Spring 2015 American studies courses


Understanding American Cultures

The idea of America, Americanism, and the experiences of different groups of Americans through exemplary historical events.
Instructors: Kara Fagan, Stacey Moultry, Diane Williams


Introduction to African American Studies

An examination of Black cultural life with a focus on history, autobiography, popular and expressive culture.
Instructor: Deborah Whaley


Drugs in American Popular Culture

Uses popular culture such as Breaking Bad, Weeds, and Orange is the New Black to discuss connections between the prohibition of drugs, race, social class, and gender.
Instructor: Nik Dickerson


Inequality in American Sport

Sport is often thought of as a central  unifying feature of American life, but do all Americans have the same opportunities, experiences, or opinions about it?
Instructors: Dain TePoel & Yu-Kuei "Daniel" Sun


American Popular Music

We are going to rock our way through the social history of  America from the second half of the 20th century to the present. (ONLINE COURSE)
Instructor: Steve Horowitz


American Political Humor

If you want to know what Americans really think about their leaders and their form of government, don’t look to polls and pundits for the answers—look at what makes them laugh. (ONLINE COURSE)
Instructor: Russ Peterson


Food in America

Food memories, food politics, and the business of American food.
Instructor: Lauren Rabinovitz


Approaches to American Studies

Provides practice learning about America through a variety of historic and contemporary sources such as literature, photography, painting, film, music, fashions, environments, and events of everyday life.
Instructor: Deborah Whaley


Diversity and American Identities

Draws from art, music, comics, film, law, history, sport, sociology, and science to examine Asian American political mobilization, Latino cultural citizenship, Black representation in sequential art, masculinity, women’s movements, white ethnic histories, and images of Americans Indians in popular culture.
Instructor: Deborah Whaley


The American Vacation

Vacations are more serious events than you might think. One hundred years ago a vacation might have been beyond your grasp - now we take them for granted. Explore Coney Island, Atlantic City, Lake Okoboji, Yellowstone, Disney World and more.
Instructor: Susan Birrell


Sport and Film

What do sport films like Rocky, Field of Dreams, and League of their Own tell us about the meaning and importance of sport in our society?
Instructor: Susan Birrell


 Native Peoples of North America

Learn about the amazing diversity of indigenous cultures across our continent, and about the important social,
political, and environmental issues they face today.


Food and Culture in Indian Country

In Food and Culture in Indian Country, students will sample Native American foods, learn from Native people devoted to preserving their cultures, and sample the rituals and songs associated with the production and consumption of food in North America.  
Instructor: Stephen Warren


US Cinema and Culture

Hollywood movies as a funhouse mirror of American society.
Instructor: Lauren Rabinovitz


The Office: Business Life in America

A history of business life in America in the age of the corporation (with its new kinds of office labor, office layouts, and dress codes, its increasingly diverse workforce, and its implications for the American Dream), while also examining the depiction of business life in art, literature, advertising, and popular culture, from Herman Melville’s story about a legal secretary to recent movies such as Office Space and The Wolf of Wall Street, and TV shows such as Mad Men and Silicon Valley.
Instructor: Nick Yablon


Metropolis: Cities in American Culture

Explores how American cities have been depicted (in literature, art, photography, popular music, TV shows such as The Wire, and movies such as Batman) as spectacular wonderlands, picturesque tourist sites, or derelict danger zones on the brink of destruction – and how these various visions have shaped attitudes and policies towards those cities.
Instructor: Nick Yablon


Seminar in American Cultural Studies: Gothic America

Why has Gothic fantasy been at the center of U.S. popular culture from Poe and Lovecraft to The Shining and Pretty Little Liars?  What social repressions, traumatic histories and unmet desires are set loose by the American Gothic and how can psychoanalysis and cultural studies  help us to explain them?
Instructor: Laura Rigal


American Sport to 1900

By 1900, sport – spectator and participatory – had become an important element of many aspects of American society and culture.  This course examines the almost 300 years of history underlying this.  It focuses especially on social class, gender, race, ethnicity, and sexuality and the varying sporting opportunities and experiences of the diverse peoples of the US.
Instructor: Tina Parratt


American Sport Since 1900

This course places an emphasis on the understanding that there are multiple histories, and we will investigates why certain versions of history (in sport and general society) are mythologized, while others are lesser known.
Instructor: Nik Dickerson