American Studies

The American Studies Program offers a major and minor. Students in American Studies investigate the diverse experiences, values, and cultural traditions that have made the United States what it is today. Courses explore questions that have intrigued past and present Americans and international visitors alike: what are the origins of American ideals, politics, values, cultural expressions, and perceptions of themselves and each other? What goals and beliefs unify the different peoples who call themselves “American”? How are individual American lives shaped by race, ethnicity, class, and gender?

Students use perspectives from many fields, including history, literature, sociology, psychology, politics, religion, the arts, and the natural sciences to gain a comprehensive understanding of the varieties of American experience and their relation to our increasingly complex and inter-connected world. Work in American Studies complements many other academic disciplines and gives students a deep understanding of American culture and history that they can apply to their post-college lives. The program has a long history, originating with the establishment of the Charles E. Merrill Department of American Studies in 1955, one of the first American Studies departments in the country. As an interdisciplinary program, American Studies at Stetson carries on this tradition of inquiry.

More information can be found online at http://www.stetson.edu/other/academics/programs/american-studies.php.

Major in American Studies

Minor in American Studies - 5 units

One AMST course at the 100 or 200 level1
AMST 301BAmerican Cultural Traditions (Can be used as an H course)1
One other AMST prefix or AMST Attribution course; see Interdisciplinary Areas in Class Search. 11
Minor Focus Area of two courses related to a common theme chosen by the student from at least two academic areas. Can include non-AMST-Prefix courses, and must be approved by the program director. 12
Total Units5
1

Of the 1 other AMST course and the 2 Focus Area courses, at least one should be at the 300-level or above.

Croce, Paul
Professor of History and American Studies, 1988
Director, American Studies Program, 2013

B.A, Georgetown University
M.A., Ph.D., Brown University

Mieras, Emily
Associate Professor of History and American Studies, 1998
A.B., Harvard College
M.A., Ph.D., College of William and Mary

AMST 101B. American Cultural Identities. 1 Unit.

This course is an introduction to the interdisciplinary American Studies Program. It provides first steps into key components of the Program: thinking across and making use of diverse disciplines, and area study of the places and cultures that would become the US. In short, this course offers a 'user’s guide' for citizenship and for future work in the United States.

AMST 151A. American Popular Culture. 1 Unit.

This course studies different popular culture forms and practices, such as television, music, film, advertising, and holiday rituals, with the goal of understanding how popular culture expresses the cultural, social, and political issues of its time period. Students learn different critical approaches and questions for studying each type of text and consider how these forms function aesthetically, emotionally, and culturally to make meaning in their times.

AMST 154R. Introduction to American Environmental Issues. 1 Unit.

This course will introduce students to environmental history and contemporary political debates on the environment. The class emphasizes the history of the landscape, the rise of ecological thinking, the relation of environmental issues to different disciplines and to diverse ideological orientations, and the challenges of implementing environmental goals. In short, the course wrestles with two questions: How did the United States arrive at its contemporary environmental situation, and what are the best next steps?.

AMST 185. Independent Study. 0.5 or 1 Units.

Opportunities for students to propose topics of inquiry based on compelling interest and faculty expertise. Student read, research, and write based on an approved plan and with regular meetings with the faculty member.

AMST 190. Special Topics in American Studies. 1 Unit.

May be repeated for credit. Courses offered on particular topics in American Studies, depending on faculty and student interest.

AMST 210H. American Art. 1 Unit.

A survey of art in America from colonial times to the present. Emphasis is on the history of painting, with reference to its place in historical and cultural contexts. Cross-listed as ARTH 210A.

AMST 255H. American Consumer Culture. 1 Unit.

This course studies American consumer culture from the nineteenth century to the present, taking an interdisciplinary approach to understanding how consumerism has shaped American culture, society, and institutions past and present. Students will integrate a historical understanding of American consumer practices and ideology with analysis of contemporary consumer artifacts, spaces, and experiences.

AMST 285. Independent Study. 0.5 or 1 Units.

Opportunities for students to propose topics of inquiry based on compelling interest and faculty expertise. Student read, research, and write based on an approved plan and with regular meetings with the faculty member.

AMST 290. Special Topics in American Studies. 1 Unit.

May be repeated for credit. Courses offered on particular topics in American Studies, depending on faculty and student interest.

AMST 301B. American Cultural Traditions. 1 Unit.

An examination of contemporary American culture that evaluates the roots of today’s issues as they have emerged in the nation’s heritage. The course will use representative themes and stories from colonial contact to the present, on topics including politics, religion, intellectual ideas, popular culture, the arts, and gender and race relations, giving students an understanding of how the United States has arrived at present circumstances and what to expect of future trends. Writing-intensive course.

AMST 305. Internship in the Mexican-American Community. 1 Unit.

This course has an extremely practical orientation. It was conceived in the hope of providing substantial "real world" exposure for Stetson students to both the Spanish language and Mexican-American culture through work with our local community of farm workers. The 8 hours of internship work each week will be complemented by readingta text about a Mexican-American migrant family, an e-mail journal, and a final term paper. Permission of Instructor required.

AMST 310. Topics in American Art. 1 Unit.

A specialized study of selected topics in the history of American art. The course may be repeated with different content (e.g., Nineteenth Century American Landscape, Modernism in American Art). Cross-listed as ARTH 310.

AMST 320H. American Women's History. 1 Unit.

This course studies the history of American women. Focusing primarily on the period from the nineteenth century to the present, the course stresses the variety of women's experiences, make race, ethnicity, class, and sexuality key topics. Other themes include: home and work, the female body, and women's activism.Writing-intensive course.

AMST 325W. Beauty and the Body in American Culture. 1 Unit.

This course studies attitudes about the body in American culture, past and present. We will look at how ideas about beauty and the body have changed over time and how those ideas intersect with forms of power in American culture, with concepts of national identity, with consumer culture, and with various identities including age, race, class, and gender. Topics may include: body-building, diet and exercise trends and fads, ideal body images for women and men, cosmetic surgery, and beauty pageants.

AMST 330. The Multicultural United States. 1 Unit.

In order to illuminate American efforts to wrestle with cultural diversity over time, students will study theories of racial and ethnic difference, sexual identity and gender since the colonial period. They will apply these critical concepts to case studies of American diversity, which may include African American, Asian American, European American, Latino American, Native American, and gay and lesbian experiences. The course also examines the debates over academic theories of multiculturalism itself.

AMST 340. Lives in Context. 1 Unit.

This course uses the life of one person who has played a significant role in American culture, past or present, as a lens for examining the cultural trends, conflicts, and changes of that person’s times. Topics will change from year to year.

AMST 350J. Social Responsibility in the United States. 1 Unit.

Focusing on the period from the nineteenth century to the present, the class investigates conceptions and practices of social responsibility in the United States, particularly those oriented toward addressing inequities rooted in race and socio-economic class. The course focus is two-fold: understanding the meanings of social responsibility at different points in time, and analyzing the ways different types of social activists have given this concept meaning through their social justice work. Junior Seminar.

AMST 351B. The Art of Public Explanation. 1 Unit.

This course will combine academic inquiry and workshop practice to increase student understanding of the history of the public sphere and its contemporary cultural challenges, while providing a platform for students to develop their own public voices for presenting and exploring key issues of our times. Writing Enhanced course.

AMST 354B. Southern History and Culture in the United States, 1800-Present. 1 Unit.

This course examines the history and myriad cultures of the U. S. South from the nineteenth century to the present. In particular, the class focuses on how conceptions of Southern identity have developed and changed over time, on the role of historical memory in shaping understandings of Southern identity and the Southern past, and on the diverse peoples, ideals, and values that have shaped the Southern experience. Cross-listed as HIST 354B. Writing-intensive course.

AMST 355E. History of American Science and Religion: Darwinism and the Divine in American Culture. 1 Unit.

Charles Darwin’s theory of species development has been a flashpoint for controversy between religious and scientific outlooks on the world. Using Darwinism as the most significant aspect of science to appear regularly in social thought and political debate, this course will examine the religious beliefs, scientific theories, and cultural values that have emerged in a wide range of interactions between science and religion from the nineteenth century to the present. Cross-listed as HIST 355E. Junior Seminar.

AMST 356H. History of American Health Care. 1 Unit.

Health care is at once an intimate part of private life and an issue of education, academic research, ideological values, civic culture, economics, and public policy. How have Americans managed the medical dimensions of their lives? This course will explore the role of scientific medicine, alternative healing, diverse cultural and ethnic traditions, gender roles, tensions between secular and religious outlooks, intellectual expertise, and marketplace dynamics since the nation’s founding. Writing-intensive course.

AMST 359D. Gender, Sexuality, and Reality in Media. 1 Unit.

A critical examination of nonfiction media in American culture, including documentary film, memoir, and reality television, considering how it is constructed and what it communicates about sex, gender, and sexuality. Can be used as a J course. Junior Seminar. Cross-listed with COMM 359D.

AMST 361B. The 1950's and 1960's. 1 Unit.

This course is a study of American cultural history during this period of intense transformation, including political and social movements, representative leaders, and everyday life. The hotly debated issues of these years, especially the Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam War, and women’s roles in society, established precedents and camps of ideological commitment that still shape the politics and culture of the twenty-first century. Cross-listed as HIST 361B. Can be used as an H course. Writing-intensive course.

AMST 363J. Political Campaigns and Cultural Ideologies in Recent U.S. History, 1960-Present. 1 Unit.

The arena of political choices at election time is a major setting for American citizens to make choices about the distribution of power and about policies to achieve social justice. This seminar will examine political campaigning in the United States with particular attention to the history of American elections, political ideologies, recent values orientations, social concerns, cultural polarization, and media coverage of the candidates and the campaigns active during the semester the course is being taught. Cross-listed as HIST 363J. Junior Seminar.

AMST 368. Off-Campus Course. 1 Unit.

Courses involving travel or connected to study abroad offered in particular topics in American Studies, depending on faculty and student interest.

AMST 385. Independent Study. 0.5 or 1 Units.

Opportunities for students to propose topics of inquiry based on compelling interest and faculty expertise. Student read, research, and write based on an approved plan and with regular meetings with the faculty member.

AMST 390. Special Topics in American Studies. 1 Unit.

May be repeated for credit. Courses offered on particular topics in American Studies, depending on faculty and student interest.

AMST 395. Teaching Apprenticeship. 0.5 Units.

Pass/Fail only. American studies majors or minors who qualify with outstanding scholarship may be invited to assist the faculty in teaching an introductory course. Apprentices’ responsibilities include assisting in class discussions, making presentations, consulting with students outside of class, and reading on pedagogy or course topics. By permission of the instructor. May be repeated once. Pass/fail only.

AMST 397. Internship in American Studies. 0.5 or 1 Units.

Opportunities for students to gain work experience, test their vocations in particular professions, and make contacts in a particular field of work. Internship opportunities might include experience at area historic sites, media organizations, or museums. Setting, structure, requirements, and outcomes are negotiated with the instructor, but generally include relevant readings, 60 (0.5 unit) or 120 (1 unit) hours of work, and written work documenting and analyzing the internship experience. Letter graded or pass/fail.Enrollment in an internship course requires students to attend an orientation prior to beginning work at their internship site. For more information regarding internship orientations, please contact Career & Professional Development at career@stetson.edu or 386-822-7315.

AMST 485. Independent Study. 0.5 or 1 Units.

Opportunities for students to propose topics of inquiry based on compelling interest and faculty expertise. Student read, research, and write based on an approved plan and with regular meetings with the faculty member.

AMST 490. Special Topics in American Studies. 1 Unit.

May be repeated for credit. Courses offered on particular topics in American Studies, depending on faculty and student interest.

AMST 499. Senior Project. 1 Unit.

This course takes students through the preparation and production of an extended, focused research paper on a topic of the student’s choosing. The class includes meetings with faculty and other students to discuss interdisciplinary research approaches, writing strategies, and the student’s specific topic. The class culminates in a lengthy written thesis and includes a public presentation of students’ work.