All 400-level courses carry graduate credit. In addition, we offer the following 500-level courses exclusively for graduate students. Visit individual faculty pages for sample syllabi.
AMST 501- Theory And Methods
The American Studies movement. Its conceptual and methodological development. The way this development was affected by and in turn reflected larger trends in the culture itself.
AMST 502T - Seminar: Selected Topics
A particular problem or topic as a case study in the use of interdisciplinary methods in American Studies. May be repeated for credit with a different topic. Topics offered in recent years include:
Race in American Studies: Theoretical Approaches to the Study of Racial Formation: Advanced analysis of the ways in which Americans have constructed, defined, represented, and negotiated racial identity and racial hierarchies from the seventeenth century to the present. Although this course takes an historical approach, it is not meant to be a survey. Instead we will pursue an in-depth analysis of how different cultural historians with differing interdisciplinary specialties have approached the study of racial formation and interracial interactions. It attends to substantive conclusions as well as theoretical and methodological considerations.
Contemporary American Culture: Advanced analysis of the beliefs, practices, and implications of membership in spatial, fictive, and virtual communities of contemporary cultural participation. Critical examination of the increasingly mediated nature of American experience evidenced in post-WWII technology, architecture, communications, and social organization.
Gender and Theory in American Studies: An advanced analysis of enduring patterns and innovative shifts in the ways in which Americans have defined, represented, and negotiated gender identity and gender relations from the seventeenth century to the present.
Visual Culture: Theories and case studies of how visual imagery has reflected and influenced Americans' sense of nature, time, memory, authenticity, and reality itself. Attention to television, film and painting, but particular emphasis on still photography as cultural evidence.
Ethnography and American Culture: Introduction to the pragmatics and politics of ethnographic research on American culture. Students design, conduct, and write up independent fieldwork projects based on interviews and participant-observation. Topics include: research design, interviewing, participant-observation, ethics, cultural analysis, ethnographic writing, and representational genres.
American Scape, Place, and Architecture: After analyzing space, place, and architecture as concepts and cultural artifacts, the seminar examines how Americans have shaped nature from the seventeenth century to the present. Emphasizes diversity of architectural expression in a pluralistic society. A reading and research colloquium. Mike Steiner
Theoretical Approaches to Studying Popular Culture: This course will examine new theoretical approaches to the interpretation of American popular culture. It will focus on theories examining the relationship between forms of popular culture (including best-selling novels, television, mass amusements, and advertisements) and the society producing them.
Public Memory: Analyzes narratives of the past encapsulated in museums, memorials, historic preservation sites, living history projects, and popular culture. Emphasizes the cultural politics and packaging of public memory and tensions between national identity and local, ethnic and regional identity narratives.
American Prejudice in Theory and Actuality: Advanced analysis of prejudice as a cultural process: cultural construction of unreasonably negative perceptions of others. Etiology of various forms of intolerance in the American past and present. Common features of prejudice alongside peculiarities of the holder, target, and moment.
Culture and Desire: Theoretical Approaches to the History of the Emotions: Advanced analysis of enduring patterns and innovative shifts in the ways Americans have defined, controlled, and expressed emotions such as anger, lust, shame, pride, fear, jealousy, grief, and joy from the 17th century to the present.
American Technocultures: Advanced analysis of the relationship between technology and culture in America from industrialization to the present. Explores how technologies have both shaped and been shaped by larger cultural ideas, institutions, values, and processes in America.
AMST 596 - Teaching Tutorial
Prerequisite: AMST 501. Preparation for community college or university teaching. Small group discussion, lecture-discussion, examinations, teaching strategies. Enrollment requires approval of American Studies Graduate Adviser.
AMST 598 - Graduate Thesis
Prerequisites: graduate standing in American studies and consent of graduate adviser. The writing of a thesis based on original research and its analysis and evaluation.
AMST 599 - Independent Graduate Research
Prerequisite: graduate standing in American Studies and consent of graduate adviser. May be repeated for credit.