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Majors & Minors

Major in American Studies

The bachelor of arts (BA) in American studies offers students the opportunity to examine American history, culture, and social life within an interdisciplinary framework. This approach, drawing on faculty members in English, art and art history, political science, religion and classics, music, anthropology, philosophy, history, film and media studies, and modern languages and cultures, allows for especially rich explorations topics like:

  • The arts in American society
  • Race, class, gender, ethnicity, and religion as aspects of American identity
  • Ideas and institutions that have shaped the United States, past and present
  • Expanding beyond the traditional limitation of American studies to the United States to consider global perspectives

The major enables students to range freely across disciplinary boundaries while developing an area of focus. Students also consider the role of the American nation in a global context.

Major Advisor

Professor John Michael – Department of English
405 Morey Hall
john.michael@rochester.edu
(585) 275-4974

Curriculum

American studies is a ten-course interdisciplinary major. Students who complete six of the ten courses in the humanities (H) will fulfill the College’s humanities divisional requirement; students who complete six of the ten courses in the social sciences (S) will fulfill the social sciences divisional requirement.

Introductory Courses (Two Courses)

ENG 115: Introduction to American Literature (H)

Plus one of the following:

  • HIS 260: American Thought I (S)
  • HIS 261: American Thought II (S)
  • HIS 262: American Culture to 1876 (S)
  • HIS 263: American Culture since 1876 (S)

American Studies Seminar (One Course)

AMS 200: The Idea of America (H)

Interactions of America

At least one course that examines the interaction of America with other cultures. This requirement can be fulfilled using a capstone researchelective, or specialization course.

Capstone Research (One Course)

A capstone research experience consisting of one course that involves writing a major research paper, either within a departmental course or as an independent study project. This course satisfies one-half of the upper-level writing requirement.

Any history course numbered 300–389 or a course in another department with a “W” designation can fulfill this requirement.

One Writing-Intensive Elective (One Course)

This elective fulfills one-half of the upper-level writing requirement. Students may choose any upper-level writing course on America, including taking an additional course in their specialization.

Specialization (Five Courses)

Students will choose five courses from one of the following specialized tracks:

  • The Arts in American Culture
  • Identity and the American Nation
  • American Thought and Institutions
  • Comparative Americas and Global Perspectives

In order to make the tracks interdisciplinary, no more than three of the courses can be in the same department or program.

Arts in American Culture

Except for the HIS courses below, all courses in this track are in the humanities.

AAS 229: Pause: The Politics of Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Hip Hop
AH 103: Ways of Seeing: Art of the Americas
AH 103: Ways of Seeing: Hollywood, Underground: American Cinema from 1968–1982
AH 213: Race and Gender in Popular Film
AH 214: Beyond the Boundaries: Folk, Outside, and the Visionary Arts
AH 237: Modern Architecture and Frank Lloyd Wright
AH 255: Arts in American Culture
AH 256: Vernacular Architecture in the USA
AH 259: Women, Cloth, and Culture
AH 264: Films of the 1930s
AH 266: African-American Visual Culture
AH 274: Cultural History of American Architecture
AH 276: Gender and Representation in Native American Art
AH 280: Native American Art and Religion
AH 281: Art and the City
AH 284: Modern Architecture and Urbanism: LA Modern
AH 368: Art of the Colonial Encounter
AH 385: The Visual Culture of Heritage and Identity
ENG 116: Intro to African-American Literature
ENG 221: American Renaissance
ENG 225: American Romantics
ENG 226: American Realists
ENG 227: American Moderns
ENG 228: African-American Drama
ENG 230: Studies in American Literature
ENG 234: Modern Fiction
ENG 243: Major Authors: Toni Morrison
ENG 244: Contemporary American Memoir
ENG 250: Race in American Fiction
ENG 259: Popular Film Genres: The Gangster Film
ENG 264: Studies in a Director: The Films of Alfred Hitchcock
ENG 265: Issues in Film
ENG 286: Presidential Rhetoric
ENG 380: African-American Literature and the Archive
ENG 380: American Detectives: Hammett, Chandler, Macdonald
FMS 213: Race and Gender in Popular Film
FMS 222: Art and the City: New York in the 1970s
HIS 262: American Culture to 1876 (S)
HIS 267: Music-Made America (S)
HIS 302W: The Power of Print (S)
HIS 363W: American Culture in the Great Depression and World War II (S)
HIS 368W: American Culture at Mid-20th Century (S)
HIS 371W: Topics in 20th-Century American Culture (S)
HIS 372W: Topics in 20th-Century US History (S)
MUR 122: History of Jazz
MUR 123: Music of Black Americans
MUR 125: History of Rock
MUR 127: The Blues
MUR 132: Starmakers: Inside the Publicity Machine
MUR 133: Musical Theater Workshop
MUR 135: Sondheim and the Modern Musical Theater
MUR 145: High Voltage: Heavy Metal Music and Its History
MUR 203: Susan B. Anthony and Her World
MUR 233: Advanced Musical Theater Workshop
REL 151: The Blues
REL 170: Religion and Hip Hop Culture
REL 220: Jewish Women’s Writing
SP 262G: Colonial Latin American Literature
SP 287: Latin American Film
SP 287A: Mexican Film

Identity and the American Nation

AAS 229: Pause: The Politics of Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Hip Hop
AH 214: Beyond the Boundaries: Folk, Outside, and Visionary Arts
AH 246: Representing African-Americans in the African Imagination
AH 259: Women, Cloth, and Culture
AH 260: Cultural Tourism
AH 276: Gender and Representation in Native American Art
ENG 243: Major Authors: Toni Morrison
ENG 244: Contemporary American Memoir
ENG 250: Race in American Fiction
REL 151: The Blues
REL 153: Islam in America
REL 155: Religion in America
REL 157: African-American Religious History
REL 159: Interfaith Engagement
REL 161: New Religious Movements
REL 167W: Speaking Stones
REL 168: Material Life of Religion
REL 170: Religion and Hip Hop Culture
REL 178: Religion and American Foodways
REL 214: Imagining the Jew
REL 216: Jews and Multiculturalism in America
REL 220: Jewish Women’s Writing
REL 236: Catholicism in American Life
REL 238: Native American Art and Religion
SP 206: Spanish American Cultures
SP 282: US Latinos/Latinas
SP 287: Latin American Film
SP 287A: Mexican Film
WST 105: Sex and Power
ANT 245: American Culture
ANT 276: Gender and Representation
HIS 280/280W: Archaeology of Early America
HIS 305W: Maritime History of the Atlantic World
HIS 375W: When New York Was the Wild West
HIS 169: Introduction to African-American Studies
HIS 170: African-American History I
HIS 171: African-American History II
HIS 268: History of the American South
HIS 269: The Civil War
HIS 273: Lincoln, Douglass, and Black Freedom
HIS 274: History of Race in America
HIS 364: The Black Family in Slavery and Freedom
HIS 372W: Topics in 20th-Century US History
PSC 121: Democracy in America
PSC 209: Interest Groups in America
PSC 224: African-American Politics
PSC 225: Race and Political Representation
PSC 226: Black Political Leadership
PSC 228: Race and Ethnic Politics
PSC 237: Domestic Social Policy
PSC 241: Urban Change and City Politics

American Thought and Institutions

Except for ENG 286, PHL 221, NAV 250, and the REL courses below, all of the following courses are in the social sciences (S).

ENG 286: Presidential Rhetoric (H)
PHL 221: Philosophical Foundations of American Revolution (H)
HIS 160: United States History to 1865
HIS 161: United States History since 1865
HIS 162: Early America, 1600–1800
HIS 164: Democratic America
HIS 165: Industrial America
HIS 166: Recent America
HIS 174: American Military History
HIS 244: China-US Relations
HIS 247: The Korean War
HIS 260: American Thought I
HIS 261: American Thought II
HIS 265: Women and Work in the Americas
HIS 269: The Civil War
HIS 270: Progressive America
HIS 271: America and the “Good War”
HIS 278: Seward Family’s Civil War
HIS 279: Seward Family in Peace and War
HIS 301W: Modernity and Modernism
HIS 362W: American Thought
HIS 365W: Topics in Early American History
HIS 367W: Topics in Revolutionary America
HIS 368W: American Culture at Mid-20th Century
HIS 372W: Topics in 20th-Century US History
HIS 373W: American Health Policy and Politics
HIS 374W: American Social Thought
HIS 375W: Benjamin Franklin’s America
NAV 250: Sea Power and Maritime Affairs
PSC 103: Great Debates in American Democracy
PSC 105: Introduction to American Politics
PSC 121: Democracy in America
PSC 194: Rochester Politics and Places
PSC 209: Interest Groups in America
PSC 210: Development of the American Party System
PSC 212: Supreme Court in US History
PSC 213: The US Congress
PSC 215: American Elections
PSC 216: Legislative Politics
PSC 218: Emergence of the Modern Congress
PSC 222: The Presidency
PSC 223: Constitutional Structure and Rights
PSC 224: African-American Politics
PSC 225: Race and Political Representation
PSC 226: Black Political Leadership
PSC 228: Race and Ethnic Politics
PSC 234: Law and Politics in the US
PSC 237: Domestic Social Policy
PSC 240: Criminal Procedure and Constitutional Principles
PSC 241: Urban Change and City Politics
PSC 246: Environmental Law and Policy
PSC 249: Sports and the American City
PSC 275: American Foreign Policy
PSC 291: First Amendment and Religion in America
REL 155: Religion in America (H)
REL 161: New Religious Movements (H)

Comparative Americas and Global Perspectives

AH 251: Prehistory of Ancient Peru: The Incas and Their Ancestors
AH 246: Representing African-Americans in the African Imagination
AH 260: Cultural Tourism
AH 280: Native American Art and Religion
AH 368: Art of the Colonial Encounter
AH 385: The Visual Culture of Heritage and Identity
ANT 264: Islam and Global Politics
ANT 303: Advanced Topic Seminar: Migration
CLT 250: Nabokov
ENG 226: Black Intellectuals
ENG 380: Literary Style
FR 205: Francophone Cultures
FR 239: Representing African-Americans in the African Imagination
FR 243: Mutilated Bodies/Mutilated Discourse
FR 247: Black Paris
FR 271: Introduction to Francophone Literature
FR 272: Madness and Post-Colonial Literature
FR 273: The Francophone Novel
FR 274: Caribbean Novel and Theory
FR 288: French in Film: Africa, Caribbean, Quebec
HIS 154: History of Latin America through Soccer
HIS 156: Cuba from Columbus to the Present
HIS 200: Gateway to History: Pirates of the Caribbean
HIS 224: The South and the World
HIS 244: China-US Relations
HIS 255: 1492 and Beyond: Identity, Culture, and Society in Colonial Latin America
HIS 305W: Maritime History of the Atlantic World
PHL 221: Philosophical Backgrounds of the American Revolution
REL 125: Religion, Race, Ethnicity in America
REL 153: Islam in America
REL 156: Religions of the African Diaspora
REL 157: African-American Religious History
REL 216: Jews and Multiculturalism in America
REL 234: Cry Freedom
REL 235: Religion and Society in Latin America
REL 247: Islam and the Third World
SP 203: Origins and Empire: Reading the Early Hispanic World
SP 204: Coming to Terms: Spanish American Literature from Tradition to Innovation
SP 206: Spanish-American Cultures
SP 262: Topics in Spanish-American Literature
SP 262B: Cuba at a Crossroads
SP 262C: Disabling Discourse in Spanish-American Literature
SP 262D: Culture and Literature of the Caribbean
SP 262F: Spanish-American Coming-of-Ages Stories
SP 262G: Colonial Latin American Literature
SP 266: Brazilian Literature and Culture
SP 270: The Hispanic Short Story
SP 275: Marx and Freud in Latin America
SP 277: Mexico, DF: Global Metro
SP 280: The Transhispanic Supernatural
SP 282: US Latinos/Latinas
SP 287: Latin American Film
SP 287A: Mexican Film
SP 292: Politics, Portraits, Public Spaces: The Power of Photography in Spain and Spanish America