Why American Studies?

Who or what is “American”? How have Americans understood what it means to be “American”? This course (AMST 201) introduces students to these central questions in the study of American culture through an exploration of key concepts in American Studies such as identity, empire, performance, nation, race, and citizenship.

Course texts will include original historical documents – short stories, paintings, music, film – and secondary studies by scholars from an array of academic disciplines. In addition to working with a range of texts in the classroom, students will have an opportunity to engage several “field investigations” – opportunities to read the cityscape of Richmond. Through reading, discussion, writing, and field investigations, students will bring a range of methods and analytical frameworks to bear on the study of American culture and society.