American Studies

(College of Letters and Science)

Department Office. 1200 Hart Hall; 530-752-6429; http://ams.ucdavis.edu

Faculty. http://ams.ucdavis.edu/faculty

(College of Letters and Science)

Department Office. 1200 Hart Hall; 530-752-6429; http://ams.ucdavis.edu

Faculty. http://ams.ucdavis.edu/faculty

The Department

American Studies explores the cultures of the United States, as well as their transnational exchanges and impact. The discipline’s practitioners seek to understand the historical origins of particular cultures and practices held by individuals and groups within the United States and how those values and beliefs shape social and political realities within and beyond U.S. borders. The approach that American Studies takes is interdisciplinary, meaning that in American Studies we answer these questions using tools developed by numerous disciplines including history, sociology, anthropology, literary criticism, folklore, media and science and technology studies.

American Studies takes as its subject American cultures and provides an excellent, broad education in the liberal arts. Our aim is to make each student a culture critic, a person capable of bringing a thoughtful and humane approach to bear upon our understanding of the varieties of American experiences. Making connections is the way we like to characterize our work in American Studies. American Studies majors are good critical thinkers, develop excellent writing skills, and most importantly “learn how to learn,” that is, you learn to figure out what intellectual tools and specialized knowledge you will need to perform a task or solve a problem. These intellectual and communication skills will prepare majors for a broad array of careers.

The Major. American Studies majors create an emphasis devoted to the close study of major issues crucial to the practice of American Studies. Advanced work in at least two other departments or programs allows each student to study areas tailored to his or her own individual education goals. Sample emphases include: Culture and Consumption, Youth Education, Social Identities, Nature, Culture and Environment, Marketing, Advertising and Business, and Food and Health, for example. Students have the option of writing a senior thesis within this emphasis.

Career Alternatives. As an interdisciplinary department, American Studies provides a good liberal arts and sciences undergraduate education. American Studies maximizes a student’s contact with a variety of subject matter and approaches. Graduates have moved into a broad range of career settings, including journalism, law, teaching, marketing, non-profit and community organizations, government, social work, environmental planning, library science, museum curatorship, and business. Students discover new career possibilities through their internships in American institutions.

Faculty Advisor. R. Cartwright

Preparatory Subject Matter
Units: 24
AMS 010
Introduction to American Studies (Active)
4
One additional lower division American Studies course
4
Choose one:
4
AAS 010
African-American Culture and Society (Active)
4
ASA 001
Historical Experience of Asian Americans (Active)
4
CHI 010
Introduction to Chicana/o Studies (Active)
4
NAS 001
Introduction to Native American Studies (Active)
4
or
An equivalent course in racial and ethnic diversity.
4
Choose one:
4
ANT 002
Cultural Anthropology (Active)
5
SOC 002
Self and Society (Active)
4
WMS 050
Introduction to Critical Gender Studies (Active)
4
or
An equivalent course in social science approaches to culture.
4
Choose one:
4
HIS 017A
History of the United States (Active)
4
HIS 017B
History of the United States (Active)
4
HIS 072A
Women and Gender in America, to 1865 (Active)
4
HIS 072B
Women and Gender in America, 1865-Present (Active)
4
Choose one:
 
ENL 003
Introduction to Literature (Active)
4
ENL 010A
Literatures in English I: To 1700 (Active)
4
ENL 010B
Literatures in English II: 1700-1900 (Active)
4
ENL 010C
Literatures in English III: 1900 to Present (Active)
4
FMS 001
Introduction to Film Studies (Active)
4
or
An equivalent course introducing critical approaches to literary and visual texts in the humanities.
4
Depth Subject Matter
Units: 40
AMS 100
Methods in American Studies (Active)
4
AMS 160
Undergraduate Seminar in American Studies (Active)
4
American Studies Electives:
12
Three additional upper-division American Studies courses
12
Emphasis:
20
In consultation with the American Studies Undergraduate Advisor, the student designs a program of 20 units (typically five courses) of upper division course work around a unifying theme, period, or subject matter in American cultures. The courses should come from two or more departments or programs and can include up to 8 units of American Studies courses. Only 4 units of course 192 (internship) can be included in the emphasis. The student may choose the senior thesis option (190A-190B) for 8 units of the emphasis and take the remaining 12 units outside the program.
20
Recommended
 
Completion of the college requirement in English composition before enrollment in American Studies 190A.
 
Total: 64

(College of Letters and Science)

Department Office. 1200 Hart Hall; 530-752-6429; http://ams.ucdavis.edu

Faculty. http://ams.ucdavis.edu/faculty

Faculty Advisor. R. Cartwright

American Studies
Units: 20
American Studies, upper division courses.
20
No more than 8 units of course 192 may be counted toward this total.
 
Total: 20
Courses in AMS:
AMS 001AScience and American Culture (4) Active
Lecture—3 hour(s); Discussion—1 hour(s). American science as a cultural system. Mutual influence and interaction of that system with other cultural systems including religion, social thought, art, architecture, literature, music, and common sense. (Letter.) GE credit: ACGH, DD, WE. Effective: 2002 Spring Quarter.
AMS 001BReligion in American Lives (4) Active
Lecture—3 hour(s); Discussion—1 hour(s). Religions and spiritual practices in the Unisted States, and their interrelationships with other aspects of U.S. history, society and culture; indigenous and imported faiths, and the impact of immigration, colonization and culture contact on religious systems. (Letter.) GE credit: ACGH, AH, DD, SS, WE. Effective: 1997 Winter Quarter.
AMS 001CAmerican Lives Through Autobiography (4) Active
Lecture—3 hour(s); Discussion—1 hour(s). American culture as understood through the individual life stories told by Americans, with attention to the roles of gender, race, ethnicity, social class, and sexual orientation in the individual's life course. (Letter.) GE credit: ACGH, AH, DD, SS, WE. Effective: 2003 Winter Quarter.
AMS 001ENature and Culture in America (4) Active
Lecture—3 hour(s); Discussion—1 hour(s). Uses and abuses of nature in America; patterns of inhabitation, exploitation, appreciation, and neglect; attention to California; emphasis on metaphor as a key to understanding ourselves and the natural world; attention to models of healing: stewardship, ecology, the "rights" movement. (Letter.) GE credit: ACGH, AH, DD, SS, WE. Effective: 2012 Spring Quarter.
AMS 004Freshman Seminar (2) Active
Seminar—2 hour(s). Prerequisite(s): Open only to students who have completed fewer than 40 quarter units. Class size limited to 25 students. Investigation of a special topic in American Studies through shared readings, discussions, written assignments, and special activities (such as fieldwork, site visits). Emphasis on student participation in learning. (Letter.) Effective: 1997 Winter Quarter.
AMS 005Technology in American Lives (4) Active
Lecture—2 hour(s); Discussion—2 hour(s). Technology as both a material cultural force and a symbol in American culture; the lives of engineers at work and play; images of the engineer and technology in popular culture; social political and ethical issues raised by technology. (Letter.) GE credit: AH, SS, WE. Effective: 2016 Fall Quarter.
AMS 010Introduction to American Studies (4) Review all entries Historical
Lecture—3 hour(s); Discussion—1 hour(s). United States history, culture and society. Examination of cultural objects and social practices. Topics include popular culture (film, TV, Internet), cultural diversity, social activism, play, and communication. (Letter.) GE credit: ACGH, AH, DD, SS, WE. Effective: 2003 Spring Quarter.
AMS 010Introduction to American Studies (4) Review all entries Active
Lecture—3 hour(s); Discussion—1 hour(s). Ideals, conflicts, and realities defining American Cultures through study of popular music, advertising, and other media. Themes include Imagining America, Citizenship and Belonging, and Cultural/Spatial Practices. (Letter.) GE credit: ACGH, AH, DD, SS, WE. Effective: 2019 Winter Quarter.
AMS 021Objects and Everyday Life (4) Active
Lecture—3 hour(s); Discussion—1 hour(s); Term Paper. Material culture (objects and artifacts ranging from everyday objects like toys and furnishings to buildings and constructed landscapes) as evidence for understanding the everyday (vernacular) lives (gender, social class, ethnicity, region, age, and other factors; collecting and displaying material. (Letter.) GE credit: ACGH, AH, DD, WE. Effective: 2016 Fall Quarter.
AMS 025United States as a Business Culture (4) Active
Lecture—3 hour(s); Discussion—1 hour(s). Business as a cultural system and its relation to religion, politics, arts, science, technology, and material culture; business themes of success, creativity, invention, and competition in American autobiographies, fiction, advice literature, film, and television; cultures of the workplace; multinational business. (Letter.) GE credit: ACGH, AH, DD, SS, WE. Effective: 2016 Fall Quarter.
AMS 030Images of America and Americans in Popular Culture (4) Active
Lecture—3 hour(s); Discussion—1 hour(s). Investigation of verbal and visual discourses about American identity in various popular culture products, including film, television, radio, music, fiction, art, advertising, and commercial experiences; discourses about the United States in the popular culture of other societies. (Letter.) GE credit: ACGH, AH, DD, SS, WE. Effective: 1997 Winter Quarter.
AMS 055Food in American Culture (4) Active
Lecture—3 hour(s); Discussion—1 hour(s). Relationship between food and culture; relationship between food and the social order; influences on eating habits and the tensions between them including identity, convenience, and responsibility; multiple disciplines and genres. (Same course as FST 055.) (Letter.) GE credit: ACGH, AH, DD, SS, WE. Effective: 2018 Winter Quarter.
AMS 059Music and American Culture (4) Active
Lecture—3 hour(s); Discussion—1 hour(s). Examination of music and American culture. Studies will explore music in its cultural contexts, which may include examinations of recording and broadcasting, of race, class, and gender, the role of technolgy, and relationships between musical production, consumption and listening. (Letter.) GE credit: ACGH, AH, DD, SS, WE. Effective: 2016 Fall Quarter.
AMS 095Careers and Identity in American Culture (2) Active
Lecture—1 hour(s); Discussion—1 hour(s). Defining one's identity through the career. The life course, preparation, and choices. Personality and career. Ethics. Gender, ethnicity, sexuality, and social class in the workplace. The transnational workplace. Conflicts between the career and other social roles. (Letter.) Effective: 2007 Summer Quarter.
AMS 098Directed Group Study (1-5) Active
Variable. Prerequisite(s): Consent of Instructor. (P/NP grading only.) Effective: 1997 Winter Quarter.
AMS 099Individual Study for Undergraduates (1-5) Active
Variable. (P/NP grading only.) Effective: 1997 Winter Quarter.
AMS 100Methods in American Studies (4) Active
Lecture/Discussion—3 hour(s); Term Paper. Design and implementation of interdisciplinary research, analysis and writing for American Studies and other cultural studies fields. Library and Internet research skills, project/problem definition, methods for study of texts, individuals, communities. Hand-on, skill-building, focused reading, discussion. (Letter.) Effective: 2008 Fall Quarter.
AMS 101ASpecial Topics: Popular Culture Studies (4) Active
Seminar—3 hour(s). Intensive reading, writing, and special projects. Interdisciplinary group study of special topics in American Culture Studies, designed for non-majors as well as majors. May be repeated for credit. (Letter.) Effective: 1997 Winter Quarter.
AMS 101BSpecial Topics: Women's Studies (4) Active
Seminar—3 hour(s). Intensive reading, writing, and special projects. Interdisciplinary group study of special topics in American Culture Studies, designed for non-majors as well as majors. May be repeated for credit. (Letter.) Effective: 1997 Winter Quarter.
AMS 101CSpecial Topics: Material Aspects of American Culture (4) Active
Seminar—3 hour(s). Intensive reading, writing, and special projects. Interdisciplinary group study of special topics in American Culture Studies, designed for non-majors as well as majors. May be repeated for credit. (Letter.) Effective: 1997 Winter Quarter.
AMS 101ESpecial Topics: American Lives Through Autobiography (4) Active
Seminar—3 hour(s). Intensive reading, writing, and special projects. Interdisciplinary group study of special topics in American Culture Studies, designed for non-majors as well as majors. May be repeated for credit. (Letter.) Effective: 1997 Winter Quarter.
AMS 101FSpecial Topics: Interrelationship Between Arts and Ideas (4) Active
Seminar—3 hour(s). Intensive reading, writing, and special projects. Interdisciplinary group study of special topics in American Culture Studies, designed for non-majors as well as majors. May be repeated for credit. (Letter.) Effective: 1997 Winter Quarter.
AMS 101GSpecial Topics: New Directions in American Culture Studies (4) Active
Seminar—3 hour(s). Intensive reading, writing, and special projects. Interdisciplinary group study of special topics in American Culture Studies, designed for non-majors as well as majors. May be repeated for credit. (Letter.) Effective: 1997 Winter Quarter.
AMS 101HSpecial Topics: Problems in Cross-Cultural American Studies (4) Active
Seminar—3 hour(s). Intensive reading, writing, and special projects. Interdisciplinary group study of special topics in American Culture Studies, designed for non-majors as well as majors. May be repeated for credit. (Letter.) Effective: 1997 Winter Quarter.
AMS 110A Decade in American Civilization (4) Active
Lecture—2 hour(s); Discussion—2 hour(s). Close examination of a single decade in American civilization; the connections between the history, literature, arts, customs, and ideas of Americans living in the decade. Issues and representations of race,class,gender,age,and sexuality in the decade. May be repeated for credit if decades studied are different. (Letter.) GE credit: ACGH, AH, DD, SS, WE. Effective: 2016 Spring Quarter.
AMS 125Corporate Cultures (4) Active
Lecture—2 hour(s); Discussion—1 hour(s); Fieldwork—1 hour(s). Prerequisite(s): Consent of Instructor. Exploration of the small group cultures of American corporate workplaces, including the role of environment, stories, jokes, rituals, ceremonies, personal style, and play. The effects of cultural diversity upon corporate cultures, both from within and in contact with foreign corporations. (Letter.) Effective: 2016 Spring Quarter.
AMS 130American Popular Culture (4) Active
Lecture/Discussion—3 hour(s); Fieldwork—1 hour(s). American popular expression and experience as a cultural system, and the relationship between this system and elite and folk cultures. Exploration of theories and methods for discovering and interpreting patterns of meaning in American popular culture. (Letter.) GE credit: ACGH, AH, DD, SS, WE. Effective: 2016 Spring Quarter.
AMS 139Feminist Cultural Studies (4) Active
Lecture/Discussion—4 hour(s). Histories, theories, and practices of feminist traditions within cultural studies. (Same course as WMS 139.) (Letter.) GE credit: ACGH, AH, DD, SS, VL, WE. Effective: 2016 Fall Quarter.
AMS 151American Landscapes and Places (4) Active
Lecture—2 hour(s); Discussion—1 hour(s); Fieldwork—3 hour(s). Comparative study of several American cultural populations inhabiting a region, including their relationship to a shared biological, physical, and social environment, their intercultural relations, and their relationships to the dominant American popular and elite culture and folk traditions. (Letter.) GE credit: ACGH, AH, DD, SS, WE. Effective: 2016 Spring Quarter.
AMS 152The Lives of Children in America (4) Active
Lecture—2 hour(s); Discussion—2 hour(s). Experience of childhood and adolescence in American culture, as understood through historical, literary, artistic, and social scientific approaches. (Letter.) GE credit: ACGH, AH, DD, SS, WE. Effective: 1997 Winter Quarter.
AMS 153The Individual and Community in America (4) Active
Lecture—2 hour(s); Discussion—2 hour(s). Interdisciplinary examination of past and present tensions between the individual and the community in American experience, as those tensions are expressed in such cultural systems as folklore, public ritual, popular entertainment, literature, fine arts, architecture, and social thought. (Letter.) GE credit: ACGH, AH, DD, SS, WE. Effective: 1997 Winter Quarter.
AMS 154The Lives of Men in America (4) Active
Lecture—2 hour(s); Discussion—2 hour(s). Interdisciplinary examination of the lives of boys and men in America, toward understanding cultural definitions of masculinity, the ways individuals have accepted or resisted these definitions, and the broader consequences of the struggle over the social construction of gender. (Letter.) GE credit: ACGH, AH, DD, SS, WE. Effective: 1997 Winter Quarter.
AMS 155Eating in America (4) Active
Lecture—3 hour(s); Fieldwork. Interdisciplinary examination of the culture of food in America. Exploration of eating as a richly symbolic event integral to how Americans express and negotiate values, politics and identity. (Letter.) GE credit: ACGH, AH, DD, SS, WE. Effective: 2016 Fall Quarter.
AMS 156Race, Culture and Society in the United States (4) Active
Lecture—2 hour(s); Discussion—2 hour(s). Interdisciplinary examination of the significance of race in the making of America; how race shapes culture, identities and social processes in the United States; the interweaving of race with gender, class and nationhood in self and community. (Letter.) GE credit: ACGH, AH, DD, SS, WE. Effective: 2016 Spring Quarter.
AMS 157Animals in American Culture (4) Active
Lecture—3 hour(s); Discussion—1 hour(s). Animals as symbols in American thought, as found in folklore, popular culture, literature, and art; customs and stories around human-animal interactions, including hunting, religion, foodways, pets, zoos, circuses, rodeos, theme parks, and scientific research on animals. (Letter.) GE credit: ACGH, AH, DD, SS, WE. Effective: 2000 Fall Quarter.
AMS 158Technology and the Modern American Body (4) Review all entries Historical
Lecture/Discussion—3 hour(s); Term Paper. Prerequisite(s): TCS 001; (AMS 001A or AMS 005). The history and analysis of the relationships between human bodies and technologies in modern society. Dominant and eccentric examples of how human bodies and technologies influence one another and reveal underlying cultural assumptions. (Same course as TCS 158.) (Letter.) GE credit: ACGH, AH, WE. Effective: 2003 Fall Quarter.
AMS 158Technology and the Modern American Body (4) Review all entries Active
Lecture/Discussion—3 hour(s); Term Paper. History and analysis of relationships between human bodies and technologies in modern society. Dominant and eccentric examples of how human bodies and technologies influence one another and reveal underlying cultural assumptions. Not open for credit to students who have taken TCS 158. (Same course as CDM 158.) (Letter.) GE credit: ACGH, AH, WE. Effective: 2019 Winter Quarter.
AMS 160Undergraduate Seminar in American Studies (4) Active
Seminar—3 hour(s); Term Paper. Pass One restricted to American Studies majors; limited enrollment. Intensive reading, discussion, research, and writing by small groups in selected topics of American Studies scholarship; emphasis on theory and its application to American material. May be repeated up to 1 Time(s) when content differs. (Letter.) Effective: 2017 Winter Quarter.
AMS 190ASenior Thesis Research Seminar (4) Active
Seminar—2 hour(s); Extensive Writing. Research and prospectus writing for senior thesis. (Letter.) Effective: 2016 Spring Quarter.
AMS 190BSenior Thesis (4) Active
Independent Study—12 hour(s). Prerequisite(s): AMS 190A; Consent of Instructor. In consultation with advisor, student writes an extended research paper on a topic proposed in course 190A. (Letter.) Effective: 2016 Fall Quarter.
AMS 192Internship in American Institutions (1-12) Active
Internship—1-12 hour(s). Prerequisite(s): Consent of Instructor. Enrollment dependent on availability of intern positions, with priority to American Studies majors. Supervised internship and study within and about key organizations in American civilization at archives, museums, schools, historical societies, governmental and social agencies, etc., with attention to the techniques of participant obersvation and the collection of ethnographical data. May be repeated up to 12 Unit(s). (P/NP grading only.) Effective: 1997 Winter Quarter.
AMS 197TTutoring in American Studies (1-5) Active
Tutorial—1-5 hour(s). Prerequisite(s): Consent of Chairperson of American Studies Program. Tutoring in lower division American Studies courses, usually in small discussion groups. Periodic meetings with the instructor in charge; reports and readings. May be repeated for credit when the tutoring is for a different course. (P/NP grading only.) Effective: 1997 Winter Quarter.
AMS 198Directed Group Study (1-5) Active
Variable. Prerequisite(s): Consent of Instructor. (P/NP grading only.) Effective: 1997 Winter Quarter.
AMS 199Special Study for Advanced Undergraduates (1-5) Active
Variable. Prerequisite(s): Consent of instructor and chairperson of American Studies Program. (P/NP grading only.) Effective: 1997 Winter Quarter.
AMS 220American Folklore and Folklife (4) Active
Seminar—3 hour(s); Term Paper. Prerequisite(s): Graduate standing or consent of instructor. Theory and methods for the study of the folklore and the folk customary behavior of Americans; contributions of folklore studies to scholarship in humanities and social science disciplines. (Letter.) Effective: 1997 Winter Quarter.
AMS 250Cultural Study of Masculinities (4) Active
Seminar—3 hour(s); Term Paper. Prerequisite(s): Graduate standing or consent of instructor. Interdisciplinary approaches to understanding the social and cultural construction of masculinities; attention to the effects of biology, gender, race, class, sexual and national identities; criticism of oral, printed, visual, and mass mediated texts, and of sicial relations and structure. (Same course as WMS 250.) (Letter.) Effective: 1997 Winter Quarter.
AMS 255Food in American Culture (4) Active
Seminar—3 hour(s); Term Paper. Prerequisite(s): Graduate standing or consent of instructor. Graduate standing or advanced undergraduate with consent of instructor. Interdisciplinary theories and methods for the study of food in American culture; food studies in relation to issues of identity (age, gender, ethnicity, religion, region, etc.), social relations, systems of production, and cultures of consumption. (Letter.) Effective: 2007 Fall Quarter.
AMS 298Group Study (1-5) Active
Variable—1-5 hour(s). (P/NP grading only.) Effective: 1997 Winter Quarter.
AMS 299Individual Study (1-12) Active
Variable—1-12 hour(s). (P/NP grading only.) Effective: 1997 Winter Quarter.
AMS 396Teaching Assistant Training Practicum (1-4) Active
Variable—1-4 hour(s). Prerequisite(s): Graduate standing. May be repeated for credit. (P/NP grading only.) Effective: 1997 Winter Quarter.