About The Department

Fall 2021 Course Listings

AMS 150: Introduction to American Pop Culture

Dr. Jeff Melton
MWF 10:00-10:50

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 – Sports in American Culture

Michael Wood
TR, 2:00-3:15

This course presents a survey of sports in America. More specifically, we use sports and sporting events as an entry point to study the development of U.S. society. We trace how what the development of American sports and how who participated, attended, and where they took place interacted with broader social and cultural changes in the United States. Special attention is given to themes such as class and social identities, gender roles, race and ethnicity, amateurism vs. professionalism, commercialization, technological innovations, demographic changes, domestic and international politics, and the globalization of American sports.

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 1:00-1:50

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
TR 11:00-12:15

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 12:00-12:50

AMS 213: Honors Introduction to Southern Studies

Dr. Jolene Hubbs

TR 3:30-4:45

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

Michael Wood
TR 11:00-12:15

AMS 300-002: Special Topics – Gilded Age America

Dr. Jolene Hubbs

TR – 2:00-3:15

AMS 318: Amusement and Tourism

Dr. Jeff Melton
MWF 1:00-1:50

This course explores the varied forms of amusement and  tourism that emerged in the 19th century and exploded in popularity throughout the 20th to become a vital and definitive component of American culture. Students encounter prose narratives, historical studies, artwork, film, and other documents that capture two hundred years of Americans at play.   We will visit Disney World.

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 423: The Roots of American Music

Dr. Eric Weisbard

R 2:00-4:30

AMS 429/529: America Between the Wars

Dr. Rich Megraw

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.