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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)

ENGL 115: Introduction to American Literature (H)

Plus one of the following:

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

American Studies Seminar (One Course)

AMST 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 HIST courses below, all courses in this track are in the humanities.

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

Identity and the American Nation

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

American Thought and Institutions

Except for ENGL 286, PHIL 221, NAVS 250, and the RELC courses below, all of the following courses are in the social sciences (S).

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

Comparative Americas and Global Perspectives

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