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American Studies

College of Arts and Sciences

Course of Study

Required foundation courses (6 semester hours):

AMST 5500. Topics in American Studies. 3. Selected problems in the theory, practice, and bibliography of American studies. Required of graduate majors in the program and is recommended for students with an interdisciplinary interest in American Culture. Prerequisites: survey knowledge of American literature and history; graduate standing or consent of instructor.

AMST 5510. Readings in American Studies. 3. Selected readings in the theory, practice, and bibliography of American Studies. Surveys scholarship in the field and is designed to help graduate students develop thesis topics. Prerequisites: graduate standing in American studies or related field; consent of instructor.


American Studies core courses. At least three of the following (9 semester hours):

AMST 5010. Independent Study. 1-6 (Max. 6). For graduate students in any graduate program who can benefit from independent research and writing in American Studies. Dual listed with AMST 4010. Prerequisites: 3 hours in American Studies and consent of instructor.

AMST 5020. American Follklife. 3. Introduces materials and methods of folklife research, examining both verbal and nonverbal expressions of traditional cultures in America. Topics include material culture, belief systems, traditional events and celebrations, and folk performances of many kinds. Dual listed with AMST 4020.

AMST 5030. Ecology of Knowledge. 3. Examines the development of "disciplines" and explores definitions, theories, methods and practices of interdisciplinary work. Dual listed with AMST 4030.

AMST 5200. Material Culture. 3. Designed to introduce advanced students to the theory, methods, and practice of material culture study. A significant portion of the course will be devoted to a studio exercise in which students collectively document and analyze a material culture form that has been designated by the instructors.

AMST 5250. The Harlem Renaissance. 3. Examines the florescence of  African American creativity, centered in Harlem, New York, between the end of World War I and the onset of the Great Depression. This movement had a tremendous impact on African American culture in and outside of the U.S., including Africa and the Caribbean. Dual listed with AMST 4250; cross listed with AAST 5200.

AMST 5300. American Culture and the Public Sector. 3. A survey of American culture studies in the public sector. Topics covered include the history and theory of public sector humanities and social sciences, types of public sector jobs and institutions where public humanists work, and public sector work in specific disciplines such as history, anthropology, folklore, archaeology, and art history. Dual listed with AMST 4300.

AMST 5400. American Built Environment. 3. Examination of America's built environment from pre-Colonial times to the present day. Factors affecting the architecture and built form of a given period are discussed together with what the material legacy says about the culture of the period. Prerequisite: ARE 3020.

AMST 5550. Varieties of Literary Evidence. 3. Selected problems in the use of literary evidence for American studies scholarship.

AMST 5560. Black Popular Culture. 3. Approaches African American popular culture from theoretical perspectives which include black feminist, postcolonial, and poststructuralist analyses. Cross listed with AAST 5560. 

AMST 5800. Historic Preservation. 3. Review of the roots of historic preservation in Western culture with an emphasis on the historical and legal context of architectural conservation in America. Current issues in preservation are examined through case studies and guest presentations. Dual listed with AMST 4800. Prerequisite: ARE 3020 or AMST 5400.

AMST 5990. Internship. 1-12 (Max. 24).


A limited number of dual listed (graduate/undergraduate, 4000-level) courses may be included in the American Studies core, upon consultation with advisor. Among these are: American Civilization, Field Studies in Historic Preservation, Cultures of Nature, Environmental Politics, and Federal Land Politics.

AMST 4500. American Civilization. 1‑8 (Max. 8). Explores various interdisciplinary approaches to the American experience, past and present. May include topical, thematic, historical, literary and cultural integrations; for a given semester, the course's precise focus will be indicated in the class schedule.

AMST 4900. Field Studies in Historic Preservation. 1-4 (Max. 4). Acquaints students with current issues in historic preservation by visiting places of importance in U.S. and Europe. Agencies and institutions involved in building conservation provide specific expertise at sites visited. Prerequisite: 3 hours of architectural history or 6 hours of art history. (Offered based on sufficient demand and resources)

AMST 3000. Cultures of Nature in the United States. 3. Uses artistic, philosophical, historical and literary material to investigate how ideas about and representations of nature have changed over time in the U.S. Culminates in an examination of a wide range of contemporary environmental ideas within this broad historical and cultural context. Prerequisite: 2000-level course in one of the following departments: AMST, American history, American literature, or a 2000-level course approved for the ENR program. Cross listed with WMST 3000.

AMST 4051. Environmental Politics. 3.  Analyzes environmentalism as a political phenomenon. Provides a basic understanding of how to analyze political issues by: (1) examining the historical and contemporary issues that produce controversy over environmental matters; and (2) surveying the impacts of these issues on the formulation and implementation of laws, policies, and regulations. Cross listed with POLS, ENR, GEOG and REWM 4051.

AMST 4052. Federal Land Politics. 3. Examines the political forces that have shaped and continue to shape federal land policy and management. Explores the interactions between democratic decision making and science in the management of federal lands. Surveys the sources of controversy over federal land management and methods for harmonizing public demands with technical expertise. Cross listed with POLS/ENR/GEOG/REWM 4052.


Interdisciplinary concentration (9 semester hours):

Courses selected in consultation with the advisor. Typical clusters include environmental studies (individual courses such as Environmental Politics or a more extensive connection with the Environment and Natural Resources Program leading to a minor or double major), material culture/folklife, public sector work, ethnic or gender studies, regional studies, or international perspectives on American culture.

Thesis option: 4 semester hours of thesis research credit (AMST 5960)

Non-thesis option: 4 semester hours of additional coursework.

For both options, this is a 30-semester hour course of study.


American Studies (AMST) in the University Catalog

American Studies (AMST) Courses in the University Catalog

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American Studies

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