American Studies 101: America Then and Now

“America Then and Now” introduces students to the highly interdisciplinary and always timely field of American studies. Students participate firsthand in the experience of democratic inquiry, drawing on approaches from the arts, humanities, and social sciences. AMS 101 also serves as the gateway course to three certificate programs: American studies, Asian American studies, and Latino studies.

Study and discussion range across media. Students engage with a wide variety of texts — verbal, sonic, and visual — and through them consider signature ideas and debates that have shaped America as a nation, and the historical and cognitive processes associated with the formation of America then and now, material and imagined.

Students experience interdisciplinary intersections not possible within traditional academic boundaries. Drawing from materials in literature, history, political science, theater, law, cultural studies, art history, and the history of science, students study ways of knowing that constitute this aspirational ideal we call “America.” “America Then and Now” and American studies make space for dynamic inquiry and continually innovated approaches in the face of a continually changing object: America in the world and the world in America.