• AMST-101P P3 American Identities (3)

    Covers how the diverse identities of Americans are constructed, defined, and explained. Introduces a variety of methods and approaches that constitute the field of American Studies. Through a range of sources, including history, fiction, film, and music, it explores individual, family, community, class, gender, ethnic, and racial identities in relation to regional and national identities as they have been defined in the post-World War II era.

    Attributes: AMUS P3 YLIB
    Restrictions: Including: -Class: Freshman, Sophomore
  • AMST-110P Issues:Ctmp Amer Soc (3)

    Serves as a course introducing students to the analysis of contemporary American society and culture. The discipline of American Studies is concerned with multiple dimensions of American culture, both historical and modern. Students learn to think critically about some of the issues that are of greatest concern for Americans today. This contributes to their growth as engaged and informed citizens and residents of the United States.

    Attributes: AMSS YLIB
  • AMST-140 American Dialogues (3)

    This course investigates current issues in the media and examines their underlying connections to gender, race, and sexuality in American history. Topics covered may include: school shootings, bullying, urban education, locker room culture, gendered behavior codes, racial profiling, birth control, and media representation of sexuality. Texts include essays, films, television shows, songs, YouTube clips, and other media.

    Attributes: AMSS YLIB
  • AMST-150D Cultural Conflict Amer (3)

    This course examines cultural interactions and resulting conflicts between three distinct groups who inhabited the territory that became the United States: native peoples, African slaves, and white settlers of European descent. The course considers how each group understood and articulated its place on the continent and how different understandings of such fundamental cultural concepts as land ownership, religion, race, law, and gender led to profound and at times violent conflicts between different peoples.

    Attributes: YLIB
  • AMST-170 Americans Abroad (3)

    In this course, students will discover the various ways that Americans encounter the world and the world encounters Americans. Topics covered may include: American travel narratives; American popular culture in a global context; encounters between Americans and citizens of other countries; or the global impact of American politics and economics.

    Attributes: AMHU YLIB ZTRA
  • AMST-180D CC Indians in Amer Culture (3)

    This course is concerned with the presence of Native Americans in American culture. This “presence” is understood in terms of the actual presence of Native Americans (historically as well as in the present day) and in the persistence of ideas about Native Americans as crucial to the development of an American national identity. The class approaches the topic from a variety of directions. In addition to the explorations of cultural ideas via novels, films, and historical studies of American ideas about the “Indian,” historical and contemporary social and political topics are also addressed.

    Attributes: AMHU CC YLIB
  • AMST-190C Work in America (3)

    This course explores work in America via three major units: nature and meaning of work; historical work experiences among different cultures; and contemporary workplace issues (living wage, overwork, underemployment, paid and unpaid labor). Students investigate differing notions of “work” in America from a range of disciplinary perspectives including oral history, sociology, literature, film, and the arts.

    Attributes: AMSS YLIB
  • AMST-199C RW Research-Based Writing (3)

    Students learn the basics of writing an academic research paper in this discipline. Emphasis is on elements of persuasive argumentation, the inclusion of more than one perspective on an issue, the proper use and documentation of sources, and revision. Students also learn how to make an effective oral presentation of their research. Department-determined topic may change from semester to semester and is likely to include literary texts as primary materials.

    Restricted to freshmen and transfers.

    Note: 199C courses may not be taken for credit more than once.

    » Spring Research-based Writing (199) Courses & Topic Descriptions [pdf]

    Attributes: RW YLIB
    Restrictions: Including: -Class: Freshman, Sophomore
  • AMST-201C P1 Picturing the Past (3)

    This course is intended to introduce students to the potentials and perils of using photography as a source of historical knowledge. Beginning with an assumption that our understanding of much of American history has been shaped by the photographic images we have been exposed to (for instance, Matthew Brady’s Civil War photographs and the FSA record of the Great Depression), the course explores the ways that photographs have been used to understand the past and examines the inherent contradictions of photographs being both “objective” facts and subjective expressions, thereby revealing the pitfalls of expecting photographs to tell the truth. Cross-listed with ARTS 201C.

    Attributes: AMHU MUST P1 YLIB
  • AMST-203C P1 Hollywood Film Genres (3)

    Hollywood has a long history of being one of the centers of the global motion picture industry. In this course, students learn about one of the most important approaches to understanding Hollywood films: genre theory. In any given semester, students will study one or more major film genres (film noir, westerns, romantic comedies, teen movies, etc.) and engage with some of the critical texts pertinent to that genre.

    Attributes: AMHU P1 PROD YLIB
  • AMST-204P P1 Film,TV &Visual Culture (3)

    This course introduces students to a range of perspectives on contemporary film, television, and visual culture, using a substantial range of readings and weekly screenings to explore ideas of how we understand visual media, visual literacy, and visual culture. This course is intended to help shift the cultural positions of students from being simple spectators to being informed insiders of American visual culture.

    Attributes: AMHU P1 PROD YLIB
  • AMST-205D P1 Lit & Film Vietnam War (3)

    This course examines the responses to and the representations of the trauma of the Vietnam War through narrative films and texts. It considers the impact of the war on soldiers and civilians both on and off the battlefield. In addition, it explores the continuing legacy of the war in American society and culture.

    Attributes: AMHU P1 YLIB
  • AMST-210P P3 American Experience (3)

    The United States is premised on the ideals of democracy and equality, but the realities of the nation’s past show that the United States has sometimes fallen short of those ideals. In this course, we consider the ways that race, gender, and class have helped shape “the American experience.” We use fiction, film, autobiography, photography, and the mass media to explore these themes.

    Attributes: P3 YLIB
  • AMST-214P P1 Contemp Latina/o Fict (3)

    This course covers representative writings of that segment of the U.S. population that sociologists and politicians have been crediting as responsible for the “browning” of America. Although primarily written in English, several works include segments in both Spanish and “Spanglish.”

    Attributes: AMHU P1 YLIB
  • AMST-215C Gangster & Detective (3)

    This course investigates the figures of the gangster and the detective in 20th-century America by exploring fictional representations of these figures in films and novels. In deciphering these texts, we explore the myths of gangsterdom, the recurring situation of the blurred line between the good guys and the bad guys, and the role of the detective in re-establishing the status quo. We base our discussions of these texts and issues within their socioeconomic context (the Roaring Twenties, the Depression, postwar America, the counterculture of the Sixties and the early Seventies, and the Reagan years). Ultimately, we explore the ways in which writers and directors use the metaphor of crime as a means of social critique and commentary.

    Attributes: YLIB
  • AMST-216 P2 Feminist Theory (3)

    This course explores historical foundations of American feminisms and charts three waves of feminist movements, discussing the evolution of feminist theories from 19th through 21st century America. We discuss how other social movements, such as the abolitionist movement, have informed and contributed to American feminisms. Contemporary themes include multicultural feminism, Black feminism, youth activism, and feminist teaching theories. Cross-listed with WGST 216.

    Attributes: AMSS P2 WGST YLIB
  • AMST-217 P1 Amer Crime Narratives (3)

    This course will ask students to closely examine the function of the crime narrative in American culture. We will be reading and viewing a variety of texts (e.g. The Postman Always Rings Twice, The Godfather (I and II), and New Jack City.) At the heart of the course will be the contention that crime narratives are never only about the crime committed but instead also embody larger cultural debates. These debates center around such issues as race and class and gender, but also around notions such as the American Dream, the role of religion in our culture, and our faith in empiricism and our ability to explicate human behavior.

    Attributes: AMHU P1 YLIB
  • AMST-220 P3 Ranking America (3)

    In this course, which is based on the well-regarded blog, “Ranking America,” students will learn how to locate and analyze economic, environmental, quality-of-life, and political data about the United States in comparison to other countries and how to make sense of that data. Students will write commentary pieces making use of the data and will be encouraged to submit their pieces for publication.

    Attributes: AMSS P3 YLIB
  • AMST-230 P1 Surveillance Society (3)

    This course explores issues of privacy and individual freedom in relation to the rise of the ‘surveillance society’ in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The course examines literature (novels, plays, and short stories) and films, and considers such creative expressions through multiple political, ethical, economic, and philosophical lenses.

    Attributes: AMHU P1 YLIB
  • AMST-231 P3 Conspiracy Theories (3)

    From UFOs to JFK to 9/1, conspiracy theories surrounding major events continue to emerge within contemporary culture. We tell ourselves stories about shadowy conspiracies through film, television, music, visual art, and literature. What recurrent themes can be found within them? What do such stories reveal about societies collective hopes, fears, securities, and vulnerabilities? How are they constructed, by whom and why? What fundamental beliefs and belief structures do these stories challenge? What evidence, if any, do they use to do so? Alternately, how are they ‘debunked’ or argued against? How have works within the conspiracy genre informed and shaped our perceptions? Why has conspiracy theory continued to be a topic of fascination within popular culture? We will ask these questions and attempt to formulate answers within this course.

    Attributes: AMHU P3 YLIB
  • AMST-233D P1 American Memory (3)

    How does memory work? This course investigates American memory as a cultural “site,” examining the place of memory in the identity, writing, and history of individuals and cultures. We examine representations of memory in different forms, including public and private memory; reading and writing memory; and buried and recovered memory. We use autobiography, memoir, essays, and history to explore these themes. Authors may include Tobias Wolff, Joan Didion, Rebecca Walker, Maxine Hong Kingston, James Frey.

    Attributes: AMUS P1 YLIB
  • AMST-234D P1 Promised Land (3)

    We’re the “land of milk and honey,” with gold-paved streets. To immigrants, America can represent the ideals of freedom, refuge, education or success. This class examines the conflicting realities of immigrants’ experiences, by reading immigrant literature from the early twentieth century to the present. Our discussions include close literary analysis, as well as broader examination of the the literature, in historical and cultural contexts. We explore themes like exile and migration, home and belonging, old and new traditions, assimilation and pluralism.

    Attributes: AMHU P1 YLIB
  • AMST-235 P2 Catholics in America (3)

    A history of the role that Roman Catholics played in the story of the United States (1492-present). The course will examine the religious perspectives which Roman Catholic explorers, immigrants, intellectuals, and the laity brought to a developing philosophy and social history in the New World. Cross-listed with REST 235.

    Attributes: AMHU P2 YLIB
  • AMST-237P P3 Hope, Survival & Spirit (3)

    This course examines theories of resistance as they apply to three areas of identity: nation, race, and gender. We examine interlocking systems of power and investigate institutions that have historically oppressed the “Other.” We read a range of texts (fiction, history, essays) on issues like the following: universality and difference, patriotism and nationalism, prison and torture, struggle and survival, hope and human spirit, language and culture, and writing and activism. Julia Alvarez calls fiction “a way to travel through the human heart,” so we analyze how fiction creates space for us to re-imagine history and apply theory. Cross-listed with WGST 237P.

    Attributes: AMHU P3 WGST YLIB
  • AMST-250 P1 American Modernism (3)

    This course will introduce you to varying artistic representations of the modern experience in America. We will examine how modern artists, in seeking to fully represent their experience of the world, concerned themselves with how best to translate to readers, viewers, and listeners what it felt to be alive and what it meant to be a conscious and sentient being at a particular place and time. Operating from an interdisciplinary perspective, we will investigate varying approaches that artists took to create their sense of the world around them, and we will seek to unpack the ways in which the emerging city of the twentieth century helped to create what we have come to understand as modernism.

    Attributes: AMHU P1 YLIB
  • AMST-251 P1 Class in Amer Culture (3)

    This course will investigate the role of class in American culture by way of literary and filmic representations of class striving and struggle. Paying attention to historical context, we will consider both: how such narratives embody and reflect American myths and ideals such as the “rags to riches” myth and the ideal of the “self-made man”, and what these narratives suggest about the universality,or lack thereof, of such ideals and myths along different gender, racial, and ethnic lines.

    Attributes: AMHU P1 YLIB
  • AMST-260C Topics in AMST (3)

    Various topics of interest in the field of American Studies are explored. Past topics have included “Progress and Nostalgia in American Culture.”

    Attributes: AMHU YLIB
  • AMST-270 Career Planning Seminar (1)

    This course is designed for American Studies majors and minors to help them better understand the unique features of the field of American Studies in order for them to more effectively make use of their major in their career of choice.

    Attributes: YLIB
    Restrictions: Including: -Major: American Studies, American Studies, American Studies; Excluding: -Major: American Studies, American Studies, American Studies
  • AMST-273P P5 American Social Justice (3)

    In this service-learning course, students identify genuine needs in Rochester area communities, and work to address these needs through service projects. In this discussion-based class, we examine social institutions and social change from a cultural studies perspective, including topics like site analysis, reflective writing, and working in unfamiliar communities. We put theory into practice, using an interdisciplinary approach to make meaningful contributions to social justice and/or social change.

    Attributes: AMSS P5 YLIB ZCIV
  • AMST-299 Film Screening Lab (1)

    This course provides an introduction to a range of perspectives on contemporary film, television, and visual culture. Students screen films and videos, keep a notebook for screening notes, and articulate issues of rhetorical form and visual literacy in film. Must be taken with film-intensive AMST courses .

    Attributes: YLIB
  • AMST-300D P1 Reading Amer Culture (3)

    In this course, students are introduced to methods for analyzing a wide range of primary source materials relevant to the study of American culture. In any given semester, students may examine issues related to the myth of the frontier, immigration, the politics of race and/or gender, popular culture; all of which are central topics in the field of American Studies. The materials examined in any given semester may include literature, photography, art, magazines, films, political documents, etc. Analytical skills are foregrounded over theoretical models. For American Studies majors, this course serves as preparation for more advanced study of American culture.

    Attributes: P1 YLIB
  • AMST-310D P3 Readings: Amer Culture (3)

    This course introduces students to primary source materials that American Studies scholars routinely investigate. This course involves a number of topic areas that are frequently examined by scholars of American Studies: the frontier, transcendentalism, race, immigration, gender, the city, popular culture, Native Americans, labor, republicanism, and so on. Each year, the instructor chooses three or four topic areas and engages students in a study of the variety of primary source materials that lead to a better understanding of the topic: novels, photography, census records, art, architecture, magazines, legislation, advertising, movies, and so on. Although theoretical and methodological approaches to such material are introduced, they are de-emphasized in favor of student engagement in the rich array of cultural artifacts at their disposal.

    Attributes: P3 YLIB
  • AMST-320C P1 Culture&Art in America (3)

    This course looks at the intersections of art and culture in the United States from the middle of the 19th century to the middle of the 20th. In addition to considering painting, photography, film, and other visual arts, students explore the significance of influential exhibitions and publications. Students examine the ways in which cultural, political, economic, social, and scientific concerns were literally “envisioned” from the Victorian era into the modern era. Cross-listed with ARTS 320C.

    Attributes: AMHU P1 YLIB
  • AMST-321P P1 Culture&Art America II (3)

    A study of art and culture in the U.S. from 1945 to the present. Students will examine how works of art produced during this time express and help determine the changing ideologies and realities within America. Topics covered will include the emergence of an American Avant-Garde; Abstract Expressionism and the Cold War; Pop Art and 1960s; the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement, and the art of protest; feminist art and the sexual revolution of the 1970s. In addition, some consideration will be given to the way in which American culture was shaped by popular forms of entertainment such as television, movies and music. Cross-listed with AMST 321P.

    Attributes: AMHU P1 YLIB
  • AMST-370 AMST: Discipline & Theory (3)

    In this course, students trace how the theoretical and methodological approaches to some of the key questions in American Studies have changed over the years, leading students to an understanding of both the contingency of knowledge and the complexity of the field. Students are asked to examine how other scholars have approached some of the material they encountered in AMST 310D, and students begin to enter into a dialogue with other practitioners of American Studies.

    Attributes: YLIB ZRES
    Pre-requisites: AMST-300D D- OR AMST-310D D-
  • AMST-470 Senior Research Seminar (3)

    This capstone course is a research-intensive seminar in which students will engage in research projects of their own choosing. The beginning of the semester includes exercises in research methodology and identification of appropriate research topics. The second half of the semester includes class presentations and research paper workshop exercises. Cross-listed with WGST 470.

    Attributes: WGST YLIB ZCAP ZRES
    Pre-requisites: AMST-370 D-
    Restrictions: Including: -Class: Junior, Senior
  • AMST-475 Washington DC-Internship (6 TO 9)

    Washington Experience semester is offered through The Washington Center. Permission of the advisor, the department chair and TWC liaison (Dr. Monica Cherry) is required to register.

    Attributes: YLIB
    Pre-requisites: AMST-476 Y D-
  • AMST-476 Washington DC-Seminar (3 TO 6)

    Washington Experience semester is offered through The Washington Center. Permission of the advisor, the department chair and TWC liaison (Dr. Monica Cherry) is required to register.

    Attributes: YLIB
    Pre-requisites: AMST-477 Y D-
  • AMST-477 Washington DC-Forum (1 TO 3)

    Washington Experience semester is offered through The Washington Center. Permission of the advisor, the department chair and TWC liaison (Dr. Monica Cherry) is required to register.

    Attributes: YLIB
  • AMST-490 Internship (1 TO 3)

    These courses allow qualified students to gain work experience in a variety of settings related to their major. Internships are graded S/U and are applied as electives. Permission of the department chair is required to register.

    Attributes: YLIB
    Restrictions: Including: -Major: American Studies, American Studies -Class: Junior, Senior
  • AMST-496 Independent Study – AMST (.5 TO 3)

    This course is intended to allow upper-division majors to explore specific topics of special interest not covered in the regular American Studies curriculum. Working with a faculty advisor, the student prepares a written proposal that is submitted to the department chair for approval. Completion of the Independent Study/Tutorial Authorization form is required.

    Attributes: YLIB
    Restrictions: Including: -Major: American Studies, American Studies -Class: Junior, Senior

American Studies

For More Information

Mark Rice
Department Chair
(585) 385-7374

(585) 385-8064