American Studies Courses 2013-2014

The degree requirements outlined in this catalog are intended to be used for students entering Wheelock in the 2013-14 academic year.

AST 140
Media and Race in American Society
4 credits

Introduces students to a multicultural analysis of media theory, content, and effects. Explores how racial and racist perceptions of people of color shape cultural norms, attitudes, and practices. Course will cover a wide range of media forms such as Hip-Hop, advertisements, movies, and reality TV. General Education: Self and Society and Perspectives on Diversity. Introductory.

AST 145
American Leaders: A Critical Inquiry
4 credits

The purpose of this seminar is to help you "learn how to learn." You will be introduced to the skills and attitudes of 'critical inquiry.' You will be asked to learn and practice these skills and attitudes by using them in the study of an American Leader such as Eleanor Roosevelt. General Education: Critical Thinking and Self and Society. Introductory.

AST 150
Introduction to American Government
4 credits

Analyzes institutional development of American national government, Massachusetts politics, emphasizing the presidency, Congress, and the Supreme Court. Topics include interaction of the three branches of government, the history of politics in the United States, political parties, and interest groups. Focuses on current events and public policy issues. Introductory.

AST 160
American Identities
4 credits

Introduction to interdisciplinary American Studies. Explores the history, reality, ideology and meaning of American identity. American identities as shaped by such factors as place, work, family, political systems, religion and education. Focus on how American identities both shared and individual are formed by race, class, gender and ethnicity. General Education: Perspectives on Diversity, Self &Society or Historical Perspectives. Introductory.

AST 220
Coming to America
4 credits

Places immigrant narratives into the broader context of immigration policies that shaped immigrant communities. Analyzes current rise in hate crimes and growing anti-immigrant sentiment. Topics include how immigration policies have been influenced by economic interests, demand for labor, war, colonization, nativism, and xenophobia. Uses oral histories, poetry, and multi-media resources. General Education: Fulfills Upper Level Writing, Perspectives on Diversity, AND Historical Perspectives. For students entering prior to September, 2010: US History, Civilization, Culture Multicultural requirement. Intermediate.

AST/HDA 225
Anthropology of American Men
4 Credits

Examines the social and cultural construction of masculinity in the United States using the theories and methods of Anthropology. Topics include race, class, ethnicity, and religion; popular images of American men (e.g., movies, magazines, sports, jokes); relationship of US manhood to sexuality, war, and women. Some comparison to other cultures. General Education: Perspectives on Diversity, Self & Society or Historical Perspectives. Intermediate.

AST 256
Gender and Politics
4 Credits

Explores how gender influences and shapes political campaigns, ideologies and candidates. Sets gender within the wider historical framework of America as a multicultural society. Examines role of women change agents in American politics such as Eleanor Roosevelt and Hilary Rodham Clinton. Topics include abortion, affirmative action, gay marriage and civil rights. General Education: Self and Society OR Ethics and Society Justice.

AST 257
Race in America
4 Credits

Analyzes history and meaning of race in America. Interdisciplinary, including fiction, philosophy, historic documents, laws, and popular culture. Focus on Native American, African American, Asian American, and Latino experiences. Topics include Indian removal policies, slavery, creation of "whiteness," eugenics, immigration exclusion laws, 1960s civil rights movements, and contemporary meanings of race. General Education: Perspectives on Diversity and Upper Level Writing (after ENG 121). also Ethics and Social Justice or Historical Perspectives. Intermediate.

AST/HDA258
Religion in America
4 credits

Investigates different religious traditions in the United States, past and present, while studying social science theories of religion. Topics include: Why does religion exist; how different religions assimilate or resist citizenship; the tension between "religious freedom" and the "common good"; consumerism and religion; religions in Boston; what does religion do for us that so many Americans are religious; does truth matter, and are there 'fake' religions? General Education: Perspectives on Diversity also Historical Perspectives or Self &Society. Intermediate

AST 265/365
Studies in American Popular Culture
4 credits

Provides examples, context, theories, and methodologies for understanding the development and meaning of American popular culture. Particular focus on gender, race, and ethnicity. Emphasis on analysis of culture from different mediums, including popular literature, film, music, and television. Organized historically, and by medium. General Education: Perspectives on Diversity AND Upper Level Writing (after ENG111) AND Historical Perspectives. Prerequisite: AST 160 or by permission of instructor. Intermediate/Advanced.

AST 285
In the Best Interest of the Child (formerly Children and Families in American Society)
4 credits

Provides students with the historical knowledge, skills and dispositions to understand the lives of children. Topics include childhood in Puritan America, childhood in slavery, origins of Head Start, kindergartens, and role of science in understanding children. Uses varied sources including literature, cultural and social history, social work and social policy. Prerequisites: Course in Human Development, History or American Studies, or by permission of instructor. Advanced.

AST 290
History, Culture and Spirituality of West Africa
4 credits

A travel/study course on West African culture, history and spirituality with a 2-week international service learning component. Study and experience 2 West African countries, Ghana and Bénin that have been pivotal historically and culturally to the development of the US and other countries in the Americas. General Education: Perspectives on Diversity Intermediate.

HDS ONLY AST 323/HDP 323
Media Madness
4 credits

Examines nature of media-its violence, sexism, racism and commercialism; why it is this way; how it shapes children's development, attitudes and behavior, families, and society; how to develop broad-based media literacy which incorporates conflict resolution, antiracism, anti-sexism efforts into professional settings and everyday life; policy and advocacy issues. (Advanced Psychology, Advanced American Studies, Advanced Communications). Prerequisite: One course in Human Development.

AST/HDA 350
Globalization and Human Rights
4 credits

Explores the processes and outcomes of globalization and analyzes basic Human Rights literature and its application to the global economy. Students will also discover how their daily actions and interactions impact the lives of others, particularly those in impoverished nations. Prerequisite: HDP 120-121, 122-123 or HDP 124-125, 126-127. General Education: Perspectives on Diversity, also Self &Society OR Ethics and Social Justice. Advanced.

AST 403
Senior Seminar in American Studies
4 credits

Explores the richness of scholarship in American Studies. Using theories and methodologies adopted in the social sciences and the Humanities, students examine specific time periods, such as the 1950s or specific topics, such as the social construction of whiteness or the nature of work in capitalism. Prerequisites: AST 160 and at least one intermediate AST course or by permission of instructor. Advanced.

AST 410
Internship in American Studies
6 credits

Builds upon student's focus and provides experience in a field of the student's choice. Students gain deeper understanding of role of cultural institutions in American Society, such as museums, media organizations and activist based organization. Location decided in consultation with advisor. Placements are 10 hours a week. Discussion group accompanies fieldwork. Open to American Studies majors only. Prerequisite: Juniors and Seniors only. Advanced.

AST 412
International Summer Internship
4 credits

Provides students with an opportunity to improve their understanding of global issues (West Africa in particular) and equips them with a broader professional experience and international competence, while providing an opportunity for them to hone leadership skills and make a meaningful contribution to local efforts in partner country of Ghana by working side-by-side with local people, developing an awareness of mutual goals, sharing in the goals of the host communities, and participating in the collective responsibility to work together as advocates. General Education: Fulfills Perspectives on Diversity and Self and Society. Prerequisites: Junior or Senior standing, 3.0 GPA minimum. 

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