American Studies Website

AMERICAN STUDIES (Div. II)

Chair, Professor: SCOTT WONG

Faculty 2005-2006: Professors: KUNZEL*, M. REINHARDT. Associate Professor: KENT***. Assistant Professors: AUBERT, BEAN, L. JOHNSON, RÚA. Senior Lecturer: CLEGHORN.

GENERAL PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

The American Studies Program uses interdisciplinary approaches to develop students' understanding of the complexity of the culture(s) usually labeled "American." Examining history, literature, visual media, performance, and other forms of expression, we explore the processes of cultural definition as contested by diverse individuals and groups. We ask new questions about aspects of American life long taken for granted; we also use American culture as a laboratory for testing classic and contemporary theories about how cultures work.

NON-MAJORS, FIRST-YEAR STUDENTS, AND SOPHOMORES

American Studies 201 is open to non-majors including first-year students with Advanced Placement credit in American History. All elective courses are open to students who meet the requirements of the departments that sponsor those courses. Courses designated as junior or senior seminars are open to non-majors with permission of the instructor.

RATIONALE FOR COURSE NUMBERING

The introductory course is offered at the 200 level to suggest the desirability of some preliminary training in college-level history, literature, sociology, or political science. The intermediate courses, designated as Junior Seminars at the 300 level, are offered primarily for juniors, although they are open to sophomores who have had 201 and will be away from campus during the spring of their junior year. 400 level courses designated as Senior Seminars are designed for senior majors.

THE MAJOR

Required major courses:

American Studies 201

300 level courses designated Junior Seminar

400 level courses designated Senior Seminar

Elective courses:

Eight courses: five should be chosen from one of the specialization fields listed below, the other three chosen from among any of the electives listed. Students are expected to take courses from at least two disciplines when choosing the courses that make up their specializations. Students are also required to take at least one course from a list of pre-1900 courses.

THE DEGREE WITH HONORS IN AMERICAN STUDIES

Candidates for honors in American Studies will undertake a substantial, year-long independent project during their Senior year. Applicants should have a consistent record of high achievement in courses taken for the major, and normally will have done work in the field of study of their proposed thesis. Students who wish to write or produce an honors project should consult with a prospective faculty advisor in their junior year. Formal application to pursue honors should be made by the time of spring registration in the junior year. Students must submit a 1- to 2-page preliminary proposal describing the proposed project to the Chair of the American Studies Program at this time. Final admission to the honors thesis program will depend on the AMST advisory committee's assessment of the qualifications of the student and the merits and feasibility of the project. If the proposal is approved, they will be permitted to register for AMST 491, W30, and AMST 492 the following year. The completed project is due in mid-April. Each student will present a short oral presentation of his or her thesis at the end of spring semester.

ADVISING

All majors will be assigned a faculty advisor. Majors must meet with their advisor during the first week of classes during the fall semester and at the time of the spring semester registration period in order to have their courses and plans for the American Studies major approved. Both majors and non-majors are encouraged to talk at any time with the program chair or other affiliated faculty about the major.

AMERICAN STUDIES AND OTHER PROGRAMS

Students majoring in American Studies are encouraged to consider pursuing concentrations in African-American, Environmental, and Women's and Gender Studies. Many of the courses counted for those concentrations may also earn credit toward the American Studies major.

STUDY AWAY FROM WILLIAMS

We encourage students to pursue cross-cultural comparative studies. A major in American Studies can be combined with study away from Williams for a semester or a year if plans are made carefully. Many courses that will be approved for College credit may also count toward the American Studies major if their subject matter is American culture.

Students planning to be away in the junior year should have taken American Studies 201 before they leave; those away for junior-year spring term should take American Studies 302 in their sophomore year. Students should consult as early as possible with the chair or their advisor about their plans for fulfilling the requirements of the major.

SPECIALIZATION FIELDS

To provide focus for work in the major, each student will choose one of the Specialization Fields listed below and record this choice when registering for the major. (This commitment can be revised, in consultation with the chair.) At least five electives will be taken from among those designated to support a specialization field. In extraordinary cases, students who wish to do so may be permitted to design their own specialization field. Fulfillment of concentrations in African-American Studies, Environmental Studies, and Women's and Gender Studies may be used as the basis for individually designed specialization fields. All such arrangements must be approved by the American Studies Committee.

CULTURAL PRACTICES

Elective courses:

Cultural practices are the complex means by which peoples of the Americas express themselves, adopting, altering, and inventing artifacts, and social forms and practices.

ArtH/Environmental Studies 201 American Landscape History

ArtH/American Studies 264 American Art and Architecture, 1600 to Present

Comparative Literature/Spanish 205 The Latin-American Novel in Translation

English/American Studies 209 American Literature: Origins to 1865

English/American Studies 210 American Literature: 1865-Present

English/Women's and Gender Studies 219 Literature by Women

English/American Studies 220 Introduction to African-American Writing

English/AMS/Maritime Studies 231T Literature of the Sea

English 335 Transcendentalism

English/American Studies 338 Literature of the American Renaissance

English/Women's and Gender Studies 341 American Genders, American Sexualities

English 354 Contemporary American Poetry

English 357 Contemporary American Fiction

English/American Studies 372 African-American Literary Criticism and Theory

English 450 Herman Melville and Mark Twain

History 148 The Mexican Revolution: 1910 to NAFTA

History 157 The Great Depression: Culture, Society, and Politics in the 1930's

History/American Studies 368 Cultural Encounters in the American West

History 378/Women's and Gender Studies 344 The History of Sexuality in America

History/Latina/o Studies/Women's and Gender Studies 386 Latinas in the Global Economy: Work, Migration, and Households

History 466/American Studies 364 Imagining Urban America, Three Case Studies: Boston, Chicago, and L.A.

History of Science 240 Technology and Science in American Culture

Music 111 Popular Music: Revolutions in the History of Rock

Music 114 American Music

Music 122 African-American Music

Music 130 History of Jazz

Music 140 Introduction to the Music of Duke Ellington

Music 141 Introduction to the Music of John Coltrane

Music 210T American Pop Orientalism

Music 212 Jazz Theory and Improvisation I

Political Science 239 Political Thinking About Race: Resurrecting the Political in Contemporary Texts on the Black Experience

Sociology 215 Crime in the Streets

Sociology 368 Technology and Modern Society

Sociology 387 Propaganda

Theatre 210 Multicultural Performance

Theatre/American Studies 211 Topics in African American Performance: The 1960s, the Civil Rights and Black Arts Movement*

POWER, POLITICS, AND BELIEF

Any political or social movement is ultimately based on a set of beliefs about what the world is, or ought to be. This specialization examines American society in terms of its underlying belief system and ideologies, how these are translated into political, institutional, and cultural life, and how they shape the nature and distribution of power in society.

Economics/Women's and Gender Studies 203 Gender and Economics

Economics 205 Public Finance

Economics 208 Modern Corporate Industry

Economics 209 Labor Economics

English/American Studies 220 Introduction to African-American Writing

English/Women's and Gender Studies 341 American Genders, American Sexualities

History 148 The Mexican Revolution: 1910 to NAFTA

History 157 The Great Depression: Culture, Society, and Politics in the 1930's

History 164 Slavery in the American South

History 243 Modern Latin America, 1822 to the Present

History 252B America from San Gabriel to Gettysburg, 1492-1865

History 253 The United States From Appomattox to AOL, 1865 -Present

History 281 African-American History, 1619-1865

History 282 African-American History From Reconstruction to the Present

History 343 Gender and History in Latin America

History 346 History of Modern Brazil

History 357 The Rise of American Conservatism

History 364 History of the Old South

History 365 History of the New South

History/American Studies 368 Cultural Encounters in the American West

History 370 Studies in American Social Change

History 372 The Rise of American Business

History 380 Comparative American Immigration History

History/Latina/o Studies/Women's and Gender Studies 386 Latinas in the Global Economy: Work, Migration, and Households

History 456 Civil War and Reconstruction

History /American Studies 488T The Politics and Rhetoric of Exclusion: Immigration and Its Discontents

History of Science 240 Technology and Science in American Culture

Political Science 201 Power, Politics, and Democracy in America

Political Science 207 Political Elections

Political Science 209 Poverty in America

Political Science 214 Congressional Politics

Political Science 216 Constitutional Law I: Structures of Power

Political Science 217 Constitutional Law II: Rights

Political Science 218 The American Presidency

Political Science 230 American Political Thought

Political Science 239 Political Thinking about Race: Resurrecting the Political in Contemporary Texts on the Black Experience

Political Science 318 The Voting Rights Act and the Voting Rights Movement

Political Science/Women's and Gender Studies 336 Sex, Gender, and Political Theory

Political Science 410 Senior Seminar in American Politics

Sociology 206 Religion and the Social Order

Sociology 215 Crime in the Streets

Sociology 218 Law and Modern Society

Sociology 265 Drugs and Society

Sociology 387 Propaganda

SPACE AND PLACE

This route focuses on the human landscape and the built environment. Courses listed below variously undertake the reading of geographical regions, patterns of habitation, imagined spaces, property relations and/or artifacts.

Anthropology 103 Pyramids, Bones, and Sherds: What is Archaeology?

Anthropology 215 Secrets of Ancient Peru: Archaeology of South America

ArtH/American Studies 264 American Art and Architecture, 1600 to Present

Environmental Studies 101 Humans in the Landscape: An Introduction to Environmental Studies

Geosciences 105 Geology Outdoors

Geosciences 201/Environmental Studies 205 Geomorphology

Geosciences/Environmental Studies 208 Water and the Environment

History 364 History of the Old South

History 365 History of the New South

History 380 Comparative American Immigration History

History 466/American Studies 364 Imagining Urban America, Three Case Studies: Boston, Chicago, and L.A.

INTR 242/ArtH 268/ArtS 212/Religion 289 Network Culture

Political Science 101 The Politics of Place in America

Political Science 317/Environmental Studies 307 Environmental Law

Political Science 335 Public Sphere/Public Space

Political Science 349T Cuba and the United States

Sociology 215 Crime in the Streets

RACE AND ETHNICITY

This specialization takes up the question of American identities as those are determined and sometimes confounded by racial and ethnic difference. How has difference within the American "community" been defined, and by whom? What have been the real historical, cultural, economic, and social effects of these discursive definitions?

Anthropology 216 Native Peoples of Latin America

English/American Studies 220 Introduction to African-American Writing

English/Women's and Gender Studies 341 American Genders, American Sexualities

English/American Studies 372 African-American Literary Criticism and Theory

History 148 The Mexican Revolution: 1910 to NAFTA

History 164 Slavery in the American South

History 243 Modern Latin America, 1822 to the Present

History 249 The Caribbean from Slavery to Independence

History 281 African-American History, 1619-1865

History 282 African-American History From Reconstruction to the Present

History 286 Latino(a) History from 1846 to the Present

History 364 History of the Old South

History 365 History of the New South

History/American Studies 368 Cultural Encounters in the American West

History 370 Studies in American Social Change

History 380 Comparative American Immigration History

History 384 Comparative Asian-American History, 1850-1965

History 385 Contemporary Issues in Recent Asian-American History, 1965-Present

History/Latina/o Studies/Women's and Gender Studies 386 Latinas in the Global Economy: Work, Migration, and Households

History/Latina/o Studies/Women's and Gender Studies 387 Community Building and Social Movements in Latino/a History*

History 443 Slavery, Race and Ethnicity in Latin America

History 456 Civil War and Reconstruction

History/American Studies 488T The Politics and Rhetoric of Exclusion: Immigration and Its Discontents

Music 122 African-American Music

Music 130 History of Jazz

Political Science 213 Theory and Practice of Civil Rights Protest

Political Science 318 The Voting Rights Act and the Voting Rights Movement

Political Science 349T Cuba and the United States

Psychology 341T Stereotypes, Prejudice, and Discrimination

Theatre 210 Multicultural Performance

Theatre/American Studies 211 Topics in African American Performance: The 1960s, the Civil Rights and Black Arts Movement*

PRE-1900 COURSES

ArtH/American Studies 264 American Art and Architecture, 1600 to Present

English/American Studies 209 American Literature: Origins to 1865

English/American Studies 338 Literature of the American Renaissance

History 164 Slavery in the American South

History 242 Latin America From Conquest to Independence

History 252B America from San Gabriel to Gettysburg: 1492-1865

History 281 African-American History, 1619-1865

History 364 History of the Old South

History/American Studies 368 Cultural Encounters in the American West

History 380 Comparative American Immigration History

History of Science 240 Technology and Science in American Culture

Political Science 230 American Political Thought