Department of American Studies

Department of American Studies Website

Leadership

Emily Lutenski, Ph.D.
     Department Chair
Katherine Moran, Ph.D.
     Graduate Program Coordinator
Benjamin Looker, Ph.D.
     Undergraduate Program Coordinator
Flannery Burke, Ph.D.
     Internship Supervisor

Overview

Saint Louis University's Department of American Studies provides a systematic interdisciplinary approach to the study of the cultures of the United States, and to the critical analysis of their history and ongoing evolution. Within the framework of the great Jesuit humanist tradition, American studies trains students in the skills of clear thinking, writing and speaking, as well as the abilities associated with interpreting literary texts, evaluating historical documents and artifacts, applying humanistic and social science methods and theoretical approaches, and reflecting morally about the problems and issues they address in the classroom.

Current faculty strengths include urban studies; race, gender and ethnicity in American history, culture and literature; African American history; transnationalism; religion; activism and protest movements; borderlands studies; jazz and other American music; environment and region.

Heidi Ardizzone, Ph.D.
Flannery Burke, Ph.D.
Benjamin Looker, Ph.D.
Emily Lutenski, Ph.D.
Matthew Mancini, Ph.D. (Emeritus)
Katherine Moran, Ph.D.

ASTD 1000 - Intro to American Culture: Movements, Myths, and Methods

Credit(s): 0 or 3 Credits

What does it mean to be American? Is it citizenship or geographical location? Political ideals or shared culture? How does it change over time? This course introduces interdisciplinary methods to answer such questions, including analysis of images, literature, music, popular entertainment, and diverse experiences of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and nation.

Attributes: Core:Aesthetics, Hist & Culture, Core:Identities in Context, Diversity in the US (A&S)

ASTD 1930 - Special Topics

Credit(s): 1-4 Credits (Repeatable for credit)

ASTD 1980 - Independent Study

Credit(s): 1-3 Credits (Repeatable for credit)

ASTD 2100 - Studies in American Photography

Credit(s): 3 Credits

This course introduces students to methodologies for studying American photography. Using foundational texts about photography and American Studies approaches to visual culture, we examine the cultural and political work that photographs perform at particular historical moments. We explore how photographs shape ideas about race, gender, class, nation, and citizenship.

Attributes: American Studies Practices, Fine Arts Requirement (CAS)

ASTD 2200 - American Homefronts, Global Wars

Credit(s): 3 Credits

This interdisciplinary course considers American social experiences during times of war. Throughout, we will study not the battles and factors that determined military outcomes, but the domestic struggles and international changes that have shaped American identity in a global context.

Attributes: American Studies Contexts, Global Citizenship (CAS)

ASTD 2300 - Americans Abroad

Credit(s): 3 Credits

This course explores the history of the modern United States' changing relationship with the world by tracing American activities on the global stage: as travelers, consumers, teachers, students, missionaries, soldiers, and workers. Students will examine global encounters and exchanges through a variety of primary sources, including film, photography, and memoir.

Attributes: American Studies Contexts, Global Citizenship (CAS)

ASTD 2400 - Immigration in U.S. History and Culture

Credit(s): 3 Credits

This class will introduce students to U.S. immigration history, with a particular focus on immigration flows, policies, and debates from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. We will take an interdisciplinary approach to the study of immigration in U.S. culture, using a variety of sources—including photography, film, poetry, memoir, and a board game—to examine how ideas, policies, and practices regarding immigration have been tied to key concepts such as race, gender, sexuality, disease, and empire. Students will read scholarly essays and primary sources, and conclude with a short, primary-source-based independent research project.

Attributes: American Studies Identities, Core:Aesthetics, Hist & Culture, Core:Global Interdependence, Diversity in the US (A&S)

ASTD 2500 - Topics in American Identities and Communities

Credit(s): 3 Credits (Repeatable up to 9 credits)

Scholars and observers have long noted the important roles that apparently marginalized or “outsider” groups play in creating an American nation and culture. Whether looking at religious outsiders, racial and ethnic minorities, or other social categories of difference and identity that define American experience, this course focuses on selected American communities to consider this often complicated and even misleading dynamic between margin and center, community and nation, insider and outsider. (Offered as needed)

Attributes: Core:Aesthetics, Hist & Culture, Core:Identities in Context, Diversity in the US (A&S)

ASTD 2600 - American Places

Credit(s): 0 or 3 Credits (Repeatable up to 9 credits)

Through interdisciplinary analysis, research, and writing, this course examines the role of place in shaping American culture, including race and ethnicity, gender, and class. Places may include regions (like the South, Midwest, or West), cities or suburbs, sites like internment camps or reservations, or conceptual places like frontiers and borderlands.

Attributes: American Studies Contexts, Core:Aesthetics, Hist & Culture, Core:Identities in Context, Diversity in the US (A&S)

ASTD 2650 - American Metropolis: Place, Policy, & Power in the US City, 1945–Present

Credit(s): 3 Credits

Interdisciplinary investigation of the dramatic, wrenching, yet occasionally heartening ways that American urban and suburban areas have been reconfigured from WWII to today. Participants examine urban changes in realms such as culture, politics, planning, demographics, and geography. They consider approaches developed by policymakers, social activists, and ordinary residents to address urban challenges, as well as how Americans make sense of changing urban landscapes through art, literature, popular culture, and social criticism. Throughout, the class emphasizes how processes of marginalization along lines of race and class, as well as resistance to those processes, shape the nation’s urban past and present.

Attributes: American Studies Contexts, Core:Dignity, Ethics & Just Soc, Core:Social & Behavioral Sci

ASTD 2700 - Gender, Race, and Social Justice

Credit(s): 0 or 3 Credits

This course the intersection of gender and race with other categories of analysis (class, religion, sexuality, nation) in historical and contemporary social justice movements in the United States. Topics include role of race in movements for gender equality, as well as the impact of gender on movements for racial justice.

Attributes: American Studies Identities, Core:Dignity, Ethics & Just Soc, Urban Poverty - General, Core:Social & Behavioral Sci, Diversity in the US (A&S)

ASTD 2800 - Sports in American Culture

Credit(s): 3 Credits

What can watching a Cardinals game teach us about American culture? How do recreational facilities reflect or shape their local environments? Should celebrated athletes speak out on American politics? Are sports leisure or business? How have sporting contests functioned as allegories for national crises over race or gender? These questions and more form the center to this course, which uses sports as a lens to examine the diversity of American culture in terms of race, gender, sexuality, ability, and more.

Attributes: American Studies Practices, Nutrition, Health, Well Elective, Diversity in the US (A&S)

ASTD 2880 - Race and Citizenship in St. Louis History and Culture

Credit(s): 3 Credits

A major urban center since the late 19th century, St. Louis sits on the geographic and cultural borders between Midwest, West, South, and North. This course examines St. Louis history and recent events through the lenses of race and citizenship, within its regional and national contexts. We will pay particular attention to African American experiences, and to social protest in the 20th century. Readings that focus on St. Louis and its surrounding area will occasionally be supplemented with materials that bring national movements and contexts into our discussion.

Attributes: American Studies Contexts, American Studies Major, Core:Aesthetics, Hist & Culture, Core:Identities in Context

ASTD 2930 - Special Topics

Credit(s): 1-3 Credits (Repeatable for credit)

ASTD 2980 - Independent Study

Credit(s): 1-3 Credits (Repeatable for credit)

ASTD 3000 - American Decades

Credit(s): 3 Credits (Repeatable for credit)

Close examination of a brief span of time in America as a way to reflect on intertwining currents in social, political, and intellectual life. Students explore changes and continuities in religion, philosophy, consumption, popular culture, architecture, and daily life. Course provides intensive focus on primary sources and their interpretation.

Attributes: American Studies Contexts, Core:Aesthetics, Hist & Culture, Diversity in the US (A&S)

ASTD 3020 - American Mosaic: Literature & Diversity

Credit(s): 3 Credits

This course presents a broad spectrum of ethnic American literature, using narrative and other literary forms as a way to put U.S. ethnic experiences into comparative dialogues.

Attributes: American Studies Practices, Literature BA Requirement(CAS), Literature BS Requirement(CAS), Urban Poverty - Cycles Exclusn, Diversity in the US (A&S), Women's & Gender Studies

ASTD 3030 - History and Fiction

Credit(s): 3 Credits (Repeatable for credit)

This course interrogates the boundary between history and fiction; it considers literary questions of 'historical' texts, and historical questions of 'literature' for the purpose of deepening our understanding of both history and fiction.

Attributes: American Studies Practices, Film & Media - Critical Study, Literature BA Requirement(CAS), Literature BS Requirement(CAS), Core:Aesthetics, Hist & Culture

ASTD 3040 - Religion and U.S. Global Activism

Credit(s): 3 Credits

This class explores the American history of faith and international activism. We will analyze the aims, experiences, and ethical frameworks of U.S. missionaries, reformers, and relief workers. Case studies include Christian missionaries in nineteenth-century China, Jewish relief programs in World-War-I Europe, and current debates about global feminist advocacy.

Attributes: American Studies Contexts, Global Citizenship (CAS), Law, Religion and Politics

ASTD 3050 - American Soundscapes

Credit(s): 3 Credits (Repeatable for credit)

This course explores the role of popular music in American culture, examining how genres like the blues, jazz, country, rock, and hip-hop have provided far more than simple entertainment; indeed, for artists, fans, and critics, music has been an important mode of cultural and political expression, and meaning-making about race, gender, sexuality, and nation. Course may be repeated for credit with different subtitles.

Attributes: American Studies Practices, Diversity in the US (A&S)

ASTD 3100 - Making the American City

Credit(s): 3 Credits

Course examines the cultural history of the U.S. city, 1880s-present. Using numerous primary sources, students will learn how urban cultures and representational practices are shaped by the changing city environment.

Attributes: American Studies Contexts, Global Local Justice-Domestic, Urban Poverty - Applied, Diversity in the US (A&S)

ASTD 3200 - The Urban Crisis

Credit(s): 0 or 3 Credits

This course examines the roots and dimensions of the urban crisis that has transformed American metropolitan areas since World War II. Students investigate major urban problems such as racial segregation and poverty, white flight and suburban sprawl, public housing and urban renewal, riots and insurrections, job loss, and industrial change.

Attributes: American Studies Contexts, Global Local Justice-Domestic, Social Science Req (A&S), Urban Poverty - Applied, Diversity in the US (A&S)

ASTD 3300 - Workshop in the City

Credit(s): 3 Credits

Provides unique opportunity to study urban environments up close. The metropolitan region of St. Louis is an excellent case study, with its complex interplay of people, processes, neighborhoods, geographies, and natural features. Students will undertake individual and group projects, tours, and fieldwork exercises in consultation with the instructor.

Attributes: American Studies Contexts, Global Local Justice-Domestic, Urban Poverty - Applied

ASTD 3400 - American Incarceration

Credit(s): 3 Credits

This course uses history, literature, theory, and popular cultural sources to explore incarceration in the United States. Topics may include religion, disability, juvenile justice, race, class, sexuality, and gender. Using history, social theory, film, fiction and autobiography, the course surveys the cultural history of incarceration in America, and examines the place of incarceration in American culture.

Attributes: American Studies Identities, Global Local Justice-Domestic, Urban Poverty - Cycles Exclusn, Diversity in the US (A&S)

ASTD 3500 - Religion & American Culture

Credit(s): 3 Credits

This course uses historical, literary, and popular culture sources to explore the relationship between diverse religious beliefs, values, and practices and American cultural formation. Topics may include church and state, social questions, and lived religious experience.

Attributes: American Studies Identities, Global Local Justice-Elective, Core:Aesthetics, Hist & Culture, Core:Identities in Context

ASTD 3550 - Introduction to Museum Studies

Credit(s): 3 Credits

In this class, we will study the history, politics, and design of museums. We will trace museums' development from private cabinets of curiosity to public educational institutions in the twentieth-first century. We will especially focus on the politics of display, that is, controversies over how museum interpret cultures and nature.

Attributes: American Studies Practices

ASTD 3600 - American Food and Cultures

Credit(s): 3 Credits

This course investigates American foodways through the lens of agriculture, labor, landscape, festival, the body, ethnicity, ethics, and gender. Its goals are to teach students about the meaning of food and how the simple act of eating can reveal interconnections among so many diverse aspects of society and the environment.

Attributes: American Studies Practices, Nutrition, Health, Well Elective, Diversity in the US (A&S)

ASTD 3700 - America in the Global Age

Credit(s): 3 Credits

This course examines America's role in the era of rapid globalization, from the late 19th century to the present. It also considers the impact of major global events and processes on American society and culture, such as labor and capital mobility, third world insurgency, technological and environmental change.

Attributes: American Studies Contexts, Global Citizenship (CAS), Global Local Justice-Global

ASTD 3800 - Women's Lives

Credit(s): 3 Credits

Examines the historical experiences and literary productions of women from diverse racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds. Topics and sources considered may include: novels, diaries, letter-writing, temperance, abolition, suffrage, and political leadership.

Attributes: American Studies Identities, Diversity in the US (A&S)

ASTD 3900 - Mixed-Race America

Credit(s): 3 Credits

Despite popular images of American as a 'melting' both of races and ethnicities, our institutions, values, and practices have often tried to create or maintain spatial and social distance between groups defined as racially different. This course will explore that ways in which Americans have transgressed those boundaries or found other ways of interacting across cultural lines, primarily in the 19th and 20th centuries. We will examine popular cultural perceptions of people of mixed ancestry, their social experiences, the development of various mixed-ancestry communities, and historical attempts to limit interracial socializing, relationships, and marriage. These issues were and are deeply embedded in debates over the meaning of race, gender expectations and ideas about sex and sexuality. We will also pay close attention to how minority communities have understood people of mixed ancestry in the United States, and how mixed-race identities intersect with African American, Native American, Asian, White, and Latino identities.

Attributes: American Studies Identities, Global Local Justice-Domestic, Diversity in the US (A&S)

ASTD 3910 - Internship in American Studies

Credit(s): 3 Credits

Designed to enable students to make intellectual connections between American Studies academic training and its applications in workplace, community, and institutional settings. Students work with local non-profit organizations, public history and arts institutions, government agencies, activist and neighborhood groups, media outlets, and foundations. They develop projects consistent with American Studies concerns and methods of reflection, while preparing final reports that position them to apply their skills in related areas following graduation. Internships may be paid or unpaid.

Restrictions:

Enrollment is limited to students with a program in American Studies.

ASTD 3930 - Special Topics

Credit(s): 3 Credits (Repeatable for credit)

Attributes: Art History-18th and 19th Cent, Fine Arts Requirement (CAS)

ASTD 3980 - Independent Study

Credit(s): 1-3 Credits (Repeatable for credit)

ASTD 4930 - Special Topics

Credit(s): 3 Credits (Repeatable up to 12 credits)

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ASTD 4960 - Senior Workshop: Crafting the American Studies Thesis

Credit(s): 3 Credits

The finale of the American Studies major comes with the Senior Workshop. Under close faculty guidance, students apply a diverse range of American Studies methods while crafting a significant piece of scholarship exploring their main areas of passion and interest. Junior-level ASTD majors by instructor permission.

Prerequisite(s): Minimum Earned Credits of 90

Restrictions:

Enrollment limited to students with a classification of Senior.

Enrollment is limited to students with a program in American Studies.

ASTD 4980 - Advanced Independent Study

Credit(s): 0-3 Credits (Repeatable for credit)

ASTD 5000 - Perspectives in American Studies

Credit(s): 3 Credits

Survey of theoretical frameworks for the interpretation of American culture over time. Examines the intersection of history and theory in the interdisciplinary study of the American experience from colonial encounters to the present. Critical readings in Marxism, feminism, semiotics, post-structuralism, post-colonialism, race theory, and queer theory. Offered every year.

ASTD 5010 - African American Politics, Culture & Identity

Credit(s): 3 Credits

This interdisciplinary seminar explores politics, culture, and identity in African American experiences and public movements. Covering the mid-nineteenth century to the present, we will focus on activism, representation, and the multiple strategies within a diverse community, paying attention to issues of gender, class, religion, region, and national identity.

ASTD 5020 - Frontiers & Borderlands: Contact & Conquest in the American Imagination

Credit(s): 3 Credits

Examines the diverse meanings of the 'frontier' in American culture: as a physical and metaphorical site of cultural exchange, ambiguity, and conflict. The course focuses on the interactions between European explorers, traders and settlers, Native Americans, and African migrants to North America.

ASTD 5700 - Metropolitan America

Credit(s): 3 Credits

Introduction to the study of American urban and suburban life. Course examines American cities, their cultures, and their built environments as these change over time. Students engage scholarship, develop visual literacy for 'reading' the metropolis, and analyze the ways in which built environments shape and reflect American cultural meaning.

ASTD 5900 - Practice of American Studies

Credit(s): 3 Credits

Facilitates sound professional development to accompany graduate work in American Studies. Students analyze universities as diverse social institutions, review key aspects of academic labor, examine the purposes and stages of graduate training, and survey the broad range of professional options available with the M.A. and the Ph.D.

ASTD 5910 - Graduate Internship

Credit(s): 3 Credits (Repeatable for credit)

Specific requirements vary depending on the site of the internship and the individual contract for that internship. Grading is the same as for a seminar.

ASTD 5930 - Special Topics

Credit(s): 3 Credits (Repeatable for credit)

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ASTD 5980 - Graduate Reading Course

Credit(s): 1-3 Credits

Graded as a seminar course.

ASTD 5990 - Thesis Research

Credit(s): 0-6 Credits (Repeatable for credit)

6 hours for students writing a Master's thesis. Required while students are working on their research and writing. Students must meet with advisor at least once per semester when taking thesis hours. Grade is either IP or U, except for the semester in which the student graduates, when the grade is S. Students aren't always enrolled in 599 in the semester when they graduate, but normally they would be.

ASTD 6015 - Many Midwests: Race and Citizenship in the Heartland

Credit(s): 3 Credits

The Mid-West as a region has received relatively little attention in the historical and cultural study of race, citizenship, and civil rights. Much work has been done that focuses on these issues in Midwestern locations, but little of it considers the heartland as a region. What happens when we bring a regional focus into research on race and rights? We examine studies that theorize Midwestern regionality as a geographic and cultural entity with ambiguous borders, local studies of developing race relations, civil rights movements, and other struggles around citizenship in specific Mid-Western cities and states.

ASTD 6020 - American Political Thought

Credit(s): 3 Credits

This course focuses on selected ideas, issues, and institutions that have been central to the U.S. Constitution and the practice of American constitutionalism, from the founding era to the present. Readings emphasize seminal works in American political thought, which are supplemented by historical accounts, illustrative literature, and contemporary analyses. Offered every year.

ASTD 6100 - Dissertation Colloquium

Credit(s): 3 Credits

This course is designed to facilitate the dissertation-writing process. Seminar discussions will focus on peer review of student generated works-in-progress. Required of all Ph.D. students. May be repeated for credit at adviser's discretion.

ASTD 6200 - Visual Culture Theory

Credit(s): 3 Credits

Introduction to the theoretical models and questions that inform the wide-ranging critical practices of visual culture studies. Course examines foundational texts in visual theory as well as many different cultural forms available to visual cultural analysis such as vision itself, material culture, museums, photographs, films, and television. Offered every other year.

ASTD 6250 - The Cultural Studies Movement: Origins and Contemporary Practice

Credit(s): 3 Credits

Seminar covers the rise of cultural studies and its influence on American Studies and related disciplines. After examining the development of British cultural studies as an intellectual movement, participants explore theoretical approaches characterizing distinct phases of cultural studies research, while engaging with American Studies works that continue or challenge this tradition. Offered occasionally.

ASTD 6400 - Transnational America

Credit(s): 3 Credits

This graduate course introduces students to the history, the intellectual trajectories, and the institutional impact of the 'transnational turn' in American Studies and related scholarship. Focusing on 19th- 20th-century cultural, economic, political, and religious encounters in Africa, Asia, and Europe, we will investigate the varied manifestations of U.S. global engagement in the world.

ASTD 6500 - Visions of U.S. Empire

Credit(s): 3 Credits

This course will familiarize students with theoretical approaches to, and key studies of, empire and imperialism in U.S. history and culture from the nineteenth century to the present. We will explore the imperial at home and abroad, and pay particular attention to literature, gender, policy, and visual culture.

ASTD 6700 - Cold War Cultural Politics and the "American Century"

Credit(s): 3 Credits

This graduate seminar explores the culture of the Cold War era in the United States from 1947 to 1963. In particular, we will examine the ways in which political and international forms of conflict shaped American society in areas ranging from shifting gender configurations to new forms of youth culture, artistic ideologies to the transformation of urban a suburban space, evolving racial formations to the politics of mass culture.

ASTD 6910 - Graduate Internship

Credit(s): 1-6 Credits (Repeatable for credit)

Specific requirements vary depending on the site of the internship and the individual contract for that internship. Grading is the same as for a seminar.

ASTD 6930 - Special Topics

Credit(s): 3 Credits (Repeatable for credit)

ASTD 6980 - Graduate Reading Course

Credit(s): 1-3 Credits (Repeatable for credit)

Graded as a seminar course.

ASTD 6990 - Dissertation Research

Credit(s): 0-9 Credits (Repeatable for credit)

12 hours for students writing a dissertation. Required while students are working on their research and writing. Students must meet with advisor at least once per semester when taking dissertation hours. Grade is either IP or U, except for the semester in which the student graduates, when the grade is S. Students aren't always enrolled in 699 in the semester when they graduate, but they may be.

Attributes: Special Approval Required