American Studies

Professor: Boyer Lewis (Director)

The concentration in American studies offers an interdisciplinary approach to the study of American culture. The concentration provides an excellent background for a wide variety of pursuits. Students will take six courses focusing on American institutions in fine arts, history, literature, political science, psychology, sociology, and religion. The concentration also offers a focus on Native American studies.

Requirements for the Concentration in American Studies

Number of Units
Six units are required.

Required Courses
One American History course: AMST/HIST 110 or 111
One American Literature course: AMST/ENGL 269, 270, 275, or 276

Core Courses
Four additional courses from at least two of the following different categories:

History
AMST/HIST 110 History of the US I
AMST/HIST 111 History of the US II
HIST 200 Colonial America
HIST 203 Revolutionary America
HIST 206 Culture and Society in Victorian America
HIST 209 Post World War II America
HIST 211 Native American History
HIST 212 American Environmental History
HIST 213 The Slave South
HIST 215 Civil War to Civil Rights
HIST 217 History of Leisure and Recreation in America
HIST 218 The American Jewish Experience
HIST 220 American Women's History to 1870
HIST 221 American Women's History since 1870
HIST 223 American Diplomacy since 1898

Literature and Fine Arts
AMST/ENGL 269 New World Narratives: American Literature 1500-1790
AMST/ENGL 270 Reform and Renaissance: U.S. Literature 1790-1860
AMST/ENGL 275 American Realisms: United States Literature 1865-1914
AMST/ENGL 276 Modernism and Postmodernism: United States Literature 1914-Present
ARTX 224 20th-Century Art
ENGL 220 African-American Literature
ENGL 222 American Indian Literatures
ENGL 230 Studies in U.S. Ethnic Literature
ENGL 260 Studies in Film (depending on topic)
ENGL 435 Advanced Literary Studies
MUSC 140 American Music
MUSC 165 Jazz: A Creative and Cultural Exploration
MUSC 205 Music and Identity
THEA 155 Introduction to African American Theater

Politics
POLS 105 Introduction to American Government
POLS 225 Constitutional Law
POLS 227 Law, Politics, and Society
POLS 230 Presidency and Congress
POLS 263 American Political Theory
POLS 285 United States Foreign Policy
POLS 325 Race and Politics
POLS 370 Civil Liberties and Majority Power
POLS 380 Drugs, Democracy, and Human Rights
POLS 420 Politics, Parties, and Public Opinion

Society
ANSO 103 Introduction to Society and Culture
ANSO 120 The Family
ANSO 205 Urban Sociology
ANSO 215 Crime and Society
ANSO 230 Sociology of Religion
ANSO 235 Prisons and Public Policy
ANSO 236 Race and Racism
ANSO 255 The Media and Popular Culture
PSYC 230 Psychology of Prejudice
RELG 218 American Jewish Experience
RELG 111 Religious History of the United States I
RELG 112 Religious History of the United States II
RELG 222 US Black Religious Experience
RELG 313 Catholicism in the United States
RELG 368 Hindu Traditions in the Americas

Students interested in Native American Studies should take: ENGL 222, HIST 211, and RELG 111.

Other courses may be accepted at the discretion of the director. Concentrators should consult with the Director of American Studies as early as possible to develop their program. Concentrators are encouraged to take as many courses as possible.

Senior Individualized Project (SIP)
The SIP in American Studies is encouraged but not required. Any faculty member regularly teaching in the American Studies program may direct a SIP in American Studies. Concentrators should consult with the Director of American Studies.

American Studies courses

AMST/HIST110History of the United States IAmerica from contact times to 1865, with emphasis on economic, social, intellectual, and political developments.
AMST/HIST111History of the United States IIAmerica from 1865 to the present, with emphasis on economic, social, intellectual, and political developments.
AMST/ENGL269New World Narratives: American Literature 1500-1790A study of the divergent and complementary tales emerging from those settled in or settling "America." Texts include American Indian and European creation myths, exploration narratives, Puritan poetry, captivity narratives, and late 18th-century fiction and non-fiction.Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or an English Reading the World course.
AMST/ENGL270Reform and Renaissance: U.S. Literature 1790-1865A study of literature emerging during a period of significant social upheavals; the continuing shift from a colonial to an "American" identity, the unsettling of indigenous populations, the movement of European populations westward, and the Slavery and Woman questions. Through an exploration of diverse texts, students will examine a literature shaped by an impulse to transform or reform pre-existing perspectives and genres.Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or an English Reading the World course.
AMST/ENGL275American Realisms: U.S. Literature 1865-1914This course examines a variety of approaches to knowing a literary period. We will explore theoretical, socio-historical, formal, and thematic paradigms that can organize our understanding of the wide variety of written and cinematic texts produced in the period between the end of the Civil War and the beginning of World War I. Through a study of the frequently conflicting stories about gender, race, sexuality, art, and Americanness that come to voice during this period, students will challenge and complicate their definitions of literary realism.Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or an English Reading the World course.
AMST/ENGL276Modernism and Postmodernism: U.S. Literature 1914-PresentA study of the rise of a modern aesthetic in the wake of World War I and the postmodern response in the second half of the 20th century with an eye toward the diversity of voices and formal choices that mark this period.Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or an English Reading the World course.
AMST593Senior Individualized ProjectEach program or department sets its own requirements for Senior Individualized Projects done in that program, including the range of acceptable projects, the required background of students doing projects, the format of the SIP, and the expected scope and depth of projects. See the Kalamazoo Curriculum -> Curriculum Details and Policies section of the Academic Catalog for more details.Prerequisite: Permission of department and SIP supervisor required.