Course Descriptions

  • AMER 101: Intro to African American Studies
    This course provides an overview of African American history and culture. Topics include major events, persons, and issues spanning the period from the African heritage to contemporary times. Students survey the evolution of African American expressive culture in music, literature, film, art, and dance. The course includes lectures, discussions, and video presentations. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: AFAM 110
  • AMER 110: Introduction to American Studies
    Have Americans always shared a common culture, or do the differences between us outweigh what unites us? In this introduction to the field of American Studies, we will explore key debates about what it means to be American, specially the impact of gender, race, ethnicity, and class on definitions of American identity, whether singular or collective. We will study mainly historical, political, and literary texts, especially first-person, nonfiction texts like letters, speeches, essays, and autobiographies in verse and prose. Students will also get a taste of the multidisciplinary nature of American Studies through film, music, dance, creative research projects, and guest speakers. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
  • AMER 119: Introduction to American Politics
    Origins of the American political system, basic institutions, political parties and interest groups, and evolution of constitutional interpretation.
    Cross-listed as: POLS 120
  • AMER 200: Topics
    Spring 2015 Topic: The American West in Washington and Hollywood. In 1893, the great historian Frederick Jackson Turner put forward what has become a standard interpretation of the American sprit: 'American history has been in a large degree the history of the colonization of the Great West. … [Its] continuous touch with the simplicity of primitive society, [is one of] the forces dominating American character. … [The] frontier is … the meeting point between savagery and civilization.' It is no coincidence that his seminal essay was delivered at a moment just after the US Census Bureau announced the official end of the frontier (1890), and just before the first motion pictures were produced (1895). Edwin S. Porter's The Great Train Robbery, generally taken to be the first film in the Western genre, was produced just ten years after Turner's essay, in 1903. In this course, we will investigate the images of the American West as they appear in American political rhetoric and Hollywood film, and the effect of these images on American life. (Elective for Cinema Studies).
    Cross-listed as: AMER 480
  • AMER 201: Stereotype,Prejudice,Discrimination
    An examination of psychological approaches to the problems of prejudice and discrimination. Topics covered include the prevalence of prejudice in American society, theoretical perspectives on the causes of prejudice, the psychological processes underlying different forms of prejudice (e.g., racism, sexism, ageism, homophobia, and ethnocentrism), and methods of combating prejudice and encouraging acceptance of diversity. Such topics will be explored through examination of classic and contemporary research. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: PSYC 205, AFAM 205
  • AMER 203: Early American Literature
    A survey of early American literature including Native American oral stories and trickster tales, Puritan literature, Smith and Pocahontas accounts, captivity narratives, voices of nationalism, early slave narratives, and women's letters.
    Cross-listed as: ENGL 203
  • AMER 204: Nineteenth Century American Lit
    Works of representative writers: Poe, Hawthorne, Melville, Thoreau, Emerson, Whitman, Dickinson, and Twain. Topics of discussion include Emerson's influence on American culture, developments in American literary form, and themes of American community and nature.
    Cross-listed as: ENGL 204
  • AMER 205: Twentieth Century American Lit
    Works of representative writers. Topics of discussion include American identity and the 'American dream,' developments in literary form, and the social and political values of modern literature.
  • AMER 206: American Environmental Lit
    An historically organized survey of the various rhetorics through which nature has been understood by Americans from the Puritans to contemporary writers: the Calvinist fallen landscape, the rational continent of the American Enlightenment, conservation and 'wise use,' and preservation and 'biodiversity.'
    Cross-listed as: ENGL 206, ES 206
  • AMER 207: Literature of Place: Chicago
    This course will examine Chicago history and literature by privileging its location. In other words, we will consider the city and its environs as central characters in the stories we study, moving through the history of the region with a narrative lens. This method will suggest the ever-changing character traits of Chicago as it develops from Pottawatomie war plain to fur trading post to early mercantile settlement to booming and (for a time) busting metropolis. We will begin with accounts of the Joliet expedition along with narratives of early settlers to the region. Other readings will draw from classic works by Jane Addams, Theodore Dreiser, John Dos Passos, Richard Wright, and Saul Bellow, Thomas Pynchon, Joe Meno, and Stuart Dybek, among others. Additionally, these narratives will be read in the context of theoretical offerings in ecocriticism. Students should keep Friday afternoons free for a series of field trips, to be scheduled well in advance.
    Cross-listed as: ENGL 207, ES 207
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  • AMER 210: Foundations American Republic
    (Foundations of the American Republic) The origins of American society and the development of the United States from an under-developed new nation into a powerful national entity. Emphasis on the reading and analysis of documentary materials. (Meets GEC First-Year Writing Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: HIST 200
  • AMER 211: Modern America
    America's response to industrialism and its changing role in foreign affairs. Emphasis on the techniques of research and paper writing. (Meets GEC First-Year Writing Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: HIST 201
  • AMER 212: Educational Reform in the U.S.
    This course will explore the meaning of educational reform in the United States, both from a historical and philosophical perspective and in the context of contemporary educational policy. Students will begin the course by studying the progressive educational reform movement of the early twentieth century. They will look at ways in which progressive education initiatives, including the open education movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s, have been challenged by proponents of standardization in schools. Charter schools, magnet schools, school vouchers, and No Child Left Behind also will be examined in order to better understand how the notion of educational reform is one that can be viewed from a wide variety of perspectives and within multiple contexts.
    Cross-listed as: EDUC 212, PHIL 214
  • AMER 213: Ritual in Contemporary America
    This course examines how ceremonies, festivals and other performative events enrich and define community. This study of ritual may include street fairs, parades, weddings, funerals, feasts and fasts as well as other public and private behaviors which comprise the diversity of American ritual life. Our course shall explore ritual as it occurs in many of the ethnic, racial, subcultural and countercultural communities in Chicago. We will investigate and attempt to understand both the invention and re-invention of community and personal identity through ritual action. Students should anticipate frequent field trips. (Cross-listed as SOAN 275 and THTR 235. Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: SOAN 275, THTR 235
  • AMER 216: African American Literature I
    A study of slave narratives and contemporary revisions. Includes works by Equiano, Douglass, Delaney, Jacobs, Morrison, Johnson, and Williams. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: ENGL 216, AFAM 216
  • AMER 217: African American Literature II
    An examination of narrative attempts before, during, and after the Harlem Renaissance to move from imposed stereotypes toward more accurate representations of African American experiences. Includes works by Chesnutt, Du Bois, Hurston, Larsen, Hughes, Toomer, Baldwin, and Walker. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: ENGL 217, AFAM 217
  • AMER 218: Blues Women in African Amer Lit
    An analysis of the representation of 'blues women' and the music in writings by African Americans. Authors include Larsen, Hurston, Morrison, Wilson, Jones, and Walker. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: ENGL 218, AFAM 218, GSWS 218
  • AMER 219: American Art
    The visual arts in North America, covering painting, sculpture, architecture, and the applied domestic arts, from the Colonial period to the present.
    Cross-listed as: ART 219
  • AMER 221: The Presidency
    The president is the symbolic leader of the federal government but, compared to Congress, the framers of the U.S. Constitution intended the executive to be the weaker branch of the national government. This course examines the growth and accumulation of presidential power and the implications of a strong executive for domestic politics and America's foreign relations. It also considers relations between the institution of the presidency and the courts, the media, and the people.
    Cross-listed as: POLS 221
  • AMER 222: Congress
    A glance at the enumerated powers granted the legislative branch under the U.S. Constitution suggests Congress is the strongest of the three branches of the national government. Yet the power of Congress is divided between two chambers, and the vast majority of legislation proposed in either chamber never becomes law. Congress is supposed to represent the interests of the people of the various states – and yet its public standing is nowadays at an historic low. This course examines the basic operations, structure, power dynamics, and politics of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate. It also considers the rivalry and relationship between Congress and the President.
    Cross-listed as: POLS 222
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  • AMER 223: Urban and Suburban Politics

  • AMER 224: Literature of the Vietnam War
    This course examines the Vietnam War as refracted through various literary genres. The readings for the course include Graham Greene's The Quiet American, Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried, and Truong Nhu Tang's Vietcong Memoir. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: ENGL 224, ASIA 224
  • AMER 225: Mass Media and American Politics
    An analysis of the influence of the mass media on American political institutions and American attitudes. Topics include First Amendment issues, political campaigns, political movements, public opinion, advertising, and entertainment.
    Cross-listed as: POLS 224
  • AMER 226: Chicago: Global/Neighborhood City
    'Chicago: Global City/City of Neighborhoods' recognizes that Chicago is both a global and a 'local' city. On the one hand, the city is involved in manufacturing, trade, and services on a worldwide basis. On the other hand, Chicago is a city of neighborhoods, often based on strong ethnic and racial identities. The course examines the city's dual quality by studying the interconnections between the world economy and the daily life of Chicagoans. A key connection is immigration, which we shall explore from the standpoint of several important communities, including, most prominently, Hispanics/Latinos (given our joint expertise in Spanish and Latin American Studies), as well as African-Americans, Eastern Europeans, and Asians. The course will take both an historical and contemporary approach, as we analyze how the city developed economically, politically, and culturally since the late 19th century, as well as how the city is adjusting today in an age of globalization. No prerequisite. Cross-listed in American Studies, Latin American Studies, Politics, Spanish, and serves as an elective for Urban Studies. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: POLS 239, LNAM 202, SPAN 202
  • AMER 227: History of Jazz
    Principal styles of representative jazz musicians; the roots (including blues and ragtime); jazz in New Orleans and Chicago; and big band, swing, bop, and fusion. No prerequisite. (Cross-listed as American Studies 227. Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: MUSC 227, AFAM 227
  • AMER 228: Women Writing Women
    This course will survey selected women writers, in diverse genres past and present, with a focus on American women in the 20th and 21st centuries. Writers may include: Muriel Rukeyser, Adrienne Rich, Maxine Hong Kingston, Louise Erdrich, Gloria Anzaldua, and Jamaica Kincaid, as well as women writing in recent genres like creative nonfiction, memoir, and transgender fiction. We will explore questions such as: Does the diversity of American women in terms of race, ethnicity, sexuality, and gender identification trouble the very concept of 'U.S. women writers'? What are ways that women have defined and undermined the concept of 'woman' in their writing? (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: ENGL 228, GSWS 228
  • AMER 234: Witches, Preachers, and Mystics
    In this course students consider the historical development of religion in the United States of America. We study topics such as the contact between Native Americans and European settlers, religion and the founding of the Republic, religious revivals and awakenings, immigration and religion, the rise of new forms of religion in the United States, responses to scientific and technological developments, and the entangling of religion and politics. The course covers religion from the colonial period to the dawn of the Cold War. No prerequisites.
    Cross-listed as: RELG 234, HIST 234
  • AMER 235: Racism and Ethnic Relations
    This course surveys of the development of the theories of race and ethnic relations at the individual, group, and cultural levels. Students will examine the impact these theories have had on social policy. The course focuses on the experience of Asians, Latinos and African Americans with special attention given to institutional expressions of oppression in American Society. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: SOAN 235
  • AMER 236: 20th Cent Theater: Musical Theater
    A study of representative musical comedies, operettas, and related works that will provide topics for papers by students. Emphasis will be placed on relationship to political, social, and cultural events. Videotapes of musicals are viewed and discussed. Among works to be discussed are Show Boat, Oklahoma!, South Pacific, My Fair Lady, Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar, A Little Night Music, Sunday in the Park with George, and others.
    Cross-listed as: ENGL 236, MUSC 235
  • AMER 237: Philosophy & 1960s Popular Culture
    This course offers a demanding tour through the intellectual milieu of the 1960s in the United States. We will read philosophical works, social theory, popular and literary fiction, and occasional pieces of various sorts (speeches, journalism, etc.); we will watch films and television shows; we will listen to music: all with the goal of figuring out not just how people in the 1960s were thinking, but also of understanding how philosophy and popular culture reflected and refracted each other during a particular—and particularly volatile—historical moment.
    Cross-listed as: PHIL 235
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  • AMER 238: American Fundamentalisms 1850-1950
    What do worship services involving snake handling, campaigns for a Creationist educational curriculum, and the Amish commitment to simple living have in common? All are religious expressions of antimodernism, which we might describe as a critical perspective on the value of modernity and its institutions (e.g. Enlightenment rationality, mass and consumer cultures, industrial capitalism, and Western medicine). This course investigates the late-19th and 20th century career of antimodernist sentiment within various faith traditions in America - from Protestant fundamentalism to sectarian groups - in an attempt to locate its roots, to survey its liturgical and cultural forms, and to consider its powers and limits.
    Cross-listed as: RELG 236
  • AMER 240: Public History
    Public history is the practice of history outside the academy. Public historians record and preserve evidence of the past in many formats, analyzing and interpreting their findings to general and specialized audiences beyond the traditional classroom setting. This course will survey the theory and practice of various professional historical specialties - ranging from archival administration to historic site management, museum exhibitions, and historical reenactment. Institutional constraints, audience development, and conflicts between history and public memory will be major thematic issues. Field trips to institutions and sites in the Chicago metropolitan area.
    Cross-listed as: HIST 285
  • AMER 241: American Foreign Policy
    This course explores the important historical events and ideologies that have shaped American foreign policy since the founding of the Republic. We study the models of foreign policy making in the area of national security, the world economy, international law and human rights, and the global environment. Special emphasis is placed on the strategic choices facing President Obama.
    Cross-listed as: POLS 240
  • AMER 249: Colonial America
    This course is an interpretive survey of American Colonial history in the context of a broad Atlantic system from 1492 to 1763. The colonial period was the first era of globalization, when peoples of Europe, Africa, and the Americas came together in new economic, social, and cultural configurations. In this class we will explore this period not only as the first chapter in American history, but more broadly as a hugely transformative era in World history. A main component of this course is attention to ordinary people in early America through research in primary sources.
    Cross-listed as: HIST 220
  • AMER 250: American Civil War
    The origins of the war in the antagonistic development of the free North and slave South; Lincoln and the Republican Party; Black activity in the North and South; the war; the transforming and gendered aspects of fighting the war; Reconstruction; the impact of the war on American development.
    Cross-listed as: HIST 226
  • AMER 251: Rhetorical History of U.S.
    A historical survey of rhetorical artifacts focusing on how interested parties use discourse to establish, maintain or revive power.
    Cross-listed as: COMM 251
  • AMER 252: Intro to Women's/Gender Studies
    (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
  • AMER 253: American Revolution
    To quote the historian Gordon Wood, the American Revolution 'was the most radical and far-reaching event in American history.' In this course we examine this momentous Founding Age of the United States, with a special focus on the ideas that shaped this period. We explore the growing estrangement of American colonies from Great Britain and the culmination of this process in the Declaration of Independence. Then we look at the process and controversies involved in creating a new nation, and the United States government.
    Cross-listed as: HIST 222
  • AMER 259: American Constitutional Law
    This course examines the major constitutional themes of judicial review, federalism, separation of powers, the commerce power, due process rights, and equal protection under the law. Students read U.S. Supreme Court cases in order to analyze and understand the allocation of government power. Prerequisite: POLS 120 or permission of instructor.
    Cross-listed as: POLS 261
  • AMER 261: American Environmental History
    Introduction to the historical study of the relationship of Americans with the natural world. Examination of the ways that 'natural' forces helped shape American history; the ways human beings have altered and interacted with nature over time; and the ways cultural, philosophical, scientific, and political attitudes towards the environment have changed in the course of American history, pre-history to the present.
    Cross-listed as: HIST 232, ES 260
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  • AMER 262: Race & Gender in American Politics
    In this course we will explore the complex relationship between race and gender in the American political process. How do underrepresented racial groups and women attain legislative success? What role does identity politics play in influencing voter decisions? We will examine how race and gender affect political behavior, public policy, American political culture, and the overall political landscape. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity requirement.)
  • AMER 263: American Cities
    The changing functions, scale, and quality of urban society from the seventeenth century to the present. A historical framework for studying modern American metropolitan problems. Some fieldwork in Chicago.
    Cross-listed as: HIST 235, ES 263
  • AMER 264: History of Rock and Roll
    This course covers the history of rock music from its origins in the blues and American country music to the diverse rock styles heard today. Analysis of performances and compositional styles of several familiar rock stars is included. Social and political influences will be addressed, but the focus will be on the music itself. No prerequisite.
    Cross-listed as: MUSC 264
  • AMER 265: American Jurisprudence
    (Jurisprudence: Philosophy of American Law) Students examine the ways Americans have conceptualized and theorized about the law from the time of the Founding to the present day. Topics to be covered include natural law versus legal positivism; the relationships among law, politics, economics, and society; and debates over constitutional and statutory interpretation, the proper role of judges in a democracy, and the relationship between domestic and international law. There are no prerequisites, but either POLS 120 or a previous course in political theory is encouraged.
    Cross-listed as: POLS 262
  • AMER 266: Music in Film
    Music has played an important part of the movie-going experience since the beginnings of the film industry in the 1890's, and the blending of music and drama has deeper roots still.  This course charts the development of music and sound in film, from these deep roots through the mis-named silent-movie era and on to the great film composers of the twentieth century and today.  Students will learn the fundamental elements of a film score, investigate how a film composer works, and develop a vocabulary for describing and assessing film music.  No prior knowledge of music or film history is necessary.
    Cross-listed as: MUSC 266
  • AMER 267: US & World History
    This course examines US history from various perspectives to show not only that it has been both similar to and different than that of other nations, but also that it cannot be separated from world developments. Examples of perspectives to be used include the following: a comparative viewpoint that looks at key moments and developments, i.e., the abolition of slavery, as they occurred throughout the world; a transnational approach that embeds US history at every significant moment, e.g., industrialization, in its connections to ongoing global events and processes; a diasporic standpoint that puts the voluntary and forced movement of peoples at the center of the evolution of US society; a political-economic critique that places the origins and development of capitalism at the center of world history since the fourteenth century.
    Cross-listed as: HIST 237
  • AMER 268: The Judiciary
    This is an examination of the federal court system, focusing on the United States Supreme Court. Students will study the constitutional beginnings of the federal judicial branch and its position vis a vis the two other branches of government. We will examine the history of the United States Supreme Court, the politics of presidential appointment of judges, selected case law over the course of the Court's history and its impact, personalities on the Court and the Court's decision-making process.
    Cross-listed as: POLS 266
  • AMER 269: American Philosophy
    American philosophy has a rich and diverse history. With the sometimes conflicting commitments to principles and pragmatism as a focus, the course will investigate topics such as (1) early debates over American political institutions: human rights and democracy versus aristocratic leanings to ensure good government; (2) eighteenth-century idealism (e.g., Royce) and transcendentalism (focusing on moral principle, as reflected in Emerson and Thoreau); (3) American pragmatism in its various forms (Pierce, James, and Dewey); (4) Whitehead and process philosophy; and (5) contemporary manifestations (e.g., human rights, environmental concerns, technology, and struggles with diversity).
    Cross-listed as: PHIL 270
  • AMER 270: Hist of Educ in American Society
    (History of Education in American Society) Historical role of education in American society; education as a panacea and as a practical solution; schooling vs. education. Emphasis is on the twentieth century.
    Cross-listed as: HIST 239, EDUC 239
  • AMER 271: The New American Nation, 1787-1848
    This course covers America's 'Founding Period' from the end of the Revolution through the conclusion of the U.S.-Mexican War. During this time, Americans gradually came to see themselves as part of a unified nation with its own distinctive culture and ideals, though this outcome was far from certain. Beginning with the Constitution and the uncertain legacies of the American Revolution, the course considers the fundamental political, social, and cultural problems that could easily have torn the young Republic apart. Topics and themes include the problems of democracy and popular politics, the limits of citizenship, the formation of a distinctive American culture, the place of America on the world stage, the transition to capitalism and the 'market revolution,' and the figure of Andrew Jackson. Prerequisites: No prerequisites. Corequisites: No corequisites.
    Cross-listed as: HIST 224
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  • AMER 275: Introduction to Film Studies
    Cinema technique, production, language, style, genres, movements, and criticism, through the analysis of particularly important and representative films and directors.
    Cross-listed as: COMM 275
  • AMER 276: The Progressive Era, 1865-1920
    This course offers an introduction to the political, social, and cultural history of the United States between Reconstruction and World War I. It is said that a new American nation and a distinctly modern culture emerged in this period. We will consider the merits of that claim as we examine how the United States was rebuilt socially, politically, economically, and culturally in the wake of the Civil War and upon the end of slavery. We will pay special attention to patterns of industrialization, urbanization, and immigration. We will be concerned with how those transformations unfolded, how they impinged upon the everyday life of ordinary people, and how people responded to them. We will also explore the popular culture of this period and the emergence of mass culture, as we look at contemporary speeches, essays, photography, architecture, advertising, and films.
    Cross-listed as: HIST 228
  • AMER 291: Tutorial

  • AMER 311: Hidden Chicago
    (Hidden Chicago: Culture, Class, Conflict). This course will explore specific aspects of Chicago 'hidden' away, either deliberately or accidently, as well as those simply effaced by time. To this end, we will look at 4 specific erasures that may include: 1) Fairs: The Colombian Exposition of 1893 (U of C and Jackson Park) and the 1933 Century of Progress Exhibition (Northerly Island); 2) Utopias and religious communities: the company town of Pullman and the early history of the Nation of Islam (and possible links to the jazz musician Sun Ra); 3) Public Housing and the Black Belt: The 'ghettos in the sky' that formerly dominated South State Street, and the period of black migration; the Chicago Defender; Richard Wright's novel Native Son and 4) Popular Myths and Movements: the city before the 1871 fire, the Potawatomie fur-trading era, the 'pirate' of Streeterville, various 'vice' districts, gangland Chicago, the House Music movement, etc. This field course will take students out of the classroom whenever possible. Or, put another way, the city shall be our classroom. The course texts will be both literary and historical in nature.
    Cross-listed as: ENGL 311
  • AMER 312: Black Metropolis
    (Black Metropolis: A Study of Black Life in Chicago). This course is a study of race and urban life in Chicago. From the founding of Chicago by a black man to the participation of blacks in the rebuilding of the city following the Great Chicago fire, and into an exploration of Bronzeville, 'a city within a city,' this course will highlight blacks and their contributions to this great city. Study of landmark texts, documentaries, novels, and photography, along with at least one field trip to the Chicago area, will reveal the impact of the Great Migration on the city; contributions of talented musicians, writers, and photographers involved in the Chicago Renaissance; and the origins of the famous black Chicago newspaper, the Chicago Defender, including its regular column by Langston Hughes. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: AFAM 312, ENGL 312
  • AMER 315: US Catholic Immigrant Experience
    From the Irish who arrived before the Civil War to the Mexicans and Vietnamese who have come recently, the Catholic experience in the US has been a continuing story of immigration. This course examines how succeeding immigrant groups have practiced and lived their Catholic faith in different times and places. Religion cannot be separated from the larger social and economic context in which it is embedded, so the course will also pay attention to the ways in which the social and economic conditions that greeted the immigrants on their arrival shaped how they went about praying and working. Finally, the changing leadership of the Catholic Church will be taken into account, since it provided the ecclesiastical framework for the new Catholic arrivals. Prerequisite: HIST 120 or HIST 121 or permission of the instructor. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: HIST 315, RELG 315
  • AMER 325: Black Literature of the 60s
    (Black Literature of the 60s and its Legacy.) A study of the literature produced by major participants in the Black Arts and Civil Rights movements, along with an examination of writings after the 60s to determine the legacy of the themes of protest and social change. Authors may include Amiri Baraka, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., Haki Madhubuti, Sonia Sanchez, Assata Shakur, Eldridge Cleaver, Gil Scott-Heron, Angela Davis, Tupac Shakur, Jay Z, M.K. Asante, Jr., Common, Ice Cube, Lupe Fiasco, among others. Prerequisite: English 217 or permission of the instructor. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: ENGL 325, AFAM 325
  • AMER 328: Topics in American Politics
    (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement, depending on topic.)
  • AMER 336: African American Drama & Theater
    (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
  • AMER 340: History and the Moving Image
    This course explores the role of moving images (film, television, internet) in understanding history as both collective process and contested interpretation. The course will integrate a discussion of recent historical methodologies concerning moving images, with examples from a variety of forms, including historical epics, documentaries, propaganda, television series, literary adaptations, and biographies. Special emphasis will be placed upon the ambiguities of historical context, including the time of production, the period depicted, and changing audiences over time. Topics include: 'Feudal Codes of Conduct in Democratic Societies,' 'Film as Foundation Myth for Totalitarian Ideologies' and 'Situation Comedy of the 1970s as Social History.' Prerequisite: Two history courses or permission of the instructor.
    Cross-listed as: HIST 360
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  • AMER 347: Topics in Gender and History
    A seminar that examines in depth one aspect of gender and history. Topics vary from year to year. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: HIST 364, GSWS 347
  • AMER 348: Museums and Exhibitions
    History is an academic discipline but it also has a public face. 'Public history,' through museum exhibitions, historical sites, the Internet, and other venues, is a growing career field. Students in this class will learn the communication tools necessary to produce an engaging and intellectually sound exhibit, including the techniques of oral history. The class will develop a concept, research in local archives, write label copy, and design and install an exhibit. We may use audio, video, photography, and the web to tell our story. The exhibition will be presented in the Sonnenschein Gallery or a local history museum, such as the Lake County Museum. The course will include field studies to Chicago-area history museums. Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing, or permission of the instructor.
    Cross-listed as: HIST 368
  • AMER 351: John Waters and American Culture
    American film director John Waters will visit Lake Forest College as the keynote speaker for the 7th Annual Lake Forest Literary Festival during Spring 2011. His films, from early transgressive works such as Pink Flamingos (1972) through the commercial success of Hairspray (1988) and its follow-up Broadway musical, explore the American experience of trash culture through the lens of his hometown, Baltimore, MD. Students will examine the making of an American icon by interrogating Waters' engagement with contemporary popular culture, humor, and kitsch/trash culture. More broadly, this class will address how Waters' work may best be interpreted through queer theory, a perspective that examines the dualities of identity and performance, the natural, neutral and social constructions of gender, and how normative standards of sexuality and gender change over time.
    Cross-listed as: COMM 350, WOMN 350
  • AMER 352: The American West
    History of the American West as both frontier and region, real and imagined, from the first contacts between natives and colonizers to the multicultural communities of the late-twentieth century. Examining both history and myth, we consider the legacy of Western expansion and evaluate Frederick Jackson Turner's famous argument that the West fundamentally shaped American history. Prerequisite: History 120 or 121 or permission of the instructor. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: HIST 310
  • AMER 353: Bringing Chicago's Art to Life
    This course explores the connections between plastic, two- and three-dimensional art and time-based art such as music, dance, and theater. Using the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago and performances by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, students will choose particular works of art and explore how they can inspire new works of theater art. These explorations can be in the genres of traditional theater, music, dance, or performance art, but they must be created and performed by the students. Additionally students will read, discuss and write about a variety of theoretical works on the nature and creation of art. Several small-scale projects and one longer performance project will be required. Prerequisites: THTR 230, THTR 231. An additional course in performance or dramatic theory is strongly recommended.
    Cross-listed as: THTR 353
  • AMER 355: American Social History
    Conducted as a seminar. Topics include family, class, gender, race, ethnicity, and work. Prerequisite: History 120 or 121, or permission of the instructor.
    Cross-listed as: HIST 312
  • AMER 357: American Cultural History
    This course introduces the craft and method of cultural history. Although it begins with the story of a cat massacre in eighteenth-century France, the course focuses on American art, literature, music, advertisements, and other forms of popular culture from the eighteenth century to the present. Students will use these types of evidence to understand how Americans made sense of events and transformations in the world around them. Topics will include eighteenth-century architecture, the illicit press of nineteenth-century New York, the showmanship of P.T. Barnum, early photography, the figure of the self-made man, blackface minstrelsy, early Wild West shows, 1920s advertising, and World War II pinups. All these examples will offer models for reading and interpreting cultural forms for historical meanings of gender, race, and identity. Students will work with the instructor to choose research topics for a seminar project of their own. Prerequisites: History 120 or 121, or permission of the instructor. Corequisites: No corequisites.
    Cross-listed as: HIST 314
  • AMER 360: The First Amendment
    In this course students explore the U.S. Supreme Court's interpretation of freedoms of speech (including obscenity and libel), assembly and association, the press, and the exercise and establishment of religion. We will also examine First Amendment issues raised by regulation of the Internet and other new media. Prerequisite: POLS 120 or consent of instructor. Not open to First-Year Students.
    Cross-listed as: POLS 361
  • AMER 361: Civil Rights Movement
    This course focuses on the origins, development, and accomplishments of the civil rights movement in post-World War II America. Particular emphasis will be given to the differences between the struggle for black equality in the south and its northern counterpart. Taught in a seminar format, the class will be both reading- and writing-intensive. Course readings and paper assignments are designed to help students develop a comparative analytical framework and to illuminate the following lines of inquiry: What caused and what sustained the civil rights movement? What changes took place within the movement over time, particularly at the level of leadership? What underlay the radicalization of the movement and what were the consequences? To what extent did the civil rights movement succeed and how do we measure that success today? Finally, how did the black civil rights movement inspire other groups and minorities in American society to organize? Prerequisite: History 120 or History 121. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: HIST 306, AFAM 361
  • AMER 362: Love in a Time of Capitalism
    Most of us are familiar with the idea that romantic love plays a different role in the contemporary world than it did at other times and the idea that love manifests in different ways across cultures. Rather than attempt a survey of all the possible manifestations of romantic love, this course aims to explore how 'love' features into our understandings of human interaction in the 21st century, particularly in the United States. We will be particularly focusing on the contemporary American notion that love and money are opposing forces. Our first goal will be to identify at least some of the tropes of love that are in current circulation. We will then explore the potential social consequences of those tropes, including the ways in which such tropes are passed on and reproduced across generations and the possibility of commodifying and 'selling' certain tropes as the 'right' way to be in love. Throughout the course, we will collect love stories, and our final task of the semester will be to compare our theoretical and media derived understandings of romantic love to its manifestations in people's lives. Prerequisites: SOAN 110 and 220 or consent of instructor.
    Cross-listed as: SOAN 362, GSWS 362
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  • AMER 364: The Fourteenth Amendment
    (The Fourteenth Amendment: Civil Rights and Equality) Students in this course examine the rulings of the United States Supreme Court in order to learn how the Fourteenth Amendment guides the government's treatment of people based on race, creed, national origin, gender, economic status and sexual orientation. State action, strict scrutiny analysis, affirmative action and voting rights are also covered. Prerequisite: POLS 120 or consent of instructor. Not open to First-Year Students. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: POLS 363
  • AMER 365: American Thought

  • AMER 366: Civil Liberties
    This course focuses on our individual liberties as addressed in the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment. Using United States Supreme Court cases, we examine the protection of our individual liberties —the meaning of equal protection and the antidiscrimination principle, expressive freedom and the First Amendment, religious liberty and church-state relations, rights of personal autonomy and privacy, criminal justice, voting rights, property rights and economic freedom. Prerequisite: POLS 120 or permission of instructor. Second year standing is also required.
    Cross-listed as: POLS 365
  • AMER 384: The Rhetorical Presidency
    Examines the rhetorical nature of the office of the President of the United States.
    Cross-listed as: COMM 384
  • AMER 386: Read Popular Culture:TV Criticism
    Focusing on how culturally we are both producers and products of our popular culture we will try to answer the question: 'are we, as a culture, using the potential of television wisely'?
    Cross-listed as: COMM 386
  • AMER 390: Internship

  • AMER 393: Research Project

  • AMER 440: Advanced Writing Seminar
    An advanced course in which each student completes a Senior Writing Project (a portfolio of work in poetry, fiction, drama, or nonfiction prose), while interacting with Chicago in two distinct ways: 1) students will generate writing from the study of specific Chicago neighborhoods, and, 2) students will participate in the literary life of the city through attending and staging literary events. Group discussion and individual conferences. Intended for senior majors in the English major-writing track. Prerequisites: (a) English 235; and (b) any 300-level writing course (English 330, 332, 360, 361, 363, or 364), or English 242/Theater 270. (Meets GEC Senior Studies Requirement.)
  • AMER 478: The 21st Century World (Dis)Order
    The international system of states is undergoing a power shift. Though it will remain the dominant world power for some time to come, most scholars agree that American global preeminence is waning. Yet scholars disagree about the effect of this shift on world order. Some see an effort by the United States and its closest allies to prop-up the current American liberal world order of global economic integration and cooperative security. Others envision either a 'post-American' world in which the United States and rising great powers re-negotiate the ground rules of a new liberal order, or a world in which the United States is one of a small number of great powers competing for power and influence in an illiberal world. Each of these possibilities raises compelling questions about war and peace, and cooperation and discord in twenty-first century international politics. Will this power shift jeopardize the liberal world order? Can this world order persist in the absence of American preeminence? How might the United States and its allies extend the current American world order?
    Cross-listed as: IREL 480
  • AMER 479: Topics in U.S. Foreign Policy

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  • AMER 480: Senior Seminar
    Spring 2015 Topic: The American West in Washington and Hollywood. In 1893, the great historian Frederick Jackson Turner put forward what has become a standard interpretation of the American sprit: 'American history has been in a large degree the history of the colonization of the Great West. … [Its] continuous touch with the simplicity of primitive society, [is one of] the forces dominating American character. … [The] frontier is … the meeting point between savagery and civilization.' It is no coincidence that his seminal essay was delivered at a moment just after the US Census Bureau announced the official end of the frontier (1890), and just before the first motion pictures were produced (1895). Edwin S. Porter's The Great Train Robbery, generally taken to be the first film in the Western genre, was produced just ten years after Turner's essay, in 1903. In this course, we will investigate the images of the American West as they appear in American political rhetoric and Hollywood film, and the effect of these images on American life.
    Cross-listed as: AMER 200
  • AMER 490: Internship

  • AMER 491: Tutorial

  • AMER 493: Research Project

  • AMER 494: Senior Thesis