect the "unruly." No design is not political. This course examines the divergent definitions of order and disorder that are shaping contemporary approaches to urban planning, governance and cultural production. This seminar digs into these questions, using the classic debate between Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs over the future of New York City as an entry point into urban political and economic ideas that engage concepts of order and disorder. We will cover readings by Sennett, Agamben, Mouffe, Negri & Hardt, Baldwin, Fanon, Certeau, Harvey, Zukin and others. This course will be place-based at Sumner High School in The Ville neighborhood of St. Louis, a historically Black neighborhood. The class will arrange a carpool to the teaching location and engage the community with real-world examination of course themes throughout the semester. This class meets together with A48 529G.
Same as L56 CFH 429G
L98 AMCS 4300 Spiritual But Not Religious: The Politics of American Spirituality
What does it mean to claim to be "spiritual but not religious"?? What are the social and political consequences of foregrounding spiritual seeking and religious experimentation over the "organized religion" of churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples?? The seminar focuses on a series of debates that have arisen over this "new spirituality" in American culture: the religious blessing of consumer culture, the rise of therapeutic models of meditation and mindfulness, the politics of Euro-American appropriations of Native American and Buddhist religious practices, the negotiation of religious pluralism, and the relationship between spiritual seeking and social justice.
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 4311 Black Experimental Music
Founded on the South Side of Chicago in 1965, the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) united dozens of African American artists who were interested in experimental approaches to composition and improvisation. Their creative work, often described as black experimental music, would transform black-identified musical styles like jazz as well as white-identified styles of experimental concert music from which African Americans were often excluded-until the AACM intervened. In this course, we will investigate the Association's history by reading and discussing a wide range of texts about the organization, including books and articles written by AACM members themselves. We will also examine a number of important recordings and musical scores created by AACM artists, including Muhal Richard Abrams, Fred Anderson, Anthony Braxton, Joseph Jarman, George Lewis, Nicole Mitchell, Roscoe Mitchell, and Wadada Leo Smith.
Same as L27 Music 4311
L98 AMCS 4370 Music and Performance: Pleasure and Politics in Popular Music
Christopher Small has asserted that music is not a thing but an activity--something that people DO. Starting from this premise, this course explores popular music in performance and introduces students to the flourishing scholarship at the intersection of performance studies, sound studies, and popular music studies. We will attend to sound, music, listening, and voice-and we will consider these elements of performance in combination with costume, choreography, stage design, and audience participation and interaction. 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, musical theater, and rock. We will consider the pleasure and politics embraced by everyday people and activists who have used music in protest movements from the labor movement to Black Lives Matter. We also attend performances around St. Louis, guided by the interests of the class. Upper-level undergraduates and graduate students (enrolled under a 500-number) 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 4410 Borders and Belonging: Citizens, Immigrants Refugees
This course examines ideas, policies, and practices around migration and inclusion in global comparison. We will focus heavily on key issues for inclusion, including access to the labor market, housing, education, language policy, and political rights. Throughout the course, we examine the role of INGOS, states, and municipal organizations in resettlement and inclusion. Students will have the chance to develop a project focused on a case of their choosing and hone writing skills for applied research settings.
Same as L97 GS 4410
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 to be explored include: the tensions between secular and Christian conceptions of the republic, the civil liberties of atheists and nontheists, the battles over religion in the public schools, the culture wars over secular humanism and science, and the contemporary growth of the religiously disaffiliated or religious "nones." The course considers not only the intellectual dimensions of skeptical critiques of religion, but also the underlying politics of secularism (and anti-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 4509 Interdisciplinary Topics in the Humanities: Freedom | Information | Acts
Same as L93 IPH 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 450B AMCS Harvey Scholar Seminar
In this course AMCS Undergraduate 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. The AMCS program director leads the seminar with support and involvement from faculty and staff. This course is part of the AMCS Harvey Scholar Fall-Spring seminar sequence designed to support the intellectual and community life of AMCS undergraduates. Prerequisite: Permission of program. Students place themselves on the course waitlist and then 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.
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 decision making; 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 460E Education of Black Children and Youth
This course provides an overview of the education of Black children and youth in the United States. Covering both pre- and post-Brown eras, students in this course offers a deep examination of the research focused on Black education. The social, political, and historical contexts of education, as essential aspects of American and African-American culture and life, will be placed in the foreground of course inquiries.
Same as L12 Educ 4607
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 4620 Topics in English Literature II: Travel and Colonization in the Early Modern Period
Variable topics, such as Travel and Colonization in the Renaissance; Renaissance Skepticism and the Literature of Doubt.
Same as L14 E Lit 462
L98 AMCS 4621 The Political Economy of Urban Education
Defining a political economy of urban education involves the examination of power and wealth and the manner in which they operate in urban settings. It requires analysis of the larger urban social and economic context and consideration of historical forces that have brought the schools to their present state. In this course, we consider various political and economic factors that have influenced and shaped urban education in the United States, drawing upon the extant literature on urban education and related social science disciplines to characterize and discuss them. A particular focus of this course will be on the dynamic interrelationships among the political economy, urban education, and social stratification.
Same as L12 Educ 4621
L98 AMCS 4625 Topics in Politics: Democracy and Inequality in an Age of Globalization
Same as L32 Pol Sci 4625
L98 AMCS 4631 The Binational Condition. The Mexico-US Relationship in Mexican History and Culture
From the 19th century onwards, the relationship between Mexico and the United States has been defined by intense tensions and contradictions. Closely intertwined by geopolitical engagement and integrations, mutual migration flows, and rich cultural exchange, both countries belong to a binational system with few equivalents around the world, which defines the lives of people living across North America. And yet, few people in the United States have access to a clear and rigorous understanding of the Southern neighbor, often leading to conflict at the political and social levels. This class explores this historically, from the early frictions caused by territory and slavery to the binational conditions of the present. The class emphasizes the Mexican perspective of the relationship, often erased in discussions from the U.S. From this perspective, the course will engage critical moments in the history of the relationships, such as the underground railroad to the South, the Mexican American War, the Guadalupe Hidalgo treaty, and the Cold War. The class will also discuss the ways in which Mexico has influenced the United States culturally, from the impact of Mexican post-Revolutionary art in the New Deal to the rise of film directors like Alfonso Cuarón and Gullermo del Toro. Finally, the class will lay out the ways in which Mexicans and scholars of Mexican studies think about questions such as regional development, the border, immigration, and the Drug War. Prereq. L45 165D or prior coursework on Global Studies, Latin American Studies or American Studies. The course covers the seminar requirement for majors and minors in Latin American Studies.
Same as L45 LatAm 4631
L98 AMCS 4633 20th-Century Latin American Revolutions
Latin America was arguably one of the most "revolutionary" regions of the world in the 20th century. It registered four "great revolutions": Mexico 1910, Bolivia 1952, Cuba 1959, and Nicaragua 1979. These social revolutions entailed a substantial, violent, and voluntarist struggle for political power and the overthrow of the established political, economic, social, and cultural orders. In the wake of these successful revolutions, new revolutionary institutions of governance were founded, radical structural changes were implemented, and a new revolutionary ethos was adopted. With the exception perhaps of the Bolivian Revolution, these revolutions had a profound impact on Latin American and world politics. The primary aim of this course is to analyze and compare the causes, processes, and outcomes of the Mexican, Cuban, and Nicaraguan revolutions. The course also analyzes late 20th century guerrilla movements in El Salvador and Peru.
Same as L97 GS 4633
L98 AMCS 465A Latin American Subcultures
This course has been planned as an introduction to the interconnections between "high" culture, popular culture, and mass culture, with particular emphasis on the formation of urban subcultures in contemporary Latin America. The topic of subculture and counterculture will be analyzed, taking into consideration the influence of factors of class, race, and gender in the construction of alternative cultural identities. Some of the connections to be studied are between political power and cultural resistance, affect, violence, symbolic value, hegemony and marginality. Distinctions will be made between culture, subcultures, traditions, and lifestyles as well as between multiculturalism and interculturality. While the first part of the course will introduce critical concepts, theories, and methodologies, the second half will focus on specific articulations between cultural practices and the domains of belief, sexuality, violence, and social media, including uses of music, video, and films. Students will prepare a final paper on a Latin American subculture of their choice and analyze it using the critical and theoretical tools discussed in class. Prerequisite: L45 165D. This course fulfills the seminar requirement for Latin American Studies majors and minors.
Same as L45 LatAm 4650
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 4671 Constructing the (Racial) Other: From the Colonial Caste System to U.S. Latinos
The goal of this course is to introduce students to categories and concepts related to the questions of race and ethnicity in Latin America, from colonial times to the present. The course also covers U.S. Latinos as a population of Latin American descent that presents particular characteristics connected to the issues of migration, identity politics, reterritorialization, and cultural hybridity. Based on the theoretical and critical study of problems related to colonialism, social classification, miscegenation, whiteness, discrimination, and the like, representative literary and visual materials will be discussed to illustrate the connections between race, social roles, domestic/public spaces, work, democracy and modernization. The issue of race will be analyzed in its multiple articulations to the themes of nationalism, interculturalism, migration, and symbolic representation. This course covers the seminar requirement for Latin American Studies majors. Prerequisite: L45 165D, one other class in Latin American studies, or one class on race studies.
Same as L45 LatAm 467
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, which were 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. This 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 4745 Cahokia to Contemporary: Native American Arts, Past(s) and Future
The arts of Native American communities demand a primary place in both American and global art histories. The historic depth, variety of cultural expression, and circumstances of the collection, exhibition and interpretation of native arts continue to demand our careful and critical attention. We are well situated in St Louis to consider both the indigenous artistic cultures of our own region, and to observe the vitality of native modern and contemporary art practice. Key concerns include the artists' relationship to space and place, their presentation of identities, politicized and activist dimensions of their practices, their negotiation of issues of race and gender, and their conscious relationships to both historic traditions and to contemporary culture. Through the study of local collections and special exhibitions on view in 2023, we will examine a significant range of works-from the Mississippian cultures exemplified by the nearby sites of Cahokia and Sugar Loaf Mound, to the collection of historic materials we will study at the Kemper Art Museum, to the modern and postmodern works on view locally by such artists as Fritz Scholder, Edgar Heap of Birds, Juane Quick-to-See Smith, Faye HeavyShield, Wendy Red Star, Rose Simpson, and others. Class field trips to Cahokia, to the CounterPublic Triennial in St. Louis, and on a spring weekend to Washington DC to visit the National Museum of the American Indian are funded by a generous grant from the Mark S. Weil and Joan M. Hall Endowment for Art History & Archaeology. Prerequisites: One 300-level course in Art History or permission of instructor
Same as L01 Art-Arch 4745
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
L98 AMCS 478 Topics in Transmedia Franchises
This variable topics course for advanced undergraduate and graduate students is an interdisciplinary seminar on transmedia franchises. In particular, it is recommended for those seeking to understand transmedia storytelling as an artistic, industrial, and cultural practice. As such, this course will bring into conversation various methodologies and perspectives, including film and media scholarship as well as other fields of study in the humanities and social sciences. The goal of this interdisciplinary approach is to illuminate how transmedia franchises have developed since the early 20th century to become the dominant product of the American -- and, increasingly, global -- cultural industries. Foci of this course may include such topics as individual franchises; global transmedia history; the franchise strategies of individual cultural industries (e.g., the Japanese media mix); or representation within franchise texts, production cultures, and fan communities. This course serves as a capstone for Film & Media Studies majors. Weekly or bi-weekly screenings or hands-on media labs are required.
Same as L53 Film 478
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: L01 113 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. Second, the course emphasizes the skills related to the exercise of policy analysis. Third, this course simulates the policymaking context through students' participation in mock congressional testimonies. 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 via 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. This course fulfills the history major capstone requirement as an Advanced Seminar.
Same as L22 History 48IB
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 one-credit workshop AMCS Majors work with mentors and peers to reflect on their journey through the major, prepare for the public presentation of their capstone research in early April, and prepare for life after college. 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. We hope it helps AMCS students to discover connections among what they have done and learned in the program and clarifies 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 workshop is a response to students' feedback: Graduating seniors tell us they would have liked more structured time to reflect on their work in the major; they would have liked to document their progress 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: L01 113, Intro to Western Art; or L01 215, Intro to Modern Art; one 300-level course in Art History preferred; or permission of instructor.
Same as L01 Art-Arch 4982
L98 AMCS 4984 The Problem of New World Freedom: The Age of Democratic Revolution in the United States and the Americas
Ever since the improbable alliance of the English pirate and slave trader Sir Francis Drake and the fugitive slave Cimarrons on the Atlantic coast of Panama many centuries ago, the history of freedom in the New World has unfolded in unlikely fits and starts. The course will explore two related conjectures: first, that maroon politics (the often short-lived alliances between slaves, quasi-free blacks and white allies), slave rebellion, provincial secession and civil war were the widespread and normative conditions of post-colonial regimes throughout the New World; and second, that the problem of freedom was especially challenging in a New World environment in which freedom was fleeting and tended to decompose. Special attention will be given to antislavery insurgencies, interracial politics and alliances in the Unites States and the perspectives on freedom they produced, but the readings will also include materials on debates over freedom in the Caribbean and South America over the course of the long age of democratic revolution, 1760-1888.
Same as L22 History 4984
L98 AMCS 4992 The Business of Us All: In/equality in Theory and Practice
This course uses a transdisciplinary approach to discuss in/equality and its interrelated topics of inequality, inequity and social justice. While the focus is on the U.S. predominantly, lessons learned from our global partners are important components of our discussions. The course will emphasize the implications of our findings for other ethnic/racial minorities around the world. Equality speaks to issues of priority, fairness and impartiality. On the other hand, inequality is defined as marked difference among individuals or groups of individuals in the distribution of social goods. Inequity, which considers bias, discrimination and injustice in distributive systems, pushes the discussion further. As the various forms of social, political and economic inequalities are mutually reinforced, we examine economic inequality, residential segregation and housing quality; dis/investment in neighborhoods and communities; resource allocation to low income, city and predominantly ethnic minority schools; academic underachievement of minority youth; access to and provision of appropriate health care; curtailment of social welfare programs; the presentation of stereotypical images of persons of color in the media and school curricula; morbidity, mortality, and longevity rates for persons of color; environmental hazards; the surge in incarceration related to substance abuse and escalating criminal prosecution, as well as discriminatory behavior of police and judges. All of the foregoing is made worse by race and gender status variables. Such factors cannot be considered inconsequential to social im/mobility and equality in the larger society. The collateral damage borne by the intergenerational transfer of social im/mobility and in/equality to future generations are integral to course discussions.
Same as I50 INTER D 4992
L98 AMCS 4996 Race, Memory, and Performance
This course takes as its starting point the vexing questions of history, memory, and identity that activists, scholars, artists, and others have posed in recent years. What is to be done with the commemorative landscape of monuments and memorials? How do we account for the silences and erasures in archival records? How should histories of racial violence be commemorated? These are questions that have been taken up in many arenas of civic life, including public art, "living history" tourism, museum studies, and urban planning. They have also been taken up by theater artists and performance artists who use their bodies, narrative, historical fact and, sometimes, fiction to bear witness to the past and to imagine new futures. In this course, we will examine the role of theater and performance in constituting-and challenging-the historically contingent meanings of "race;" we will also explore how performance of history shapes national narratives. Artists to be explored might include Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Mary Kathryn Nagle, Dread Scott, Quiara Alegria Hudes, Simone Leigh, and Heidi Schreck. Artistic and/or performance experience is not required. Students will have the opportunity to propose their own commemorative projects; together we will explore whether and how performances of the past can do a certain kind of reparative work necessary for a more equitable future.
Same as L15 Drama 4996
L98 AMCS 49KK Advanced Seminar: The United States in Afghanistan: Origins, Developments, Consequences
This course offers a historical examination and analysis of America's involvement in Afghanistan from the Cold War through the present, focusing in particular on the US War in Afghanistan from 2001 onward. Special attention will be given to political, military, diplomatic and economic dynamics as well as to international relationships, the experience of war and the subsequent developments upon both American and Afghani societies. Major topics covered include US covert operations against the Soviets in Afghanistan during the 1980s; revolution, civil war and the rise of the Taliban during the 1990s; 9/11 and the War on Terror; national building and stability measures during the early 2000s and subsequent security threats in the form of an insurgency, warlords, drug gangs, criminal networks and the al-Qaeda alliance of terrorist organizations; the key roles played by Pakistan, India, Iran, Russia, China and Central Asian states; the Obama surge and counterinsurgency operations starting in 2009; the soldier's experience, special forces, and covert operations; prisoners, torture and human rights abuses; the end of NATO's mission in 2014 and subsequent developments: the Ghani government, the return of the Taliban, the arrival of ISIS, the peace process, the U.S. drawdown and the elusive quest for peace and stability in Afghanistan. This is a capstone course open to history majors only. This course fulfills the History major capstone requirement as an Advanced Seminar.
Same as L22 History 49KK
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
TThis course focuses on the long history of chattel slavery in North America, from origins through emancipation, encompassing Black and Indigenous enslavement. The course foregrounds the struggles over power, over 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, production, and reproduction; law, property, and dispossession; racial and gender domination; sexual violation, rape, and incest; psychological terror and social death; containment and marooning; selfhood and nationality; agency and resistance; anti-colonial and revolutionary liberation and millennial redemption. Finally, it engages the "politics of knowledge production" that have produced the slavery "archive," replete with its annihilating silences, repressions, and erasures, and overdetermined "presences." In the end, the course's overarching question is how the politics of slavery, of its material experiences, interpretations, and archives, have shaped the lives and afterlives of slavery and race, to the present day. Students will conduct original research on topics related to North American slavery in consultation with the instructor that will culminate in a 12-15-page final essay. The course includes attention to the role of slavery in the founding and development of Washington University, and research projects that engage the University's slavery "archive" and questions related to enslavement in the history of the University and/or the history of St. Louis are welcome and will be supported by Olin Library Special Collections and other resources. Modern, U.S. PREREQUISITE: SEE HISTORY HEADNOTE.
Same as L22 History 49SA