96-97 LS&A Bulletin

American Culture

May be elected as an area concentration program
  • Professors James H. McIntosh (American Culture, English), Alan Wald (American Culture, English)
  • Associate Professors Frances Aparicio (American Culture and Spanish), June Howard (American Culture, English, Women's Studies), George Sanchez (American Culture, History), Steve Sumida (American Culture, English)
  • Assistant Professors Betty Bell (American Culture, English, Women's Studies), John Gonzalez (American Culture, English), Maria Montoya (American Culture, History), Barbara Ryan (American Culture), David Scobey (American Culture, History)
  • Lecturers Matthew Countryman (Afroamerican Studies, History), Kristen Haas (American Culture), Peg Kusnerz (American Culture, School of Art), Gail Nomura (American Culture, Residential College), Margarita de la Vega-Hurtado (American Culture, Film/Video, Latina/Latino Studies)
  • American Culture

    May be elected as an area concentration program
  • The Program in American Culture exposes students to the interdisciplinary study of U.S. society and culture. Our courses integrate a rich array of materials, themes, and approaches from many fields: not only historical and literary study, but also visual studies, musicology, film and media, anthropology, and others. The curriculum of the Program emphasizes the multicultural diversity of American society, paying particular attention to ethnic, gender, and other forms of social difference and inequality. At the same time, it stresses the importance of studying U.S. nationhood, including Americans' (sometimes conflicting) ideals and experiences of what it means to be American. Our courses are designed to explore these issues in both historical and contemporary settings.

  • Although the concentration in American Culture offers considerable flexibility and intellectual diversity, it is also designed to foster a community of learning among undergraduates. The Program aims to be an interdisciplinary "village" within the larger College, in which concentrators share the opportunity for intensive study, conversation, and research about American society and culture.

  • Prerequisites: Concentrators must take one of the following prerequisites, generally by the first term of their Junior Year: American Culture 100 (What Is An American?), American Culture 201 (American Values), History 160 (U.S. History Before 1865), or History 161 (U.S. History After 1865).

  • Concentration Program: Concentrators must take 36 credits in American Culture or related units (not including the prerequisite); 24 credits must be at the 300 level or above. There are also several distribution requirements, designed to expose students to a diversity of topics and disciplines. Concentrators may not elect more than 9 credits from any single unit outside of American Culture. They must also elect at least one course on ethnic or racial minorities and at least one course on women or gender issues in America. (These courses may also satisfy other requirements listed below.)

  • In describing the path through which students will generally move through the concentration in American Culture, it is helpful to divide the curriculum into three parts: gateway courses, concentration tracks, and upper-level core courses.

  • Gateway courses: The Program has a broad array of 200-level courses through which students may get an initial exposure to American studies. These "gateway courses" include introductions to ethnic studies, topical seminars, "periods" courses on particular eras, and AC 201 (American Values). Gateway courses are not primarily surveys, but discussion-based "modes of thought" courses that model various themes and approaches to interdisciplinary American studies. Concentrators are required to elect any two courses between AC 201 and AC 217. (If AC 201 is taken as the prerequisite, it may not also count for the "gateway" requirement.)

  • Tracks: Except for students taking the Self-Designed Option (see below), all American Culture concentrators will select one of three "tracks" as their area of particular interest. These have been designed to offer students intellectual focus without sacrificing breadth of choice. The tracks are (1) Arts, Literature, and Culture; (2) Ethnic Studies; and (3) Society and Politics. Students are required to take at least 18 credits in their track (as approved by the Undergraduate Concentration Advisor); these will normally be at the 300-level or above, but the Concentration Advisor may approve 200-level courses as track electives too. Track electives may satisfy other concentration requirements as well. Students must take at least three and no more than six credits in "cognate" courses that study the themes of the track in a setting outside the United States.

    Each track has certain courses and requirements of its own. (1) Students electing Arts, Literature, and Culture must take AC 335 (Arts and Popular Culture In American Life) and at least three credits in either creative expression or the analysis of non-print media. Other track electives should study such materials as the visual arts, dance, literature, film, media, music, and popular culture. (2) Students electing Ethnic Studies must take AC 399 (Race, Racism, and Ethnicity), at least one 200-level introductory course in ethnic studies, at least one ethnic history course, and at least one course focused on women of color. (3) Students electing Society and Politics must take AC 345 (American Politics and Society) and at least one course focused on U.S. society before 1945. Other track electives will generally concern such subjects as communications, historical study, ethnography, politics, sociology, and economics.

  • Upper-Level Core Courses: In addition to the particular focus provided by the tracks, concentrators will come together in their final two years in a sequence of required seminars. These are designed to enable students to explore American Studies at a high level of sophistication, working closely and collectively with core Program faculty. Concentrators will study the methods and development of American Studies in AC 350 (Approaches to American Studies), typically in their junior year. In the following year, they will elect a section of AC 496 or AC 498 (Senior Seminar in American Culture), intensively studying a topic related to their interests or their track.

  • Self-Designed Option: Concentrators may petition the Undergraduate Education Committee of the Program to design their own curriculum in place of selecting a track. The proposed plan of study must be rigorous, well-focused, and grounded in an informed set of intellectual interests. Students wishing to pursue the Self-Designed Option should consult with the Undergraduate Concentration Advisor early in their Junior Year for help in developing their plan of study and petition.

  • Honors Concentration. Qualified students may enter an Honors concentration. Students who apply for the Honors program should submit a 150-word statement of intent to the Director, plus a tentative list of proposed courses. Honors students may petition the Program Undergraduate Education Committee to elect the self-designed track. A seminar emphasizing methodology is offered for juniors each winter term (AC 398). Students in this seminar are required to present a thesis proposal and to select two thesis advisors. Honors students receive six credits during the senior year for researching and writing the Honors thesis. Interested students who have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.5 should contact the Honors concentration advisor.
  • Latino Studies

    May be elected as an area concentration program
  • Latina/Latino Studies can be an optional focus for concentrators in American Culture who opt for the Ethnic Studies Track. It can also be elected as a concentration program itself.

  • Concentration Program. An interdisciplinary degree, the Latina/Latino Studies concentration consists of 30 credits, in addition to pre-requisite work (7 credits). The objective of this concentration program is to engage students in a diversity of disciplinary approaches to the study of U.S. Latino/as as well as to introduce them to the central intellectual questions and topics that have emerged in this field of inquiry. Given the interdisciplinary nature of Latino Studies, students interested in pursuing graduate study in a particular discipline should double major in the respective department in order to have the needed background to enter graduate school.

  • Prerequisites to the Concentration. Seven credits of prerequisite work is required before completing courses for the concentration.

    American Culture 212 or 213, Introduction to Latino Studies (3 credits).

    Language Requirement. Latina/Latino Studies concentrators must prove competency in Spanish. They can do this either by enrolling in Spanish 290/American Culture 224, "Spanish for U.S. Latino/as," (4 credits) or by proving equivalency at the Spanish 275/276 level. Spanish native speakers who have enrolled in upper-level Spanish courses and complete them successfully may have this requirement waived by passing a proficiency interview and having a waiver form signed.

  • Required Courses:
    1. American Culture 312, History of U.S. Latinos
    2. American Culture 243, "Latinas in the United States" or three credits on a gender-focused course in Latino Studies.
    3. One course or three credits in a Latino Studies course that focuses on race and racialization in the Americas. Courses in other departments may count with the approval of the advisor.
    4. Three credits of community-service learning in a Latino context. Courses may be chosen from among the following: American Culture 310, "Schooling and Community," Sociology 389-018, "Tutoring Latinos," Psychology 401-001, "Community Practice in Spanish." Students may also complete this requirement through independent studies or through a combination of one-credit units of community service learning attached to specific courses.
  • Electives and Cognates One course each in two of the following fields:

    Latin American culture, history, literature
    African American Studies
    Asian American Studies
    Native American Studies

    Additional Electives

    The remaining 12 credits can be elected from 300- and 400-level Latino Studies courses. Courses focusing on U.S. Latinos offered by other departments may also count toward electives if approved by concentration advisor.
  • Advising. Students are encouraged to consult with the Director of the Latina/Latino Studies Program who serves as concentration advisor. For appointments regarding the concentration program, please call 763-0031.

  • Undergraduate Committee. Students who wish to consult or petition the program regarding any requirement should submit a written request addressed to the Program Undergraduate Committee.

  • Half-Term Information. Courses are offered normally in half terms for 3 credits.
  • Courses in American Culture (Division 315)


    Unless otherwise stated, the permission required for the repetition for credit of specifically designated courses is that of the student's concentration or BGS advisor.

    100. What is an American? (4; 3 in the half-term). (SS).

    101. Reading in America, 1776-Present. (4). (Introductory Composition).

    102. First Year Seminar in American Studies. Limited to Freshpersons and Sophomores. (3). (SS).

    170/Hist. 170/UC 170/WS 210. New Worlds: Colonialism and Cultural Encounters. First-year students only. (4). (Introductory Composition).

    201. American Values. (4; 3 in the half-term). (HU).

    203(203). Periods in American Culture. (3). (HU). May be repeated for credit with permission of concentration advisor.

    204(203). Themes in American Culture. (3). (HU). May be repeated for credit with permission of concentration advisor.

    205. American Cultures. (3). (HU).

    206(203). Themes in American Culture. (3). (SS). May be repeated for credit with permission of concentration advisor.

    207(203). Periods in American Culture. (3). (SS). May be repeated for credit with permission of concentration advisor.

    210. Introduction to Ethnic Studies. (3). (SS). May be repeated with permission for a total of 6 credits.

    211. Introduction to Ethnic Studies. (3). (HU). May be repeated with permission for a total of 6 credits.

    212(211). Introduction to Latino Studies - Social Science. (3). (SS). (This course meets the Race and Ethnicity Requirement).

    213(211). Introduction to Latino Studies - Humanities. (3). (HU). (This course meets the Race and Ethnicity Requirement).

    214. Introduction to Asian American Studies - Social Science. (3). (SS). (This course meets the Race and Ethnicity Requirement).

    215. Introduction to Asian American Studies - Humanities. (3). (HU). (This course meets the Race and Ethnicity Requirement).

    216. Introduction to Native American Studies - Social Science. (3). (SS). (This course meets the Race and Ethnicity Requirement).

    217. Introduction to Native American Studies - Humanities. (3). (HU). (This course meets the Race and Ethnicity Requirement).

    240/WS 240. Introduction to Women's Studies. Open to all undergraduates. (4; 3 in the half-term). (HU). (This course meets the Race and Ethnicity Requirement).

    243/WS 243. Introduction to Study of Latinas in the U.S. (3). (HU). (This course meets the Race and Ethnicity Requirement).

    260/Hist. 260. Religion in America. Hist. 160 and 161 are recommended but not required. (3). (HU).

    272. Environment and Society. (3). (Excl).

    301. Topics in American Culture. (1-3). (Excl). May be repeated for credit with permission.

    302/Soc. 302. Introduction to American Society. (3). (Excl).

    304/Soc. 304. American Immigration. (3). (SS).

    308. Conflict and Communities. (3). (Excl).

    310. Topics in Ethnic Studies. (3). (SS). May be repeated for credit with permission of advisor.

    311. Topics in Ethnic Studies. (3). (HU). May be repeated for credit with permission of advisor.

    312/Hist. 377. History of Latinos in the U.S. (3). (Excl). (This course meets the Race and Ethnicity Requirement).

    314/Hist. 378. History of Asian Americans in the U.S. (4; 3 in the half-term). (Excl).

    324/Engl. 381. Asian American Literature. (3). (HU). May be repeated for a total of six credits.

    327/English 387. Latino/Latina Literature of the U.S. (3). (HU).

    328/Engl. 382. Native American Literature. (3; 2 in the half-term). (HU). May be repeated for a total of six credits.

    330/Hist. of Art 330. Art in America: 1492-1825. (3). (HU).

    334/Dance 334 (Music). History and Philosophy of Dance in the Twentieth Century. (3). (Excl).

    335. Arts and Culture in American Life. (3). (HU).

    336/CAAS 334/Hist. 365. Popular Culture in Contemporary Black America. (3). (HU).

    340/CAAS 340. A History of Blacks in American Film. (3). (Excl). Laboratory fee ($15) required.

    342/Hist. 368/WS 360. History of the Family in the U.S. (3). (SS).

    345. American Politics and Society. (3). (SS).

    350. Approaches to American Culture. Amer. Cult. 201, junior standing, or concentration in American Culture; or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).

    351. Race and American Cinema. (4). (HU). Laboratory fee approximately $30.

    360/Great Books 350. Great Books of the Founding Fathers. Open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors. (3). (Excl).

    372/Hist. 376. American Technology and Society: Historical Perspectives. (3). (Excl).

    373/Hist. 373. History of the U.S. West. (4; 3 in the half-term). (HU).

    374/Hist. 374. The Politics and Culture of the "Sixties." (3). (SS).

    383. Junior Honors Reading and Thesis. Junior standing and grade point average of at least 3.0. (3; 2 in the half-term). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT).

    389. Reading Course in American Culture. Permission of instructor. (1-4). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT). May be repeated for credit with permission.

    398. Junior Honors Seminar. Permission of a concentration advisor in American Culture. (3). (Excl).

    399(UC 299). Race, Racism, and Ethnicity. (4; 3 in the half-term). (SS). (This course meets the Race and Ethnicity Requirement).

    403/Phil. 403/Rel. 403. American Philosophy. One Philosophy Introduction. (3). (Excl).

    404/Soc. 404. Hispanic-Americans: Social Problems and Social Issues. Junior or senior standing. (3). (Excl).

    406/Engl. 384/CAAS 384. Topics in Caribbean Literature. (3). (Excl). May be repeated for a total of six credits.

    410. Hispanics in the United States. (3). (Excl). May be repeated for credit with permission.

    421/Soc. 423. Social Stratification. (3; 2 in the half-term). (Excl).

    428. Native American Literature.Junior standing or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).

    430/WS 430. Feminist Thought. Amer. Cult. 240 and one 340-level WS course, or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).

    489. Senior Essay. Senior concentrators and Amer. Cult. 350. (3). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT).

    490/Film-Video 451. American Film Genres. Junior standing. (4). (HU). Laboratory fee (approximately $30.00).

    493. Honors Readings and Thesis. Senior standing and a grade point average of at least 3.0. (3; 2 in the half-term). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT).

    496. Historical Approaches to American Culture. (3). (Excl). May be repeated for credit with permission of concentration advisor.

    497. American Psychological Patterns. Open to seniors and graduate students in American Culture; others by permission of instructor. Courses (preferably more than one) in the psychology of adjustment or dynamic psychology, or abnormal psychology (psychopathology), or psychology of personality. (3). (Excl).

    498. Literary Approaches to American Culture. (3). (Excl). May be repeated for credit with permission.

    499/Hist. of Art 499. The Arts in American Life. Senior concentrators, seniors in any Honors curriculum, or graduate students with permission. (3). (Excl). May be repeated for credit with permission.

    Courses in Spanish

    224(307)/Spanish 290. Spanish for U.S. Latinos. Basic knowledge of Spanish language or permission of instructor. (4). (Excl). This course does not satisfy the language requirement.

    Courses in Ojibwa


    A full sequence of Ojibwa cannot be guaranteed. Students must consult with the American Culture Program Office before undertaking Ojibwa to satisfy the College language requirement.

    222. Elementary Ojibwa. Non-LS&A students must have permission of the American Culture Program Director. (3). (LR).

    223. Elementary Ojibwa. Am. Cult. 222 and permission of the American Culture Program Director. (3). (LR).

    322. Intermediate Ojibwa. Am. Cult. 223 and permission of the American Culture Program Director. (3). (LR).

    323. Intermediate Ojibwa. Amer. Cult. 322 and permission of the American Culture Program Director. (3; 2 in the half-term). (LR).

    422. Advanced Ojibwa. Am. Cult. 323 and permission of the American Culture Program Director. (3). (Excl).

    423. Advanced Ojibwa. Am. Cult. 422 and permission of the American Culture Program Director. (3). (Excl).