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Theories and Methods in American Studies (Junior Seminar)
This course aims to provide a “how to” of American Studies from an integrative, multiracial, and socio-cultural perspective. Taking American culture as a site for testing classic and contemporary theories about how cultures work, the Junior Seminar in American Studies serves as an introduction to resources and techniques for interdisciplinary research. Students will be exposed to and experiment with a wide range of current theoretical and methodological approaches employed in American Studies and contributing disciplinary fields, and in the process gain a working competence in all four tracks of the major (Space and Place; Comparative Studies in Race, Ethnicity and Diaspora; Arts in Context; and Critical and Cultural Theory). The goal of the course is not only for students to develop knowledge of main currents in the field of American Studies but also to become practitioners through a series of assignments that will permit students to exercise their newfound skills. Students will thus, for instance, develop rhetorical analyses, gather ethnographic data, and “read” assorted spaces and buildings, as the class explores such problems or topics as national narratives, ethnoracial formations, the American prison system, and the circulation of commodities.
Format: seminar; discussion
Grading: yes pass/fail option,
yes fifth course option
class participation and a wide variety of student assignments, ranging from postings to the class Glow site, to short, analytical essays (5 pp.), to field work exercises, to in class presentations
AMST 101/201 Intro to American Studies, junior or senior standing, or permission of instructor
juniors majoring in American Studies
required of junior majors