Spring 2020 Course Packet

Curriculum Overview 

The American Studies Program is the oldest and one of the largest interdisciplinary programs in the College.  It is also one of the most flexible, attracting highly independent and curious students who want to pursue innovative research questions that cross disciplines and departments.  Unlike other majors in the College, American Studies is a 6-semester major.  Students begin their American Studies coursework in the Fall of their Sophomore year.  This builds an intellectual community and prepares students for a year-long senior thesis project – two unique and important aspects of Georgetown’s American Studies major. 

A Note on Language:

It is important to note that we have revised the language for our Core Curriculum courses. Here are the changes: 

Civ I → AMST203: Origins and Identities 

Civ II → AMST204: Memory, Power, and Culture 

Civ III → Approaches 

Civ IV → Topics 

If you began American Studies in Fall 2018 or after, this is the language you’ve always seen, but students who started earlier should be aware of the new language so you can select the right courses to fulfill your Civ III and Civ IV requirements. If you’re an American Studies senior in the Class of 2020, then your requirements are governed by the language you entered with.

You must take a Core III: Approaches course and a Core IV: Topics course. Topics and Approaches can be in either order, either in the Fall and the Spring of your Junior year or concurrently in one semester. 

The reason for this shift is two-fold: We wanted to make sure the language used to describe the Core courses of the American Studies curriculum reflected the current state of the field of American Studies. The language of “American Civilization” simply isn’t being used anymore, and it actually doesn’t capture the work we do in this program and this field. Secondly, by ascribing the descriptors of Topics or Approaches, you are better able to see the role these courses play in your American Studies curriculum. 

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out.

AMST 203: Origins and Identities and AMST 204: Memory, Power, and Culture 

Taken as a sophomore 

These core courses are designed for SO who are very interested in pursuing the AMST major. AMST 203 is offered in the Fall; AMST 204 is offered in the Spring. These courses help foster an intellectual community among AMST students and core AMST faculty, as well as introduce students to a broad range of approaches, interdisciplinary lenses, and historical time periods relevant to the field of American Studies. 

History Courses (2 required) 

Ideally taken as a first year or a sophomore 

AMST students take two history courses to gain background and context to their other core courses. We recommend HIST I80 (Fall) and HIST 181 (Spring). However, you may choose from other pre-approved alternatives that fall into this range: HIST 180-199, 280-299. Students are encouraged to choose one history course that covers pre-1865 and one that covers post-1865 America. We recommend (but do not require) that you fulfill your history requirement as a first year or a sophomore. As you get into your junior and senior years, you will want to take other history courses as electives. Study abroad courses cannot count towards these history requirements, as it is important that students work with Georgetown faculty. 

Core III: Approaches and Core IV: Topics (Previously known as CIV III and CIV IV) 

Taken as a junior 

These Core courses are designed by AMST core faculty to allow juniors to continue learning about the field of American Studies in more specialized ways. In these courses, juniors will have the opportunity to partake in assignments that will help them prepare for the development of a senior thesis proposal. 

For a course to fulfill the Core requirement, you must take it during your Junior year. Fall and Spring options will allow juniors to take their Core requirements during their junior year and also participate in study abroad. Because Core courses also count as American Studies Electives, you may take as many as you like, as long as you take at least 2 during your junior year. 

AMST Electives (6 required; 2 should come from the “Special AMST Electives” list) 

Can be taken as a first year, sophomore, junior, or senior 

AMST Electives allow you to follow your interests, develop expertise in areas potentially relevant for your senior thesis project, and build relationships with potential senior thesis advisers. As you choose courses, you will shape a ‘concentration’ that is uniquely suited to your interests. We encourage you to think creatively about your course selections and choose your American Studies Spring 2019 

courses with intention. Challenge yourself to take courses outside of your comfort zone. Consider approaching your areas of interest from different vantage points. We also encourage you to consult with an AMST professor or advisor for advice on selecting the best electives for you. 

Electives may come from 3 different venues: 

1) Special AMST Electives – We recommend you choose at least 2 of these, which are taught by AMST core faculty and often designed with AMST students in mind. 

2) Cross-listed courses – Choose AMST Electives from the list of more than 60 each semester. 

3) Study Abroad – We encourage AMST students to study abroad. You may count up to 2 courses as AMST Electives from a semester study abroad experience (with special approval). Please talk with our Program Manager, Colva Weissenstein, for ideas, information, and course-transfer criteria. 

Senior Thesis I and II (required) 

Taken as a senior 

The senior thesis is a hallmark of Georgetown’s American Studies Program. You become a scholar with depth of expertise in an area of particular interest to you. This is a wonderful complement to the broad-based liberal arts education you receive and it is what sets American Studies majors apart from others in the professional world and/or graduate school. 

NOTE: Reserved Seats in Core Courses

Live registration no longer allows students to prioritize certain classes, but we have reserved seats for declared American Studies majors in the three junior-level core classes:  AMST 272, ENGL 370, and SOCI 250. We have also reserved seats in AMST 379.

Core Courses: 

AMST 204: Memory, Power, Culture – Erika Seamon (sophomores)

AMST 305: Senior Thesis Seminar – Erika Seamon (seniors)

AMST 272: Facing Georgetown’s History – Adam Rothman (Topics)

ENGL 370: US Culture in the Depression Era – Hochman (Topics) 

FMST 399: CBL: Social Justice Documentary – Bernie Cook (Approaches)

SOCI 250: Race and Politics – Corey Fields (Approaches)

Special Electives: 

AMST 379:  Sports Personalities 20th/21st C – Skip Lane

ARTH 252: American Art to 1970 – Lisa Strong

ENGL 418 Queer Cinema – Caetlin Benson-Allott

FMST 398 Gaming & Justice – Amanda Phillips 

FMST 399 CBL: Social Justice Documentary – Bernie Cook

HIST 286 Slavery in North America – Adam Rothman 

HIST 287 Baseball/American Society – Chandra Manning 

HIST 292 US Women’s History – Katherine Benton-Cohen

HIST 386 Immigration in US History – Katherine Benton-Cohen

MUSC 116 Jazz History – Anna Celenza 

History Courses: 


HIST 286 Slavery in North America – Adam Rothman 


HIST 209 The Atomic Age – Kathryn Olesko 

HIST 283 The US in the World since 1945  – Toshihiro Higuchi 

HIST 287 Baseball/American Society – Chandra Manning 

HIST 292 US Women’s History – Katherine Benton-Cohen 

HIST 304 Power/Protest in 20th Cent LA – Unlisted 

HIST 358 Mexico: Revol to Globalization – John Tutino

HIST 386 Immigration in US History – Katherine Benton-Cohen

HIST 387 Recent U.S. Political Economy – Joseph McCartin 

HIST 469 America and the Muslim World – Karine Walther 

Descriptions of AMST Courses 

Core Courses: 

AMST 203: Origins & Identities – Seamon 

Spring course for Sophomores entering American Studies 

AMST 204: Memory, Power, & Culture allows American Studies majors to continue their intellectual journey together, working simultaneously towards developing common vocabulary and methods, while also recording their own interests. 

In this course, American Studies majors sink more deeply into questions associated with American culture and corresponding problems regarding memory, diversity, identity, borderlands, nature, power, and empire. 

AMST 305: Senior Thesis Seminar – Seamon 

Seminar only open to seniors in American Studies 

Georgetown’s Senior Thesis Seminar in American Studies is designed to guide 4th-year students through conceptualizing, researching, and finalizing an original and research-based thesis project of which they can be proud. The course is designed to complement the work that students do on a regular basis with their faculty advisers. The Spring semester provides weekly structure around the processes involved in moving from research to writing, developing a draft, and revising the draft into a final thesis. As a class, we will discuss writing and editing processes. Students working on non-traditional thesis will have an opportunity to work through various aspects of their projects as well. Throughout the semester students will develop a keener sense of the scope and variety of scholarly projects currently defining American Studies through contact with faculty and advisers and through their exploration of scholarly work on subjects that interest them in the field. In-class tutorials, workshops, and group discussions will enable students to learn with and from one another as they pursue their individual interests. There are few limits on the form the thesis can take or the methodologies students can pursue. The expectation is that not only their specific projects, but their classmates’ projects as well, will be a source of edification. 

FMST 399: Social Justice Documentary – Bernie Cook (Approaches) 

Core III – Approaches (recommended for AMST Juniors – who get priority) or Special Elective for all AmStuds! 

Social Justice Documentary takes up three intersecting bodies of knowledge: 

• Documentary Filmmaking techniques and practices American Studies Spring 2019 

• Film and Media Studies scholarship 

• Social Justice Theory and the practices of Community Based Organizations in Washington, DC 

The course will enable students to collaborate with members of DC-based Community Organizations in order to create documentary video projects and learn about non-fiction video as a tool for social action. 

Students in Social Justice Documentary will work in small teams to produce short documentary videos about social justice issues as related to the work of Washington, DC-based Community Organizations. At the end of the course students should be able to define, summarize, and interpret documentary theories; have a working knowledge of pre-production, production, and post-production processes that are part of making a documentary video; and be able to formulate and demonstrate ways through which documentary video can be used to meet social justice ends. In addition, students will have gained experience in working as members of video production team—as successful video production heavily depends on cooperation, collaboration, and respect among team members. This is a 4-credit course and will require substantial time outside of scheduled class meetings. This course will include hands-on workshops on camera, lighting, sound, and editing scheduled in additional to regular course meetings. 

In 2017 and 2018, FMST-399 focused on questions of racial justice with specific attention to the legacies of Jesuit slaveholding. FMST-399 collaborated with AMST-272: Facing Georgetown’s History on field visits to Southern Maryland and to Louisiana (over spring break). Students in both classes collaborated and produced short documentaries and podcasts. We anticipate further collaboration between the classes in Spring 2019. AMST Majors are encouraged to consider enrollment in both courses. 

AMST 272: Facing Georgetown’s History – Rothman (Topics) 

Core IV – Topics (recommended for AMST Juniors – who get priority) or Special Elective for all AmStuds! 

Instructor Permission Only: Please email Prof. Rothman (ar44), and indicate your year since priority goes to juniors. If given permission, you do need to pre-register for the course, but there is no need to prioritize it. 

Facing Georgetown’s History reflects upon our university’s historical involvement with slavery and confronts its enduring legacies. The course places our local past and present in the context of broader American histories of Catholicism, education, and African American life. Students will participate in the ongoing research of the Georgetown Slavery Archive, engage in conversations with people connected to Georgetown’s Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation initiative, and contribute to the public knowledge of our history through original podcasting American Studies Spring 2019 

projects. This course carries on the long tradition of American Studies at Georgetown investigating our own university’s history of slavery and racism. 

ENGL 370: US Culture in the Depression Era – Hochman (Topics) 

Core IV – Topics (recommended for AMST Juniors – for whom spaces are reserved in class) or Special Elective for all AmStuds

This course will have 7 seats reserved for American Studies students. In the United States, the phrase “Great Depression” calls to mind itinerant sharecroppers and ramshackle houses, unemployment lines and labor strikes, fireside chats and WPA murals. Drawing on a wide variety of primary source materials, this course examines the Depression Era (1929 to 1941, roughly) in myth and reality. It also considers why this period retains a powerful hold on national memory, particularly in our era of renewed economic uncertainty. Writings by Carlos Bulosan, William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, and Richard Wright; photographs by Margaret Bourke-White, Walker Evans, and Dorthea Lange; films by Frank Capra, Howard Hawks, and Preston Sturges–among many others. Students interested in interdisciplinary approaches to American culture and history are particularly encouraged to enroll.

SOCI 250: Race and Politics – Corey Fields (Approaches)

Core IV – Topics (recommended for AMST Juniors – for whom spaces are reserved in class) or Special Elective for all AmStuds

This seminar style course is devoted to exploring the complex ways that race impacts political behavior and attitudes in (primarily) American politics. Our discussions are supplemented with occasional lecture-style sessions. A central focus of our seminar discussion will be the way race has structured the dynamics of the 2020 US Presidential election. The course takes a sociological approach that stresses the constructed nature of both race and politics. As a group, we will explore the mechanisms through which race informs political behavior, while also paying close attention to the ways that politics also informs our understanding  and expressions of race. The course treats “race” as multifaceted construct, with multiple (and often times conflicting) influences on political behavior. The course will be split into 3 parts. In the first part we will explore the relationship between racial identity and political behavior at the individual level. The second part of the course will examine how ideas about racial groups shape political attitudes and behaviors, as well as policy outcomes. The third part of the course will explore how race is used to mobilize political and economic actors.

AMST Program Electives: 

AMST 379: Sports Personalities 20th/21st C. – Skip Lane 

Special Elective for all AmStuds! 

This course deals with both the role and significance of sports personalities in American society for the past century plus. We will explore the relationship between the media and the subject, as well as the historical events taking place when the individual emerges within the public sphere. We will use sports, and the many writings about its participants, to ask questions and draw conclusions about the development of race, class, and gender structures in America. We will interpret the role of heroes in our culture, investigate the representations each contain, and attempt to determine their significance in the evolution of our cultural values. Furthermore, do emerging communication technologies change the process? Can today’s sportswriters in the electronic-media age create heroes similar to those in the golden age of sports? Or, do we only have marketing icons that sell shoes, cars, and beverages? American Studies Spring 2019 

XListed Courses 

These courses count as AMST electives. 

Choose classes that align with your interests and allow you to create your own concentration in the major.  Begin building relationships with professors and content expertise in areas you may want to pursue for your senior thesis project. If you want to take a course that is not listed and have it count for AMST elective credit, please email us with the course number, title, professor, course description, syllabus (if possible), and your rationale. The courses in bold are American Studies Special Electives.

AFAM 101 Intro African American Studies – Zandria Robinson 

AFAM 205 Contested Pol Representations – Marcus Board 

AFAM 206 Race & Racism in Amer Cult: Black Autobiography  – Alice Sandosharaj 

AFAM 260 Race and Politics – Marcus Board

AFAM 318 Ta-Nehisi Coates: Writ Activis – Angelyn Mitchell 

AFAM 325 The “Black” in Blk Pop Cult. – Zandria Robinson

AFAM 420 Blk Wholes, Dark Mat & Dig Dia – Lamonda Horton-Stallings 

AFAM 456 Mthds & Theories in AFAM Stud – Lamonda Horton-Stallings 

AMST 272 Facing Georgetown’s History – Adam Rothman (Topics) 

AMST 379 Sports Personalities of the 20/21st – Skip Lane

ANTH 207 Love & Hate in the Digital Age – Amrita Ibrahim 

ANTH 280 Urban Anthropology – Laurie King-Irani 

ANTH 283 Race & the Black Diaspora – Gwendolyn Mikell 

ARTH 252 American Art to 1970 – Lisa Strong

ARTH 418 Mesoamerican Art: Myth Ritual – Unlisted

ARST 318 US Foreign Policy & The Gulf – Susan Ziadeh 

CULP 275 Music IR: Jazz as Diplomacy – William Layman 

CULP 338 Migrants in Film, Lit & Cultur – Elzbieta Gozdiak 

CULP 348 TheOther: Immigrant Integration – Elzbieta Gozdiak 

EDIJ 253 Children with Disabilities – Toby Long 

ENGL 153 19C American Literature – Brett Tomlinson 

ENGL 157 Romantic & Realist: 19C US Lit – John Hirsch 

ENGL 217 Topics in Ethnic American Lit – Alice Sandosharaj 

ENGL 234 Science Fiction & Fantasy – Christopher Shinn 

ENGL 254 Television & Amer Society – Kelly Cole 

ENGL 256 Documentary – Joy Young 

ENGL 261 Intro to Queer Theory – Amanda Philips

ENGL 265 Intro to Cultural Studies – Ellen Gorman

ENGL 268 Disability and the Arts – Jennifer Fink

ENGL 270 Disability Studies – Unlisted 

ENGL 271 Reading Motherhood – Pamela Fox, Elizabeth Velez 

ENGL 298 CBL: Sursum Corda – John Hirsch 

ENGL 370 US Culture: The Depression Era – Brian Hochman (Topics)  

ENGL 392 Reading Toni Morrison – Angelyn Mitchell 

ENGL 418 Queer Cinema – Caetlin Benson-Allott 

ENGL 424 Disability Studies Seminar – Unlisted 

ENST 370 Ecotopian Visions – Randall Amster 

FMST 398 Gaming & Justice – Amanda Phillips 

FMST 399 CBL: Social Justice Documentary – Bernie Cook (Approaches)

GOVT 205 Minority Politic in the U.S. – Jamil Scott 

GOVT 220 The American Presidency – March Richardson 

GOVT 232 Constitutional Law II – Joseph Hartman 

GOVT 264 Contemp US Foreign Policy – Elizabeth Saunders 

GOVT 283 African American Pol Thought – Terrance Johnson 

GOVT 329 Women & Politics – Michele Swers

GOVT 338 Fndations of Amer Pol Thought – Thomas Kerch 

GOVT 355 Liberalism – Joshua Cherniss 

GOVT 455 Latin Amern Govt and Politics – Diana Kapiszewski 

HIST 209 The Atomic Age – Kathryn Olesko 

HIST 283 The US in the World since 1945 – Toshihiro Higuchi 

HIST 286 Slavery in North America – Adam Rothman 

HIST 287 Baseball/American Society – Chandra Manning 

HIST 292 US Women’s History – Katherine Benton-Cohen 

HIST 304-01 Power/Protest in 20th Cent LA – Unlisted 

HIST 358 Mexico: Revol to Globalization – John Tutino

HIST 386 Immigration in US History – Katherine Benton-Cohen

HIST 387 Recent U.S. Political Economy – Joseph McCartin 

HIST 459 Latin American Popular Culture – Andre Rodigues 

HIST 469 America and the Muslim World – Karine Walther 

INAF 389 US-SE Asian Rel: Post 9/11 Wrld – Pamela Sodhy

INAF 390 Australian-American Alliance – Alan Tidwell 

INAF 453(all sections) Amer Natl Security Tool Box – Madeleine Albright 

INAF 455, 01-02 Natnl Security & Social Media – Daniel Byman/Christopher Meserole 

IPOL 332 Homegrown Terrorism – Seamus Hughes

JCIV 015 Black and Jews in America – Terrance Johnson/Jacques Berlinerblau

JCIV 195 Mapping Jewish Life in N Amer – Jessica Roda 

JOUR 375 Free Speech – Sanford Ungar 

LASP 341 Latin Amern Govt and Politics – Diana Kapiszewski 

LASP 466 Politics of Cuba – Marguerite Seldin Jimenez

LASP 487 Indig Movemts of Lat Amer – Kevin Healy 

MUSC 116 Jazz History – Anna Celenza 

MUSC 231 American Musical/Stage&Screen – Robynn Stilwell 

SOCI 250 Race and Politics – Corey Fields (Approaches)

SOCI 261 Sem. in Transgender Issues – Kathleen Guidroz 

SPAN 261 LAT AMER: Lit & Culture – Wilyam Thums 

SPAN 262 LAT AMER: Lit & Culture II – Gwen Kirkpatrick 

SPAN 267 Lit & Society in Lat Amer – Valeria Meiller 

WGST 201 Feminist Thought 2 – April Sizemore-Barber

WGST 234 Feminist Disability Studies – Unlisted 

WGST 239 Culture, Medicine, and Gender – Unlisted 

WGST 251 Gender and the Law – Unlisted 

WGST 266 Women in Amer Politics – Donna Brazile 

American Studies Faculty 

We recommend that you take courses from and engage with the following faculty members who are part of the American Studies Program. We are an interdisciplinary group who hail from different departments and approach the field of American Studies through different lenses. Individually, and collectively, these are the professors who will serve as formal and informal mentors to you as you navigate the program. Get to know them, as they may help you decide on courses to take, introduce you to professors who may have similar interests, and work with you to brainstorm senior thesis research project ideas.