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American Studies Courses

Autumn
AMSTUD 57Q

10 American Photographs (ARTHIST 57Q)

Preference to sophomores. ¿The humor, the sadness, the EVERYTHING-ness and American-ness of these pictures!¿ wrote Jack Kerouac of photographer Robert Frank¿s iconic collection, The Americans. This seminar takes Kerouac¿s enthusiasm and applies it to ten American photographs, a new one each week. Examples span the medium¿s history and were taken as art, science, commerce, journalism, or personal mementos. Close study of the photo of the week will address how it looks and why; its history, from initial responses to later reception; and its relationship to the larger American visual and...
Summer
AMSTUD 10SC

A Strange Land: Edward Hopper's Paintings of America (ARTHIST 11SC)

In 2015 Stanford's Cantor Arts Center acquired New York Corner (1913), an early painting by the celebrated American artist Edward Hopper (1882-1967). In honor of the acquisition, this seminar will explore Hopper's paintings in detail but with a twist. In each class meeting we will pair Hopper's paintings with the work of another artist or, in some cases, a filmmaker or novelist. The work of these other figures, all notable in their own right, will be given equal if not greater emphasis in each seminar meeting. In classroom discussion, our goal will be to build a rich description of Hopper's...
Winter
AMSTUD 54N

African American Women's Lives (AFRICAAM 54N, CSRE 54N, FEMGEN 54N, HISTORY 54N)

This course encourages students to think critically about historical sources and to use creative and rigorous historical methods to recover African American women¿s experiences, which often have been placed on the periphery of American history and American life.
Winter
AMSTUD 104

America at Play: A History of Leisure in the United States

What we call "free time" is actually the product of multiple constraints, from economics and gender roles, to trends, moral strictures, and more. This course studies leisure to explore American culture from the late 19th century to the present. We consider, for instance, how new forms of entertainment, such as movies and iPods, altered notions of community and ideals of personal expression. For historical context, the class draws upon popular and critical sources, conversations with guests, and hands-on activities.
Spring
AMSTUD 143A

American Architecture (ARTHIST 143A, ARTHIST 343A, CEE 32R)

A historically based understanding of what defines American architecture. What makes American architecture American, beginning with indigenous structures of pre-Columbian America. Materials, structure, and form in the changing American context. How these ideas are being transformed in today's globalized world.
Autumn
AMSTUD 155

American Constitutional History from the Civil War to the War on Poverty (HISTORY 155)

(Same as LAW 7008.) This course addresses U.S. constitutional history from the post-Civil War Reconstruction period through the mid-20th century. Because of the breadth of the subject matter, the view will necessarily be partial. In particular we will take as our focus the way the Constitution has provided a point of political mobilization for social movements challenging economic and social inequality. Topics covered include: Civil War Reconstruction and restoration; the rise of corporate capitalism and efforts to constrain it; Progressive Era regulation; the New Deal challenge to federalism...
Autumn
AMSTUD 143M

American Indian Mythology, Legend, and Lore (ENGLISH 43A, ENGLISH 143A, NATIVEAM 143A)

(English majors and others taking 5 units, register for 143A.) Readings from American Indian literatures, old and new. Stories, songs, and rituals from the 19th century, including the Navajo Night Chant. Tricksters and trickster stories; war, healing, and hunting songs; Aztec songs from the 16th century. Readings from modern poets and novelists including N. Scott Momaday, Louise Erdrich, and Leslie Marmon Silko, and the classic autobiography, "Black Elk Speaks."
Winter
AMSTUD 58Q

American Landscapes of Segregation (AFRICAAM 58Q, HISTORY 58Q)

This course examines various landscapes of segregation in U.S. history from 19th century reconstruction and settler expansion through the contemporary U.S. security state. Each week we consider different histories of segregation including native reservation and boarding school stories, Jim Crow and post-World War II urban/suburban segregation, school integration and bussing, and the rise of the carceral state. We will ask: How have Americans moved through space with different degrees of freedom and constraint over time, and how has that shaped what it has meant to be an American in different...
Autumn
AMSTUD 109Q

American Road Trips (HISTORY 69Q)

"Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road." --Jack Kerouac, On the Road, 1957. From Jack Kerouac's On the Road to Cheryl Strayed's Wild, this course explores epic road trips of the twentieth century. Travel is a fundamental social and cultural practice through which Americans have constructed ideas about the self, the nation, the past, and the future. The open road, as it is often called, offered excitement, great adventure, and the space for family bonding and memory making. But the footloose and fancy-free nature of travel that Jack Kerouac celebrated was...
Autumn
AMSTUD 75N

American Short Stories (ENGLISH 75N)

How and why did the short story take root and flourish in an American context? Early works of classic American literature read alongside stories by women and minority writers, stretching from the early nineteenth century to the contemporary period.
Winter
AMSTUD 127

American Style and the Rhetoric of Fashion (ARTHIST 165B, FILMSTUD 165B)

Focus on the visual culture of fashion, especially in an American context. Topics include: the representation of fashion in different visual media (prints, photographs, films, window displays, and digital images); the relationship of fashion to its historical context and American culture; the interplay between fashion and other modes of discourse, in particular art, but also performance, music, economics; and the use of fashion as an expression of social status, identity, and other attributes of the wearer. Texts by Thorstein Veblen, Roland Barthes, Dick Hebdige, and other theorists of...
Spring
AMSTUD 51S

American Travel, Tourism and Empire in the Pacific, 1880s-1970s (CSRE 51S, HISTORY 51S)

What does it mean to be a traveler or a tourist? Is travel a form of empire or exploitation? Can it ever be an innocent form of economic and cultural exchange? This class will examine how cultures of travel and tourism helped everyday Americans understand and shape the country's political, social, and economic challenges from the 1880s to 1970s, as the U.S. evolved from a continental empire, into an overseas empire, and finally into an informal empire.
Summer
AMSTUD 175E

Animals and the Fictions of Identity (ENGLISH 175E)

In a post-Darwin world, the notion that we might all have an animal alter-ego lurking inside seems quite familiar. But ideas about animals¿how they think and feel, act and react¿involve identity categories such as race, gender, class and ability in surprising ways. This course will trace the relationship between animality and human life in twentieth-century American fiction, from race and indigeneity in Jack London¿s dog stories to the storytelling practices of contemporary animal advocacy groups. The course may also include an experiential component in which students will have the...
Autumn
AMSTUD 129

Animation and the Animated Film (FILMSTUD 129, FILMSTUD 329)

The fantasy of an image coming to life is ancient, but not until the cinema was this fantasy actualized. The history of the movies begins with optical toys, and contemporary cinema is dominated by films that rely on computer animation. This course considers the underlying fantasies of animation in art and lit, its phenomenologies, its relation to the uncanny, its status as a pure cinema, and its place in film theory. Different modes of production and style to be explored include realist animation, abstract animation; animistic animation; animated drawings, objects, and puppets; CGI, motion...
Autumn
AMSTUD 102

Art and Social Criticism (AFRICAAM 102B, ARTHIST 162B, CSRE 102A, FEMGEN 102)

Visual artists have long been in the forefront of social criticism in America. Since the 1960s, various visual strategies have helped emergent progressive political movements articulate and represent complex social issues. Which artists and particular art works/projects have become key anchors for discourses on racism, sexism, economic and social inequality, immigrant rights and climate change? We will learn about a spectrum of political art designed to raise social awareness, spark social change and rouse protest. The Art Workers Coalition¿s agit-prop opposing the Vietnam War and ACT-UP¿s...
Autumn
AMSTUD 186D

Asian American Art: 1850-Present (ARTHIST 186B, ASNAMST 186B)

In 1968, the Asian American Political Alliance began a successful campaign to jettison the designation "oriental" in favor of "Asian American." Given the term's recent genesis, what do we refer to when we discuss "Asian American art," and how can we speak of its history? This lecture class will explore these questions by considering artists, craftsmen, and laborers of Asian descent in the United States, beginning with Chinese immigration to California in the mid-nineteenth century, and extending through our current moment of globalization. We will consider their work alongside art and visual...
Winter
AMSTUD 250J

Baldwin and Hansberry: The Myriad Meanings of Love (AFRICAAM 250J, CSRE 250J, FEMGEN 250J, TAPS 250J)

This course looks at major dramatic works by James Baldwin and Lorraine Hansberry. Both of these queer black writers had prophetic things to say about the world-historical significance of major dramas on the 20th Century including civil rights, revolution, gender, colonialism, racism, sexism, war, nationalism and as well as aesthetics and politics.
Spring
AMSTUD 101

Black & White Race Relations in American Fiction & Film (AFRICAAM 101, CSRE 41)

Movies and the fiction that inspires them; power dynamics behind production including historical events, artistic vision, politics, and racial stereotypes. What images of black and white does Hollywood produce to forge a national identity? How do films promote equality between the races? What is lost or gained in film adaptations of books? NOTE: Students must attend the first day; admission to the class will be determined based on an in class essay.
Autumn
AMSTUD 150A

Colonial and Revolutionary America (HISTORY 150A)

(Same as HISTORY 50A. History majors and others taking 5 units, register for HISTORY 150A.) Survey of the origins of American society and polity in the 17th and 18th centuries. Topics: the migration of Europeans and Africans and the impact on native populations; the emergence of racial slavery and of regional, provincial, Protestant cultures; and the political origins and constitutional consequences of the American Revolution.
Winter
AMSTUD 51Q

Comparative Fictions of Ethnicity (COMPLIT 51Q, CSRE 51Q)

We may "know" "who" we "are," but we are, after all, social creatures. How does our sense of self interact with those around us? How does literature provide a particular medium for not only self expression, but also for meditations on what goes into the construction of "the Self"? After all, don't we tell stories in response to the question, "who are you"? Besides a list of nouns and names and attributes, we give our lives flesh and blood in telling how we process the world. Our course focuses in particular on this question--Does this universal issue ("who am I") become skewed differently...
Winter
AMSTUD 246

Constructing Race and Religion in America (AFRICAAM 236, CSRE 246, HISTORY 256G, HISTORY 356G, RELIGST 246, RELIGST 346)

This seminar focuses on the interrelationships between social constructions of race, and social interpretations of religion in America. How have assumptions about race shaped religious worldviews? How have religious beliefs shaped racial attitudes? How have ideas about religion and race contributed to notions of what it means to be "American"? We will look at primary and secondary sources, and at the historical development of ideas and practices over time.
Winter
AMSTUD 135

Deliberative Democracy and its Critics (COMM 135, COMM 235, COMM 335, POLISCI 234P, POLISCI 334P)

This course examines the theory and practice of deliberative democracy and engages both in a dialogue with critics. Can a democracy which emphasizes people thinking and talking together on the basis of good information be made practical in the modern age? What kinds of distortions arise when people try to discuss politics or policy together? The course draws on ideas of deliberation from Madison and Mill to Rawls and Habermas as well as criticisms from the jury literature, from the psychology of group processes and from the most recent normative and empirical literature on deliberative forums...
Spring
AMSTUD 176B

Documentary Fictions

More and more of the best American fiction, plays, and even comics are being created out of documentary practices such as in-depth interviewing, oral histories, and reporting. Novels like Dave Egger¿s What is the What, plays like Anna Deavere Smith's Twilight Los Angeles, and narrative journalism like Rebecca Skloot's The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, all act as both witnesses and translators of people's direct experience and push art into social activism in new ways. In this course students will examine the research methods, artistic craft, and ethics of these rich, genre-bending works...
Spring
AMSTUD 91

Exploring American Religious History (CSRE 91, HISTORY 260K, RELIGST 91)

This course will trace how contemporary beliefs and practices connect to historical trends in the American religious landscape.
Summer
AMSTUD 122D

Free speech and the university: As simple as fascists vs. snowflakes? (SOC 122D)

This course uses readings from sociology, political science, and legal/ethical reasoning to elucidate the larger structures and ideals that are at stake in the debates over what kind of speech is tolerable ¿ or normatively speaking, desirable ¿ at colleges and universities. Students will achieve a greater understanding of: free speech¿s role in American society and democracy, how America¿s position on free speech compares to other countries, and how speech restriction and liberties can reveal larger patterns in structure and agency
Spring
AMSTUD 5I

Hamilton: An American Musical (AFRICAAM 5I, CSRE 5I, HISTORY 3G)

"Hamilton" is one the most popular and most celebrated musicals in American history. It has received 11 Tony Awards, including best musical, and 16 Tony nominations, the most nominations in Broadway history. It won the Pulitzer Prize and a Grammy Award. The musical draws on the language and rhythms of hip-hop and R & B, genres that are underrepresented in the musical theater tradition. "Hamilton" has redefined the American musical, particularly in terms of sound, casting, and storytelling. What explains the deep cultural impact and acclaim for this play?n nThis interdisciplinary course...
Spring
AMSTUD 201

History of Education in the United States (EDUC 201, HISTORY 258B)

How education came to its current forms and functions, from the colonial experience to the present. Focus is on the 19th-century invention of the common school system, 20th-century emergence of progressive education reform, and the developments since WW II. The role of gender and race, the development of the high school and university, and school organization, curriculum, and teaching.
Spring
AMSTUD 165

History of Higher Education in the U.S. (EDUC 165, EDUC 265, HISTORY 158C)

Major periods of evolution, particularly since the mid-19th century. Premise: insights into contemporary higher education can be obtained through its antecedents, particularly regarding issues of governance, mission, access, curriculum, and the changing organization of colleges and universities.
Autumn
AMSTUD 256A

Horror Comics (FILMSTUD 256)

This seminar will explore the vast array of horror comics. How does horror work in comics, as distinct from prose and cinema? How and why are non-moving images scary? The different narrational strategies of short stories, self-contained works, and continuing series will be explored, as will American, Japanese, and European approaches. Special attention will be given to Frankenstein, in novel, film, illustration, and comics. Example of such sub-genres as literary horror, horrific superheroes, cosmic (Lovecraftian) horror, ecological horror, as well as the horrors of bodies, sexuality, and...
Autumn
AMSTUD 130A

In Sickness and In Health: Medicine and Society in the United States: 1800-Present

Explores the history of medical institutions, ideas and practices in the United States from the early nineteenth century to the present. How are ideas of illness and health historically rooted and socially constructed? How did scientific and medical discoveries lead to the rise of scientific medicine, and how were these innovations adopted within the American cultural landscape? Topics include the transformation of therapeutics and technologies, medicine and the scientific ideal in the U.S., gender and race and medicine, the history of public health, and the professionalization and...
Summer
AMSTUD 103S

Introduction to American Art (ARTHIST 103S)

How do images tell stories about the people who made them and the places they depict? How can we encounter the histories of America in works of art and why should we care about encountering them? This course will explore such questions by surveying some of the most compelling paintings, sculptures, films, photographs, prints, and decorative arts produced in the United States from the Colonial period to our present moment. In class lectures and discussions, our goal will be to articulate how pictures from the past shape and construct our sense of American history. Works by important artists...
Autumn
AMSTUD 179

Introduction to American Law (POLISCI 122, PUBLPOL 302A)

For undergraduates. The structure of the American legal system including the courts; American legal culture; the legal profession and its social role; the scope and reach of the legal system; the background and impact of legal regulation; criminal justice; civil rights and civil liberties; and the relationship between the American legal system and American society in general.
Spring
AMSTUD 150

Introduction to English II: American Literature and Culture to 1855 (ENGLISH 11B)

(Formerly English 23/123). A survey of early American writings, including sermons, poetry, captivity and slave narratives, essays, autobiography, and fiction, from the colonial era to the eve of the Civil War.
Autumn
AMSTUD 12A

Introduction to English III: Introduction to African American Literature (AFRICAAM 43, ENGLISH 12A)

(Formerly English 43/143). In his bold study, What Was African American Literature?, Kenneth Warren defines African American literature as a late nineteenth- to mid-twentieth-century response to the nation's Jim Crow segregated order. But in the aftermath of the Jim Crow era and the Civil Rights movement, can critics still speak, coherently, of "African American literature"? And how does this political conception of African American literary production compare with accounts grounded in black language and culture? Taking up Warren's intervention, this course will explore African American...
Spring
AMSTUD 107

Introduction to Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (CSRE 108, FEMGEN 101, TAPS 108)

Introduction to interdisciplinary approaches to gender, sexuality, queer, trans and feminist studies. Topics include the emergence of sexuality studies in the academy, social justice and new subjects, science and technology, art and activism, history, film and memory, the documentation and performance of difference, and relevant socio-economic and political formations such as work and the family. Students learn to think critically about race, gender, and sexuality from local and global perspectives.
Winter
AMSTUD 135X

Islam in America (AFRICAAM 135A, CSRE 135, GLOBAL 137, RELIGST 135)

This course explores the history of Islam in North America with special emphasis on the experience of Muslims in the United States. Contrary to popularly held belief, Muslims have been critical participants in the construction of American identity from the 16th century onwards when Muslim slaves were forcibly brought to Colonial America. Our course will explore the diverse ways Muslims in America have imagined, practiced, and negotiated their religious identity. We will move chronologically, and we will focus upon three crucial themes: the convergence of constructions of racial, religious,...
Spring
AMSTUD 218

Islam, Race and Revolution: A Pan-American Approach (CSRE 218, RELIGST 218, RELIGST 318)

Taking a pan-American approach to the study of religious traditions, this upper-level course traces the history of the critical intersection between race, religion and revolution among Muslims from the turn of the nineteenth century until the present day. Moving from the Atlantic Revolutions of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, to the United States, to the decolonizing Third World, and then finally to the contemporary Middle East, this class will emphasize that Islam and race together have been used by many groups in order to challenge existing power structures, agitate for...
Spring
AMSTUD 145H

James Franco's American Literature (ENGLISH 145H)

James Franco makes films based on some of the most challenging works of American literature. How does the adaptation of novels into films help us to understand the works of William Faulkner and others?
Spring
AMSTUD 145D

Jewish American Literature (ENGLISH 145D, JEWISHST 155D, REES 145D)

From its inception, Jewish-American literature has taken as its subject as well as its context the idea of Jewishness itself. Jewish culture is a diasporic one, and for this reason the concept of Jewishness differs from country to country and across time. What stays remarkably similar, though, is Jewish self-perception and relatedly Jewish literary style. This is as true for the first-generation immigrant writers like Isaac Bashevis Singer and Anzia Yezierska who came to the United States from abroad as it is for their second-generation children born in the United States, and the children of...
Winter
AMSTUD 105Q

Law and Popular Culture (LAWGEN 105Q)

(Same as AMSTUD 105Q) This seminar focuses on the interface between two important subjects: law and popular culture. Before class, students will see a series of films or television shows relating to law, lawyers, and the legal system. There is also a weekly homework assignment based on materials in the assigned text and the assigned film or TV show. We will discuss the pop culture treatment of subjects such as the adversary system, good and bad lawyers, female and gay lawyers, the work life of lawyers, legal education, ethical issues, the jury system, and criminal and civil justice. The...
Spring
AMSTUD 231X

Learning Religion: How People Acquire Religious Commitments (EDUC 231, JEWISHST 291X, RELIGST 231X)

This course will examine how people learn religion outside of school, and in conversation with popular cultural texts and practices. Taking a broad social-constructivist approach to the variety of ways people learn, this course will explore how people assemble ideas about faith, identity, community, and practice, and how those ideas inform individual, communal and global notions of religion. Much of this work takes place in formal educational environments including missionary and parochial schools, Muslim madrasas or Jewish yeshivot. However, even more takes place outside of school, as people...
Summer
AMSTUD 117N

Losing My Religion: Secularism and Spirituality in American Lives (EDUC 117N, RELIGST 13N)

In this seminar you will explore theory and practice, sociological data, spiritual writing, and case studies in an effort to gain a more nuanced understanding about how religion, spirituality, and secularism attempt to make legible the constellation of concerns, commitments, and behaviors that bridge the moral and the personal, the communal and the national, the sacred, the profane, and the rational. Together we will cultivate critical perspectives on practices and politics, beliefs and belonging that we typically take for granted.
Autumn
AMSTUD 41Q

Madwomen: The History of Women and Mental Illness in the U.S.

Explores how gender and historical context have shaped the experience and treatment of mental illness in U.S. history. Why have women been the witches and hysterics of the past, and why have there historically been more women than men among the mentally ill? Topics include the relationship between historical ideas of femininity and insanity, the ways that notions of gender influence the definition and treatment of mental disorder, and the understanding of the historically embedded nature of medical ideas, diagnoses, and treatments.
Autumn
AMSTUD 68N

Mark Twain and American Culture (ENGLISH 68N)

Preference to freshmen. Mark Twain defined the rhythms of our prose and the contours of our moral map. He recognized our extravagant promise and stunning failures, our comic foibles and tragic flaws. He is viewed as the most American of American authors--and as one of the most universal. How does his work illuminate his society's (and our society's) responses to such issues as race, gender, technology, heredity vs. environment, religion, education, art, imperialism, animal welfare, and what it means to be "American"?
Autumn
AMSTUD 168D

Martin Luther King, Jr.: The Inner Life and Global Vision (AFRICAAM 68D, CSRE 68, HISTORY 68D, HISTORY 168D)

Martin Luther King, Jr., was the 20th-century's best-known African-American leader, but the religious roots of his charismatic leadership are far less widely known. The documents assembled and published by Stanford's King Research and Education Institute provide the source materials for this exploration of King's swift rise to international prominence as an articulate advocate of global peace and justice.
Autumn
AMSTUD 1B

Media, Culture, and Society (COMM 1B)

The institutions and practices of mass media, including television, film, radio, and digital media, and their role in shaping culture and social life. The media's shifting relationships to politics, commerce, and identity.
Spring
AMSTUD 3E

Michelle Obama in American Culture (AFRICAAM 3E, CSRE 3E, FEMGEN 3E, HISTORY 3E)

Never before has the United States had a First Lady like Michelle Obama. During her eight years in the White House, Michelle Obama transformed traditional meanings of womanhood, marriage, motherhood, and style and created new possibilities for what it means to be strong and what it means to be beautiful. No First Lady has ever been so scrutinized but also so beloved: from her J. Crew dresses to her Let's Move campaign, from her vegetable gardens to her chiseled arms, and from her powerful speeches to her casual and always authentic personality. This class examines the impact on American...
Spring
AMSTUD 151

Migration and Diaspora in American Art, 1800-Present (ARTHIST 151, ARTHIST 351, CSRE 151D)

This lecture course explores American art through the lens of immigration, exile, and diaspora. We will examine a wide range of work by immigrant artists and craftsmen, paying special attention to issues of race and ethnicity, assimilation, displacement, and political turmoil. Artists considered include Emmanuel Leutze, Thomas Cole, Joseph Stella, Chiura Obata, Willem de Kooning, Mona Hatoum, and Julie Mehretu, among many others. How do works of art reflect and help shape cultural and individual imaginaries of home and belonging?
Winter
AMSTUD 152K

Mixed-Race Politics and Culture (AFRICAAM 226, CSRE 152K, ENGLISH 152K)

Today, almost one-third of Americans identify with a racial/ethnic minority group, and more than 9 million Americans identify with multiple races. What are the implications of such diversity for American politics and culture? This course approaches issues of race from an interdisciplinary perspective, employing research in the social sciences and humanities to assess how race shapes perceptions of identity as well as political behavior in 21st-century U.S. Issues surrounding the role of multiculturalism, immigration, acculturation, racial representation, and racial prejudice in American...
Spring
AMSTUD 134

Museum Cultures: Material Representation in the Past and Present (ARCHLGY 134, ARCHLGY 234, ARTHIST 284B, CSRE 134, EDUC 214, NATIVEAM 134)

Students will open the "black box" of museums to consider the past and present roles of institutional collections, culminating in a student-curated exhibition. Today, museums assert their relevance as dynamic spaces for debate and learning. Colonialism and restitution, the politics of representation, human/object relationships, and changing frameworks of authority make museum work widely significant and consistently challenging. Through thinking-in-practice, this course reflexively explores "museum cultures": representations of self and other within museums and institutional cultures of the...
Winter
AMSTUD 68S

New Orleans: An American City? (AFRICAAM 68S, HISTORY 68S, URBANST 68S)

Some scholars argue that New Orleans is not quite an American city, but is instead a cultural hybrid of Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean. This course will investigate that claim by studying New Orleans from its colonial period to the present. Topics include colonial empires, the role of New Orleans as the largest slave market in North America, the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, Civil Rights, Carnival, tourism, religion, and state and federal responses to Hurricane Katrina, among others.
Winter
AMSTUD 150B

Nineteenth Century America (AFRICAAM 150B, CSRE 150S, HISTORY 150B)

(Same as HISTORY 50B. History majors and others taking 5 units, register for 150B.) Territorial expansion, social change, and economic transformation. The causes and consequences of the Civil War. Topics include: urbanization and the market revolution; slavery and the Old South; sectional conflict; successes and failures of Reconstruction; and late 19th-century society and culture.
Spring
AMSTUD 261

Personal Narratives in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (FEMGEN 261, FEMGEN 361)

This course explores the contribution of personal narratives to knowledge in the field of feminist, gender, and sexuality studies. Each week, students do extensive readings of exemplary personal narratives that have contributed in substance and method to the field and that have opened up new areas of inquiry. These narratives deal especially with issues of individual and group identity; gender, sexuality, racial and ethnic diversity; and disability. Students select a topic of special interest to them to focus their readings and guide individual research during the quarter. The approach of the...
Spring
AMSTUD 160

Perspectives on American Identity

Required for American Studies majors. In this seminar we trace diverse and changing interpretations of American identity by exploring autobiographical, literary, and/or visual texts from the 18th through the 20th century in conversation with sociological, political, and historical accounts.
Autumn
AMSTUD 125

Perspectives on American Journalism (COMM 125, COMM 225)

An examination of American journalism, focusing on how news is produced, distributed, and financially supported. Emphasis on current media controversies and puzzles, and on designing innovations in discovering and telling stories. (Graduate students register for COMM 225.)
Autumn
AMSTUD 121Z

Political Power in American Cities (POLISCI 121, PUBLPOL 133, URBANST 111)

The major actors, institutions, processes, and policies of sub-state government in the U.S., emphasizing city general-purpose governments through a comparative examination of historical and contemporary politics. Issues related to federalism, representation, voting, race, poverty, housing, and finances.
Winter
AMSTUD 123X

Politics and Public Policy (POLISCI 102, PUBLPOL 101, PUBLPOL 201)

American political institutions (the Presidency, Congress, and the Court) and political processes (the formation of political attitudes and voting) have for some time now been criticized as inadequate to the task of making modern public policy. Against the backdrop of American culture and political history we examine how public policy has been and is being made. We use theories from Political Science and Economics to assess the state of the American system and the policy making process. We use case studies and lectures to analyze contemporary issues including environmental policy, taxes and...
Winter
AMSTUD 268C

Poverty in America (CSRE 268C, HISTORY 268C, HISTORY 368C)

During the twentieth century, Americans launched numerous bold efforts to reduce poverty in the United States. Federal welfare policy, community-based programs, academic research, philanthropic charity, and grassroots activism committed time and resources to the cause, but poverty-- and inequality-- have persisted. Why? This seminar considers the origins, implementation, and consequences of these remedies, noting in particular how race, gender, citizenship, family composition, and geography have shaped the lives of those in poverty and the public and private responses to it.
Autumn
AMSTUD 89

Race, Ethnicity, and Electoral Politics (CSRE 89)

This course explores the role that racial and ethnic politics play in American political campaigns and elections. This will include readings that explore the power of ethnoracial voting blocs (e.g. the Black vote and the Latino vote), as well as the challenges and advantages of candidates that are people of color. We will discuss how changing demographics are changing the political landscape, and how candidates and political parties are responding to those changes. This will include, of course, significant attention to ongoing battles at the national (e.g. Trump v. Clinton), state (e.g...
Spring
AMSTUD 255D

Racial Identity in the American Imagination (AFRICAAM 255, CSRE 255D, HISTORY 255D, HISTORY 355D)

From Sally Hemings to Barack Obama, this course explores the ways that racial identity has been experienced, represented, and contested throughout American history. Engaging historical, legal, and literary texts and films, this course examines major historical transformations that have shaped our understanding of racial identity. This course also draws on other imaginative modes including autobiography, memoir, photography, and music to consider the ways that racial identity has been represented in American society. Most broadly, this course interrogates the problem of American identity and...
Autumn
AMSTUD 183

Re- Imagining American Borders (CSRE 183, FEMGEN 183)

How novelists, filmmakers, and poets perceive racial, ethnic, gender, sexual orientation, and class borders in the context of a current volatile national discussion about the place of Americans both here and in the world. How Anna Deavere Smith, Sherman Alexie, Shailja Patel or Ta-Nehisi Coates consider redrawing such lines so that center and margin, or self and other, do not remain fixed and divided. How linguistic borderlines within multilingual literature by Caribbean, Arab, and Asian Americans function. Can Anzaldúa's 1986 conception of borderlands be constructed through the matrix of...
Autumn
AMSTUD 119

Science Fiction: Cyborgs & Human Simulacra in the Cinema (FILMSTUD 119, FILMSTUD 319)

The human simulacrum has a long history in mythology, fairy tales and children¿s stories, as well as in the genres of horror and science fiction. This course explores synthetic human narratives in the cinema. Stories of artificially created life, living statues, automata, body snatchers, robots, cyborgs and electronic simulations all direct our attention to our assumed definitions of the human.The fantasies and anxieties that undergird these stories engage with such issues as labor, gender, sexuality, death, emotion, rationality, embodiment, consumerism, reproductive technologies, and power...
Spring
AMSTUD 141F

Short Story to Big Screen (ENGLISH 141F)

This course will study the adaptation from short stories to films, with a particular eye toward the form and structure of each media and their relationship to each other. Students will read a variety of 20th and 21st century stories and watch their adaptations (including ¿Rashomon" and ¿Brokeback Mountain,¿), as well as write a short screenplay adaptation and a short critical essay on a story/film of their choosing.
Spring
AMSTUD 96

Signal to Noise: The Sounds of American Culture

Inundated by images and associated with the meteoric rise of such media as film and photography, the past century has long been considered a predominantly visual era. Yet, sound offers alternative sensory platforms for understanding American culture and history. ¿Sound history,¿ as Jonathan Sterne writes, ¿indexes changes in human nature and the human body ¿ in life and in death.¿ Similarly, transformations in American landscapes, from its cities to its national parks, can be heard as well as seen. In this course, we will explore the intertwined histories of sound, society, and space, asking...
Winter
AMSTUD 157P

Solidarity and Racial Justice (AFRICAAM 157P, CSRE 157P, FEMGEN 157P)

Is multiracial solidarity necessary to overcome oppression that disproportionately affects certain communities of color? What is frontline leadership and what role should people play if they are not part of frontline communities? In this course we will critically examine practices of solidarity and allyship in movements for collective liberation. Through analysis of historical and contemporary movements, as well as participation in movement work, we will see how movements have built multiracial solidarity to address issues that are important to the liberation of all. We will also see how...
Summer
AMSTUD 147A

Speaking of Baseball (ENGLISH 147A)

Since its invention in the nineteenth century, baseball has been steeped in lore and rhetoric. A cultural commentator recently pegged it one of three significant American contributions to world culture, along with jazz and the U.S. constitution. Literary and artistic representations of baseball abound, often treating it as more than a game and only a little less than a religion. In this class, we¹ll track representations and grand claims made for baseball by American poets, novelists, and commentators of all sorts. We'll weigh the cornucopia of literary nonfiction depicting the game. The goal...
Spring
AMSTUD 146A

Steinbeck (ENGLISH 146A)

Introduction to the work of an American writer, beloved by general readers, often reviled by critics, whose career spanned from the Great Depression through World War II to the social upheavals of the 1960s. Focus on the social and political contexts of Steinbeck's major works; his fascination with California and Mexico; his interdisciplinary interest in marine biology and in philosophy; his diverse experiments with literary form, including drama and film.
Winter
AMSTUD 133

Technology and American Visual Culture (FILMSTUD 133B)

An exploration of the dynamic relationship between technology and the ways we see and represent the world, with a focus on American visual culture from the 19th century through the present. We study the history of different tools from telescopes and microscopes to digital detectors that have changed and enhanced our visual capabilities; the way technological shifts, such as the introduction of electric lights or train travel, have shaped our visual imagination and aesthetic sensibilities; and how technology has inspired or responded to visual art. Special attention is paid to how different...
Autumn
AMSTUD 256E

The American Civil War (AFRICAAM 256E, HISTORY 256E)

What was it like to live in the United States during the Civil War? This course uses the lenses of racial/ethnic identity, gender, class, and geography (among others) to explore the breadth of human experience during this singular moment in American history. It illuminates the varied ways in which Americans, in the Union states and the Confederate states, struggled to move forward and to find meaning in the face of unprecedented division and destruction.
Winter
AMSTUD 48N

The American Songbook and Love Poetry (ENGLISH 48N)

A study of performances (Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra etc) of songs by classic American composers (Porter, Rogers and Hart, Cohen).
Spring
AMSTUD 124A

The American West (ARTHIST 152, ENGLISH 124, HISTORY 151, POLISCI 124A)

The American West is characterized by frontier mythology, vast distances, marked aridity, and unique political and economic characteristics. This course integrates several disciplinary perspectives into a comprehensive examination of Western North America: its history, physical geography, climate, literature, art, film, institutions, politics, demography, economy, and continuing policy challenges. Students examine themes fundamental to understanding the region: time, space, water, peoples, and boom and bust cycles.
Winter
AMSTUD 155D

The Asian American Movement: A History of Activism (ASNAMST 55D, ASNAMST 155D, HISTORY 55D, HISTORY 155D)

The "Asian American Movement" was born in the late 1960s inspired by other movements for social change and justice in the era. Activism among Asians in America has a longer history and a continuity to today. We will examine past, present, and future and consider issues of racial/ethnic identity, of inequality, and of injustice. And we will explore avenues that sought remedy and progress. Political, social, cultural, gender and sexuality, and international dimensions will be considered.
Spring
AMSTUD 137

The Dialogue of Democracy (COMM 137W, COMM 237, POLISCI 232T, POLISCI 332T)

All forms of democracy require some kind of communication so people can be aware of issues and make decisions. This course looks at competing visions of what democracy should be and different notions of the role of dialogue in a democracy. Is it just campaigning or does it include deliberation? Small scale discussions or sound bites on television? Or social media? What is the role of technology in changing our democratic practices, to mobilize, to persuade, to solve public problems? This course will include readings from political theory about democratic ideals - from the American founders to...
Spring
AMSTUD 251J

The End of American Slavery, 1776-1865 (AFRICAAM 251J, HISTORY 251J, HISTORY 351J)

How did the institution of American slavery come to an end? The story is more complex than most people know. This course examines the rival forces that fostered slavery's simultaneous contraction in the North and expansion in the South between 1776 and 1861. It also illuminates, in detail, the final tortuous path to abolition during the Civil War. Throughout, the course introduces a diverse collection of historical figures, including seemingly paradoxical ones, such as slaveholding southerners who professed opposition to slavery and non-slaveholding northerners who acted in ways that...
Winter
AMSTUD 63N

The Feminist Critique: The History and Politics of Gender Equality (CSRE 63N, FEMGEN 63N, HISTORY 63N)

This course explores the long history of ideas about gender and equality. Each week we read, dissect, compare, and critique a set of primary historical documents (political and literary) from around the world, moving from the 15th century to the present. We tease out changing arguments about education, the body, sexuality, violence, labor, politics, and the very meaning of gender, and we place feminist critics within national and global political contexts.
Autumn
AMSTUD 90S

The Forgotten War: The Korean War in Historical Perspective (HISTORY 90S, KOREA 155X)

This course examines the history of the Korean War (1950-53), a pivotal moment in modern world history. Using sources across seven countries including photographs, film, maps, diaries, literature, music, declassified military communiqués and psychological warfare materials, we will examine the war as a complex, multidimensional human phenomenon. Along the way we will find that the Korean War sheds light on a range of contemporary issues including US-China relations, the War on Terror, and America's larger place in the world. Priority given to history majors and minors.
Spring
AMSTUD 161

The Politics of Sex: Work, Family, and Citizenship in Modern American Women's History (CSRE 162, FEMGEN 161, HISTORY 61, HISTORY 161)

This course explores the transition from Victorian to modern American womanhood by asking how Native, European, African, Mexican, and Asian American women navigated the changing sexual, economic, and political landscapes of the twentieth century. Through secondary readings, primary sources, films, music, and literature we explore the opportunities and boundaries on groups of women in the context of historical events that included immigration, urbanization, wartime, depression, the Cold War, as well as recurrent feminist and conservative political movements.
Spring
AMSTUD 150C

The United States in the Twentieth Century (HISTORY 150C)

(Same as HISTORY 50C. History majors and others taking 5 units, register for 150C.) Covering the past century, this course will survey U.S. politics, culture, and social movements, tracing three recurrent themes: the growth of the federal government and ensuing political debates about its role; the development of the United States into a world power; and the contested expansion of American democracy. Lectures meet Mon, Tues, Wed. This is a Massive Multiplayer Humanities course: students will participate in two archival workshops held on Thursdays. Research workshops for 5 credit students will...
Summer
AMSTUD 134C

The Western: Imagining the West in Fiction and Film (ENGLISH 134C)

The Wild West: a mythical place seared deep into the American imagination. Its familiar tropes lone riders on horseback, desert sunsets, saloon fights, train robberies echo through countless Western stories, novels, films, radio programs, and television series. Both formulaic and flexible, the Western has endured as a popular genre in American culture for more than a century, embodying and responding to many of the nation's broader anxieties surrounding its colonial history, its notions of masculinity and gender roles, its fascination with guns and violence, and its ideals of self-reliance...
Spring
AMSTUD 110D

War and Peace in American Foreign Policy (INTNLREL 110D, POLISCI 110D, POLISCI 110Y)

(Students not taking this course for WIM, register for 110Y.) The causes of war in American foreign policy. Issues: international and domestic sources of war and peace; war and the American political system; war, intervention, and peace making in the post-Cold War period.