This is a list of all American studies courses. For more information, see American Studies.
AMST:1000 First-Year Seminar 0-1 s.h.
Small discussion class taught by a faculty member; topics chosen by instructor; may include outside activities (e.g., films, lectures, performances, readings, field trips). Requirements: undergraduate first-year standing.
AMST:1010 Understanding American Cultures 3 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 Culture 3 s.h.
Examination of Black cultural experiences in the United States and the African diaspora; focus on literature, music, film, comics, anime, popular culture, and visual/performing arts. GE: Diversity and Inclusion. Same as AFAM:1020.
AMST:1049 Introduction to American Indian and Native Studies 3 s.h.
AMST:1060 Sex and Popular Culture in America 3 s.h.
AMST:1074 Inequality in American Sport 3 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: Diversity and Inclusion. Same as GWSS:1074, SPST:1074.
AMST:1075 American Popular Music: Rock and Roll to 1980 3 s.h.
AMST:1076 Rock and Roll 1980 to the Present 3 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 Humor 3 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, internet.
AMST:1154 Food in America 3 s.h.
Cultural significance of production, distribution, and consumption of food in the United States. GE: Values and Culture.
AMST:1290 Native American Foods and Foodways 3 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. GE: Diversity and Inclusion. Same as GHS:1290, HIST:1290, NAIS:1290.
AMST:1300 American Popular Culture Abroad 3 s.h.
Exploration of American popular culture and how it creates stress and conflict between the United States and other nations; students examine scenarios such as LeBron James in China, hip hop in Ghana, and the role of Facebook everywhere; based on case studies from China, India, Pakistan, Ghana, Brazil, and others.
AMST:1400 Introduction to American Popular Culture 3 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 Culture 3 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 Objects 3 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:1700 Fake News: A History of Misinformation in the United States 3 s.h.
Fake news is sometimes imagined as a recent phenomenon, but misinformation campaigns have a long history in the United States; students survey some of the most significant instances of misinformation in U.S. history from the18th century to present, explore the historical context that motivated the attempt at misinformation, consider how people sought to combat it, and reflect on outcomes and implications of these campaigns; tools to effectively identify and combat misinformation in contemporary life. Recommendations: basic knowledge of U.S. history.
AMST:1800 American Gothic: Film, Literature, and Popular Culture 3 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. GE: Literary, Visual, and Performing Arts.
AMST:1847 Hawkeye Nation: On Iowa and Sport 3 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, Native American and Indigenous studies, literature, history. Same as SPST:1847.
AMST:1900 Time in America: Clocks, Calendars, and Capsules 3 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 Studies 3 s.h.
Variety of historic and contemporary sources, such as literature, law, photography, painting, film, TV, music, fashions, environments, events of everyday life. GE: Values and Culture.
AMST:2025 Diversity in American Culture 3 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. GE: Diversity and Inclusion.
AMST:2050 The American Vacation 3 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:2084 Sport and Film 3 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:2100 This is America: The Cultural Politics of Popular Music 3 s.h.
Cultural politics of U.S. popular music and broader soundscape of Americana; students examine how race, class, gender, and power factor into what sounds "American."
AMST:2130 African American Film Seminar 3 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:2130.
AMST:2150 Money, Capitalism, and Culture 3 s.h.
Investigation of novels, film, and art that represent complicated social and cultural life of money; how money's movement through American society shapes and is shaped by gender, race, and class dynamics; social origins and historical consequences of money, capital, and stock market; how novelists, filmmakers and artists come to terms with capitalism's ever-expanding reach.
AMST:2160 Love and Romance in America 3 s.h.
Exploration of the role of love and romance in the American experience; linking love and romance with American ideals—pursuit of happiness, upward mobility, and liberation of self, nation, and the world; history of romance as a popular genre in film, text, digital, and material culture; love as a social ritual in the context of the nation state, consumerism and gender, race and class; picket fences, free love, bromance, green cards, greeting cards, desperate housewives, break-ups, hook-ups, and happily-ever-after. Same as GWSS:2160.
AMST:2165 Native Peoples of North America 3 s.h.
AMST:2230 Fame and Celebrity in U.S. History 3 s.h.
Cultural history of the meanings and implications of fame and celebrity in America; conception of fame in the 18th century as something earned through great deeds and conferred by future generations; rise of a culture of celebrity in 19th- and 20th-century America; focus on theater, sports, movie, and musical stars; use of celebrities to sell products; implications for presidential campaigns; instant and ephemeral celebrity generated by television and the internet. Same as HIST:2230.
AMST:2300 Native Americans in Film 3 s.h.
Representations of Native Americans in film from the western to science fiction and animation. Same as NAIS:2300.
AMST:2400 The Guitar in American Culture 3 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:2700 The Black Image in Sequential Art: Comics, Graphic Novels, and Anime 3 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 Culture 3 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:3047 American Disasters 3 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 Studies 3 s.h.
Special topics in American history, literature, culture.
AMST:3053 The Civil Rights Movement 3 s.h.
AMST:3060 Cities in American Culture 3 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:3100 Critical Race Theory: Culture, Power, and Society 3 s.h.
AMST:3130 Black American Film 3 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 Whiteness 3 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:3171 Baseball in America 3 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 Making It: Modern Sport and U.S. Society 3 s.h.
Growth and institutionalization of sport from colonial times to 1900. Same as SPST:3178.
AMST:3179 Twentieth-Century American Sport 3 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 Photography 3 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 Sport 3 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:3205 Modern American Cultural History 3 s.h.
Nineteenth- and twentieth-century U.S. history from a cultural perspective; culture defined broadly to encompass paintings, sculpture, theater, novels, and newer forms of entertainment made available by lithography, photography, cinema, the phonograph, radio, and television; rather than assume Americans were passive consumers of commercial culture, students examine how Americans expressed themselves through foodways, home decor, clothing fashions, or slang; how Americans drew on these cultural forms in social/political struggles over race, gender, class, and sexuality. Same as HIST:3205.
AMST:3249 History of Iowa and the Midwest 3 s.h.
People of Iowa and surrounding Midwestern states—a land where people work hard, are practical, down to earth, and honest; the idea of a place in the heartland as real or simply a myth; history of Midwestern states from Native American occupation to present; how reality, ideas, and images are portrayed. Same as HIST:3249.
AMST:3251 The Office: Business Life in America 3 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. Same as HIST:3251.
AMST:3265 American Monuments 3 s.h.
History of public monuments in America from the inception of first major monuments in the 1820s to the latest incarnations (e.g., counter-monuments such as the 9/11 Memorial, spontaneous and temporary monuments, online memorials); how monuments have depicted Indians, Blacks, Southern confederates, women, and other groups; how monuments have commemorated wars, Indian massacres, lynchings, and political movements (e.g., civil rights, women's suffrage); how monuments have been reinterpreted through popular protests and depositing of artifacts; why monuments have attracted so much controversy, culminating in recent events at Charlottesville. Same as HIST:3265.
AMST:3410 Undocumented America: Citizenship, Race, and Immigration 3 s.h.
Examination of how literature and culture responds to and rearticulates culture, history, legal logic, and economic parameters that frame who is "legal" and "illegal" and how undocumented immigrants document and contest their lack of rights; how designations of immigrant's illegal or undocumented status depend on and maintain U.S. discourse about race and ethnicity. Same as LATS:3410.
AMST:3430 Women on Stage 3 s.h.
Examination of how and why women in the United States have expressed themselves through theatre and performance from 1776 to present; students study plays as performed events in specific times and places for specific audiences through works by African American, Asian American, European American, Latina, Native American, and lesbian/queer writers; what the theater—as a public, embodied art form—offers female writers; how stakes differ for women of diverse backgrounds in using this often suspect and uniquely powerful medium in particular historical moments; how changing definitions of gender and sexuality come into play; prior background in theater not required. Same as GWSS:3430, THTR:3430.
AMST:3600 Digitizing Blackness 3 s.h.
Examination of Black cultural experiences in digital spheres, including digital humanities and new information technologies; focus on Afrofuturism, gaming, augmented reality, digital mapping, podcasting, social media, and digital cultures; exposure to digital tools and methods. Same as AFAM:3600.
AMST:3900 Seminar in American Cultural Studies 3 s.h.
Interdisciplinary perspectives on a single theme or period.
AMST:3994 Independent Study arr.
AMST:4205 American Cultural History 1820-1920 3 s.h.
Culture as contested terrain; creation of cultural hierarchy (high and popular culture); struggles over the cultural construction of meaning; competing stories of America; advent and significance of mass culture. Same as HIST:4205.
AMST:4800 Latina/o/x Popular Culture 3 s.h.
Role of Latina/o/x popular culture as a site of contemporary social practice and cultural politics in both local and global contexts; specific attention to notions of citizenship, identity, and culture. Taught in English. Requirements: either one literature or culture course taught in Spanish numbered SPAN:3200 or above, or LATS:2280 or SPAN:2280 or HIST:2280. Same as LATS:4800, SPAN:4820.
AMST:4999 Honors Project arr.
Independent interdisciplinary research, writing.
AMST:5000 Interdisciplinary Research in American Studies 3 s.h.
Research, theories, and methods in American studies; origins, evolution, and future of discipline; key figures, texts, and debates.
AMST:5002 Critical Theories and Cultural Studies 3 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:6050 Seminar: Topics in American Studies 3 s.h.
American cultural history; urbanization, mass media, pluralism, assimilation.
AMST:6058 Seminar: Technology and American Culture 3 s.h.
AMST:6070 Seminar: Topics in Sport Studies 1-3 s.h.
Special topics on sport in historical or contemporary contexts. Same as SPST:6070.
AMST:6140 Engaged Scholarship in the Humanities 0,3 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. Culture 3 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:6300 Writing for Learned Journals 1-4 s.h.
Seminar that supports graduate students in bringing written work to publishable form; analysis of target journals' audiences, interests, and citation politics; submission and the publication process; response to reader reports and criticism; best writing and research practices; discussion of knowledge cultures and discourses in disciplines and the contemporary academy. Same as GRAD:6300, GWSS:6300, RHET:6330.
AMST:6500 Critical Readings in Cultural Studies: Stuart Hall's Legacy and Influences 3 s.h.
Exploration of the scholarship of Stuart Hall along with theories, methods, and history of cultural studies; focus on major areas of Hall's work including Marxist thought and the political economy, diasporas and globalization, cultural production and popular culture, film and cinema studies, race, ethnicity, identity, and differánce; key theorists that influenced Stuart Hall (e.g., Marx, Foucault, Fanon, Gramsci, Althusser) and scholars in cultural studies that have made appropriate use of Hall's writings and theories in their own work; role of theory in everyday life and the critical role of public intellectuals. Same as AFAM:6500.
AMST:7077 Sport Studies Workshop 1 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 Workshop 1 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. Thesis arr.
AMST:7994 Independent Study arr.