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.
Introduction to African American Studies
An examination of Black cultural life with a focus on history, autobiography, popular and expressive culture.
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.
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?
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)
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)
Food in America
Food memories, food politics, and the business of American food.
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.
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.
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.
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?
Native Peoples of North America
Learn about the amazing diversity of indigenous cultures across our continent, and about the important social,
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.
US Cinema and Culture
Hollywood movies as a funhouse mirror of American society.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.