Undergraduate Department of American Studies

Department of American Studies

Gail Dines, Chair and Professor

Akeia Benard, Assistant Professor

Geoffrey McCormack, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

Sandra McEvoy, Associate Professor, Director, Political Science and Global Studies

Susan Owusu, Instructor and Coordinator of the Communications Major

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 Requirements36 credits
AST 160 American Identities 4 credits
HDS 106 Sociology of Minority Groups 4 credits
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 1XX 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 2XX Media, Violence, and Revolutions/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 3XX Neo-liberalism, Development, and the Global South/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 area16 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 135 Bombs and Bombshells/4 cr
PSG 1XX 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 225 African Literature/4 cr
LIT 230 African-American Women Writers/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 and Ideas of the Jewish People/4 cr
PSG 235 Theory and Practice of International Conflict Resolution.
PSG 240 Social Movements
PSG 250 Politics of Sex Trafficking/ 4 cr
PSG 230 LGBT Politics in Film/4 cr
PSG 2XX Media, Violence, and Revolutions/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 3XX Neo-Liberalism, Development, and the Global South/4 cr
PSG 3XX 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
An internship if not already completed as an advanced course
An advanced course in either the Humanities or Art History

Communications Major with a Professional Major/36 Credits
Course Requirements20 Credits
Introductory 12 credits
COM 150 Communication, Persuasion &Propaganda/4 cr
COM 101 Introduction to Media Production/4 cr
Choose One*
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
PSG 2XX Media, Violence, and Revolutions
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
COM 265 The African Diaspora Speaks/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 2XX Media, Violence, and Revolutions/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
EDU 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.

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 Requirements36 credit option
AST 150 Introduction to American Government/4 cr
Global Perspectives (choose one)* 4 credits
PSG 101 Issues in Globalization/4 cr
PSG 130 Women and Globalization/4 cr
PSG 1XX Global Greed and Corruption/4 cr
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 History (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
PSG 2XX Media, Violence, and Revolutions/4 cr
Advanced (choose one)* 4 credits
PSG 3XX Seeking Justice after the War/4 cr
HDS 322 Feminist Theories/4 cr
AST 403 Senior Seminar in American Studies/4 cr
PSG 410 Internship in Political Science and 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 allows 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 1XX Global Greed and Corruption/4 cr
Intermediate Courses (choose one or two) 4-8 credits
AST 215 Political and Social Change in America/4 cr
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
COM 265 The African Diaspora Speaks/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 260 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 2XX Media, Violence, and Revolutions/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 3XX Seeking Justice After the War/4 cr
PSG 3XX Neoliberalism, Development, and the Global South/4 cr
PSG 3XX Capitalism and its Discontents/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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