Course Catalog: Undergraduate Department of American Studies

The degree requirements outlined in this catalog are intended to be used for students entering Wheelock in the 2016-2017 academic year.

Gail Dines, Chair and Professor
Sandra McEvoy, Associate Professor, Director, Political Science and Global Studies
Susan Owusu, Instructor, Director of the Communications Major
Akeia Benard, Assistant Professor
Geoffrey McCormack, Instructor
Dan Owusu, Instructor
Joyce Hope Scott, Associate Professor
Eric Silverman, Professor

Available Programs of Study:

B.A., American Studies
B.A., Communication and Media Literacy
B.A., Political Science and Global Studies

B.A./American Studies Major with a Professional Major /36-40 credits

The American Studies major is an interdisciplinary program that permits students to combine interests in sociology, history, literature, political science, art and psychology. American Studies, with its focus on the ways historically oppressed groups have fought for social justice and helped shape American Society, offers students a multicultural lens that complements professional preparation for the fields of teaching, social work, juvenile justice and youth advocacy, and child life.

  • Students develop an individualized focus that allows for a flexible program of study. Suggested areas of focus include; Popular Culture and Representation, Race and Ethnic Studies, and Women’s Studies.
  • An arts and sciences major that may be combined with a professional major in Juvenile Justice and Youth Advocacy, Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, Special Education, or Social Work.
  • American Studies is also available as a minor.
  • You may choose American Studies for your undergraduate major as part of Wheelock’s five-year dual degree program leading to a master’s in Child Life.

Learning outcomes for the American Studies major:

Students will:

  • Develop the analytical and theoretical skills for engaging in the multi-disciplinary study of political, economic and cultural institutions.
  • Understand the ways that inequality operates within institutions and is reproduced through culture and ideology
  • Appreciate the ways that critical theories developed in women’s studies, race studies, and media studies provide a lens that facilitates deconstructing identities and ideologies.
  • Demonstrate an historically grounded understanding of how social change is advanced through political struggle and collective action.

Course Requirements 36 credits

AST 160 American Identities/4 cr

HDS 106 Sociology of Minority Groups/4 cr

Select One* 4 credits

AST 150 Introduction to American Government/4 cr.

AST 256 Gender and Politics/4 cr.

HIS 165 America Through the Civil War/4 cr.

HIS 167 America Since the Civil War/4 cr.

HIS 245 Women in America/4 cr.

LIT 245 Native American Literature/4 cr.

LIT 246 African-American Literature/4 cr.

PSG 140 Global Greed and Corruption/ 4 cr

Select one* (Intermediate courses) 4 credits

AST 257 Race in America/4 cr.

COM 250 Apocalyptic America/4 cr

PSG 240 Social Movements/4 cr

*Courses used to meet this requirement may not be counted toward the individualized focus area.

Advanced course (select one) 4 credits

PSG 380 Capitalism and its Discontents/4 cr

HDS 322 Feminist Theories/4 cr

AST 403 Senior Seminar in American Studies/4 cr

AST 410 Internship in American Studies/4 cr

Individualized focus area 16 Credits

Introductory Course (select one) 4 credits

AST 140 Media and Race in American Society/4 cr

AST/HDA 225 Anthropology of American Men/4 cr

HDA/PSG 121 Anthropology and Globalization/4 cr

HDS 103 Women, Culture and Society/4 cr

HIS 165 America Through the Civil War/4 cr

HIS 167 America Since the Civil War/4 cr

HIS 215 Africa and Its Global Encounters/4 cr

LIT 180 Film and Fiction/4 cr

PSG 101 Issues in Globalization/ 4 cr

PSG 130 Women and Globalization/ 4 cr

PSG 135 Bombs and Bombshells/4 cr

PSG 140 Global Greed and Corruption/4 cr

PSG 101 Issues in Globalization/4 cr

PSG 130 Women and Globalization/4 cr

Intermediate Courses (select at least one) 4-8 credits

AST 220 Coming to America/4 cr

AST 256 Gender and Politics/4 cr

AST 257 Race in America/4 cr

AST/HDA 258 Religion in America/4 cr

AST 265 Studies in American Popular Culture/4 cr

AST 290 History, Culture and Spirituality of West Africa/4 cr

COM 255 Media Literacy for Children and Youth/4 cr

COM 250 Apocalyptic America/4 cr

HDA 256 Sex and Culture/4 cr

HDP 282 Children and the Media/4 cr

HIS 245 Women in America/4 cr

HIS 269 The Sixties/4 cr

LIT 215 Survey of American Literature/4 cr

LIT 245 Native-American Literature/4 cr

LIT 246 African American Literature/4 cr

PHL 230 American Philosophy/4 cr

PHL 240 Great Ages&Ideas of the Jewish People/4 cr

PSG 230 LGBT Politics in Film/4 cr

PSG 235 Theory and Practice of International Conflict Resolution/ 4 cr

PSG 240 Social Movements

PSG 250 Politics of Sex Trafficking/ 4 cr

THE 238 African-American Theatre/4 cr

Advanced Courses (select at least one) 4-8 credits

AST/HDA 323 Media Madness/4 cr

AST/HDA 350 Globalization and Human Rights/4 cr

AST 365 Studies in American Popular Culture/4 cr

AST 412 International Summer Internship(Ghana) /4 cr

COM 440 Media as a Tool for Social Change/4 cr

HDS 322 Feminist Theories/4 cr

HIS 402 Advanced Studies in History/4 cr

PSG 380 Capitalism and its Discontents/4 cr

American Studies Major without Professional Major /40 credits

Students opting to major in American Studies without a second major should follow the requirements for the 36-credit major as listed above and add the following, for a total of 40 credits.

Select One:

An additional advanced course in American Studies or Political Science and Global Studies

An internship if not already completed as an advanced course

An advanced course in either the Humanities or Art History

Communications Major/ B.A. Degree /36-48 Credits

The Communications major combines a foundation in the Arts and Sciences with a theoretical and practical framework for under-standing communications, media development, and production. Students learn theories of how media shapes society and a set of skills for creating media and implementing media literacy pro-grams for children, youth and adults. This major offers students a unique perspective on how to communicate in both traditional and digital contexts. Students learn to critically analyze, craft, and de-liver information using a variety of media—print, TV, radio, and the web. Students will then build on this foundation through one of two focus areas.

Students choose from one of two focus areas:

  • The Communication and Culture focus is for students interested in careers working with children and families, where it will useful to educate youth to be media-literate, or for those interested in using communications in communities and organizations working for social justice.
  • The Media Production focus is for students who aspire to a communications career requiring strong hands-on skills in content development and production for print, video, and digital media. Offers internships for practical experience and access to the job market.

Learning outcomes for the Communications major:

Students will:

  • Understand the processes and effects of communication messages on
  • interpersonal relationships, and on cultural groups and societies
  • Develop a critical framework for analyzing media messages
  • Understand the complex relationship between media messages and identity
  • formation, with special focus on media representations of race, class and gender
  • Develop skills related to media production

Communications Major with a Professional Major/36 Credits

Course Requirements 20 Credits

Introductory 12 credits

COM 150 Communication, Persuasion & Propaganda/4 cr

COM 101 Introduction to Media Production/4 cr

Choose One* 4 credits

HDS 105 Sociology of Media/4cr

AST 140 Media and Race in American Society/4 cr

Media Literacy (Choose One)* 4 credits

COM 255 Media Literacy for Children and Youth/4 cr

HDP 282 Children and the Media/4 cr

Advanced (Choose One)* 4 credits

AST 365 Studies in American Popular Culture/4 cr

AST 403 American Studies Senior Seminar/4 cr

COM 440 Media as a Tool for Social Change/ 4 cr

*Courses used to meet this requirement may not be counted towards other major requirements.

Focus Areas/16 credits

The Media Literacy focus (16 credits) is designed to be combined with one of the professional majors. This focus is for students interested in careers in professions such as schools, libraries, and non-profits. Students choosing this focus will:

  • Be theoretically grounded and digitally literate.
  • Have courses that provide both the theoretical basis and the practical expertise for developing media education/literacy programs for children and youth.
  • Be provided with an intellectually critical view of the world that complements professional preparation for the fields of teaching, social work, juvenile justice and youth advocacy, and child life.

The focus is also recommended for students interested in pursuing a graduate degree in related areas.

Introductory Courses (Choose one) 4 credits

COM 255 Media Literacy for Children and Youth/4 cr

HDS 105 Sociology of the Media/4 cr

LIT 180 Film and Fiction/4 cr

AST 140 Media and Race in American Society/4 cr

THE 123 Public Speaking/4 cr

Intermediate Courses (Choose one) 4 credits

COM 210 Video Production I/4 cr

COM 222 Designing the Digital Image/4cr

COM 245 Animation and Motion Graphics/4cr

COM 250 Apocalyptic America/4cr

MUS 279 Music for Children/4 cr

THE 277 Movement and Drama for Children/4 cr

VIS 278 Art for Children/4 cr

HDP 282 Children and the Media/4 cr

PSG 230 LGBT+ Politics in Film/4 cr

Advanced Courses (Choose two) 8 credits

AST 365 Advanced Studies in Pop Culture/4 cr

COM 410 Video Production II/4 cr

COM 412 Communications Internship/4 cr

COM 425 Storytelling in the Digital Age/ 4 cr

COM 440 Media as a Tool for Social Change/4 cr

HDP 362 The Meaning and Development of Play/4 cr

HDS 322 Feminist Theories/4 cr

THE 374 Children’s Theater/4 cr

Communications Major without a Professional Major—48 Credits

Students must complete the 20 credits of core requirements listed above for the 36 credit major and the 28 credit Media Production Focus.

Media Production Focus (28 credits)

The Media Production focus is designed for students without one of the professional majors, opting to pursue careers requiring strong hands-on skills in content development and production for print, video, and digital media. This focus offers internships for practical experience and access to the job market and delivers a strong foundation in industry-standard software. Students choosing this focus will:

  • Gain hands-on experience in a range of traditional and alternative media including production, graphic design, video production, animation, and motion graphic.
  • Gain the skills necessary to create various forms of communications, including print, video, and digital and electronic applications.
  • Complete one or two internships, gaining professional experience and mentoring.

Choose Seven 28 credits

COM 222 Designing the Digital Image/4 cr.

COM 210 Video Production 1/4 cr.

COM 230 New Media I /4 cr.

COM 245 Animation and Motion Graphics/4 cr.

COM 410 Video Production 11/4 cr.

COM 425 Storytelling in the Digital Age/4 cr.

COM 430 New Media II /4 cr.

COM 412 Internship in Communications /4 cr.

COM 440 Media as a Tool for Social Change/4 cr

B.A./Political Science and Global Studies with a Professional Major /36-40 credits

Wheelock’s Political Science and Global Studies degree program focuses on how politics, on a local, national, and global level shape, and often limit the lives of marginalized groups. Choose from a compelling range of courses taught by professors in political science, anthropology, sociology, history, economics, women’s studies, and media studies, and learn about the ways that all our lives are intertwined. Students will understand the ways that local choices have global ramifications and how to better appreciate that the struggle for justice and equality knows no national borders. The major provides students with an international and multicultural lens that complements professional preparation.

Learning outcomes for the Political Science and Global Studies major:

Students will:

  • Demonstrate familiarity with the major concepts, theoretical perspectives, empirical findings, and historical trends in the study of Political Science and Global Studies
  • Understand the philosophical and practical problems of political organization, action, and governance
  • Develop the habit of formulating alternative understandings, and test these competing understandings in ways that lead to appreciating the complexities of a rapidly changing global political landscape
  • Use critical and creative thinking, skeptical inquiry and rigorous analysis in their written and spoken communication

Course Requirements 36 credit option

AST 150 Introduction to American Government/4 cr or

PSG 145 Introduction to Political Theory/4 cr

Global Perspectives (choose one)* 4 credits

PSG 101 Issues in Globalization/4 cr

PSG 130 Women and Globalization/4 cr

PSG 140 Global Greed and Corruption/4 cr

PSG 226 Perspectives on Global Health/4cr

Reframing History (choose one)* 4 credits

AST 257 Race in America/4 cr

COM 250 Apocalyptic America/4 cr

PSG 240 Social Movements/4 cr

Intermediate (choose one)* 4 credits

AST 265 Gender and Politics/4 cr

PSG 260 Comparative Politics/4 cr

PSG 230 LGBT+ Politics in Film/4 cr

Advanced (choose one)* 4 credits

HDS 322 Feminist Theories/4 cr

AST 403 Senior Seminar in American Studies/4 cr

PSG 410 Internship in Political Science &Global Studies/4 cr

*Courses used to meet this requirement may not be counted toward the individualized focus area.

Individualized focus area (16 credits)

In selecting their electives, students will work with an advisor to develop an area of study. The wide range of courses offered al-lows students to create a coherent focus around themes, topics, periods or debates within political science and global studies.

Introductory Courses (choose one) 4 credits

AST 140 Media and Race in American Society/4 cr

AST 160 American Identities/4 cr

COM 150 Communication, Persuasion and Propaganda/4 cr

HDA 121 Anthropology and Globalization/4 cr

HDS 106 Sociology of Minority Groups/4 cr

HDS 103 Women, Culture and Society/4 cr

HIS 165 America Through the Civil War/4 cr

HIS 167 America Since the Civil War/4 cr

PSG 101 Issues in Globalization/4 cr

PSG 130 Women and Globalization/4 cr

PSG 135 Bombs and Bombshells/4 cr

PSG 140 Global Greed and Corruption/4 cr

Intermediate Courses (choose one or two) 4-8 Credits

AST 265 Gender and Politics/4 cr

AST/HDA 225 Anthropology of American Men/4 cr

AST 220 Coming to America/4 cr

AST 257 Race in America/4 cr

COM 250 Apocalyptic America/4 cr

HIS 208 Twentieth Century European History/4 cr

HIS 215 Africa and Its Global Encounters/4 cr

HIS 245 Women in America/4 cr

HIS 235 America and the World/4 cr

HIS 269 The Sixties/4 cr

PSG 220 Issues in Policy, Law, and Gender/4 cr

PSG 240 Social Movements/4 cr

PSG 250 The Politics of Sex Trafficking/4 cr

PSG 260 Comparative Politics/4 cr

PSG 230 LGBT+ Politics in Film/ 4 cr

PSG 235 Theory and Practice of Conflict Resolution/4 cr

Advanced Courses (choose at least one) 4-8 credits

COM 440 Media as a Tool for Social Change/4 cr

AST/HDA 350 Globalization and Human Rights/4 cr

HDS 322 Feminist Theories/4 cr

PSG 380 Capitalism and its Discontents/4 cr

PSG 405 Neoliberalism,Development&the Global South/4 cr

Political Science and Global Studies Major Without Professional Major /40 credits

Students opting to major in Political Science and Global Studies without a second major should follow the requirements for the 36-credit major as listed above and add the following, for a total of 40 credits:

Select One:

An additional advanced course in Political Science and Global Studies

An internship

An independent study to enrich your individualized focus

Minors offered by the American Studies Department:

American Studies (4 Courses)

AST 160 American Identities/4 cr

HDS 106 Sociology of Minority Groups/4 cr

One AST Intermediate Course/4 cr

One AST Advanced Course/4 cr

Political Science and Global Studies (4 Courses)

AST 150 Introduction to American Government/4 cr

Choose one:

PSG 101 Issues in Globalization/4 cr

PSG 130 Women and Globalization/4 cr

PSG 226 Perspectives on Global Health/4 cr

One intermediate PSG course/4 cr

One advanced PSG Course/4 cr

Communications and Media Literacy Minor (4 courses)

Students wishing to complete a minor in Communications can choose courses from either the communication and culture or media production track. Student must take four Communications courses to complete the major.

Choose one:

COM 150 Communication Persuasion and Propaganda/4 cr

COM 140 Media and Race/4 cr

COM 101 Introduction to Media Production/4 cr

Three other COM courses, one of which must be advanced/12 cr

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