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American Studies offers its student an exciting combination of small classes and hands-on learning that takes place both inside and outside the classroom. All courses are taught in discussion seminars by core faculty in the program. In addition to honing their speaking, writing, and research skills, students in American Studies learn how to analyze complex ideas, tackle programs with no clear answers, and engage with the world through a variety of platforms. American Studies majors work closely with both faculty and fellow students in the creation of museum exhibitions, documentary films, digital archives, theater productions, and online journals.

In American Studies, the city of Richmond, the nation, and the world all serve as laboratories of investigation and learning. Our students develop projects at the local level and also travel as classes to field sites from New Orleans to New York, from London to San Juan. American Studies increasingly emphasizes explorations of U.S. culture and society in relation to international politics, the global economy, and population migrations. For this reason, American Studies majors are also encouraged to study abroad.

American Studies Electives

See the departmental listings for descriptions of the following courses offered for AMST credit. Ordinarily, the electives should be drawn from at least two affiliated departments and two must be taken at the 300-level or higher. Students may count one approved First-Year Seminar or one approved History 199 toward their American Studies major. A supplemental listing of courses is published each semester on the American Studies website.

ANTH 211 Field Methods in Ethnography
ANTH 307 Indigenous Peoples of the Americas
ANTH 308 Latin America: An Ethnographic Perspective
ANTH 328 Anthropology of Human Rights
ANTH 329 Anthropology of Race
ARTH 213 American Art 1700-1900
ARTH 218 Modern Art, 1900-1960
ARTH 223 Studies in the History of Photography
ARTH 322 Museum Studies
EDUC 220 Education in America
EDUC 339 Education of Minority Groups in America
ENGL 206 Selected Readings in American Literature
ENGL 208 Twentieth Century American Fiction
ENGL 216 Literature, Technology, and Society
ENGL 229 The Black Vernacular
ENGL 231 African-American Literature
ENGL 232 Southern Fiction
ENGL 233 Contemporary Native American Literature
ENGL 240 Literature after 9/11
ENGL 321 Early American Literature
ENGL 325 Age of the American Renaissance
ENGL 326 From Revolution to Romanticism: American Literature through 1860
ENGL 334 American Indian Literatures
ENGL 335 Black Women Writers
ENGL 353 American Realism and Regionalism
ENGL 354 Literature of the American South
ENGL 355 Race and Ethnicity in American Literature
ENGL 356 Twentieth-Century American Poetry
ENGL 357 Twentieth-Century American Fiction
ENGL 358 African-American Women Writers
ENGL 359 Contemporary American Literature
ENGL 361 Literature and Film
ENGL 362 Post-Soul Literature and Culture
ENGL 367 Indigenous Film in North America
ENGL 368 History and Aesthetics of Film
ENGL 369 American Culture/American Film
GEOG 215/ENVR 215 Geography of the James River Watershed
HIST 199 Elements of Historical Thinking: Lincoln
HIST 199 Elements of Historical Thinking: Mexico/US Borderlands
HIST 199 Elements of Historical Thinking: Scottsboro Trials
HIST 199 Elements of Historical Thinking: Slavery in Virginia
HIST 200 Colonial America
HIST 201 The American Revolution
HIST 202 The Early American Republic
HIST 204 The Civil War and Reconstruction
HIST 211 The US South in the Twentieth Century
HIST 214 United States and the World, 1877-1945
HIST 215 United States and the World since 1945
HIST 216 American Cultural and Intellectual History since 1865
HIST 218 State and Society in Modern America
HIST 219 Work in Twentieth-Century America
HIST 220 Reagan's America
HIST 260 Colonial Latin America
HIST 261 Modern Latin America
HIST 300 Claiming the American Revolution
HIST 301 The Civil War in Film and Literature
HIST 306 American Identities
HIST 391 Transnational Social Reform
HIST 395 The Historian's Workshop
JOUR 200 News Media and Society
JOUR 302 Public Affairs Reporting
JOUR 307 Documentary Journalism
JOUR 311 Press and Politics
LAIS 301 Spanish in the Community
LAIS 331 Intro to Latin American Literature I
LAIS 332 Intro to Latin American Literature II
LAIS 452 Spanish-American Poetic Texts
LAIS 472 Latin American Theater
LAIS 483 The Art of Embodiment: Space and Body in Colonial Spanish America
LAIS 486 US Latino/a Literature
LAIS 487 Latin America: Encounter and Conflict
LDST 317 Reimagining Richmond: History, Power and Politics in the Capital of the Confederacy
LDST 345 Civil War Leadership
LDST 352 Presidential Leadership
LDST 378 Statesmanship
MUS 221 Music in Film
MUS 235 I Want My MTV: Music Video and the Transformation of the Music Industry
PLSC 310 Statesmanship
PLSC 315 American Political Theory
PLSC 323 Money, Politics, and Prisons
PLSC 325 Racial Politics
PLSC 326 United States Congress
PLSC 327 The American Presidency
PLSC 328 Americal Political Parties
PLSC 329 Campaigns and Elections
PLSC 330 Creation of the American Republic
PLSC 331 Constitutional Law
PLSC 333 Civil Rights/Liberties
PLSC 336 American Constitutional History
PLSC 337 The American Legal System
PLSC 339 Jurisprudence in Contemporary American Politics
PLSC 349 Politics/Latin America and Caribbean
PLSC 350 American Foreign Policy
PLSC 361 The Politics of Social Welfare
PLSC 364 Child Health and Policy
PLSC 365 US Healthcare Policy and Politics
PLSC 366 Poverty and Political Voice
RELG 255 Queers in Religion
RELG 257 Native American Religions
RELG 259 Orientalism, Racism, and Religion
RELG 262 Sacred Arts of Native America
RELG 273 Witchcraft and its Interpreters
RELG 359 American Judaism
RELG 374 Religion and the American Environment
RELG 375 Cults, Communes, and Utopias in Early America
RHCS 347 Advertising and Consumer Culture
RHCS 349 Memory and Memorializing in the City of Richmond
RHCS 351 Twentieth Century Media History
RHCS 355 Rhetoric, Media, and US Feminism 1830s-1980
RHCS 359 Media and War
RHCS 361 Rhetoric, Media, and the 1960s
SOC 207 Crime and Justice in a Postmodern Society
SOC 216 Social Inequalities
SOC 218 Sociology of the Black Experience
SOC 231 Across the Pond: Europe vs. USA
SOC 255 Sport in Society
SOC 303 Sociology of Families
SOC 311 Juvenile Delinquency
SOC 316 Race and Ethnicity in America
SOC 319 Sociology of Gender and Sexuality
SOC 320 Race, Class, and Schooling
THTR 229 Going Solo: The Politics of Identity in Contemporary Solo Performance
THTR 239 Latina/os on Stage: From the Barrios to Broadway
THTR 313 Theatre for Social Change I
THTR 314 Theatre for Social Change II
WGSS 280 Gender and Work
American Studies Courses
AMST 201 Introduction to American Studies
Units: 1
Fulfills General Education Requirement FSHT
Surveys multidisciplinary approaches to American studies with specific emphasis on methodologies, sources, themes, and major ideas.

AMST 298 Selected Topics
Units: 1
Varying interdisciplinary topics or methodologies related to American studies. Area of study will vary according to instructor and course topic.

AMST 301 Seminar in American Studies
Units: 1
Advanced seminar that examines the historical, methodological, and theoretical development of American studies as an academic discipline. Offered in alternate years.
American Studies 201 and junior or senior status.

AMST 381 Community Problem Solving Seminar
Units: 1
Combines community investigation with reading and discussion about community problems from multidisciplinary perspectives.

AMST 388 Individual Internship
Units: .25-1
Application of academic skills and theories in a selected work environment, plus related academic work supervised by a member of the faculty. No more than 1.5 units of internship in any one department and 3.5 units of internship overall may be counted toward required degree units.
Departmental approval.

AMST 391 Tocqueville Seminar: Special Topics
Units: 1
Multidisciplinary seminar that encourages students to examine the United States from international perspectives. Uses theory and a variety of forms of texts--music, film, literature, popular culture, and more--to deepen student understanding of the U.S. as they see the country from different points of view.

AMST 398 Selected Topics
Units: 1
Varying interdisciplinary topics related to American studies. Area of study will vary according to instructor and course topic.

AMST 399 Independent Study
Units: .5-1
Individually designed reading or research program conducted under faculty supervision.
American Studies 201 and permission of program coordinator and faculty supervisor.

AMST 401 Thesis
Units: 1
Thesis project designed, researched, and written by students under faculty supervision. Offered spring semester only.
American Studies 201, senior status, 3.5 grade point average within the major, and a prospectus with bibliography approved by the American studies advisory council.

AMST 406 Summer Undergraduate Research
Units: 0
Documentation of the work of students who receive summer fellowships to conduct research [or produce a creative arts project] in the summer. The work must take place over a minimum of 8 weeks, the student must engage in the project full-time (at least 40 hours per week) during this period, and the student must be the recipient of a fellowship through the university. Graded S/U.
Approval for summer Arts and Sciences fellowship by faculty mentor

Upcoming Courses

Core Courses


Possible Paths of Inquiry

Use your American Studies major or minor to explore courses in: