American Studies

AMST 101 - Explorations of Race and Racism

The main objectives of this introductory course are: to explore the historical construction of racial categories in the United States; to understand the systemic impact of racism on contemporary social processes; to consider popular views about race in the light of emerging scholarship in the field; and to develop an ability to connect personal experiences to larger, collective realities. We will engage several questions as a group: What are the historical and sociological foundations of racial categories? When does focusing on race make someone racist? What is white privilege, and why does it matter? All students will be asked to think and write about their own racial identity. This course, or its equivalent, is required for majors and minors.

Frequency: Every year.


AMST 103 - The Problems of Race in US Social Thought and Policy

This course has been developed as an entry-level exploration of the impact of race on contemporary U.S. public discourse. The course has two principle objectives: to create a forum that encourages individuals to articulate well-informed opinions and attitudes about race; and to locate those ideas in an analytic framework that promotes a shared understanding of race and racial inequality in the contemporary context.

AMST 110 - Introduction to African American Studies

This class will explore what it has meant to be African-American in the United States, and how this identity shaped Black community, thought, and life. This course, using a variety of disciplinary approaches, exposes students to issues and problems in the development of African-American identity, and provides students with theoretical tools and contextual sensibilities necessary for advanced courses and independent projects in African American Studies.

AMST 112 - Introduction to African American Literature

An introduction to the study of an African American literary tradition. The focus or themes of the course, as well as authors and texts, will vary by semester and instructor, but all sections will emphasize the tradition's major genres, such as slave narratives and slam poetry, and its major movements, such as the Harlem Renaissance and Afrofuturism. The course will also provide instruction in the methods of literary analysis, including reading closely and writing text-based argument. Consult the detailed course description in the English department or on the registrar's web page for the content of individual sections.

Frequency: Alternate years.

Cross-Listed as: ENGL 112


AMST 160 - Culture Power Difference

The theorization of difference is an important aspect of cultural theory. In this class we will look at the role of difference as it is understood through ideas of representational and aesthetic politics as well as through the practice and production of knowledge. We want to examine the turn to difference within cultural studies and how this move has shifted how we think about power relations and meaning making in society. We will look at the foundational work of critical race and ethnic studies in cultural theory as well more recent scholarly work that focuses on the administration of difference through surveillance technology and social media. The class will expose students to a range of material including print, digital media, film, television, and internet and social media.

Frequency: Every year

Cross-Listed as: MCST 160


AMST 194 - Topics Course

Varies by semester. Consult the department or class schedule for current listing.

AMST 200 - Critical Methods for American Studies Research

This course will introduce students to interdisciplinary research approaches to the study of race, ethnicity, and other categories of difference. Students will learn to conceptualize and design research projects, and will obtain hands-on experience in executing different methods. The course will also consider the critiques of systems of knowledge production and research approaches that have been informed by scholars from fields such as African American history, gender studies, and critical race studies, as well as from the disciplines. The goal is to develop an understanding of the assumptions embedded in many fields of inquiry, and to learn to apply critical approaches to important research questions.

Prerequisite(s): AMST 101, AMST 103, or AMST 110.


AMST 202 - Engaging the Public: Writing and Publishing in American Studies

Students enrolled in this course form the editorial collective for the American Studies on-line journal Tapestries published on Macalester's Digital Commons. Course content will focus on writing, editing, and the art of preparing a journal article for publication. It will also consider how to engage various publics, including students, the College, and local communities, through digital publishing. Students are part of a collaborative model for circulating scholarship, art and criticism. The class is involved in all aspects of layout and design and peer-review, and discuss issues including verifying facts, copyright, intellectual property, author rights, and open access. May be repeated one time for credit.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s): at least one course in American Studies.


AMST 203 - Politics and Inequality: The American Welfare State

The readings and assignments in this course are designed to help students understand how social policies and programs contribute to Americans' lived experiences. We will examine various theoretical justifications for the policies that constitute the American welfare state, then confront and dissect major strands of the American social safety net to better understand how political institutions and policy mechanisms contribute to both diversity and inequality in individuals' social, economic and political outcomes (based in race, class, gender, dis/ability, region, political jurisdiction, etc.).

Frequency: Alternate spring semesters.

Cross-Listed as: POLI 203


AMST 205 - Trans Theories and Politics

From Caitlyn Jenner to Laverne Cox, CeCe MacDonald to Chelsea Manning, Transparent to Pose, trans people are experiencing unprecedented media coverage. In fact, some years ago now Time Magazine declared that we are at the "transgender tipping point." And yet, alongside this positive media coverage, we see legislatures across the country debated so-called "bathroom bills" that foment fear of the transsexual child predator and bills that would restrict trans kids' participation in sports. Even more concerning, The National Coalition of Antiviolence Projects reports that 2020 saw a record number of murders of transgender individuals, in particular trans women of color. In all of these instances, it's useful to consider how and why the specter of transness is raised. What social and political work does that figure do? This course will examine transness as a practice of gender transgression, rather than solely an identity category, one which is historically and geographically contingent. In this class, we will ask: What has gender non-conformity meant in various historical moments? How do race, class, gender, sexuality, and disability structure trans lives and communities? How have key institutions within the US constructed ideas about gender normativity and policed gender transgression? How has that policing impacted and shaped trans life? What is the relationship between feminism and trans people and trans liberation? How have trans people envisioned and fought for social justice? What space can trans embodiment and politics open up for new ways of living, relating, and imagining otherwise?

Frequency: Every year.

Cross-Listed as: WGSS 205


AMST 209 - Civil Rights in the United States

The course examines the post-World War II Civil Rights Movement led by African Americans in the United States. In the class, students will analyze key people, issues, events, and debates within movement history, including, but not limited to, gender and leadership; struggles for civil rights in the south, west, and urban north; the impact of the Cold War on race relations; student activism; movement strategies; and the emergence of Black Power. Throughout the semester, students will read a wide variety of primary and secondary texts to illuminate the activities and life stories of individual participants as well as the broad historical forces that characterized this long era of insurgency.

Frequency: Every year.

Cross-Listed as: HIST 209


AMST 219 - In Motion: African Americans in the United States

In Motion is an introduction to modern African American History from slavery to contemporary times. In Motion emphasizes the idea that both African Americans and the stories of their lives in the United States are fluid, varied and continually being reinterpreted. Rather than a strict chronological survey, this course is organized thematically. Some of the important themes include movement/mobility/migration; work/labor; resistance to systems of oppression; gender/sexuality/culture/performance; politics/citizenship; and sites of (re)memory. While the course is geographically situated in the United States, we will also consider African American life, culture, thought and resistance in global perspectives. In this course, students will read important historical texts, both primary and secondary, engage in discussion, and write essays that ask them to critically engage the history of African Americans in the US. Cross-listed with History 219. 4 credits.

Frequency: Every year.

Cross-Listed as: HIST 219


AMST 222 - Imagining the American West

The American West is central to the construction of America's identity and popular culture. The mythology of the American West, built on a narrow foundation of Euro-American settlement and conquest, is critical to understanding the role of the West in the national narrative of American history. Using a variety of materials, including films, art and photography, literature, and historical sources, this course will examine how writers, artists, actors, settlers, and government officials, among others, shaped the creation of the mythic West. This course will investigate what - and who - is and is not considered part of this mythology, as well as the ways in which these constructs attempted to make sense of the diverse populations converging in the West. Can count towards "Colonization and Empire," or "Race and Indigeneity," or "North America" fields of the History major.

Frequency: Offered alternate years.

Cross-Listed as: HIST 222


AMST 224 - Enslavement, Resistance, and Emancipation in Comp N Amer and Caribbean Perspectives

The experiences of African-descended peoples in the Americas, both in slavery and freedom, varied enormously across geography and changed over time. Focusing on North America and the Caribbean before 1865, this course will highlight ways that people suffered under systems of slavery but also explore how they struggled against bondage, created new identities, and formulated a distinctive Black Protest Tradition. The course will interrogate the changing ways that race functioned legally, politically, and culturally before 1865. It will also examine the various ways that Africans in the Americas resisted legal enslavement through violence, political activism, and cultural creativity. Because this is a history course, we will examine the nature of sources, including archives, to consider how we know what we know about the past.

Frequency: Alternate years.

Cross-Listed as: HIST 224


AMST 225 - Native History to 1871

The history of American Indians is wonderfully complex, but this history is simultaneously fraught with misconceptions and misinterpretations. European (and, later, Euro-Americans) alternated among fascination, fear, and frustration toward American Indians, while American Indians sought to maintain tribal sovereignty and control over their lands, cultures, religions, politics, and lifestyles amidst continuing encroachment and settlement. This course examines American Indian history to 1871 - the year that Congress stopped making treaties with Native nations - by considering the complicated and multifaceted history of the nation's indigenous people. By looking at American Indian interactions with Spanish, French, British, and American explorers, settlers, missionaries, militaries, and government officials, this courses argues that the history of American Indians is essential to understanding past as well as present issues. Furthermore, this course looks to move beyond the notion that American Indian history is one of inevitable decline by creating a more nuanced understanding of the American Indian experience from pre-contact toward the twentieth century.

Frequency: Offered occasionally.

Cross-Listed as: HIST 225


AMST 226 - American Indian History since 1871

This course examines Native American history since 1871. We begin with an introduction to indigenous history before 1871, characterized by centuries of Euro-American attempts to colonize and Christianize, to assimilate Native bodies and allot Native lands. We will then analyze the ways in which Native Americans have continually fought to sustain their cultures, languages, and religions, as well as their political and socio-economic structures, throughout the 20th and into the 21st centuries. Focusing on themes such as Native resistance to the development of U.S. federal policies and the proliferation of Native culture, we will also consider the shifting nature of Native American sovereignty and the importance of indigenous identity in regards to the experiences of Native Americans. Meets the post-1800 requirement, and can count towards "Colonization and Empire," or "Race and Indigeneity," or "Law and Social Justice," or "North America" fields of the History major.

Frequency: Offered spring semester.

Cross-Listed as: HIST 226


AMST 229 - Narrating Black Women's Resistance

This course examines traditions of 20th century African American women's activism and the ways in which they have changed over time. Too often, the narrative of the "strong black woman" infuses stories of African American women's resistance which, coupled with a culture of dissemblance, makes the inner workings of their lives difficult to imagine. This course, at its heart, seeks to uncover the motivations, both personal and political, behind African American women's activism. It also aims to address the ways in which African American women have responded to the pressing social, economic, and political needs of their diverse communities. The course also asks students to consider narrative, voice and audience in historical writing, paying particular attention to the ways in which black women's history has been written over the course of the twentieth century.

Frequency: Every year.

Cross-Listed as: HIST 229 and WGSS 229


AMST 231 - Sovereignty Matters: Critical Indigeneity, Gender and Governance

This course is an introduction to Indigenous feminisms, politics and law in the United States. We will explore key concepts and theoretical frameworks of gender and sexuality within Indigenous Studies as a core analytical frame and method for understanding political movements, law and governance. No prior coursework required.

Frequency: Fall semester only.


AMST 232 - Immigration and Ethnicity in US History

An overview of U.S. history as seen through the experiences of newly arriving and adjusting immigrant groups. This course is designed primarily for students who have no previous college-level background in U.S. history.

Frequency: Occasionally.

Cross-Listed as: HIST 232


AMST 235 - Captives, Cannibals, and Capitalists in the Early Modern Atlantic World

This course explores cross-cultural encounters in the Americas that characterized the meetings of Europeans, Africans, and Americans in the early modern world between 1492 and 1763. During this period, the Atlantic Ocean and its adjacent land masses became critical locations for economic, biological, and cultural exchanges. This course focuses on the Americas as sites for discovery, mutual incomprehension, and exploitation. The course explores the ways that conquest, resistance, and strategic cooperation shaped peoples' "new worlds" on both sides of the Atlantic. It also considers how colonialism framed and was framed by scientific inquiry, religious beliefs, economic thought, and artistic expression. Students interrogate primary sources-written, visual and aural--that emerged from these encounters and the secondary literatures that have sought to make sense of them.

Frequency: Offered occasionally.

Cross-Listed as: HIST 235 and LATI 235


AMST 237 - Environmental Justice

Poor and minority populations have historically borne the brunt of environmental inequalities in the United States, suffering disproportionately from the effects of pollution, resource depletion, dangerous jobs, limited access to common resources, and exposure to environmental hazards. Paying particular attention to the ways that race, ethnicity, class, and gender have shaped the political and economic dimensions of environmental injustices, this course draws on the work of scholars and activists to examine the long history of environmental inequities in the United States, along with more recent political movements-national and local-that seek to rectify environmental injustices.

Frequency: Every year.

Cross-Listed as: ENVI 237


AMST 240 - Race, Culture, and Ethnicity in Education

This survey course will explore history, policy, and pedagogy as they relate to race, ethnicity, and culture as education. K-12 public education will be the primary focus with topics including desegregation, standardized testing, multi-cultural and ethnocentric pedagogy, the teacher's role and experience, and significant historical events in education. The course will culminate by analyzing current trends and future expectations in education.

Frequency: Spring semester.

Cross-Listed as: EDUC 240


AMST 241 - Reclaiming Zen, Yoga and Church: Asian American Religions

Asian Americans are often overlooked in the study of religion in the U.S., and yet the impact of Asian religious practices can be seen at every turn: yoga studios, mindfulness meditation, "zen" aesthetics of minimalism, and so on. What do we make of the gap between how Asian religions are practiced in Asian American communities and how these traditions have been reinterpreted by predominantly white, educated, middle class adherents? How do Asian American Christians negotiate their identities in the context of non-Asian Christian churches or the intergenerational tensions within their own ethnic churches? The approach of this course is interdisciplinary (and sometimes counterdisciplinary); it draws on theoretical and methodological insights from ethnic studies, religious studies, history, and sociology. Topics include: race and the racialization of Asian Americans; the politics of cultural and religious exchange; the commodification of Asian religious practices; and issues of assimilation and hybridity within Asian American Christian traditions.

Frequency: Spring semester only.

Cross-Listed as: ASIA 241 and RELI 241


AMST 244 - Urban Latinx Power in the U.S.

Comparative study of Latinx political struggles in U.S. cities. How did Chicana feminists transform student social movements on college campuses? In San Antonio, Denver, and Los Angeles, how did multiracial coalitions elect pioneering Latino mayors? And in Chicago, who fought for immigrant rights and who stood in their way? We will explore the themes of subordination and empowerment through study of anti-immigrant ballot initiatives in California, Cuban dominance in Miami politics, multiracial violence in Los Angeles, and battles over labor conditions, affirmative action, bilingual education, and racial profiling.

Frequency: Alternate years.

Cross-Listed as: LATI 244 and POLI 244


AMST 250 - Race, Place and Space

In this discussion-based course we focus on the racialized places of U.S. cities, rural towns and suburbs in an effort to understand how social, historic, and spatial forces have colluded to bring about complex and enduring racial formations. We will look for race and related social categories in places around St. Paul and Minneapolis. By engaging theories about visuality and representation, urban development and suburban sprawl, and social movements for racial justice, we will develop a specialized vocabulary for explaining how race, place, and space are connected.

Frequency: Not currently offered.

Prerequisite(s): Prior exposure to American Studies, human geography, sociology or race/ethnicity or urban studies.

Cross-Listed as: GEOG 250


AMST 251 - Race and the Law

Racism has been written into the United States' laws and entrenched in its institutions for much of its history. Understanding how laws and race intersect to shape institutions is critical to any analysis on race. This course will be divided into two sections. In Section 1, we will examine how court cases and government actions have moved towards equality in six public policy areas: citizenship, education, voting, employment, housing, and marriage. In Section 2, we will learn about and apply the framework of Critical Race Theory to the public policy areas discussed in Section 1.

Frequency: Spring semester only.


AMST 253 - James Baldwin and the Black Religious Imagination

This course explores James Baldwin's life and work as a writer and activist. Baldwin was a black queer man in an antiblack and heteronormative world. His queer imagination and spirituality are part of the same cloth. Deeply scared by the black church, Baldwin's spirituality and art were, nevertheless, profoundly shaped by the spirit and language of black church religiosity. Through a heterogenous body of writing and the life he lived, Baldwin explored the souls of black folks (including queer blackness) and the nature of American identity.

Frequency: Fall semester.

Cross-Listed as: RELI 253


AMST 256 - Transatlantic Slave Trade

This class examines the Atlantic commerce in African slaves that took place roughly between 1500 and 1800. We will explore, among other topics, transatlantic commerce, the process of turning captives into commodities, the gendered dimensions of the slave trade, resistance to the trade, the world the slaves made, and the abolitionist movement on both sides of the Atlantic. Students will read a range of primary and secondary sources in order to gain a more complex understanding of the slave trade and how it changed over time.

Frequency: Alternate years.

Cross-Listed as: HIST 256


AMST 260 - Race, Cultural Politics and Social Movements

Since the nineteenth century, the struggles for racial equality and ethnic identity formation in the United States have been situated within formal and informal social movements. This course examines the central role of culture - including music, art, performance, literature, and media - in race-based activism. We will consider various aspects of the African American freedom struggle, Asian American and Latino/a activism, and the indigenous rights movement, paying particular attention to how culture functions as a tool for organizing, group cohesion, and outreach. The course will also consider how popular culture reflects and shapes social movements.

AMST 263 - African American Theater

This course is an overview of the development of theater by and about Black Americans. It examines the historical, social, political, and cultural context of African-American Theater. After investigating the roots of African-American Theater in African culture, performance modes, and social values, it focuses on a study of plays written by Black Americans in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Cross-Listed as: THDA 263


AMST 265 - The Schools-to-Prison Pipeline

This course offers an introductory exploration of the "school-to-prison pipeline," a trend that funnels youth out of U.S. public schools and into the juvenile corrections system. We will study how this pipeline is the result of a confluence of historical, political, and cultural factors; first and foremost, how the pipeline acts as a manifestation of structural racism. We will look to frameworks of human rights, legal rights, and social justice organizing as models of articulating and resisting the pipeline.

Frequency: Alternate spring semesters.

Prerequisite(s): AMST 101, AMST 103, or AMST 110.

Cross-Listed as: EDUC 265


AMST 268 - American Culture in the Atomic Age

Since the development of the first atomic weapon, nuclear power has come to define the American and global political and cultural landscape. Fantasies of annihilation and ruin not only define the contemporary political imaginary but also obscure the past and delimit notions of time, space, and futurity Join us as we trace contemporary U.S. history and environmental policy and the stakes of "wastelanding" through art, culture and activism.

Frequency: Spring semester only.

Cross-Listed as: ENVI 268


AMST 270 - Black Public Intellectuals

This course will address the tradition of public intellectuals in numerous Black communities. We will expand the definition of "politics" to include theater, literature, and film. We will interrogate the concept of who chooses the scholarly leaders for Black communities. We will examine numerous topics such as Communism, The American Dream, Incarceration, Feminism, and Ebony Voices in the Ivory Tower.

AMST 271 - Uses and Abuses: Drugs, Addiction and Recovery

After a brief but essential global history of drugs, this course will focus primarily on the 20th century to the present. We will examine histories of substance use and abuse, temperance and prohibition, the "War on Drugs," the shifting concept of addiction as a moral failing to addiction as a treatable disease, as well as study the history of the recovery movement and harm reduction. This course is not intended to be an exhaustive, comprehensive history of the subject-but it will provide you with a solid base from which to explore other aspects of this fascinating and contentious aspect of human history.

Frequency: Fall semester.

Cross-Listed as: HIST 271


AMST 275 - African American Literature to 1900

This course will trace the development of an African American literary tradition from the end of the eighteenth century to the turn of the twentieth century, from authors such as Phillis Wheatley and Olaudah Equiano to Frances Harper and Charles Chesnutt. The course will investigate the longstanding project of writing an African American self as both a literary and a political subject, and it will consider texts from multiple genres, such as lyric poetry, protest poetry, slave narratives, spirituals, folktales, personal correspondence, essays, short stories, autobiographies, novels, transcribed oral addresses, and literary criticism and theory

Frequency: Alternate years.

Cross-Listed as: ENGL 275


AMST 281 - Bruce Lee, His Life and Legacy

This discussion-based course is entirely focused on Bruce Lee, the actor and leading martial arts icon of the 20th century. Using American Studies and Critical Race Studies frames to examine the construction of racialized and gendered bodies, we will discuss Bruce Lee in terms of his biography, identities, politics, philosophy, and filmography. We will take time to appreciate the entertainment value and athleticism that Bruce Lee brought to his work, but we will also learn to distinguish the commercialized, commodified Bruce Lee (from t-shirts to posters to action figures) from the serious historical figure who symbolized the spirit of cultural independence and political sovereignty around the world. Among the required books and movies: The Tao of Jeet Kune Do, and "Way of the Dragon" (1972).

Frequency: Every year.

Cross-Listed as: ASIA 283 and MCST 281


AMST 284 - Radical Reelism: Indigeneity, Politics, and Visual Culture

Join us as we explore the roots and routes of Native Cultural Studies through photography, film, television, print and media. How have Indigenous people been represented in visual culture? And what can Indigenous visual artists or film theory teach us about the past, present and future in the United States? No previous coursework required.

Frequency: Fall semester only.

Cross-Listed as: MCST 284


AMST 288 - Identity, Race, and Ethnicity in Japan

From notions of the "pure self" to teenage ganguro ("face-blackening"), Japanese culture is rife with instances of ideology and performance that reflect a deep complexity in its engagement with issues of identity and foreignness. This course traces the roots of this complexity back to Japan's beginnings as a modern nation and examines its cultural development into the present day. Works of fiction will be paired with readings in history and criticism to explore the meanings of identity, race, and ethnicity as they are expressed and contested in Japanese culture. The course will cover the literature of Korea and Taiwan, the experience of domestic minorities, and the contemporary cultures of cos-play ("costume-play") and hip-hop. No prior knowledge of Japanese required.

Frequency: Alternate years.

Cross-Listed as: INTL 288 and JAPA 288


AMST 294 - Topics Course

Varies by semester. Consult the department or class schedule for current listing.

AMST 300 - Critical Legal Studies

This course will focus on critical legal cases to U.S. race relations from World War II to the present. the syllabus is divided into five units. We examine: 1) Public school desegregation in a Midwestern Black community; 2) Public school desegregation in a Southwestern Mexican community; 3) American Indian sovereignty; 4) We then turn to the Vincent Chin case to consider hate crimes as one of the many forms of backlash against affirmative action programs. We will end the class by asking how racism reproduces itself in the 21st century; 5) Affirmative Action Backlash.

Prerequisite(s): American Studies Major or permission of instructor.


AMST 301 - Critical Prison Studies

This Junior Seminar in civic engagement offers upper-level students an opportunity to study - through internships and reflection - and to actively engage with the problem of racialized mass-incarceration on a local, regional, and national scale. During any given semester, the seminar may focus on a specific aspect of the problem, such as: ex-felon disenfranchisement, families and juvenile justice, restorative justice, political prisoners, or prison art and literature. This course requires prior exposure to American Studies (preferably including a critical methods course). Note: The seminar will run concurrently with optional internships specifically created for this course, and a required reflection "lab" period. Placement in these internships is highly recommended. Students must obtain permission to enroll in these internships.

Frequency: Every fall.

Prerequisite(s): AMST 200 .


AMST 305 - Telling Queer and Trans Stories: Oral History as Method and Practice

Much about mainstream narratives of gender transgression are determined by powerful, cis-dominated institutions, still even to this day: the media, schools, police, the law, doctors and psychiatrists. These are institutions structured by a racialized, heteronormative gender binary, and for whom trans people pose a problem to be managed. Oral history offers the possibility for trans people to tell their own stories, and, in doing so, give more nuanced, complex analysis of identity, activism, and of the intersectional operations of systems of power. Oral history also makes room for the complex interplay of joy, playfulness, grief, anxiety, and connection that makes queer and trans life so valuable. In this project-based and community engaged course, students will have hands on experience working with an archive of queer and trans oral histories in the context of the pandemic and uprisings for racial justice. Working closely with our community partner, the Tretter Transgender Oral History Project, we will learn about oral history methodology and interview techniques, and then have the opportunity to conduct oral history interviews, develop audio or video projects using extant oral histories, and contribute to an online archive of queer and trans oral history.

Frequency: Every year.

Cross-Listed as: WGSS 305


AMST 308 - Introduction to U.S. Latinx Studies

This course provides an interdisciplinary discussion of the Latino experience in the United States with a focus on Mexican, Puerto Rican, Dominican, and Cuban- Americans. Using fiction, poetry, films and critical essays, we will examine issues of race and ethnicity, language, identity, gender and sexuality, politics, and immigration. This course satisfies the Area 2 requirement for the Spanish major.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s): SPAN 305 or SPAN 306

Cross-Listed as: SPAN 308 and LATI 308


AMST 315 - U.S. Imperialism from the Philippines to Viet Nam

In this discussion-based seminar, we will examine U.S. Global presence through the lenses of empire, diaspora, and transnationalism. We will look specifically at U.S. involvement in the Philippines and Viet Nam from 1898 to 1975 as moments of military occupation and cultural domination, as well as turning points for U.S. nation-building. What is "imperialism" and how is it different from "hegemony"? How did U.S. imperial adventures in Asia help to recreate a Western geographic imaginary of the "East"? How did they reshape or reconfigure "American" positions and identities? Under what circumstances were former imperial subjects allowed to generate racialized communities? To what extent are memories of U.S. conflicts in Asia cultivated, proliferated, twisted, or suppressed? What lessons can be garnered for the contemporary historical moment? Other topics for exploration include: internment, transracial adoption, commemorations of war, and anti-imperialist/anti-war movements.

Frequency: Spring semester.

Cross-Listed as: ASIA 315 and HIST 315


AMST 340 - Living on the Edge: The Asian American Experience

The Asian American experience will be used to examine the role of cultural heritage in how one views oneself, one's own ethnic group and the dominant culture. This interdisciplinary course consists of experiencing the art, reading the literature and history, and discussing the current issues of several Asian American communities. Topics include the role of women, stereotype, racism and assimilation.

AMST 341 - City Life: Segregation, Integration, and Gentrification

This course connects students with urban social geography, which studies the social and spatial dimensions of city life. In this course, we will explore some of the ways in which urban society is organized geographically. We will also consider how the spatial patterns of urban life influence public policy issues in the North American context. Topics covered in this course include causes of racial segregation, debates about gentrification, sustainable urban development, the transition to shared governance in cities, and the delivery of urban services that affect the welfare of urban populations. Students will learn current research, engage debates about critical urban issues, and learn techniques useful for analyzing spatial patterns in the urban landscape.

Frequency: Offered every year.

Prerequisite(s): GEOG 241 or GEOG 261 or GEOG 262 or permission of instructor.

Cross-Listed as: GEOG 341


AMST 355 - Abolition Feminism: Race, Gender, Sexuality and Critical Prison Studies

This course explores the history and politics of, and theoretical approaches to, gender and sexuality in relation to the racial politics of mass incarceration, or what Ruth Wilson Gilmore calls the "carceral geography" of the United States. By engaging recent work in queer and trans studies, feminist studies, and critical prison studies, we will consider how prisons and policing have shaped the making and remaking of race, gender, and sexuality from slavery and conquest to the contemporary period. We will examine how police and prisons have regulated the body, identity, and populations, and the larger social, political, and cultural changes connected to these processes. While we will focus on the carceral system itself, we will also think of policing in a more expansive way by analyzing the racialized regulation of gender and sexuality on the plantation, in the colony, at the border, in the welfare office, and in the hospital, among other spaces, historical periods, and places.

Frequency: Every year.

Cross-Listed as: WGSS 355


AMST 370 - Understanding Race and Racism

This course examines psychological factors associated with race and racism in the United States. We will investigate theoretical, empirical, and experiential findings on the construction of race, racial socialization, and racial identity development. We will pay particular attention to the causes and consequences of racism at the individual, interpersonal, institutional and cultural levels of society, examining research on stereotyping, implicit/explicit bias, prejudice, and discrimination and how these factors contribute to racial disparities and inequality. We will also consider interventions for reducing racism, improving intergroup relations, and fostering greater equality and inclusion. Counts as a UP3 course.

Prerequisite(s): PSYC 100, PSYC 201 (or STAT 155), and at least one intermediate course in Psychology.

Cross-Listed as: PSYC 370


AMST 380 - Topics in African American Literature

This course will explore African American cultural production and, depending on the instructor, may focus on a particular genre (e.g. novels, short stories, drama, poetry, detective fiction, speculative fiction), or a particular theme (e.g. The Protest Tradition, Black Feminist Writings), or on a particular period (e.g. the 1820s-1860s, the Harlem Renaissance, the 1950s), or on a particular author or authors (e.g. Douglass, Du Bois, Baldwin, Wideman, Morrison, Parks).

Frequency: Alternate years.

Prerequisite(s): One prior English course numbered in the 100s.

Cross-Listed as: ENGL 380


AMST 384 - Langston Hughes: Global Writer

The great African American writer Langston Hughes (1902-1967) is best known as the poet laureate of the Harlem Renaissance. But his career was vaster still. He was a Soviet screenwriter, Spanish Civil War journalist, African literary anthologist, humorist, playwright, translator, social critic, writer of over 10,000 letters, and much more. This course engages Hughes's full career, bridging race and global issues, politics and art, and makes use of little-known archival materials. This course fulfills the U.S. writers of color requirement for the English major.

Cross-Listed as: ENGL 384 and INTL 384


AMST 387 - Latinx in the Midwest

This course uses literature, film, and scholarly works to explore the Latinx experience in the Midwest. We will examine how this population creates and sustains community, constructs their own sense of Latinidad, and how that identity and its cultural practices are informed by and impact the region. Events involving the Twin Cities' Latinx communities will enrich our learning and discussions.

Frequency: Alternate years.

Prerequisite(s): SPAN 308

Cross-Listed as: LATI 387 and SPAN 387


AMST 392 - Topics Course

Varies by semester. Consult the department or class schedule for current listing.

AMST 394 - Topics Course

Varies by semester. Consult the department or class schedule for current listing.

AMST 400 - Senior Seminar

The Senior Capstone is required of all majors. Majors who meet college criteria are encouraged to conduct an honors project in conjunction with their Senior Capstone.

AMST 445 - Frontera: The U.S./Mexico Border

The border region between the United States and Mexico exists as both a physical space and an ideological construct. This seminar uses literary and filmic narratives to explore issues of identity, opportunity, and violence that arise from this contested space. How does the border shape individual and cultural identities? In what ways does the border create opportunities for both advancement and exploitation? How do these works engage conflicts and tensions of race, nationalism, gender, and power? The course will include writers and filmmakers from both countries, and we will read original texts both in Spanish and English. This course satisfies the Area 2 requirement for the Spanish major.

Frequency: Generally taught alternate years.

Prerequisite(s): SPAN 308 or consent of the instructor.

Cross-Listed as: SPAN 385 and LATI 385


AMST 494 - Topics Course

Varies by semester. Consult the department or class schedule for current listing.

AMST 601 - Tutorial

Closely supervised individual or small group study with a faculty member. A student may explore, by way of readings, short writings, etc., an area of study not available through the regular catalog offerings.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor and department chair.


AMST 602 - Tutorial

Closely supervised individual or small group study with a faculty member. A student may explore, by way of readings, short writings, etc., an area of study not available through the regular catalog offerings.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor and department chair.


AMST 603 - Tutorial

Closely supervised individual or small group study with a faculty member. A student may explore, by way of readings, short writings, etc., an area of study not available through the regular catalog offerings.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor and department chair.


AMST 604 - Tutorial

Closely supervised individual or small group study with a faculty member. A student may explore, by way of readings, short writings, etc., an area of study not available through the regular catalog offerings.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor and department chair.


AMST 611 - Independent Project

Closely supervised independent study with a faculty member. Students may explore, through reading and writing or independent research, an area of knowledge not available through regular course offerings.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Introductory American Studies course and permission of instructor and department chair.


AMST 612 - Independent Project

Closely supervised independent study with a faculty member. Students may explore, through reading and writing or independent research, an area of knowledge not available through regular course offerings.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Introductory American Studies course and permission of instructor and department chair.


AMST 613 - Independent Project

Closely supervised independent study with a faculty member. Students may explore, through reading and writing or independent research, an area of knowledge not available through regular course offerings.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Introductory American Studies course and permission of instructor and department chair.


AMST 614 - Independent Project

Closely supervised independent study with a faculty member. Students may explore, through reading and writing or independent research, an area of knowledge not available through regular course offerings.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Introductory American Studies course and permission of instructor and department chair.


AMST 621 - Internship

Majors are encouraged to take an internship after the Civic Engagement seminar.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor. Work with Internship Office.


AMST 622 - Internship

Majors are encouraged to take an internship after the Civic Engagement seminar.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor. Work with Internship Office.


AMST 623 - Internship

Majors are encouraged to take an internship after the Civic Engagement seminar.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor. Work with Internship Office.


AMST 624 - Internship

Majors are encouraged to take an internship after the Civic Engagement seminar.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor. Work with Internship Office.


AMST 631 - Preceptorship

Students may arrange to precept a course with a department member. They will normally be expected to attend the course, do the reading and participate in discussion, look over student writing, and provide guidance or tutor as necessary.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor. Work with Academic Programs.


AMST 632 - Preceptorship

Students may arrange to precept a course with a department member. They will normally be expected to attend the course, do the reading and participate in discussion, look over student writing, and provide guidance or tutor as necessary.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor. Work with Academic Programs.


AMST 633 - Preceptorship

Students may arrange to precept a course with a department member. They will normally be expected to attend the course, do the reading and participate in discussion, look over student writing, and provide guidance or tutor as necessary.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor. Work with Academic Programs.


AMST 634 - Preceptorship

Students may arrange to precept a course with a department member. They will normally be expected to attend the course, do the reading and participate in discussion, look over student writing, and provide guidance or tutor as necessary.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor. Work with Academic Programs.