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American Studies

Course Descriptions

  • AMER 101: Intro to African American Studies
    This course provides an overview of African American history and culture. Topics include major events, persons, and issues spanning the period from the African heritage to contemporary times. Students survey the evolution of African American expressive culture in music, literature, film, art, and dance. The course includes lectures, discussions, and video presentations. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: AFAM 110
  • AMER 110: Introduction to American Studies
    Have Americans always shared a common culture, or do the differences between us outweigh what unites us? In this introduction to the field of American Studies, we will explore key debates about what it means to be American, specially the impact of gender, race, ethnicity, and class on definitions of American identity, whether singular or collective. We will study mainly historical, political, and literary texts, especially first-person, nonfiction texts like letters, speeches, essays, and autobiographies in verse and prose. Students will also get a taste of the multidisciplinary nature of American Studies through film, music, dance, creative research projects, and guest speakers. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
  • AMER 119: Introduction to American Politics
    Origins of the American political system, basic institutions, political parties and interest groups, and evolution of constitutional interpretation.
    Cross-listed as: POLS 120
  • AMER 175: Introduction to Film Studies
    This course addresses basic topics in cinema studies, including: cinema technique, film production style, the basic language of film criticism, genres of cinema, movements from the history of cinema, and film criticism. Many topics are addressed through careful analysis of particularly important and representative films and directors. No prerequisites.
    Cross-listed as: CINE 175
  • AMER 200: Topics: American Geographies
    (Spring 2019 Topic: American Geographies.) Lewis Carroll tells of a nation who made a map on the scale of one mile to the mile, but "the farmers objected: they said it would cover the whole country, and shut out the sunlight! So we now use the country itself, as its own map, and I assure you it does nearly as well." Similarly, American "Geographies" are plural because all geographies are multiple: the same location can be mapped in dozens of different ways, all of which can add to the richness of our understanding of place. "Mapped" denotes both physical maps and a range of mental and cultural constructs that describe place. These include urban geographies, agricultural geographies, natural geographies, and personal geographies as perceived by rulers, explorers, immigrants, recently freed slaves, mountain lions, and others. We compare American Geographies with other Geographies of the world (European and Chinese) to understand these American spatial experiences.
    Cross-listed as: AMER 480, ES 218
  • AMER 201: Psychology of Prejudice
    In this course we will explore psychological approaches to understanding stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination--the psychology of prejudice, for short. We will examine research and theory on topics such as historical changes in the nature of intergroup attitudes; the prevalence of prejudice in the U.S. today; the impact of stereotyping and discrimination on members of stigmatized groups; likely causes of prejudice; the psychological processes underlying different forms of prejudice (e.g., based on race, ethnicity, class, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, ability, or appearance); and methods of combating prejudice, encouraging acceptance of diversity, and improving intergroup relations. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: PSYC 205, AFAM 205
  • AMER 203: Early American Literature
    A survey of early American literature including Native American oral stories and trickster tales, Puritan literature, Smith and Pocahontas accounts, captivity narratives, voices of nationalism, early slave narratives, and women's letters.
    Cross-listed as: ENGL 203
  • AMER 204: Nineteenth Century American Lit
    Works of representative writers: Poe, Hawthorne, Melville, Thoreau, Emerson, Whitman, Dickinson, and Twain. Topics of discussion include Emerson's influence on American culture, developments in American literary form, and themes of American community and nature.
    Cross-listed as: ENGL 204
  • AMER 205: Twentieth Century American Lit
    Works of representative writers. Topics of discussion include American identity and the 'American dream,' developments in literary form, and the social and political values of modern literature.
    Cross-listed as: ENGL 205
  • AMER 206: American Environmental Lit
    An historically organized survey of the various rhetorics through which nature has been understood by Americans from the Puritans to contemporary writers: the Calvinist fallen landscape, the rational continent of the American Enlightenment, conservation and 'wise use,' and preservation and 'biodiversity.'
    Cross-listed as: ENGL 206, ES 206
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  • AMER 207: Literature of Place: Chicago
    This course will examine Chicago history and literature by privileging its location. In other words, we will consider the city and its environs as central characters in the stories we study, moving through the history of the region with a narrative lens. This method will suggest the ever-changing character traits of Chicago as it develops from Pottawatomie war plain to fur trading post to early mercantile settlement to booming and (for a time) busting metropolis. We will begin with accounts of the Joliet expedition along with narratives of early settlers to the region. Other readings will draw from classic works by Jane Addams, Theodore Dreiser, John Dos Passos, Richard Wright, and Saul Bellow, Thomas Pynchon, Joe Meno, and Stuart Dybek, among others. Additionally, these narratives will be read in the context of theoretical offerings in ecocriticism. Students should keep Friday afternoons free for a series of field trips, to be scheduled well in advance.
    Cross-listed as: ENGL 207, ES 207
  • AMER 208: Archaeological Field School
    Archaeological Field Methods introduces students to the discipline of archaeology, with an emphasis on fieldwork and excavation. Students will serve as the field crew on an archaeological dig in Chicago, with lectures, readings, workshops, and field trips providing the theoretical and historical context for the archaeological methods. Students will learn excavation, recording, laboratory and analytical techniques via some traditional coursework, but most significantly, through participation. Students will have the opportunity to experiment with these techniques, discuss the implications of their findings, and compare them with the research and ideas of professional archaeologists. No prerequisites.
    Cross-listed as: SOAN 205
  • AMER 209: Baseball in Chicago
    America's favorite pastime runs strong in Chicago. From the infamous 1919 "Black Sox" Scandal to Wrigley Field's recent renovations, this is a sport that inspires lifelong loyalties and city-wide rivalries. This course will use a methodological framework to cover everything from from graft to greatness, as we achieve a longitudinal appreciation of baseball's cultural import. Through the lens of baseball we will view Chicago's past and possible future, and we will inquire as to how a variety of academic disciplines, including history, sociology, anthropology, economics, politics, and religion help to illuminate our understanding of America's national (and Chicago's local) pastime. No prerequisites.
  • AMER 210: Foundations American Republic
    (Foundations of the American Republic) The origins of American society and the development of the United States from an under-developed new nation into a powerful national entity. Emphasis on the reading and analysis of documentary materials. (Meets GEC First-Year Writing Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: HIST 200
  • AMER 211: Modern America
    America's response to industrialism and its changing role in foreign affairs. Emphasis on the techniques of research and paper writing. (Meets GEC First-Year Writing Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: HIST 201
  • AMER 213: Ritual in Contemporary America
    This course examines how ceremonies, festivals and other performative events enrich and define community. This study of ritual may include street fairs, parades, weddings, funerals, feasts and fasts as well as other public and private behaviors that comprise the diversity of American ritual life. Our course shall explore ritual as it occurs in many of the ethnic, racial, subcultural and countercultural communities in Chicago. We will investigate and attempt to understand both the invention and re-invention of community and personal identity through ritual action. Students should anticipate frequent field trips. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: SOAN 275, THTR 235
  • AMER 215: Archaeological Field Methods
    Archaeological Field Methods introduces students to the discipline of archaeology, with an emphasis on fieldwork and excavation. Students will serve as the field crew on an archaeological dig in Lake Forest, with lectures, readings, workshops, and field trips providing the theoretical and historical context for the archaeological methods. Students will learn excavation, recording, laboratory and analytical techniques via some traditional coursework, but most significantly, through participation. Students will have the opportunity to experiment with these techniques, discuss the implications of their findings, and compare them with the research and ideas of professional archaeologists. No prerequisites. Corequisites: This course has an additional weekly lab session (2 hrs). Not open to students who have taken SOAN 205.
    Cross-listed as: SOAN 215
  • AMER 216: African American Literature I
    A study of slave narratives and contemporary revisions. Includes works by Equiano, Douglass, Delaney, Jacobs, Morrison, Johnson, and Williams. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: ENGL 216, AFAM 216
  • AMER 217: African American Literature II
    An examination of narrative attempts before, during, and after the Harlem Renaissance to move from imposed stereotypes toward more accurate representations of African American experiences. Includes works by Chesnutt, Du Bois, Hurston, Larsen, Hughes, Toomer, Baldwin, and Walker. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: ENGL 217, AFAM 217
  • AMER 218: Blues Women in African Amer Lit
    An analysis of the representation of 'blues women' and the music in writings by African Americans. Authors include Larsen, Hurston, Morrison, Wilson, Jones, and Walker. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: ENGL 218, AFAM 218, GSWS 218
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  • AMER 219: American Art
    The visual arts in North America, covering painting, sculpture, architecture, and the applied domestic arts, from the Colonial period to the present.
    Cross-listed as: ART 219
  • AMER 220: Religion and Politics in the USA
    This course focuses on the ways religion has been a source of political division and unity in America. Polls indicate that America is, by far, the most religious of industrial democracies and that our contentious political debates are, in large part, due to the religious dimensions of morally evocative issues like abortion and gay marriage, and the firm positions of such constituencies as the Christian Right and new Religious Left. Historically, public debates concerning abolition, suffrage and temperance drew on scholarly and legal interpretations of the Constitutional promise of both religious freedom and the separation of church and state. We will examine the role of religion in the founding of the American republic, and in contemporary political movements such as Black Lives Matter, the Federation for Immigration Reform, 21st century civil rights organizations with concerns ranging from prison reform to the environment, and the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: RELG 200, POLS 236
  • AMER 221: The Presidency
    The president is the symbolic leader of the federal government but, compared to Congress, the framers of the U.S. Constitution intended the executive to be the weaker branch of the national government. This course examines the growth and accumulation of presidential power and the implications of a strong executive for domestic politics and America's foreign relations. It also considers relations between the institution of the presidency and the courts, the media, and the people.
    Cross-listed as: POLS 221
  • AMER 222: Congress
    A glance at the enumerated powers granted the legislative branch under the U.S. Constitution suggests Congress is the strongest of the three branches of the national government. Yet the power of Congress is divided between two chambers, and the vast majority of legislation proposed in either chamber never becomes law. Congress is supposed to represent the interests of the people of the various states - and yet its public standing is nowadays at an historic low. This course examines the basic operations, structure, power dynamics, and politics of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate. It also considers the rivalry and relationship between Congress and the President.
    Cross-listed as: POLS 222
  • AMER 224: Literature of the Vietnam War
    This course examines the Vietnam War as refracted through various literary genres. The readings for the course include Graham Greene's The Quiet American, Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried, and Truong Nhu Tang's Vietcong Memoir. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: ENGL 224, ASIA 224
  • AMER 225: Mass Media and American Politics
    An analysis of the influence of the mass media on American political institutions and American attitudes. Topics include First Amendment issues, political campaigns, political movements, public opinion, advertising, and entertainment.
    Cross-listed as: POLS 224
  • AMER 226: Chicago: Local and Global
    Chicago is a global and a 'local' city. On the one hand, the city is involved in manufacturing, trade, and services on a worldwide basis. On the other hand, Chicago is a city of neighborhoods, often based on strong ethnic and racial identities. The course examines the city's dual quality by studying the interconnections between the world economy and the daily life of Chicagoans. A key connection is immigration, which we shall explore from the standpoint of several important communities, including, most prominently, Hispanics/Latinos, as well as African-Americans, Eastern Europeans, and Asians. The course will take both an historical and contemporary approach, as we analyze how the city developed economically, politically, and culturally since the late 19th century, as well as how the city is adjusting today in an age of globalization. No prerequisites. Cross-listed in Politics and Latin American Studies, and serves as an elective for Urban Studies. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: POLS 239, LNAM 202
  • AMER 227: History of Jazz
    Principal styles of representative jazz musicians; the roots (including blues and ragtime); jazz in New Orleans and Chicago; and big band, swing, bop, and fusion. No prerequisite. (Cross-listed as American Studies 227. Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: MUSC 227, AFAM 227
  • AMER 228: Women Writing Women
    This course will survey selected women writers, in diverse genres past and present, with a focus on American women in the 20th and 21st centuries. Writers may include: Muriel Rukeyser, Adrienne Rich, Maxine Hong Kingston, Louise Erdrich, Gloria Anzaldua, and Jamaica Kincaid, as well as women writing in recent genres like creative nonfiction, memoir, and transgender fiction. We will explore questions such as: Does the diversity of American women in terms of race, ethnicity, sexuality, and gender identification trouble the very concept of 'U.S. women writers'? What are ways that women have defined and undermined the concept of 'woman' in their writing? (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: ENGL 228, GSWS 228
  • AMER 229: Historic Artifact Analysis
    (Historic Artifact Analysis: Artifacts of Modernity.) This hands-on course introduces archaeological laboratory methods and accompanying archival and research-based techniques for interpreting these "artifacts of modernity": excavated materials from ongoing archaeological projects of historic-period sites in the Chicago area. Students will be exposed to various stages of artifact processing on a collection from a recently excavated site, including: washing, sorting, identification, data entry, analysis, report preparation, and curation. Students will learn how to identify 19th- and 20th-century artifacts--American, British, French, Japanese, Chinese, and other--representing a broad range of materials from the daily lives of past peoples/past societies. The artifact analysis will allow students to develop skills useful for museum, laboratory, and/or archaeological settings. Prerequisite: SOAN 205 OR SOAN 215 OR SOAN 220 OR consent of instructor. Corequisite: This course has an additional weekly lab session (2 hrs).
    Cross-listed as: SOAN 225
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  • AMER 230: African American Religions
    This course is an exploration of the rich diversity of African American religions from the colonial period to the present. Attention will be given to key figures, institutional expressions as well as significant movements in North America, the Caribbean and broader Black Atlantic. Major themes include African traditions in American religions, slavery and religion, redemptive suffering, sacred music, social protest, Black Nationalism, African American women and religion, religion in hip hop and secularity in black religious literature. Students will learn about the ways these themes have often served both as unique contributions to and critiques of America?s political establishment and social landscape. No prerequisites. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: RELG 237, AFAM 237
  • AMER 234: Witches, Preachers, and Mystics
    In this course students consider the historical development of religion in the United States of America. We study topics such as the contact between Native Americans and European settlers, religion and the founding of the Republic, religious revivals and awakenings, immigration and religion, the rise of new forms of religion in the United States, responses to scientific and technological developments, and the entangling of religion and politics. The course covers religion from the colonial period to the dawn of the twentieth century. No prerequisites.
    Cross-listed as: RELG 234, HIST 234
  • AMER 235: Racism and Ethnic Relations
    This course surveys of the development of the theories of race and ethnic relations at the individual, group, and cultural levels. Students will examine the impact these theories have had on social policy. The course focuses on the experience of Asians, Latinos and African Americans with special attention given to institutional expressions of oppression in American Society. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: SOAN 235, AFAM 235
  • AMER 236: 20th Cent Theater: Musical Theater
    A study of representative musical comedies, operettas, and related works that will provide topics for papers by students. Emphasis will be placed on relationship to political, social, and cultural events. Videotapes of musicals are viewed and discussed. Among works to be discussed are Show Boat, Oklahoma!, South Pacific, My Fair Lady, Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar, A Little Night Music, Sunday in the Park with George, and others.
    Cross-listed as: ENGL 236, MUSC 235
  • AMER 237: Philosophy & 1960s Popular Culture
    This course offers a demanding tour through the intellectual milieu of the 1960s in the United States. We will read philosophical works, social theory, popular and literary fiction, and occasional pieces of various sorts (speeches, journalism, etc.); we will watch films and television shows; we will listen to music: all with the goal of figuring out not just how people in the 1960s were thinking, but also of understanding how philosophy and popular culture reflected and refracted each other during a particular - and particularly volatile - historical moment.
    Cross-listed as: PHIL 235
  • AMER 238: Religion and Place in Chicago
    (Religion, Space, and Architecture in Chicago) This course looks to the way that religious communities have created and used different spaces in the greater Chicago area, paying attention to Chicago as a specifically urban place. We focus on both neighborhoods and sacred spaces themselves, including the architectural forms of these spaces. We examine the effects of immigration and urban change on neighborhoods and congregations. This course covers a diverse range of historical and living communities, drawing from the tools of religious studies, history, urban studies, and architectural studies. It also includes numerous field site visits, with much of the instruction taking place on location in Chicago's sacred spaces. No prerequisites. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: RELG 238
  • AMER 240: Public History
    Public history is the practice of history outside the academy. Public historians record and preserve evidence of the past in many formats, analyzing and interpreting their findings to general and specialized audiences beyond the traditional classroom setting. This course will survey the theory and practice of various professional historical specialties - ranging from archival administration to historic site management, museum exhibitions, and historical reenactment. Institutional constraints, audience development, and conflicts between history and public memory will be major thematic issues. Field trips to institutions and sites in the Chicago metropolitan area.
    Cross-listed as: HIST 285
  • AMER 241: American Foreign Policy
    This course explores the important historical events and ideologies that have shaped American foreign policy since the founding of the Republic. We study the models of foreign policy making in the area of national security, the world economy, international law and human rights, and the global environment. Special emphasis is placed on the strategic choices facing President Obama.
    Cross-listed as: POLS 240, IREL 240
  • AMER 242: Influence and Interest Groups
    Organized interests shape American campaigns and candidates, citizen attitudes, and policy at every level of government; the power of these groups lies in their numbers, their dollars and their organization. This course introduces the intellectual traditions and debates that have characterized the study of interest groups and their influence on public policy, political opinion, and political actors, and will compare theory to practice in the American political experience.
    Cross-listed as: POLS 225
  • AMER 250: American Civil War
    The origins of the war in the antagonistic development of the free North and slave South; Lincoln and the Republican Party; Black activity in the North and South; the war; the transforming and gendered aspects of fighting the war; Reconstruction; the impact of the war on American development.
    Cross-listed as: HIST 226
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  • AMER 251: Rhetorical History of U.S.
    A historical survey of rhetorical artifacts focusing on how interested parties use discourse to establish, maintain or revive power.
    Cross-listed as: COMM 251
  • AMER 252: Intro to Women's/Gender Studies
    (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
  • AMER 253: American Revolution
    To quote the historian Gordon Wood, the American Revolution 'was the most radical and far-reaching event in American history.' In this course we examine this momentous Founding Age of the United States, with a special focus on the ideas that shaped this period. We explore the growing estrangement of American colonies from Great Britain and the culmination of this process in the Declaration of Independence. Then we look at the process and controversies involved in creating a new nation, and the United States government.
    Cross-listed as: HIST 222
  • AMER 259: American Constitutional Law
    This course examines the major constitutional themes of judicial review, federalism, separation of powers, the commerce power, due process rights, and equal protection under the law. Students read U.S. Supreme Court cases in order to analyze and understand the allocation of government power. Prerequisite: POLS 120 or permission of instructor.
    Cross-listed as: POLS 261
  • AMER 260: American Political Thought
    Students survey American political thought from the Revolutionary Era to the present day (or from the original Boston Tea Party to the contemporary Tea Party movement). Topics to be covered include: revolutionary ideas and their historical antecedents, the framing of the Constitution, 19th century responses to slavery and industrialism, the Progressive Era, and the philosophical underpinnings of contemporary conservatism and liberalism. There are no prerequisites, but either POLS 120 or a previous course in political theory is encouraged.
    Cross-listed as: POLS 250
  • AMER 261: American Environmental History
    Introduction to the historical study of the relationship of Americans with the natural world. Examination of the ways that 'natural' forces helped shape American history; the ways human beings have altered and interacted with nature over time; and the ways cultural, philosophical, scientific, and political attitudes towards the environment have changed in the course of American history, pre-history to the present.
    Cross-listed as: HIST 232, ES 260
  • AMER 262: Race & Gender in American Politics
    In this course we will explore the complex relationship between race and gender in the American political process. How do underrepresented racial groups and women attain legislative success? What role does identity politics play in influencing voter decisions? We will examine how race and gender affect political behavior, public policy, American political culture, and the overall political landscape. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: POLS 235
  • AMER 263: American Cities
    This course is an introduction to the political, economic, and social forces that have shaped American cities from the colonial era to the present, with a focus on the city of Chicago. We explore the patterns of migration and immigration that have shaped the populations who live in cities, the growth of urban economies, the forms of work, school, and urban activities that structure everyday life, and the struggle over power and resources that make up urban politics. We also pay particular attention to the relationship between cities and rural or suburban areas, as well as how U.S. cities compare to cities around the world. No prerequisites.
    Cross-listed as: HIST 235, ES 263
  • AMER 264: History of Rock and Roll
    This course covers the history of rock music from its origins in the blues and American country music to the diverse rock styles heard today. Analysis of performances and compositional styles of several familiar rock stars is included. Social and political influences will be addressed, but the focus will be on the music itself. No prerequisite.
    Cross-listed as: MUSC 264
  • AMER 265: American Jurisprudence
    (Jurisprudence: Philosophy of American Law) Students examine the ways Americans have conceptualized and theorized about the law from the time of the Founding to the present day. Topics to be covered include natural law versus legal positivism; the relationships among law, politics, economics, and society; and debates over constitutional and statutory interpretation, the proper role of judges in a democracy, and the relationship between domestic and international law. There are no prerequisites, but either POLS 120 or a previous course in political theory is encouraged.
    Cross-listed as: POLS 262
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  • AMER 266: Music in Film
    Music has played an important part of the movie-going experience since the beginnings of the film industry in the 1890's, and the blending of music and drama has deeper roots still. This course charts the development of music and sound in film, from these deep roots through the mis-named silent-movie era and on to the great film composers of the twentieth century and today. Students will learn the fundamental elements of a film score, investigate how a film composer works, and develop a vocabulary for describing and assessing film music. No prior knowledge of music or film history is necessary.
    Cross-listed as: MUSC 266, CINE 266
  • AMER 268: The Judiciary
    This is an examination of the federal court system, focusing on the United States Supreme Court. Students will study the constitutional beginnings of the federal judicial branch and its position vis a vis the two other branches of government. We will examine the history of the United States Supreme Court, the politics of presidential appointment of judges, selected case law over the course of the Court's history and its impact, personalities on the Court and the Court's decision-making process.
    Cross-listed as: POLS 266
  • AMER 269: American Philosophy
    American philosophy has a rich and diverse history. With the sometimes conflicting commitments to principles and pragmatism as a focus, the course will investigate topics such as (1) early debates over American political institutions: human rights and democracy versus aristocratic leanings to ensure good government; (2) eighteenth-century idealism (e.g., Royce) and transcendentalism (focusing on moral principle, as reflected in Emerson and Thoreau); (3) American pragmatism in its various forms (Pierce, James, and Dewey); (4) Whitehead and process philosophy; and (5) contemporary manifestations (e.g., human rights, environmental concerns, technology, and struggles with diversity).
    Cross-listed as: PHIL 270
  • AMER 270: Hist of Educ in American Society
    (History of Education in American Society.) Two hundred years ago, the vast majority of men and women in the United States only attended a formal school for a few years at most. Many of the functions we associate with schooling - the transmission of knowledge, socialization, and job preparation - took place in the home, community, or workplace. The story of the 19th and 20th century is the story of the expansion of education into a central experience in the lives of Americans, delivered in a vast network of educational institutions. By moving thematically through the roles of both K-12 and higher education, this course will examine the processes through which a wide array of social functions moved into the school system, and the modern U.S. educational system was forged. A central course theme will be how established forms of social inequality and exclusion were incorporated into and then reproduced by an expanding system of education. No prerequisites.
    Cross-listed as: HIST 239, EDUC 239
  • AMER 271: The New American Nation, 1787-1848
    This course covers America's 'Founding Period' from the end of the Revolution through the conclusion of the U.S.-Mexican War. During this time, Americans gradually came to see themselves as part of a unified nation with its own distinctive culture and ideals, though this outcome was far from certain. Beginning with the Constitution and the uncertain legacies of the American Revolution, the course considers the fundamental political, social, and cultural problems that could easily have torn the young Republic apart. Topics and themes include the problems of democracy and popular politics, the limits of citizenship, the formation of a distinctive American culture, the place of America on the world stage, the transition to capitalism and the 'market revolution,' and the figure of Andrew Jackson. Prerequisites: No prerequisites. Corequisites: No corequisites.
    Cross-listed as: HIST 224
  • AMER 272: Disney, Music and Culture
    Walt Disney created an empire both influencing and being influenced by society and culture since its inception. Disney films, music, propaganda, media, business practices, and merchandise have been imbedded into popular culture. Disney, Music, and Culture is an introduction to the history and content of the Disney Corporation, the films and soundtracks, and a critical look at them through the lenses of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and disability, among others. A major element of this course will involve viewing Disney films and analyzing critically based on the lenses mentioned above. The evolution of how Disney utilized music will also be examined at length. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: MUSC 267
  • AMER 273: American Music
    Music in the United States from the time of the pilgrims to the present day. The course includes art music, folk music, religious music, and jazz. Prerequisite: Any music class or consent of the instructor.
    Cross-listed as: MUSC 265
  • AMER 274: Race and Criminal Justice
    This course will examine the systemic racial injustices inherent in American criminal jurisprudence from police interaction to trial and sentencing, incarceration, and supervised release. Students will study how racial injustice continues to pervade the American criminal justice system despite the constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process. How do so many players, from police officers to judges and juries, fail to protect against racial injustice? Why do courts, when confronted with allegations or proof of racially motivated police misconduct, overwhelmingly cite "harmless error" doctrine? To attempt to answer these complicated questions, students will learn legal criminal procedure, study 4th, 5th, 6th and 8th amendment case law, and have an opportunity to listen to and speak with a variety of professionals in the criminal justice field. Prerequisite: POLS 120 or permission of instructor. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: POLS 270, AFAM 270
  • AMER 275: Introduction to Film Studies
    Cinema technique, production, language, style, genres, movements, and criticism, through the analysis of particularly important and representative films and directors.
    Cross-listed as: COMM 275
  • AMER 276: Inequality and Reform: US 1865-1920
    This course offers an introduction to the political, social, and cultural history of the United States between Reconstruction and World War I, as the country rebuilt and reimagined itself in the wake of the Civil War and the end of slavery. We will pay special attention to new patterns of inequality in the contexts of industrialization, urbanization, and immigration. We will also examine the complexities and contradictions of progressive reform movements, including efforts to improve housing, sanitation, and labor conditions. We will look at how those transformations affected people's everyday lives and conceptions of American citizenship, and we will explore the emergence of popular mass culture through photography, art, architecture, advertising, and films. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: HIST 228
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  • AMER 277: Immigration Law and Policy
    This course provides an in-depth understanding of our current U.S. immigration regime using a multi-disciplinary approach. It explores the range of policy issues affecting today's immigrants and nonimmigrants. The course examines the fundamental principles of immigration law in the context of competing interests among Congress, the President, and the Judiciary that shape this nation's current immigration policy and affect reform efforts. Additionally, the course focuses on the human rights aspect of immigration, including issues related to the treatment of undocumented immigrants, human trafficking, and the system's response to the recent influx of refugees and asylum seekers. No prerequisites. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: POLS 265
  • AMER 286: The American Graphic Novel
    (Reading the American Graphic Novel) This course will examine the theory and practice of the graphic novel in America in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The serial visual narrative, also known as the graphic novel or comic book, has had a formative influence on American literary and popular culture. Not all comics and graphic novels are written about superheroes; the form has proven flexible enough to encompass such genres as the memoir, historical narrative, and journalism. This course will have a particular focus on the work of such writer-artists as Marjane Satrapi, Alan Moore, Art Spiegelman, Alison Bechdel, Scott McCloud, Joe Sacco, Harvey Pekar, Robert Crumb, Chris Ware, John Lewis, Daniel Clowes, and Lynda Barry. Students will read and discuss these graphic narratives with an emphasis on how they make difficult or marginal content accessible to readers, and will have the opportunity to try their own hands at writing comics or a short graphic novel. No prerequisites.
    Cross-listed as: ENGL 266
  • AMER 291: Tutorial

  • AMER 308: Sport and Spectacle Modern America
    This course considers the history of sport as mass entertainment from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. More than an escape from everyday life, the games Americans have played and watched have been thick with social, cultural, and political meanings. Athletes and spectators alike have defined and challenged ideas of gender, race, and the body; they have worked out class antagonisms, expressed national identities, and promoted social change. Topics include: the construction of race; definitions of manhood and womanhood; industrialization, urbanization, and the rise of modern spectator sport; media and mass spectacle; fitness and athletic reform movements; collegiate athletics; sports figures and social change. Prerequisite: History 200 or 201, or permission of the instructor.
    Cross-listed as: HIST 308
  • AMER 312: Black Metropolis
    (Black Metropolis: A Study of Black Life in Chicago). This course is a study of race and urban life in Chicago. From the founding of Chicago by a black man to the participation of blacks in the rebuilding of the city following the Great Chicago fire, and into an exploration of Bronzeville, 'a city within a city,' this course will highlight blacks and their contributions to this great city. Study of landmark texts, documentaries, novels, and photography, along with at least one field trip to the Chicago area, will reveal the impact of the Great Migration on the city; contributions of talented musicians, writers, and photographers involved in the Chicago Renaissance; and the origins of the famous black Chicago newspaper, the Chicago Defender, including its regular column by Langston Hughes. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: AFAM 312, ENGL 312
  • AMER 315: US Catholic Immigrant Experience
    From the Irish who arrived before the Civil War to the Mexicans and Vietnamese who have come recently, the Catholic experience in the US has been a continuing story of immigration. This course examines how succeeding immigrant groups have practiced and lived their Catholic faith in different times and places. Religion cannot be separated from the larger social and economic context in which it is embedded, so the course will also pay attention to the ways in which the social and economic conditions that greeted the immigrants on their arrival shaped how they went about praying and working. Finally, the changing leadership of the Catholic Church will be taken into account, since it provided the ecclesiastical framework for the new Catholic arrivals. Prerequisite: HIST 120 or HIST 121 or permission of the instructor. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: HIST 315, RELG 315
  • AMER 319: Protest and Police in U.S. History
    This course examines historical instances of policing, inequality, and protest, including mobs in the American Revolution, abolitionist direct actions, the terror of the Klu Klux Klan, sit-ins against Jim Crow, protest against military action, and the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Throughout U.S. history, Americans have been committed both to protest and disruption in order to advance their causes, and to stability, security, and the maintenance of order. Despite widespread fears about disorder and crime today, Americans in the past were far more violent. In this course, we will trace how ordinary people came together to challenge authority, and how those with power built state structures that could legitimately use violence. We will see how policing was shaped by fears of newly- arrived immigrants, the demands of a slave economy, and entrenched racism. We will study the intersecting histories of race, inequality, and state power across the American past. Students will develop a major research project on a particular historical instance of policing, inequality, and protest. Prerequisite: HIST 200 or HIST 201 or permission of instructor. (Meets the GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: HIST 319, AFAM 319
  • AMER 322: Campaigns, Elections & Pol Parties
    (Campaigns, Elections, and Political Parties) In this course, students examine the nomination procedures and election of political candidates, with a focus on significant historical campaigns, both congressional and presidential. We also study the role and development of political parties with a particular emphasis on emerging third parties, from a historical and contemporary perspective. The influences of interest groups, race, gender, voting behavior, and the media on our electoral process are also considered. Prerequisite: POLS 120 or the consent of instructor.
    Cross-listed as: POLS 322
  • AMER 325: Black Literature of the 60s
    (Black Literature of the 60s and its Legacy.) A study of the literature produced by major participants in the Black Arts and Civil Rights movements, along with an examination of writings after the 60s to determine the legacy of the themes of protest and social change. Authors may include Amiri Baraka, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., Haki Madhubuti, Sonia Sanchez, Assata Shakur, Eldridge Cleaver, Gil Scott-Heron, Angela Davis, Tupac Shakur, Jay Z, M.K. Asante, Jr., Common, Ice Cube, Lupe Fiasco, among others. Prerequisite: English 217 or permission of the instructor. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)

    Cross-listed as: ENGL 325, AFAM 325
  • AMER 328: Topics in American Politics
    (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement, depending on topic.)
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  • AMER 336: African American Drama & Theater
    (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
  • AMER 340: History and the Moving Image
    This course explores the role of moving images (film, television, internet) in understanding history as both collective process and contested interpretation. The course will integrate a discussion of recent historical methodologies concerning moving images, with examples from a variety of forms, including historical epics, documentaries, propaganda, television series, literary adaptations, and biographies. Special emphasis will be placed upon the ambiguities of historical context, including the time of production, the period depicted, and changing audiences over time. Topics include: 'Feudal Codes of Conduct in Democratic Societies,' 'Film as Foundation Myth for Totalitarian Ideologies' and 'Situation Comedy of the 1970s as Social History.' Prerequisite: Two history courses or permission of the instructor.
    Cross-listed as: HIST 360, CINE 360
  • AMER 347: Topics in Gender and History
    A seminar that examines in depth one aspect of gender and history. Topics vary from year to year. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: HIST 364, GSWS 347
  • AMER 348: Museums and Exhibitions
    History is an academic discipline but it also has a public face. 'Public history,' through museum exhibitions, historical sites, the Internet, and other venues, is a growing career field. Students in this class will learn the communication tools necessary to produce an engaging and intellectually sound exhibit, including the techniques of oral history. The class will develop a concept, research in local archives, write label copy, and design and install an exhibit. We may use audio, video, photography, and the web to tell our story. The exhibition will be presented in the Sonnenschein Gallery or a local history museum, such as the Lake County Museum. The course will include field studies to Chicago-area history museums. Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing, or permission of the instructor.
    Cross-listed as: HIST 368
  • AMER 351: John Waters and American Culture
    American film director John Waters will visit Lake Forest College as the keynote speaker for the 7th Annual Lake Forest Literary Festival during Spring 2011. His films, from early transgressive works such as Pink Flamingos (1972) through the commercial success of Hairspray (1988) and its follow-up Broadway musical, explore the American experience of trash culture through the lens of his hometown, Baltimore, MD. Students will examine the making of an American icon by interrogating Waters' engagement with contemporary popular culture, humor, and kitsch/trash culture. More broadly, this class will address how Waters' work may best be interpreted through queer theory, a perspective that examines the dualities of identity and performance, the natural, neutral and social constructions of gender, and how normative standards of sexuality and gender change over time.
    Cross-listed as: COMM 350, WOMN 350
  • AMER 355: Immigration in U.S. History
    The United States has had exceptionally high levels of immigration and internal geographic mobility from the colonial period to the present. Placing the geographic area that would become the United States into a global frame, this course explores patterns of European, Asian, and Latin American migration into a land already inhabited by mobile indigenous populations, the forced migration of enslaved Africans to the U.S. and later migration of black citizens northward, as well as the movement of migrants over the long-contested (and moving) U.S.-Mexico border. We learn about the politics of migration, including the long history of anti-immigrant nativism and xenophobia in the United States, as well as the role of migrants in shaping major U.S. social and political movements. We also examine how ethnic, racial, and national identities - including "American"-are not fixed categories, but rather constructed and reconstructed over time. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: HIST 312
  • AMER 358: Amer Environmnt in Great Depression
    (American Environment During the Great Depression). This course explores the many ways Americans understood and shaped their diverse local environments during the crisis of the Great Depression. Although the Dust Bowl is perhaps the most iconic of these environmental upheavals during the 1930s, this course examines diverse geographical regions: from the Appalachian mountains to the (de)forested Upper Midwest, from the agricultural South to the Dust Bowl plains and the water-starved West. In each region, we use interdisciplinary approaches (including literary, historical, sociological, and visual media studies methods) to trace the impacts of economic turmoil on the environment and the people who depended on it for their livelihoods, as well as the way economic disaster paved the way for the government's unprecedented intervention in environmental matters.This course fosters critical examination of American subcultures during the Great Depression, including African-Americans, the Southern poor, the Range culture of the American West, and the immigrant experience. Prerequisite: Any 200-level ES course or permission of instructor. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: ES 358
  • AMER 360: The First Amendment
    In this course students explore the U.S. Supreme Court's interpretation of freedoms of speech (including obscenity and libel), assembly and association, the press, and the exercise and establishment of religion. We will also examine First Amendment issues raised by regulation of the Internet and other new media. Prerequisite: POLS 120 or consent of instructor. Not open to First-Year Students.
    Cross-listed as: POLS 361
  • AMER 361: Civil Rights Movement
    This course focuses on the origins, development, and accomplishments of the civil rights movement in post-World War II America. Particular emphasis will be given to the differences between the struggle for black equality in the south and its northern counterpart. Taught in a seminar format, the class will be both reading- and writing-intensive. Course readings and paper assignments are designed to help students develop a comparative analytical framework and to illuminate the following lines of inquiry: What caused and what sustained the civil rights movement? What changes took place within the movement over time, particularly at the level of leadership? What underlay the radicalization of the movement and what were the consequences? To what extent did the civil rights movement succeed and how do we measure that success today? Finally, how did the black civil rights movement inspire other groups and minorities in American society to organize? Prerequisite: History 200 or History 201. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: HIST 306, AFAM 361
  • AMER 362: Love in a Time of Capitalism
    Most of us are familiar with the idea that romantic love plays a different role in the contemporary world than it did at other times and the idea that love manifests in different ways across cultures. Rather than attempt a survey of all the possible manifestations of romantic love, this course aims to explore how 'love' features into our understandings of human interaction in the 21st century, particularly in the United States. We will be particularly focusing on the contemporary American notion that love and money are opposing forces. Our first goal will be to identify at least some of the tropes of love that are in current circulation. We will then explore the potential social consequences of those tropes, including the ways in which such tropes are passed on and reproduced across generations and the possibility of commodifying and 'selling' certain tropes as the 'right' way to be in love. Throughout the course, we will collect love stories, and our final task of the semester will be to compare our theoretical and media derived understandings of romantic love to its manifestations in people's lives. Prerequisites: SOAN 110 and 220 or consent of instructor.
    Cross-listed as: SOAN 362, GSWS 362
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  • AMER 364: The Fourteenth Amendment
    (The Fourteenth Amendment: Civil Rights and Equality) Students in this course examine the rulings of the United States Supreme Court in order to learn how the Fourteenth Amendment guides the government's treatment of people based on race, creed, national origin, gender, economic status and sexual orientation. State action, strict scrutiny analysis, affirmative action and voting rights are also covered. Prerequisite: POLS 120 or consent of instructor. Not open to First-Year Students. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: POLS 363
  • AMER 365: American Thought

  • AMER 366: Civil Liberties
    This course focuses on our individual liberties as addressed in the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment. Using United States Supreme Court cases, we examine the protection of our individual liberties - the meaning of equal protection and the antidiscrimination principle, expressive freedom and the First Amendment, religious liberty and church-state relations, rights of personal autonomy and privacy, criminal justice, voting rights, property rights and economic freedom. Prerequisite: POLS 120 or permission of instructor. Second year standing is also required.
    Cross-listed as: POLS 365
  • AMER 367: Apocalypse in PostWWII Amer Envrnmt
    (Apocalypse and Fear in the Post-WWII American Environment.) One dominant strain of the post-World War II American environmental imagination has been fear of imminent environmental apocalypse, which manifests itself on a spectrum from diffuse anxiety to paralyzing terror. This course explores this culture of fear through a variety of topics in postwar American environmental consciousness, including the specter of atomic annihilation, the anti-eco-toxics and environmental justice movements, food security, and climate change. Texts and methodological approaches are literary, historical, anthropological, and sociological. Prerequisite: Any 200-level ES or Hist course.
    Cross-listed as: ES 363
  • AMER 384: The Rhetorical Presidency
    Examines the rhetorical nature of the office of the President of the United States.
    Cross-listed as: COMM 384
  • AMER 386: Read Popular Culture:TV Criticism
    Focusing on how culturally we are both producers and products of our popular culture we will try to answer the question: 'are we, as a culture, using the potential of television wisely'?
    Cross-listed as: COMM 386
  • AMER 390: Internship

  • AMER 393: Research Project

  • AMER 440: Advanced Writing Seminar
    An advanced course in which each student completes a Senior Writing Project (a portfolio of work in poetry, fiction, drama, or nonfiction prose), while interacting with Chicago in two distinct ways: 1) students will generate writing from the study of specific Chicago neighborhoods, and, 2) students will participate in the literary life of the city through attending and staging literary events. Group discussion and individual conferences. Intended for senior majors in the English major-writing track. Prerequisites: (a) English 235; and (b) any 300-level writing course (English 330, 332, 360, 361, 363, or 364), or English 242/Theater 270. (Meets GEC Senior Studies Requirement.)
  • AMER 478: The 21st Century World (Dis)Order
    The international system of states is undergoing a power shift. Though it will remain the dominant world power for some time to come, most scholars agree that American global preeminence is waning. Yet scholars disagree about the effect of this shift on world order. Some see an effort by the United States and its closest allies to prop-up the current American liberal world order of global economic integration and cooperative security. Others envision either a 'post-American' world in which the United States and rising great powers re-negotiate the ground rules of a new liberal order, or a world in which the United States is one of a small number of great powers competing for power and influence in an illiberal world. Each of these possibilities raises compelling questions about war and peace, and cooperation and discord in twenty-first century international politics. Will this power shift jeopardize the liberal world order? Can this world order persist in the absence of American preeminence? How might the United States and its allies extend the current American world order?
    Cross-listed as: IREL 480
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  • AMER 479: Topics in U.S. Foreign Policy

  • AMER 480: Sr Sem: American Geographies
    (Spring 2019 Senior Seminar: American Geographies.) Lewis Carroll tells of a nation who made a map on the scale of one mile to the mile, but "the farmers objected: they said it would cover the whole country, and shut out the sunlight! So we now use the country itself, as its own map, and I assure you it does nearly as well." Similarly, American "Geographies" are plural because all geographies are multiple: the same location can be mapped in dozens of different ways, all of which can add to the richness of our understanding of place. "Mapped" denotes both physical maps and a range of mental and cultural constructs that describe place. These include urban geographies, agricultural geographies, natural geographies, and personal geographies as perceived by rulers, explorers, immigrants, recently freed slaves, mountain lions, and others. We compare American Geographies with other Geographies of the world (European and Chinese) to understand these American spatial experiences.
    Cross-listed as: AMER 200, ES 218
  • AMER 490: Internship

  • AMER 491: Tutorial

  • AMER 493: Research Project

  • AMER 494: Senior Thesis