Courses In American Studies

AMS 111. Introduction to American Studies. An interdisciplinary approach to the study of America's heritage and the distinguishing features of the American mind and character.  Fulfills general education requirement: Liberal Studies Area 1 (History). 3 credits.

AMS 112. The Rise and Decline of the American Middle Class. Since 1945, the vast majority of the United States have described themselves as middle class. Until the 1970's, to be middle class was to be economically secure; a steady job, home ownerships, and money for modest vacations and retirement. In recent years, many who consider themselves middle class feel stressed rather than secure. Their pay is declining or stagnant, and they struggle to pay for college, and they have little saved for retirement. This class analyzes the public policies and economic trends that have undermined the lives of tens of millions of Americans. Students are encouraged to understand the issue and consider what could be done about it.  Fulfills general education requirement: Liberal Studies Area 1 (History). 4 credits.

AMS 220. American Popular Culture: Production and Consumption. This course will offer a critical investigation of the role of popular culture in American life. From Tin Pan Alley to hip-hop, from fast food to pro wrestling, popular culture shows an increasing influence on American economic, social, and political life, and has become central in helping to define American identity and even reality itself. We all participate in popular culture in some way, and this course will give students the chance to explore its meanings and importance in their lives and in American culture.  Fulfills general education requirement: Liberal Studies Area 1 (History). 3 credits.

AMS 223. American Thought and Culture. A survey of American intellectual history and cultural criticism ranging from Puritanism and Enlightenment Rationalism to multiculturalism, feminism, and post-modernism.  Fulfills general education requirement: Writing Process. Liberal Studies Area 1 (History). 3 credits.

AMS 225. Democracy in America. This course will explore both the historical origins and development of the cultural ideal of democracy in the United States. By focusing on the cultural ideal of democracy, it will seek to understand the impact and meaning of democracy in America beyond that of political institutions alone. It will include readings and discussions in history, literature, politics, and cultural anthropology.  Fulfills general education requirement: Liberal Studies Area 1 (History). 3 credits.

AMS 280. Gender and Sexual Minorities in America Culture. This course explores the lives of those individuals living with a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer identity (LGBTQ) and the relationship these individuals have with those around them. Exploration of the historical and contemporary implications of living with an LGBTQ identity, how these identities develop, the struggle for civil rights and legal protections, and how various factors such as the AIDS crisis, the media, religion, and others impact LGBTQ persons will also be explored.  Fulfills general education requirement: American Social Diversity. 3 credits.

AMS 328. Film and the American Identity. This interdisciplinary course will critically examine how films reflect, construct, and question the dominant image and understanding of the American identity.  Fulfills general education requirement: Disciplinary Perspectives. Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing. 4 credits.

AMS 362. Multiculturalism and the American Identity. This class offers you a chance to familiarize yourself with the variety of ethnic, racial, gender, and sexual groups and identities in the U.S. You will gain or enhance your intellectual framework for understanding and appreciating diversity. It also will prepare you to survive and thrive in our complex and challenging world. The course relies on history, literature, and cultural studies and will be challenging but also fun.  Fulfills general education requirement: American Social Diversity. 3 credits.