AST 109 - Introduction to American Studies (I) This course explores what it means to be an American. Using American Studies Methodology, the course provides an introduction to American historical, political, social, and cultural life with particular emphasis on both the founding of the nation and recent America.
Offered as required. (Formerly offered as HIS 109.) 3 credits AST 205 - History of Art and Protest (A) This interdisciplinary seminar takes a socio-historical approach to art, from long-standing examples in American history through modern day manifestation and current initiatives. Every unit draws upon interdisciplinary examples from across diverse forms: visual arts, oral and written literature. Students participate in several different experiential art forms.
Offered fall and spring. (Formerly offered as HIS 205) 3 credits AST 217 - Dreams in Popular Culture (A) This course introduces students to three elements of American popular culture advertisements, movies, and television programs. Throughout the semester, analyses of those three popular culture elements will focus on the theme of the “realization of dreams.” Analyses of those three popular culture elements also will focus on depictions of gender and race related to the “realization of dreams.”
Offered as required. 3 credits AST 317 - Modern American Popular Culture (A) This course presents an analysis of the development and structure of twentieth century American forms of popular cultural habits. Particular focus is placed on reality television, but other topics might include movies, sports, popular music, media, and other mass leisure genre.
Offered as required. (Formerly offered as HIS 317) 3 credits AST 324 - Martial Arts Experience This seminar examines how martial arts have been adopted in the Americas, physically and philosophically. We will emphasize the cultural study from Eastern perspectives, looking especially at examples from India, China, and Japan, as well as the Afro-Brazilian martial art of capoeira.
We’ll examine the difference between martial arts as a way of life and, as some would argue, how the West has co opted these philosophies and modified them into sport. What is distinctive about this interdisciplinary course is its hands-on, experiential approach and use of many genres, from the centuries-old tai chi classics to contemporary works on women and mixed martial arts. Each week will combine examples from popular culture, film, and electronic media and—most significantly—actual “lab” or “practicum” with participation in martial arts instruction.
3 credits AST 335 - Spike Lee’s America (A) This course approaches American history through the eyes of one of the nation’s most controversial and iconic filmmakers, Spike Lee. Through this course, students will learn about the film writing and filmmaking processes as art forms. Students will engage in critical analyses and extensive discussion about all aspects of filmmaking such as cinematography, acting, lighting, and editing.
(Formerly offered at HIS 335) 3 credits AST 336 - Engaged Ethnography (V) This course explores the ways in which ethnography (writing about culture) can be viewed in terms of how communities past and present have come together to tell stories or create an historical record about themselves. Our readings will explore how various writers, researchers, artists, activists, scholars, community organizers and public intellectuals connect historical traditions with contemporary practices of lively engagement with social issues. Students will also engage in some hands-on practice in anthropological and ethnographic methodology: collecting, gathering, and producing oral historical accounts.
Offered as required. (Formerly offered as HIS 336.) 3 credits AST 378 - Sports and American Society This course covers America’s amateur and professional sports history from the colonial era to the present day. Students examine the genesis of the present-day sports world and the ways in which the sports world reflected American society. The course includes debates about current issues and controversies.
Offered as required. (Formerly offered as HIS 378.) 3 credits AST 396 - Black Folklore and Folklife This course examines black history, heritage, and culture as illuminated through expression of folklore and folklife, including music, oral narratives, beliefs, customs, foodways, crafts, tools, and decorative objects—in short, everyday creative expressions employed in, by, and among various black populations in the African diaspora. The course offers a particular (but not exclusive) emphasis on African-Americans and the history of Africans in the Americas, exploring the development of identities both through common groups (e.g., occupational, family, religious, regional, etc.) and through common genres. Readings, case studies, and experiential activities might include traditions revolving around foodways, music, gender relations, occupation, movement arts, beliefs and customs, and narrative.
Offered as required. (Formerly offered as HIS 396.) 3 credits AST 487 - Research Capstone The one-semester Capstone seminar is planned as a discernment process—a practical guide to improving your skills in research, writing, and thinking as you prepare your Capstone thesis projects. The AST Capstone Seminar is also designed to give you a support group while you’re researching and writing your thesis. Each meeting will feature collaborative learning, strategies for writing and thinking critically, and feedback from interested readers.
This course framework provides a solid, effective process for completing your Capstone project. Specific steps in this process entail the following: determining your project’s scope, goals, and significance; writing a comprehensive literature review; framing your research and methods; writing a full draft of your project.