This is a list of all American studies courses. For more information, see American Studies.
AMST:1010 Understanding American Cultures3 s.h.
The United States in historical, contemporary, and transnational perspective; social and cultural diversity and conflict in American life; debates on concepts of America, the American Dream, national culture, citizenship. GE: Values and Culture.
AMST:1030 Introduction to African American Culture3 s.h.
Interdisciplinary look at Black culture in the United States through significant contributions of the humanities (music, art, literature, drama, philosophy) to development of Black culture. GE: Values and Culture. Same as AFAM:1020.
AMST:1049 Introduction to American Indian and Native Studies3 s.h.
Through film, art, music, and comedy, students will explore the past, present, and future of American Indians in the United States and beyond. GE: Values and Culture. Same as AINS:1049.
AMST:1060 Sex and Popular Culture in the Postwar U.S.3 s.h.
AMST:1065 Disney in America3 s.h.
How Walt Disney Corporation has influenced American cultural values, ideals, and experiences through its evolution from an animation company in the 1920s, to a theme park company and television producer in the 1950s, to a media conglomerate today; the corporation's national importance, Hollywood's contributions to the Depression and World War II, postwar urban and community planning, America's changing leisure behavior, advertising and childhood, modern business history, and exportation of American culture.
AMST:1070 Drugs in American Popular Culture3 s.h.
Cultural aspects of drug use and drug policy in American popular culture, particularly concerning recreational drugs; how ideas of race, gender, social class, and nation are connected to stories people tell about use of marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, and alcohol; sources include films, television, advertising, music, and cultural texts.
AMST:1074 Inequality in American Sport3 s.h.
Cultural meanings of sport in contemporary U.S. culture; American dream as promoted, challenged in sport; sport experiences, inclusion, and exclusion as affected by gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, social class, age, physical ability/disability, and nationalism. GE: Values and Culture. Same as GWSS:1074, SPST:1074.
AMST:1075 American Popular Music: Rock and Roll to 19803 s.h.
AMST:1076 Rock and Roll 1980 to the Present3 s.h.
From the beginning, rock and roll subcultures have deliberately challenged and changed the values, attitudes, and behaviors of the mainstream (as well as the music itself); during the past 40 years, movements such as punk, hip hop, and electronica have confronted conventional notions of race, gender, sexual identity, social justice, and economic disparities in ways that reveal much about the underlying tensions of American life; using music as a lens, students examine these aspects of the nation's social history from 1980 to the present; materials are drawn from music, films, music videos, popular magazines, newspapers, and books.
AMST:1080 American Political Humor3 s.h.
How political humor reflects and influences American attitudes regarding government institutions, elected officials, the democratic process; how humor works; examples from Revolutionary War present and from varied media, including cartoons, fiction, film, television, the Internet.
AMST:1154 Food in America3 s.h.
Cultural significance of production, distribution, and consumption of food in the United States. GE: Values and Culture.
AMST:1400 Introduction to American Popular Culture3 s.h.
Introduction to popular culture studies; variety of cultural expressions including cyber communities, radio, humor, television, music, sport, and material culture; discussion of these popular genres and topics within larger context of gender, race, sexualities, class, consumerism, nation state and global capitalism; what popular culture is; difference between folk, high, mass, and popular culture; how to critically read and interpret popular cultural expressions; role(s) consumers of popular culture play in market economy; new information technologies to enhance learning experience.
AMST:1500 American Celebrity Culture3 s.h.
Cultural history of meanings and implications of fame and celebrity in America; shift from 18th-century culture of "fame" (something bestowed posthumously on great statesmen) to 19th-century culture of "celebrity" that conferred instant stardom on actors, sportsmen, musicians, writers, and others; role of mass media and impresarios (e.g., Barnum and "Buffalo Bill") in promoting culture of celebrity; refinement of star system by Hollywood, television, and Internet; implications for political culture, consumer culture, and attitudes towards race, gender, class, and sexuality.
AMST:1630 U.S. History Through Objects3 s.h.
Interpretation of U.S. history through stories embedded in material artifacts ranging from guns, farming tools, and religious relics to mechanical toys, office gadgets, and vehicles; invention, manufacture, and marketing of tools and objects; their use and adaptation by various groups of Americans (women, African Americans, immigrants); meanings and memories invested in them; preservation of objects in museums, attics, and time capsules.
AMST:1847 Hawkeye Nation: On Iowa and Sport3 s.h.
Identity, community, and place explored within local frameworks: the University of Iowa, Iowa City, State of Iowa; how sport, literature, film, other cultural institutions forge connections to community and shape Iowa's image in the public imagination; identity and community as complex and contested issues; local rituals, sites of memorialization, acts of erasure, management and use of public and private space such as UI athletic complex, Field of Dreams, Iowa Writers' Workshop, Iowa Avenue Literary Walk, Blackhawk Park; interdisciplinary approaches grounded in American studies, sport studies, American Indian and native studies, literature, history. Same as SPST:1847.
AMST:1900 Time in America: Clocks, Calendars, and Capsules3 s.h.
History of technologies for telling the time, from ancient water clocks to atomic clocks; changing methods of measuring, subdividing, and regulating time in 19th- and 20th-century America; implementation of (and resistance to) time discipline in factories, plantations, and offices; rituals for marking historical time (e.g., time capsules); fantasies of time travel in fiction and film; debates about the acceleration of time and emergence of a "slow movement."
AMST:2000 Introduction to American Studies3 s.h.
Variety of historic and contemporary sources, such as literature, law, photography, painting, film, TV, music, fashions, environments, events of everyday life.
AMST:2025 Diversity in American Culture3 s.h.
History and variety of American identities, examined through citizenship, culture, social stratification; conflict and commonalities among groups according to race, ethnicity, gender, class, sexuality; how art, literature, music, film, photography, and other cultural artifacts represent diversity of identities.
AMST:2050 The American Vacation3 s.h.
Development of the Idea of vacation from upper-class origins to acceptance as part of middle- and working-class life; Niagara Falls, Saratoga Springs, the Catskills, Atlantic City, Idlewild, Coney Island, national parks of the American West, Chicago World's Fair, Gettysburg, Disneyland; how vacation experiences and meanings are shaped by social class, race, gender, age; growth of leisure time, labor legislation, proper use of leisure time, tourism, vacations as social rituals, golden age of family vacations. Same as SPST:2050.
AMST:2052 Fairs and Amusement Parks3 s.h.
Nineteenth- and twentieth-century international expositions, amusement parks, and theme parks as cultural events of U.S. self-definition.
AMST:2084 Sport and Film3 s.h.
Sport films as means of exploring contemporary ideas about sport in the U.S.; focus on narrative structure, characterization, historical, and political contexts; formal aspects of film analysis (e.g., editing, lighting, cinematography). Same as SPST:2084.
AMST:2165 Native Peoples of North America3 s.h.
AMST:2290 Food and Culture in Indian Country3 s.h.
Native Americans as original farmers of 46 percent of the world's table vegetables; examination of food as a cultural artifact (e.g., chocolate, tobacco); food as a primary way in which human beings express their identities; environmental, material, and linguistic differences that shape unique food cultures among Native peoples across the Western Hemisphere; close analysis of indigenous foods, rituals, and gender roles associated with them; how colonization transformed Native American, European, and African American cultures. Same as AINS:2290, GHS:2290, HIST:2290.
AMST:2300 Native Americans in Film3 s.h.
Representations of Native Americans in film from the western to science fiction and animation. Same as AINS:2300.
AMST:2400 The Guitar in American Culture3 s.h.
Cultural history of the guitar in America from 19th century to present; how the instrument evolved in America (e.g., with the introduction of steel strings, electric pick-ups, amplifiers, new body shapes); how the instrument contributed to musical styles from folk, blues, and jazz to pop, rock, heavy metal, and beyond; what impact it had on American culture and politics as a means of folk-cultural expression for black slaves and sharecroppers, an icon of youth rebellion and counter-cultural opposition, a signifier of hyper-masculinity (one that has been reclaimed by female guitarists), or even a ritual object to smash or burn on stage; the guitar's future in an age of electronic music.
AMST:2500 U.S. Cinema and Culture3 s.h.
Representation of race, ethnicity, class, gender, and sexuality in Hollywood movies.
AMST:2700 The Black Image in Sequential Art: Comics, Graphic Novels, and Anime3 s.h.
Provides a foundation to critically interpret the representation of people of African descent in sequential art; primary focus on serial comic strips, gags, comic books, graphic novels, video games, animation, anime, Manga, film, zines, and televisual examples of Blackness; emphasis of readings and viewing materials on gender, sexualities, economics, ethnicity, the transnational circulation and commodification of the Black image, fandom communities, independent and mainstream sequential art producers. Same as AFAM:2700.
AMST:2950 Animals and Performance in American Culture3 s.h.
Role of animals in various forms of cultural expression in the U.S. from the 19th to the 21st centuries; along with visual and literary arts, special emphasis will be placed on live performance (e.g., circus and theatre) because of how it highlights embodied and affective modes of communication that inform our connections to animals; relationship of cultural forms involving animals (real and imagined) to the lived experience of animals in the wider historical and social context; how animals shape human ideas about race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, and construct notions of "Americanness." Same as THTR:2450.
AMST:3045 Immigration and American Culture3 s.h.
Immigrants and immigrant communities.
AMST:3047 American Disasters3 s.h.
Fault lines of American society and culture as exposed during catastrophe; history of American disaster investigated through methods from cultural history, visual theory, sociology, and media studies; varied disasters 1800 to present, including those involving cities (Chicago fire, San Francisco earthquake, Chicago heat wave), transportation (Titanic, Challenger, Columbia), and environment (Union Carbide and Bhopal, Exxon Valdez); causes of catastrophes; how Americans react and are drawn to catastrophe (e.g., disaster films, jokes); related topics, including technology, urbanism, race, class, apocalyptic religion, journalism, popular culture.
AMST:3050 Topics in American Cultural Studies3 s.h.
Special topics in American history, literature, culture.
AMST:3051 The Office: Business Life in America3 s.h.
History of business life in America from birth of Wall Street to rise of Silicon Valley; modes of managing and regulating office workers; changing designs of office buildings, furniture, gadgets; corporate response to rise of class inequalities and growing gender and racial diversity in workforce; portrayal of businessperson in novels, movies, television, art, photography.
AMST:3053 The Civil Rights Movement3 s.h.
History of the American civil rights movement. Same as AFAM:3053.
AMST:3060 Metropolis: Cities in American Culture3 s.h.
Impact of American cities (skyscrapers, entertainments, crowds, ethnic neighborhoods) on American culture; depiction of American urban environments by artists, writers, musicians, filmmakers; treatment of city life in popular culture (superhero comics and movies, sitcoms, hip-hop, and more); debates about post-industrial decline of cities; focus on New York, Chicago, Los Angeles.
AMST:3063 American Ruins3 s.h.
Emergence and development of American fascination with ruins, from indigenous to urban-industrial remains; actual ruins and depiction of imagined ruins in art, literature, cinema.
AMST:3130 Black American Cinema3 s.h.
Major historical and cultural movements in Black cinema; independent and early Hollywood films, animation, Blaxploitation, the Black Renaissance, Black auteurs (e.g., Spike Lee, Julie Dash), hip-hop cinema, womanist films, 21st-century developments in film (e.g., theatre to film adaptions of Tyler Perry), new media's effect on film and cinema; particular attention given to gender, sexualities, region, ethnicity, and class. Same as AFAM:3130.
AMST:3135 The Social Construction of Whiteness3 s.h.
Whiteness as a socially constructed racial category with material effects in everyday life; race as a category with salience in determining public policy, forming identities, and shaping people's actions; interdisciplinary approach using social history, philosophy, science, law, literature, autobiography, film, and the expressive arts.
AMST:3148 American Monuments3 s.h.
How Americans enshrine certain memories in form of public monuments; why Americans began building large-scale monuments in 19th century (Bunker Hill, Washington Monument); subsequent monuments to wars, Indian massacres, the Confederacy, the civil rights movements; recent trends, including counter-monuments (9/11 memorial), spontaneous and temporary monuments, and online memorials; roles monuments play in American society, why they attract so much controversy, how some become sites for popular protests or for depositing artifacts, and how they compare with those in other countries (Holocaust memorials in Germany).
AMST:3171 Baseball in America3 s.h.
Forces that influenced political, economic, and social development of professional baseball in the United States; rise of major league baseball, its relationship to the minor leagues, and development of organized baseball industry. Same as SPST:3171.
AMST:3178 American Sport to 19003 s.h.
Growth and institutionalization of sport from colonial times to 1900. Same as SPST:3178.
AMST:3179 Twentieth-Century American Sport3 s.h.
Historic development of sport in the United States since 1900; economic forces, professionalization, growth of media. Same as SPST:3179.
AMST:3195 American Cultures and American Photography3 s.h.
Introduction to visual, cultural, and historical frameworks to view and interpret photographs as material artifacts.
AMST:3198 New Media and the Future of Sport3 s.h.
Emergence and significance of Internet blogs, social media, convergence journalism, video games, and fantasy sports; economic, regulatory, and cultural forces that shape new media sport journalism and entertainment. Same as JMC:3135, SPST:3198.
AMST:3400 Black Popular Music3 s.h.
History and expressive culture of people of African descent living in America through popular music forms; historical time span between the 17th and 21st centuries; poetry, music, cultural analysis, film, and art as sources for the study of Black music; genres covered include spirituals and gospel, blues, jazz, rock, rhythm and blues, Afropunk, alternative and neo soul, and hip-hop. Recommendations: AFAM:1020 and AMST:1030. Same as AFAM:3400.
AMST:3500 American Gothic: Film, Literature, and Popular Culture3 s.h.
Gothic eruptions of the uncanny in 19th- through 21st-century American literature, film, and mass culture; how ghosts, vampires, and visitants from the dark side call attention to fluid or liminal social space while communicating information and anxieties about repressed histories, economic change, and unstable intersections of gender, sexuality, race, religion, and class identities; special attention given to modernity and post-modernity of American gothic as an artifact of U.S. consumer culture and mass visual media.
AMST:3900 Seminar in American Cultural Studies3 s.h.
Interdisciplinary perspectives on a single theme or period.
AMST:3994 Independent Studyarr.
AMST:4283 U.S. Women's History as the History of Human Rights3-4 s.h.
History of human rights in the United States traced through the perspective of women; aspects of women's experience (social, political, intellectual) related to fundamental human rights—right to a nationality, right to life, liberty and personal security, right to freedom of movement, right to take part in the government of their country, right to own property; these and other rights specified by the United Nations in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948; different history of men and women enjoying these rights; how human rights have been constructed and experienced in the United States from the era of colonial settlement to present. Same as GWSS:4283, HIST:4283, HRTS:4283.
AMST:4999 Honors Projectarr.
Independent interdisciplinary research, writing.
AMST:5000 Interdisciplinary Research in American Studies3 s.h.
Research, theories, and methods in American studies; origins, evolution, and future of discipline; key figures, texts, and debates.
AMST:5002 Critical Theories for Sport3 s.h.
Exploration and application of critical theories to contemporary sport; feminism, Marxism, critical race theory, whiteness studies, queer theory, postcolonial theory, postmodernism, and poststructuralism. Same as SPST:5002.
AMST:6030 Seminar: Performing Arts in American Culture3 s.h.
American theater, dance, music, and performance.
AMST:6050 Seminar: Topics in American Studies3 s.h.
American cultural history; urbanization, mass media, pluralism, assimilation.
AMST:6058 Seminar: Technology and American Culture3 s.h.
AMST:6070 Seminar: Topics in Sport Studies1-3 s.h.
Special topics on sport in historical or contemporary contexts. Same as SPST:6070.
AMST:6078 Seminar: Women in Sport3 s.h.
Women's sport involvement in historical and/or contemporary contexts; focus on social class, religion, race, ethnicity, sexuality, medical opinion, economic considerations, political events, and educational philosophies that have influenced women's participation. Same as GWSS:6710, SPST:6078.
AMST:6080 American Film and American Culture3 s.h.
Relationships between film and culture as developed in a particular approach, period, subject.
AMST:6099 American Studies Proseminar1-2 s.h.
Intensive reading on American cultural analysis topics; may include screenings, field trips, guest speakers, special events.
AMST:6140 Engaged Scholarship in the Humanities0,3 s.h.
Survey of literature on community-engaged scholarship (CES) in the humanities; exploration of the pioneering work of engaged scholars in Native American, Latino, and African American studies; students write a research prospectus that is consistent with CES methodologies. Same as HIST:6140.
AMST:6276 Sport in U.S. Culture3 s.h.
Sport as a significant cultural form in the United States; focus on role of sport in cultural reproduction; institutional relationships between sport and politics, economy, education, and media. Same as SPST:6276.
AMST:7077 Sport Studies Workshop1 s.h.
Development of individual research projects for group discussion. Requirements: graduate standing in American studies or sport studies. Same as SPST:7070.
AMST:7085 Dissertation Writing Workshop1 s.h.
Dissertation preparatory work with peer and faculty critiques, including preparation of a prospectus, research activities, and chapter writing. Requirements: American studies graduate standing with postcomprehensive examination status.
AMST:7090 Ph.D. Thesisarr.
AMST:7994 Independent Studyarr.