Introductory Courses

American Studies 10 Introduction to American Studies: Work in America

  • day and time MW 4-5:30
  • location 2 Leconte
  • instructor K. Moran & M. Cohen
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 02003

Sec. 101: CC# 02006 Tu 03:00-04:00, 51 Hildebrand
Sec. 102: CC# 02009 Tu 04:00-05:00, 75 Evans
Sec. 103: CC# 02012 W 10:00-11:00, 87 Evans
Sec. 104: CC# 02015 W 11:00-12:00, 4 Evans

This course will introduce students to the interdisciplinary field of American Studies, taking “Work” as its central theme. We will explore the way historians, political economists, geographers, sociologists and artists understand the meaning of work, and the stories we tell ourselves about our work lives. Specific topics will include the American class system; unions and strikes; race and gender in the division of labor; discipline, organization and the psychology of work; places of work such as factories, farms, offices and kitchens; work and consumption; deindustrialization and globalization; and popular culture representations of work and everyday life. This course is meant to enable you to think and do research as an interdisciplinary scholar, specifically to give you the tools to do readings of a historical, theoretical or literary text, a film, a space, an image. You will practice historical research–gathering and evaluating evidence–as well as practice the skills involved in finding a thesis and arguing it persuasively.

Time Courses

American Studies 101 The New Gilded Age

  • day and time Tu 2:00-5:00
  • location 203 Wheeler
  • instructor M. Brilliant
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 01017

The new Gilded Age is a term that scholars, pundits, and activists in recent years have used to refer to the sharp increase in economic inequality in the United States, the increasing concentration of income and wealth in the hands of the nations richest 1 percent, and even more so, .1 percent. The roots of this watershed in recent American history are many and run deep. This course will trace some of those roots, examining the origins of Americas new Gilded Age by focusing on major transformations in economics, politics, and education in the 1970s and 1980s. Along the way, we will also consider some of the social experiences and cultural expressions of Americans as they lived through the new Gilded Age.

American Studies C 111 E.002 The Great Exhaling: Politics, Culture, & History 1946-1952

  • day and time TuTh 3:30-5:00
  • location 2 Leconte
  • instructor K. Moran & G. Marcus
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 02027

Sec. 201: CC# 02030 W 02:00-03:00, 81 Evans
Sec. 202: CC# 02033 W 03:00-04:00, 81 Evans
Sec, 203: CC# 02036 Th 10:00-11:00, 385 LeConte
Sec, 204: CC# 02039 Th 11:00-12:00, 5 Evans

1948 was the year that America, after the Great Depression, after the Second World War, after sixteen years of the all but revolutionary experiment in national government of the New Deal and even in the face of a Red Scare that in many ways would dominate the next decade let out its breath. Finally, that great exhaling said, we can go back to real life but what was “real life?” Centering on 1948, but moving a few years back and a few years forward, this class will explore the sometimes instantly celebrated, sometimes all but subterranean experiments in American culture that tried to raise and answer that question. The artists who emerged to tell the national story were male and female, black and white, from the west, the east, the south, and everywhere in between. They included Tennessee Williams of Mississippi and Marlon Brando of Nebraska with A Streetcar Named Desire; Jackson Pollock of Wyoming with abstract paintings so big they seemed like visionary maps of the country itself, a country where anything could happen; Miles Davis of St. Louis, with the spare, quiet walk down noir streets of the music that would come to be known as “The Birth of the Cool”; the cross-country explorations of Jack Kerouac of Massachusetts, Neal Cassady of Colorado, and Allen Ginsberg of Newark, New Jersey, following in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark, certain that the real American remained to be discovered; the grind-house, B-movie spread of noir, with the faces of Barbara Stanwyck of Brooklyn and Gloria Grahame of Los Angeles spreading the suspicion that in America nothing was as it seemed and rules and morals were for fools and scores, even hundreds more suddenly rushing down the same blind alleys and open roads. This course will try to follow the traces of this explosion as well as contextualize the America that of was being born a place engaged in a new “cold” war, turning to new forms of mass media, experiencing a new and unprecedented consumerist ethos, and inventing new forms of suburban cultural life.

American Studies C 132 B U.S. Intellectual History, Mid-19th Century to the Present

  • day and time MW 4:00-5:30
  • location 155 Donner Lab
  • instructor R. Candida-Smith
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 39567

Sec. 101: CC# 39570 M 02:00-03:00, 206 Wheeler
Sec. 102: CC# 39573 Tu 08:00-09:00, 221 Wheeler
Also cross-listed as History C132B

In this course we will examine key developments in U.S. thought since the middle of the nineteenth century, roughly beginning with the reception of Darwin in the 1860s. The story told in the class weaves together the history of science, the arts and popular culture, philosophy, and education. Our goal is to trace the effects that ideas–whether they are dominant, challenging, or nostalgic–have had on how Americans live together. The sciences and the arts have provided raw material for an on-going reconstruction of how to understand and interpret the world. They have inspired legislation and regulatory policies. We will consider how intellectual theories have contributed to the growing power of the U.S., to inequality and injustice, and to efforts to reform the nation. Key topics to be addressed include nineteenth-century revolutions in science and religion; the emergence of pragmatism, the first original contribution to philosophy developed within the United States; early twentieth-century debates about modernity, urbanization, economic development, democracy, and pluralism; the impact of psychoanalysis, other new theories of psychological development, and existentialism on U.S. life and thought after World War II; debates at the end of the twentieth century over race and multiculturality, national security and the military-industrial-academic complex, economic policy and growing income inequality relate to earlier debates covered in the class.

American Studies 139 AC From the Civil Rights Era to the New Gilded Age: Struggles for Racial and Economic Equality from "Double Victory" to "Occupy"

  • day and time TuTh 9:30-11:00
  • location 101 Barker
  • instructor M. Brilliant
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 02066

Sec. 101: CC# 02069Tu 12:00-1:00, 75 Evans
Sec, 103: CC# 02075W 09:00-10:00, 109 Wheeler
Sec, 104: CC# 02078W 11:00-12:00, 78 Barrows
Sec, 105: CC# 02081Th 11:00-12:00, 121 Latimer
Also cross-listed as History C139C

World War II lifted the United States from the Great Depression, launching it on a course of economic expansion that would endure for a quarter century afterwards. This long economic boom, in turn, helped underwrite and propel efforts on behalf of greater racial and economic equality. By the late 1960s, however, as the long economic boom fizzled out, America’s march toward greater racial equality began to founder, while its march toward greater economic equality began to reverse course. The Civil Rights Era gave way to the New Gilded Age, a period marked by an increasing concentration of income and wealth in the hands of a decreasing percentage of the overall population. The course will explore the political, legal, and economic history of America’s struggles for racial and economic equality – and the relationship between them – from the World War II-inspired “Double Victory” campaign roots of the Civil Rights Era to the “Occupy Wall Street” protests of 2011 that finally brought national attention to the growing income and wealth polarization that defined the then decades-old New Gilded Age.

Place Courses

American Studies 102 The Road in American Culture

  • day and time TuTh 9:30-11:00
  • location 534 Davis
  • instructor C. Palmer
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 02018

Traveling from Albany to Buffalo, Gustave de Beaumont lamented in a letter to his sister, The roads are fearful, detestable, the carriages are so rough that its enough to break the toughest bones. Over a century later, Americans were being invited to get [their] kicks on Route 66. Exploration and travelboth physical and psychologicalhave long captured the American imagination. While the road is often a symbol of escape, spontaneity, and authenticity, it is also the site of violence, exile and dispossession. This course will explore the cultural significance of the road in America, paying particular attention to how history, film, literature, art, photography, and music position the road as America. Part of our task in this class is to become road scholars, tracing the development of an American sensibility that to move is to be free. This course is designed to introduce students to both the transportation dimensions of the road and to the ways in which the road has been used and represented in the U.S. since the seventeenth century.

American Studies C 112 B American Cultural Landscapes: 1900 to the Present

  • day and time TuTh 11:00-12:30
  • location 112 Wurster
  • instructor P. Groth
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 02042

Sec. 101: CC# 02045 Tu 01:00-02:00, 170 Wurster
Sec. 102: CC# 02048 W 12:00-01:00, 170 Wurster
Sec. 103: CC# 02051 Th 10:00-11:00, 104 Wurster
Sec. 104: CC# 02054 Th 04:00-05:00, 172 Wurster
Also cross-listed as Geography C160B and Environmental DesignC169B

This course introduces ways of seeing and interpreting American histories and cultures, as revealed in everyday built surroundingshomes, highways, farms, factories, stores, recreation areas, small towns, city districts, and regions. The course encourages students to read landscapes as records of past and present social relations, and to speculate for themselves about cultural meanings. Registration for a section is required by Telebearsbut NOTE!Telebears section assignments are tentative. Final section placement will be determined by cards filled out, in person, on the first day of class. This course deals with culture, and America, but it does not deal equally with three different cultures. Thus, with our apologies, it does NOT satisfy the University’s American Cultures requirement.There are no prerequisites. You may take this B course even if you have not had the A course. People from all majors are enthusiastically welcomed.

Senior Thesis Seminars

American Studies 191 Senior Thesis Seminar

  • day and time W 10:00-12:00
  • location 121 Latimer
  • instructor K. Muller
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 02105

American Studies 191 Senior Thesis Seminar

  • day and time W 2:00-4:00
  • location 121 Latimer
  • instructor C. Palmer & E. Hagberg
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 02108

American Studies 191 Senior Thesis Seminar

  • day and time M 4:00-6:00
  • location 121 Latimer
  • instructor J. Gomer
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 02102

American Studies 191 Senior Thesis Seminar

  • day and time Th 12:00-2:00
  • location 121 Latimer
  • instructor C. Palmer & C. Petrella
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 02111

American Studies H 195 Senior Honors Thesis Seminar

  • day and time W 10:00-12:00
  • location 81 Evans
  • instructor C. Palmer
  • 4 Units

***NOTE: In order to receive honors in American Studies, a student must have an overall GPA of 3.51, and a GPA of 3.65 for all courses taken in completion of the major (upper and lower division). Students should discuss with their major faculty adviser the preparation of a bibliography and a brief description of their proposed honors thesis and their eligibility to enroll in honors, based on GPA, the semester before they plan to enroll in H195. They also must secure a faculty adviser from an appropriate field who will agree to direct the honors thesis (the “honors thesis adviser”). THE FACULTY ADVISERS AGREEMENT MUST BE SUBMITTED TO COURSE INSTRUCTOR NO LATER THAN THE 2ND WEEK OF CLASSES.

Honors Seminar

American Studies H 110 Imagining America

  • day and time TuTh 2:00-3:30
  • location 332 Giannini
  • instructor M. McQuade
  • 4 Units

This course begins with the assumption that before America could be discovered, it had to be imagined. Columbus and his predecessors envisioned what they hoped to find before they left Europe to discover what the poet Michael Drayton would later call Earths only Paradise. Long after America was discovered, its political founders invented it as a promised land, as the consummation of an ideal, one that Lincoln would reaffirm in his Gettysburg Address: our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Since then, many have re-imagined America and dedicated it to other propositions. Our readings and seminar discussions will focus on a series of texts (including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, historical documents, art, advertisements, music, photographs) that represent some of the most engaging ways in which America has been imagined and re-imagined from its inception to the elections of Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. We will begin with selections from the literature of exploration, including the letters of Christopher Columbus and Giovanni de Verrazzano, The Narrative of Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca, and Pedro de Castenadas Narrative of the Expedition of Coronado as well as the first writing in English about the new world (A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia 1588). We will continue exploring the American perspective by analyzing selected Native American stories, John Winthrops sermon A Model of Christian Charity, and A Description of New England, Captain John Smiths fascinating account of growing rich in the new world. We will also examine some of the earliest drawings and engravings of the people and landscape discovered in the Americas. Depending on the nature and pace of our conversations and the reading experiences of seminar participants, we may also discuss selections from Hector St. Jean deCrevecoeur, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Frederick Douglas, Walt Whitman, Abraham Lincoln, P.T. Barnum, Mark Twain, Edward Bellamy, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and Martin Luther King. We may consider as well selections from the poetry of June Jordan, Robert Creeley, Pat Mora, Joy Harjo, and Lorna Dee Cervantes along with paintings, advertisements, and other renditions of imagining America in popular culture, including the music of Randy Newman and Bruce Springsteen. Throughout the course, we will consider these texts as sites for studying methodological approaches and theoretical debates that characterize scholarship in American Studies. The nature and extent of research and writing in the course will depend on the experience and the intellectual aspirations of seminar participants.

Special Courses of Interest

American Studies C 152 Native American Literature

  • day and time TuTh 12:30-2:00
  • location 155 Barrows
  • instructor E. Lima
  • 3 Units
  • Class # 02087

Also cross-listed as Native American Studies C152

In this course, we will investigate the relationship between history and the development of Native American Literature. Our analyses will consider the formal and thematic dimensions of these texts and the historical contexts in which they emerge and circulate. We will read nineteenth-century non-fictional texts by important Native intellectuals like William Apess and Charles Eastman and novels by major twentieth-century Native writers such as James Welch, Louise Erdrich, and Leslie Marmon Silko. This course is also designed to provide skills for the study of literature. During the term students will learn to read critically and to write sophisticated analytical essays.

American Studies C 172 Business in its Historical Environment

  • day and time MW 11:00-12:30
  • location 230 Cheit
  • instructor C. Rosen
  • 3 Units
  • Class # 02090

Also cross-listed as UGBA C172

This course covers an amazing history of creative innovation, growth, structural change, challenge, trouble, travail and more growth, more change, challenge, and trouble. Less than two hundred years ago, the U.S. was just starting to transform itself from a country of farmers and village craftsmen into a nation based on large scale, mechanized, corporate controlled industry. By the late 20th century the nation was an industrial colossus dominated by huge multinational corporations that operated in markets around the world. Now it is suffering the continuing effects of recession, downsizing, outsourcing, and the roiling of financial market here and abroad while benefiting from cheaper energy prices from the rise of the gas fracking industry, the rise of new media, the robotization of labor, and rising wages in China and other parts of the developing world. Its richly paid corporate managers are dealing with many challenges: the consequences of the ongoing crises in US and international financial and credit markets, a host of regulatory challenges here and abroad, increasingly rapid rates of technological innovation, increasingly intense global competition, and the ever insistent demands from the investor community for maximal profits every quarter. They must manage, find economic opportunities, and politically maneuver in a marketplace that is being constantly shaped and reshaped by technological and financial innovation and the rise of new markets, the outsourcing of American jobs, new forms of financial, environmental, economic and other regulation and deregulation, and the rise of dynamic competitors in China, India, Brazil, and other parts of the developing world.