Core Curriculum

American Studies

American Studies

Facilitators: James Bennett, Religious Studies and Juliana Chang, English

American Studies is an interdisciplinary approach to the study of the United States, past and present. Students approach the study of American cultures through such diverse fields as history, literature, religious studies, art, economics, and environmental studies, and might focus on such topics as popular culture and material culture, ethnic studies and gender studies, empire and globalization. American Studies students analyze America's relations with the rest of the world, the construction and deconstruction of American identities, and changing and competing definitions of America (including critiques of the very name "American Studies").

We encourage students to intentionally craft a four-course cluster around a theme or topic of special interest to them. Such intentional focus will also make it easier for students to complete the reflection paper. Below are suggested possible ways of crafting such a cluster or focus, although students should feel free to develop and define their own individualized cluster topic:

  • American Regions (i.e., The West and California, America and the Caribbean, Interregionalism, America and the Atlantic)
  • Politics and Activism
  • Transnationalism and Globalization
  • Colonialism/Postcolonialism
  • Historical Periods (i.e., The Colonial Period, The 19th Century, Modernism, Postmodernism)
  • Gender and Sexuality
  • Race and Ethnicity

Associated Courses

Foundations Courses
(Please note that only the specific Foundation course topics qualify for the Pathway requirements, and only one Foundations course may be applied to a Pathway)

ENGL        2A        Imagining History (effective 9/1/09)
ENGL        2A        American Studies: Popular Culture (effective 9/1/09)

American Politics
GOVT       410 001T     American Gov't & Politics Seminar I (American University Washington Semester Program)

Anthropology
ANTH        148       Historical Archaeology (effective 1/1/12)
ANTH        157       Family and Culture (cross-listed with WGST 155; effective 9/1/09)
ANTH        170       Women, Gender, and Sexuality (cross-listed with WGST 144; effective 9/1/09)

Art History
*ARTH      140       Photography in the United States (formerly 186; effective 1/1/12)
*ARTH      143       Women's Work: American Women in the Visual Arts (cross-listed with WGST 156; formerly ARTH 188; 9/1/09)
*ARTH      144       Race, Gender, and Nation in 18th and 19th Century American Art (effective 9/1/09)
*ARTH      145       Perpetual Revolution: American Art in the 20th-Century (effective 9/1/09)

Communication
COMM       40EL     Introduction to Journalism - ELSJ (cross-listed with ETHN 60; effective 9/1/09)
*COMM     136A​     Genre, Auteur & Narrative Strategies (effective 9/1/16)
*COMM     138A     Television History/Theory - Topics Vary (effective 9/1/09)
COMM       147A     News and Democracy (effective 9/1/09)
COMM       168A     Race, Gender and Politics (cross-listed with WGST 117; effective 9/1/09)

Economics
*ECON      136       20th-Century Economic History (effective 9/1/09)

English
ENGL        31         Survey of American Literature I (effective 9/1/09)
ENGL        32         Survey of American Literature II (effective 9/1/09)
ENGL        33         Intro to American Literature (effective 9/1/2016)
ENGL        35         Introduction to African-American Literature (cross-listed with ETHN 36; effective 9/1/09)
ENGL        36         Introduction to Latino/a Literature (effective 9/1/09)
ENGL        37         Native American Literature (effective 9/1/09)
ENGL        38         Introduction to Asian-American Literature (effective 9/1/09)
ENGL        39         Multicultural Literature of the United States (cross-listed with ETHN 70; (effective 9/1/09)
ENGL        39G       Multicultural Literature of the United States (effective 2/21/2017)
ENGL        65         Political Literature (effective 5/6/2016)
ENGL        66         Radical Imagination (effective 9/1/09)
ENGL        67         U.S. Gay and Lesbian Literature (cross-listed with WGST 34; effective 9/1/09)
ENGL        68         Literature and Women (effective 3/25/16)
ENGL        69         Literature by Women Writers of Color (cross-listed with WGST 15; effective 9/1/09)
*ENGL      106       Advanced Writing ("American Renaissances" topic only; effective 9/1/18) 
ENGL        121       American Film (effective 9/1/09)
ENGL        129       American Theatre from the Black Perspective (cross-listed as THTR 161 and ETHN 136; effective 9/1/09)
ENGL        130       Studies in African American Literature
ENGL        131       Early American Literature (effective 9/1/09)
ENGL        132       19th-Century American Literature (effective 9/1/09)
ENGL        132G     19th-Century American Literature (cross-listed with WGST 164; effective 9/1/09)
ENGL        133       Selected American Authors (effective 9/1/09)
ENGL        134       Studies in Contemporary American Literature: The Short Story
ENGL        134G     Studies in Contemporary American Literature (cross-listed with WGST 186; effective 9/1/09)
ENGL        135       Studies in American Fiction (effective 9/1/09) 
ENGL        135       African American Literature (cross-listed with ETHN 130; effective 9/1/09)
ENGL        136       Latino/a Literature and Cultural Studies (cross-listed with ETHN 124; effective 9/1/09)
ENGL        137       Native American Literature (cross-listed with ETHN 111; effective 9/1/09)
ENGL        137G     Native American Literature (cross-listed as WGST 110; effective 9/1/09)
ENGL        138       Asian-American Literature (cross-listed with ETHN 145; effective 9/1/09)
ENGL        139       Topics in American Literature (effective 4/3/17)
ENGL        152       LGBTQ Studies: U.S. Perspectives (cross-listed with WGST 136; effective 9/1/09)
ENGL        192       American Theatre from Black Perspective (cross-listed with THTR 161)

Environmental Studies
ENVS        20         The Water Wars of California L&L (effective 1/19/2016)

Ethnic Studies
ETHN        5           Introduction to the Study of Race and Ethnicity in the United States (effective 9/1/09)
ETHN        12         Native Spiritual Traditions (effective 12/21/2015)
ETHN        30         Introduction to African American Studies (effective 9/1/09)
ETHN        36         African American Literature (cross-listed with ENGL 35; effective 1/1/12)
ETHN        40         Introduction to Asian American Studies (effective 9/1/09)
ETHN        60         Intro to Journalism: Focus on America's Diverse, Multi-Racial Identities and Communities (cross-listed with COMM 40EL; effective 1/1/12)
ETHN        65         Drama of Diversity (also listed as THTR 65; effective 9/1/09)
ETHN        69         Literature by Women Writers of Color (effective 11/8/2016)
ETHN        70         Multicultural Literature of the United States (cross-listed with ENGL 39; effective 9/1/09)
ETHN        95         African American Independent Film Makers (effective 9/1/09)
ETHN        96         Race, Class, and Culture Through Film (effective 9/1/09)
ETHN        111       Native American Literature (cross-listed with ENGL 137; effective 5/12/2016)
ETHN        124       Latino/a Literature and Cultural Studies (cross-listed with ENGL 136; effective 5/12/2016)
ETHN        130       Black Political Thought in Action (effective 1/1/15)
ETHN        130       African-American Literature (cross-listed with ENGL 135; effective 9/1/09)
ETHN        132       The History of Hip Hop (cross-listed with MUSC 132; effective 9/1/09)
ETHN        134       Black Social Movements (effective 9/1/09)
ETHN        135       African Americans in Postwar Film (cross-listed with HIST 185; effective 9/1/09)
ETHN        136       American Theatre from the Black Perspective (cross-listed with ENGL 129 and THTR 161)
ETHN        138       Black Migration in the World (cross-listed with HIST 157, effective 3/31/17)
ETHN        141       Asian American Women (effective 9/1/2009)
ETHN        142       Asian American Communities (effective 9/1/09)
ETHN        145       Asian-American Literature (cross-listed with ENGL 138; effective 9/1/16)
ETHN        152       Multi-Racial Identities (effective 3/25/16)
*ETHN      153       Minority Politics in the United States (cross-listed with POLI 153; effective 1/1/16)
ETHN        166       Race & Religion in U.S. (effective 12/22/2015)

History
HIST         75        Natives & Newcomers: Early North America (effective 01/01/2018) 
HIST         84        United States Women's History (cross-listed with WGST 57; effective 9/1/09)
HIST         85        US Environmental History (effective 9/1/09)
HIST         96A      Introduction to the History of the United States I (effective 9/1/09)
HIST         96B      Globalization, Reform, and War: The United States, 1877 to Present (effective 9/1/14)
HIST         157      Black Migration in the World (cross-listed with ETHN 138, effective 3/31/17)
HIST         158      Turmoil and Reform: U.S. 1877-1920 (effective 3/25/16)
HIST         165      United States Political History (effective 05/04/2017)
HIST         170      The American Revolution (effective 9/1/15)
HIST         171      The New Nation (effective 3/31/17)
HIST         174      Turbulence and Change: America in the 1960s and 1970s (effective 01/09/2017)
HIST         175      Natives & Newcomers: Early North America (effective 01/01/2018) 
HIST         176      Contemporary America: 1980 to the Present (effective 04/03/2017)
HIST         177      Gays and Lesbians in United States History (cross-listed with WGST 138; effective 9/1/09)
HIST         181      United States Women Since 1900 (effective 2/6/2012)
HIST         182      Sex and Family in American History (cross-listed with WGST 174; effective 9/1/09)
HIST         184      American Historical Geography (effective 9/1/09)
HIST         185      African Americans in Postwar Film (cross-listed with ETHN 135; effective 9/1/09)
HIST         186      California (effective 9/1/09)
HIST         188S    The Making of Modern America: The Progressive Era (formerly HIST 188; effective 9/1/09)

Military Science
MILS         176      US Military History (effective Winter 2016) 

Modern Languages
ITAL          185      The Italian-American Experience (effective 1/1/17) 
*SPAN       176      Spanish and Latinos in the U.S.: Race, Identity, and Inequalities (effective 1/1/17) 

Music
MUSC        20        Music in American Cultures I (effective 9/1/09)
MUSC        21        Music in American Culture II (effective 9/1/09)
MUSC        132      The History of Hip Hop (cross-listed with ETHN 132; effective 9/1/09)

Peace & Conflict Resolution
SIS           491-001T     Foreign Policy & Intn'l Politics Seminar I (American University Washington Semester Program)

Philosophy
PHIL          33/H    Ethics and Race (effective 9/1/18) 

Political Science
POLI          1         Introduction to U.S. Politics (effective 9/1/09)
*POLI        153      Minority Politics in the U.S. (cross-listed with ETHN 153; effective 9/1/09)
*POLI        154      Women and Politics (cross-listed with WGST 180; effective 9/1/09)
*POLI        173      Sports & Politics in the U.S. (effective 03/25/18) 
POLI          195      Seminar in U.S. Politics (effective 9/1/09)
*POLI        195L   ​  Constitutional Theory, Constitutional Politics (formerly 195P; effective 9/1/15)
POLI          195P     Seminar in U.S. Politics (effective 9/1/09)

Religious Studies
*RSOC       51        Religion in America (effective 9/1/09)
*RSOC       51H      Religion in America (Honors; effective 12/3/2015)
*RSOC       61        Atheism in America (effective 03/25/18) 
*RSOC       91        Native Spiritual Traditions (effective 9/1/09)
*RSOC       111      Inventing Religion in America (effective 9/1/09)
*RSOC       111R    RSS: Inventing Religion in America (effective 9/1/09)
*RSOC       148R    RSS: Religion and the Presidency (effective 5/1/12)
*RSOC       164      Religion, Race and Ethnicity in America (effective 2/3/2016)
*RSOC       184      Race and Religion in the United States (effective 1/2/12)
*TESP        60        Hispanic Popular Religion (effective 9/1/09)
*TESP        65        U.S. Hispanic Theology (effective 9/1/09)
*TESP        109      Hispanic Spirituality: Guadalupe (effective 9/1/09)

Theatre and Dance
DANC         62        African American Dance History (cross-listed with DANC 162; effective 9/1/09)
DANC         162      African American Dance History (cross-listed with DANC 62; effective 9/1/09)
THTR          44       Modern American Theatre History: Censorship, Arts Funding and Theatre Unions (effective 9/1/09)
THTR          65       Drama of Diversity (cross-listed with ETHN 65; effective 9/1/09)
THTR          161     American Theatre from the Black Perspective (cross-listed with ENGL 129 and ETHN 136; effective 9/1/09)
THTR          165     History American Musical Theatre (effective 9/1/09)

Transforming Communities
GOVT         417-001T     Transforming Communities Seminar I (American University Washington Semester Program)

Women's and Gender Studies
WGST         15       Literature by Women Writers of Color (cross-listed with ENGL 69; effective 9/1/09)
WGST         16       Multicultural Literature of the US (effective 9/1/2016)
WGST         34       U.S. Gay and Lesbian Literature (cross-listed with ENGL 67; effective 9/1/09)
WGST         50       Introduction to Women's & Gender Studies (effective 9/1/09)
WGST         56       Literature and Women (effective 3/25/16)
WGST         57       Women in American Society (cross-listed with HIST 84; effective 9/1/09)
WGST         110     Native American Women Writers (cross-listed with ENGL 137G; effective 9/1/09)
WGST         111     Asian American Women (cross-listed with ETHN 141; effective 2/9/2010)
WGST         117     Race, Gender and Politics in the News (cross-listed with COMM 168A; effective 9/1/09)
WGST         136     Interdisciplinary Gay and Lesbian Studies (cross-listed with ENGL 152; effective 9/1/09)
WGST         138     Gays and Lesbians in United States History (cross-listed with HIST 177; effective 9/1/09)
WGST         144     Women, Gender, and Sexuality (cross-listed with ANTH 170; effective 9/1/09)
WGST         155     Family and Culture (cross-listed with ANTH 157; effective 9/1/09)
*WGST       156     American Women in the Visual Arts (cross-listed with ARTH 143; 1/1/12)
WGST         164     Studies in 19th-Century American Literature (cross-listed with ENGL 132G; effective 9/1/09)
WGST         173     United States Women Since 1900 (cross-listed with HIST 181; effective 3/5/2010)
WGST         174     Sex and Family in American History (cross-listed with HIST 182; effective 9/1/09)
*WGST       180     Women and Politics (cross-listed with POLI 154; effective 9/1/09)
WGST         186     Studies in Contemporary American Literature (cross-listed with ENGL 134G; effective 1/1/12)

* Indicates Course Has Prerequisites