About The Department

Fall 2019 Course Listings

Course titles link to PDFs of flyers produced by faculty. The flyers include the information presented on this page, plus photographs related to the course material. If you cannot view these flyers, please contact the department for more information.

AMS 150: Introduction to American Pop Culture

Dr. Jeff Melton
MW 10:00-10:50 (classroom); Friday 10:00-10:50 (online)

Team-taught by the American Studies faculty, this course explores the textures of American popular culture. Students engage with a range of material reflecting the American experience with all its remarkable complexity and energy. This course examines who we are.

AMS 200-001: Special Topics – 100% Americanism: Nativism in American Culture and Politics

Dr. Jack Carey
MWF 3:00-3:50

This seminar examines patterns of Nativism and reaction to immigrants in American culture and politics. Students will use a variety of methodologies and sources to examine popular depictions of immigrants, political campaigns to restrict immigration, and cultural debates about the meaning of “American.” By touching on Nativism in all regions of the country and treating a range of periods from the turbulent 1790s through the present day, the course will enable students to understand both the main patterns and distinct forms of American Nativism.

AMS 203: Southern Studies

Dr. Jack Carey
MWF 9:00-9:50

This discussion-based course introduces students to major texts and interdisciplinary methodologies in the field of Southern Studies. We will pay particular attention to the varied ways southerners, to quote William Faulkner, “tell about the South.” We will examine southern experiences in a range of eras from before the Civil War through the present day, and we will read and listen to a diverse range of voices and stories.

AMS 204: Introduction to Western Studies

Dr. Jack Carey
MWF 11:00-11:50

This discussion-based course introduces students to major texts and interdisciplinary methodologies in the field of Western Studies. This course will tell what one scholar has called “a longer, grimmer, but more interesting story” of the American West. We will examine western experiences in a range of eras over several centuries, and we will read and listen to a diverse range of voices and stories. This course will also help students place the West within the larger United States and the larger world.

AMS 205: Dirty Jobs

Dr. Michael Innis-Jiménez
MWF 12:00-12:50

This course explores jobs that get you “dirty.” Work is one of the aspects that most shapes individual lives, and many lines of work are viewed as dangerous, dirty, or somehow unsavory by American society. This course uses films, TV shows, written narratives, and music to explore different types of “dirty” work in the United States.

AMS 206 Native American Studies

Dr. Mairin Odle
MWF 11:00-11:50

AMS 213: Honors Introduction to Southern Studies

Dr. Jolene Hubbs

In this discussion-based honors course, students engage with major texts and methodologies in the interdisciplinary field of Southern Studies. We will study the history, literature, and culture of the U.S. South through autobiographies, fictional works, scholarly analyses, and popular media. We’ll look at major events like the Civil War and Civil Rights Movement and evaluate varying and often conflicting ideas about what makes the South distinctive.

AMS 231: Contemporary America

Dr. Stacy Morgan
TR 9:30-10:45

This course examines the changing nature of American values for the period dating from the 1970s to the present, drawing connections between works of creative art & popular culture and the economic & political contexts of their respective decades.  This course also will serve as an introduction to interdisciplinary research methods used in the field of American Studies.

AMS 300-001: Special Topics – Football in American Culture 

Dr. Michael Wood
TR 11:00-12:15

AMS 321: African American Folk Art

Dr. Stacy Morgan
TR 12:30-1:45

This course will focus on the work of African Americans classified as “folk,” “self-taught,” & “outsider” artists. Course material will address the African origins and American transformations of traditional arts and crafts (pottery, architecture, woodworking, basketry, iron work, festival costumes, & quilting), as well as the work of selected 20th & 21st century self-taught artists in media such as painting, sculpture, & assemblage. Key concerns will include providing cultural/historical contexts for the artists & their works, as well as debates regarding issues of classification, collection, & modes of exhibition.

AMS 325: “America, the West and the 19th Century”

Dr. Rich Megraw
TR 9:30-10:45

Like the place itself, the American West as subject is a vast, almost limitless thing, infinitely contoured, richly textured, constantly shifting, and highly charged.  Few topics in all the American experience have been so thoroughly researched and written about or so passionately argued over.  Fewer still continue to exert the kind of power this one does, simultaneously inspiring ride, hope, anger, resentment, devotion and disdain.  Yet, for all the different responses, there is at least one, bedrock agreement:  the West is central to the meaning of America and those who wish to understand the latter must at some time confront the former. Which is what this class is about, a specific place, the trans-Mississippi West, at a specific time, the 19th century.  It is divided into thirds, treating the West first as a place, then as an experience, and finally as an idea, holding the West throughout as a mirror to the highly volatile, rapidly-changing American society of the 19th century.

AMS 340: Women in the South

Dr. Jolene Hubbs

What insights into American experience do we gain by reading nineteenth- and twentieth-century texts in which Southern women engage questions of gender, class, race, labor, and region? In this course, we will explore fictional and nonfictional prose by and about Southern women in order to examine how historical, cultural, and sociopolitical factors have shaped the lives and writings of women in the South. This class fulfills the writing (W) requirement.

AMS 412: On the Road

Dr. Jeff Melton
MWF 11:00-11:50

Using the “road” as a metaphor for life is as old as humanity, but its greatest expression is found in the United States, a restless nation of movement. We take to the open road for varying reasons but we can all find ourselves  everywhere. The course will explore many facets of the road and car cultures in the United States after 1945, drawing from an array of cultural sources. It will feature film, literature, and music. This is your chance to get out of town—in your imagination.

AMS 429/529: America Between the Wars

TR 12:30-1:45

This course examines a crucial period in the modern American experience beginning with the end of one world war and ending with the beginning of another.  Adjusting to modernity required Americans to square old values with new departures, something that makes this period more than merely two decades linked by the calendar and the Stock Market Crash.  Top to bottom, between 1919 and 1941, Americans redefined themselves and their society, embracing and debating (sometimes hotly) old beliefs, new conceptions, and the implications of a machine-driven modern mass society.  We’ll look closely at this debate from its origins in post-war prosperity and its evolution through Great Depression scarcity, paying particular attention to such crucial issues as Modernism, consumerism, the growth of American national culture, and the influence of commercialized forms of popular expression on everyday lives and values.