Courses & Requirements

The requirements below apply to those students with a 2020-2021 catalog year. Students are required by college policy to follow the major (and minor) requirements found in the catalog in effect at the time they declared their first major. To find your catalog year, please visit your Grades and Academic Records found in myOxy and access the catalog that matches your catalog year.

American Studies

Overview

American Studies is an interdisciplinary exploration - with an emphasis on history and literature - of the voices and visions that interpret and in turn shape the American experience. The search for a distinctive American culture has a long-standing tradition. How that experience is represented is influenced by the changing dynamics of domestic affairs and the geopolitics of United States foreign policy. The study of what it means to be "American" both at home and abroad is to understand the often conflicting voices and visions of Americans over time. Therefore, we encourage our majors to apply for international and domestic off-campus study.

The field is concerned with questions such as whether or not there is a national culture. Can we, for example, reconcile the tension between traditional narratives of individualism and self-reliance, and the counter-narratives of community and oppression? This discussion is particularly appropriate as we enter a new century of challenges in a post-Cold War world. The strengths of our department include courses offering multiple perspectives on American history, literature, culture, art, and politics.

Major Requirements

The American Studies major consists of a minimum of 10 courses (40 units).  Students must complete three required courses: one introductory course in American Studies (AMST 101); a junior seminar in American Studies Theory and Methods (AMST 390); and the capstone senior seminar (AMST 490). In addition to these courses, students will take seven electives.  These will consist of two courses from each of the two thematic clusters ("cultural productions" and "historical perspectives"); and three additional electives.  Three of the seven electives must be 300-level courses.

REQUIRED COURSEWORK

Core Required Courses

All majors must take these three courses.

AMST 101Introduction to American Studies

4 units

AMST 390Theories and Methods of American Studies

4 units

AMST 490Senior Seminar

4 units

Please note: AMST 101 is a prerequisite for AMST 390 and AMST 490.

Cultural Productions

Students must select two courses from the list below:

AMST 115American Literary Culture

4 units

AMST 215Discipline and Desire: The History of Sexuality in the United States

4 units

AMST 233American Queer Novel

4 units

AMST 260/LLAS 260United States Latino Literature and Cultural Studies

4 units

AMST 265/WRD 265Feminist Rhetorics and Social Change

4 units

AMST 270Asian American Literature

4 units

AMST 320Graphic Narratives: From Pulp Fiction to Comix Literature

4 units

BLST 252/MAC 252African-American Film: 1967-Present

4 units

ENGL 189The American Experience in Literature

4 units

ENGL 289The American Experience in Literature

4 units

ENGL 346/BLST 346Beautiful Democracy: 19th Century African American Literature

4 units

Historical Perspectives

Students must select two courses from the list below:

AMST 202/LLAS 202Latina/o Cultural and Intellectual History

4 units

AMST 242/BLST 242The Great Migration

4 units

AMST 256/BLST 256Race Women: African American Women's Protest Culture

4 units

AMST 268/BLST 268Style Politics: Beauty and Fashion in Black Women's History

4 units

AMST 272/EASN 272Asian Immigrants in American Society

4 units

AMST 280/DWA 246The United States and East Asia

4 units

AMST 376/BLST 376Slavery, Freedom, and American Memory

4 units

HIST 101United States Culture and Society I

4 units

HIST 102United States Culture and Society II

4 units

HIST 207/BLST 207African American History

4 units

HIST 309/BLST 309Slavery in the Antebellum South

4 units

Students may also apply AMST 295 to the Historical Perspectives cluster if they have enrolled in the "Origins of the New Right" section of the course.

Additional Electives

Students must take three additional elective chosen either from the list of approved electives below, or one of the thematic clusters above. 

AMST 200/POLS 200Democratic Socialism, American Style

4 units

AMST 295Topics in American Studies

4 units

ARTH 285Nineteenth Century Art: Culture, Politics, and National Identity

4 units

BLST 101Introduction to Black Studies

4 units

ENGL 142Joyful Noise! On Black Literature and Musicality

4 units

HIST 312/HIST 312Race, Rights, and Revolution in the Atlantic World

4 units

LLAS 385/PSYC 385Chicanx Identities and Social Institutions: Education, Health, Politics

4 units

POLS 208Movements for Social Justice

4 units

RELS 147"Cults" and "Sects": New Religious Movements in the Americas

4 units

RELS 245/BLST 245African American Religious Traditions

4 units

Second-Stage Writing Requirement

The majority of students majoring in American Studies will satisfy the Second-Stage Writing Requirement by successfully completing AMST 390 with a B- or better. In lieu of taking AMST 390, students may take a 300-level AMST course from the list below.

AMST 320Graphic Narratives: From Pulp Fiction to Comix Literature

4 units

AMST 376/BLST 376Slavery, Freedom, and American Memory

4 units

AMST 390Theories and Methods of American Studies

4 units


Comprehensive Requirement

Students fulfill the Senior Comprehensive Requirement by successful completion of a paper and a presentation on a topic in the student's area of emphasis, as partial fulfillment of the requirements for the senior seminar (AMST 490).

College Honors

Students meeting college requirements for honors may apply for admission to the program by submitting a written proposal for an honors thesis by October 1 of their senior year. Those accepted may register for honors independent study (AMST 499) during the fall or spring semester of the senior year; the thesis should be completed no later than the beginning of April of the senior year.


Coursework

In general it is expected that honors students will take both:
AMST 490Senior Seminar

4 units

AMST 499Honors

2 or 4 units

For further information see the Honors Program and the department chair.

Transfer Credit Policies

The American Studies Program accepts online courses for general elective credit, but will not accept online courses for major or minor credit. Students should reference the Transfer Credit section for more details.

Information that can be included in this section include:
  • specific policies for majors/minors
  • AP/IB Exam credit - course equivalencies?
  • Online courses
  • Policies specifically for matriculating frosh, transfer students, returning students after a leave of absence
Information that can be included in this section include:
  • specific policies for majors/minors
  • AP/IB Exam credit - course equivalencies?
  • Online courses
  • Policies specifically for matriculating frosh, transfer students, returning students after a leave of absence
Information that can be included in this section include:
  • specific policies for majors/minors
  • AP/IB Exam credit - course equivalencies?
  • Online courses
  • Policies specifically for matriculating frosh, transfer students, returning students after a leave of absence

Minor Requirements

The American Studies Minor consists of five courses for a total of 20 units.  AMST 101 is required along with one elective in the "Cultural Productions" category and one elective in the "Historical Perspectives" category and two additional electives from any category. 

COURSEWORK

Introduction to American Studies

AMST 101Introduction to American Studies

4 units

Cultural Productions

Students must select one course from the list below:

AMST 115American Literary Culture

4 units

AMST 215Discipline and Desire: The History of Sexuality in the United States

4 units

AMST 260/LLAS 260United States Latino Literature and Cultural Studies

4 units

AMST 265/WRD 265Feminist Rhetorics and Social Change

4 units

AMST 270Asian American Literature

4 units

AMST 320Graphic Narratives: From Pulp Fiction to Comix Literature

4 units

BLST 252/MAC 252African-American Film: 1967-Present

4 units

ENGL 189The American Experience in Literature

4 units

ENGL 289The American Experience in Literature

4 units

Historical Perspectives

Students must select one course from the list below:

AMST 202/LLAS 202Latina/o Cultural and Intellectual History

4 units

AMST 242/BLST 242The Great Migration

4 units

AMST 256/BLST 256Race Women: African American Women's Protest Culture

4 units

AMST 268/BLST 268Style Politics: Beauty and Fashion in Black Women's History

4 units

AMST 272/EASN 272Asian Immigrants in American Society

4 units

AMST 280/DWA 246The United States and East Asia

4 units

AMST 376/BLST 376Slavery, Freedom, and American Memory

4 units

HIST 101United States Culture and Society I

4 units

HIST 102United States Culture and Society II

4 units

Students may also apply AMST 295 to the Historical Perspectives cluster if they have enrolled in the "Origins of the New Right" section of the course.

Additional Electives

Students must select two additional electives, either from the list of approved electives below or one of the thematic clusters above.

AMST 200/POLS 200Democratic Socialism, American Style

4 units

AMST 295Topics in American Studies

4 units

ARTH 285Nineteenth Century Art: Culture, Politics, and National Identity

4 units

BLST 101Introduction to Black Studies

4 units

HIST 312/HIST 312Race, Rights, and Revolution in the Atlantic World

4 units

LLAS 385/PSYC 385Chicanx Identities and Social Institutions: Education, Health, Politics

4 units

POLS 208Movements for Social Justice

4 units

RELS 245/BLST 245African American Religious Traditions

4 units

Courses

American Studies Courses