American Studies Major, B.A.

Department of American Studies

http://amerstud.unc.edu

204 Greenlaw Hall, CB# 3520

(919) 962-5481

Director of Undergraduate Studies

amstdus@unc.edu

The B.A. major in the American Studies area provides students with a broad foundation in ways of studying and researching American culture, exposure, and the opportunity to explore specific eras and genres in depth.

Department Programs

Majors

Minors

Graduate Programs

Requirements

In addition to the program requirements listed below, students must

  • attain a final cumulative GPA of at least 2.0
  • complete a minimum of 45 academic credit hours earned from UNC-Chapel Hill courses
  • take at least half of their major course requirements (courses and credit hours) at UNC-Chapel Hill
  • earn a minimum of 18 hours of C or better in the major core requirements (some majors require 21 hours).

For more information, please consult the degree requirements section of the catalog.

The concentration in American studies consists of nine courses. Courses listed more than once can be counted for only one category. At least one course must be at the 300 level or above.

Core Requirements
Introduction (one of the following):3
The Emergence of Modern America
Defining America I H
Defining America II H
AMST 201Literary Approaches to American Studies3
or AMST 202 Historical Approaches to American Studies
Topics: At least two AMST courses numbered above 202 (not including independent study or honors thesis research)6
Literature (one course, see list below)3
Ideas and Traditions (one course, see list below)3
Expressive Arts and Popular Culture (one course, see list below)3
Regionalism, Transnationalism, and the Public Sphere (one course, see list below)3
Ethnicity and Diversity (one course, see list below)3
Total Hours27
H

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

American studies (AMST) course descriptions.

Course lists:

Literature

AMST 246Indigenous Storytelling: Oral, Written, and Visual Literatures of Native America3
AMST 256Anti-'50s: Voices of a Counter Decade3
AMST 257Melville: Culture and Criticism3
AMST 290Topics in American Studies3
AMST 338Native American Novel3
AMST 360The Jewish Writer in American Life3
AMST 365Women and Detective Fiction: From Miss Violet Strange to Veronica Mars3
AMST 371LGTBQ Film and Fiction from 1950 to the Present3
AMST 440American Indian Poetry3
AMST 685Literature of the Americas3
FOLK 476Graffiti, Gods, and Gardens: Urban Folklore3
FOLK 505Traditions in Transition: Jewish Folklore and Ethnography3
FOLK/ENGL 487Everyday Stories: Personal Narrative and Legend3
COMM 561Performance of Women of Color H3
ENGL 270Studies in Asian American Literature3
ENGL 317Networked Composition3
ENGL 343American Literature before 1860 H3
ENGL 344American Literature, 1860-1900 H3
ENGL 345American Literature, 1900-2000 H3
ENGL 347The American Novel H3
ENGL 348American Poetry H3
ENGL 367African American Literature to 1930 H3
ENGL 368African American Literature, 1930-1970 H3
ENGL 369African American Literature, 1970 to the Present H3
ENGL 373Southern American Literature H3
ENGL 374Southern Women Writers3
ENGL 375Contemporary North Carolina Literature3
ENGL 443American Literature before 1860--Contemporary Issues H3
ENGL 444American Literature, 1860-1900--Contemporary Issues H3
ENGL 445American Literature, 1900-2000--Contemporary Issues H3
ENGL 446American Women Authors H3
ENGL 472African American Literature--Contemporary Issues H3
RELI 240Religion, Literature, and the Arts in America H3
H

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

Ideas and Traditions

AMST 220On the Question of the Animal: Contemporary Animal Studies3
AMST 225Comedy and Ethics3
AMST 255Mid-20th-Century American Thought and Culture3
AMST 269Mating and Marriage in American Culture3
AMST 275Documenting Communities H3
AMST 277Globalization and National Identity H3
AMST 291Ethics and American Studies3
AMST 334Defining America I H3
AMST 335Defining America II H3
AMST 337Beyond Red Power: American Indian Activism since 19003
AMST 384Myth and History in American Memory3
AMST 386American Families3
AMST 387Race and Empire in 20th-Century American Intellectual History3
AMST 392Radical Communities in Twentieth Century American Religious History3
AMST 394The University in American Life: The University of North Carolina3
AMST 420Theories in American Studies3
AMST 510Federal Indian Law and Policy3
AMST 511American Indians and American Law3
FOLK 424Ritual, Festival, and Public Culture3
FOLK/ANTH 537/WMST 438Gender and Performance: Constituting Identity3
FOLK/COMM/HIST/WMST 562Oral History and Performance H3
FOLK/HIST 670Introduction to Oral History3
AAAD 159The History of the Black Church and Social Change3
AAAD 257Black Nationalism in the United States3
AAAD 258The Civil Rights Movement3
AAAD 430African American Intellectual History3
AAAD 431DuBois, Howard Thurman, and Malcolm X3
AAAD/POLI 333Race and Public Policy in the United States3
COMM 372The Rhetoric of Social Movements3
COMM/PWAD 575Presidential Rhetoric3
ECON 330Economic History of the United States3
ECON 430Economic Development of the United States3
EDUC 441Education in American Society3
HIST 239Religion in North America since 18653
HIST 245The United States and the Cold War: Origins, Development, Legacy3
HIST 355American Women's History to 18653
HIST 356American Women's History, 1865 to the Present3
HIST 364History of American Business3
HIST 365The Worker and American Life3
HIST 368War and American Society to 19033
HIST 369War and American Society, 1903 to the Present3
HIST 372Politics and Society since the New Deal H3
HIST 373The United States in World War II3
HIST 375History of Gender in America3
HIST 561The American Colonial Experience3
HIST 563Jacksonian America, 1815-18483
HIST 564Revolution and Nation Making in America, 1763-18153
HIST 565Civil War and Reconstruction, 1848-19003
HIST 566The History of Sexuality in America3
HIST 581American Constitutional History to 18763
HIST 582American Constitutional History since 18763
HIST 584The Promise of Urbanization: American Cities in the 19th and 20th Centuries3
HIST 589Race, Racism, and America: (United States) Law in Historical Perspective3
HIST 622Medicine and Society in America3
HIST 624Intellectual History of African Americans3
HIST 475/WMST 476Feminist Movements in the United States since 1945 H3
MEJO 448Freedom of Expression in the United States3
PHIL 228American Philosophy3
PHIL 274African American Political Philosophy H3
PHIL 428History of American Philosophy3
PHIL 473American Political Philosophy3
PLCY 220The Politics of Public Policy H3
POLI 200The President, Congress, and Public Policy3
POLI 202The United States Supreme Court3
POLI 206Ethics, Morality, Individual Liberty, and the Law H3
POLI 274African American Political Thought3
POLI 280American Political Thought H3
POLI 410The Constitution of the United States3
POLI 411Civil Liberties under the Constitution3
POLI 412United States National Elections H3
RELI 241Messianic Movements in American History3
RELI 338Religion in American Law3
RELI 340Liberal Tradition in American Religion3
RELI 441Religion in Early America H3
RELI 442History of Religion in America since 18653
RELI 443Evangelicalism in Contemporary America H3
SOCI 468United States Poverty and Public Policy3
WMST 375History of Gender in America3
WMST 560Women and Religion in United States History3
H

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

Expressive Arts and Popular Culture

AMST 266The Folk Revival: The Singing Left in Mid-20th-Century America3
AMST 268American Cinema and American Culture3
AMST 283American Home3
AMST 336Native Americans in Film3
AMST 340American Indian Art and Material Culture through Interdisciplinary Perspectives3
AMST 371LGTBQ Film and Fiction from 1950 to the Present3
AMST 482Images of the American Landscape3
AMST 483Seeing the USA: Visual Arts and American Culture3
AMST 485Folk, Self-Taught, Vernacular, and Outsider Arts3
AMST 487Early American Architecture and Material Life3
AMST 489Writing Material Culture3
AMST 498Advanced Seminar in American Studies3
AMST/FOLK 375Carolina Cooks, Carolina Eats: North Carolina Food and Culture3
AMST/HIST 671Introduction to Public History3
AMST/WMST 325Encountering Art in the Unexpected: Borderlands and Story in Contemporary American Visual Art3
FOLK 476Graffiti, Gods, and Gardens: Urban Folklore3
FOLK 481The Material Life of Jewish America3
FOLK 550Introduction to Material Culture3
FOLK 560Southern Literature and the Oral Tradition3
FOLK 610Vernacular Traditions in African American Music4
FOLK/ANTH/LING 484Discourse and Dialogue in Ethnographic Research3
FOLK/ENGL 310Fairy Tales3
FOLK/ENGL 487Everyday Stories: Personal Narrative and Legend3
FOLK/HIST 571Southern Music3
AAAD 250The African American in Motion Pictures: 1900 to the Present3
AAAD 259Black Influences on Popular Culture3
AAAD 284Contemporary Perspectives on the African Diaspora in the Americas3
AAAD 334Performing African American History3
AAAD 340Diaspora Art and Cultural Politics3
AAAD 356The History of Hip-Hop Culture3
AAAD 449Black Women in Cinema: From the Early 1900s to the Present3
ARTH 259Native American Art and Culture3
ARTH 285Art Since 19603
ARTH 287African American Art Survey3
ARTH 28819th-Century American Art3
ARTH 289Art in the United States, 1890-1945: American Modernisms3
ARTH 385Pop Art and Its Legacy3
ARTH 38720th-Century African American Art3
ARTH 481American Art and the Civil War3
ARTH 557Art and Money3
ARTH 586Cultural Politics in Contemporary Art3
COMM 430History of American Screenwriting3
COMM 550American Independent Cinema3
COMM 573The American Experience in Rhetoric3
COMM 577Rhetoric and Black Culture3
DRAM 287African American Theatre3
DRAM 292Corner of the Sky": The American Musical3
DRAM 488United States Latino/a Theatre3
ENGL 284Reading Children's Literature3
HIST 125The Social History of Popular Music in 20th-Century America3
HIST 362Baseball and American History3
HIST 363Popular Culture and American History H3
HIST 381Bebop to Hip-Hop: The Modern Black Freedom Struggle through Music3
HIST 571Southern Music3
HIST 625Technology and American Culture3
MUSC 143Introduction to Rock Music3
MUSC 144Introduction to Country Music3
MUSC 145Introduction to Jazz3
MUSC 147Introduction to Latin(o) American Music3
MUSC 281Popular Song in American Culture3
RELI 236Religious Things3
H

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

Regionalism, Transnationalism, and the Public Sphere

AMST 210Approaches to Southern Studies: A Historical Analysis of the American South3
AMST 211Approaches to Southern Studies: The Literary and Cultural Worlds of the American South3
AMST 259Tobacco and America3
AMST 277Globalization and National Identity H3
AMST 285Access to Work in America3
AMST 350Main Street Carolina: A Cultural History of North Carolina Downtowns H3
AMST 378Nation Building and National Identity in Australia and the United States H3
AMST 385Gender and Economics3
AMST 387Race and Empire in 20th-Century American Intellectual History3
AMST 394
394L
The University in American Life: The University of North Carolina
and Role of the University
4
AMST 398Service Learning in America3
AMST 410Senior Seminar in Southern Studies3
AMST 486Shalom Y'all: The Jewish Experience in the American South3
AMST 283American Home3
AMST/FOLK 375Carolina Cooks, Carolina Eats: North Carolina Food and Culture3
FOLK 587Folklore in the South3
FOLK/ANTH 340Southern Styles, Southern Cultures4
FOLK/GEOG 454Historical Geography of the United States3
AAAD 252Blacks in the West3
AAAD 254Blacks in North Carolina3
AAAD 278Black Caribbeans in the United States3
AAAD 284Contemporary Perspectives on the African Diaspora in the Americas3
AAAD 385Emancipation in the New World3
AAAD 485Black Atlantic Crosscurrents3
AAAD/POLI 333Race and Public Policy in the United States3
ARTH 375Art of Exchange and Exploration: Early America and the Globe3
ARTH 453Africa in the American Imagination H3
ARTH 485Art of the Harlem Renaissance3
ARTH 487African Impulse in African American Art3
ARTH 556Visual Cultures of the American City, 1750-19503
COMM 374The Southern Experience in Rhetoric3
COMM 437United States Black Culture and Performance3
COMM 573The American Experience in Rhetoric3
COMM 576Making and Manipulating "Race" in the United States3
ENGL 267Growing Up Latina/o3
ENGL 270Studies in Asian American Literature3
ENGL 271Mixed-Race America: Race in Contemporary American Literature and Culture3
ENGL 315English in the U.S.A. H3
ENGL 371The Place of Asian Americans in Southern Literature3
ENGL 475Southern Literature--Contemporary Issues3
GEOG 228Urban Geography3
GEOG 260North America's Landscapes3
GEOG 261The South3
GEOG 262Geography of North Carolina3
GEOG 430Global Migrations, Local Impacts: Urbanization and Migration in the United States3
HIST 233Native American History: The West3
HIST 236Sex and American History3
HIST 242United States-Latin American Relations3
HIST 278The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade3
HIST 281The Pacific War, 1937-1945: Its Causes and Legacy3
HIST 366North Carolina History before 18653
HIST 367North Carolina History since 18653
HIST 373The United States in World War II3
HIST 374The American West, 1800 to the Present3
HIST 379Race, Segregation, and Political Protest in South Africa and the United States3
HIST 534The African Diaspora3
HIST 568Women in the South3
HIST 570The Vietnam War3
HIST 574Spanish Borderlands in North America3
HIST 577United States Foreign Relations in the 20th Century3
HIST 586The Old South3
HIST 587The New South H3
MEJO 242From Gutenberg to Google: A History of Media3
PLAN 550Evolution of the American City3
PLAN 585American Environmental Policy3
PLCY 349Immigration Policy in the 21st Century3
PLCY 361Health Policy and Politics3
PLCY 4559/11 and Its Aftermath3
POLI 203Race, Innocence, and the Decline of the Death Penalty4
POLI 231Latin America and the United States in World Politics3
POLI 418Mass Media and American Politics3
POLI 443American Foreign Policy: Formulation and Conduct3
RELI 345Black Atlantic Religions H3
SOCI 115Regional Sociology of the South3
SOCI 468United States Poverty and Public Policy3
H

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

Ethnicity and Diversity

AMST 231Native American History: The East3
AMST 233Native American History: The West3
AMST 234Native American Tribal Studies H3
AMST 235Native America in the 20th Century3
AMST 246Indigenous Storytelling: Oral, Written, and Visual Literatures of Native America3
AMST 253A Social History of Jewish Women in America3
AMST 258Captivity and American Cultural Definition3
AMST 317Adoption in America3
AMST 336Native Americans in Film3
AMST 337Beyond Red Power: American Indian Activism since 19003
AMST 339The Long 1960s in Native America3
AMST 360The Jewish Writer in American Life3
AMST 392Radical Communities in Twentieth Century American Religious History3
AMST 440American Indian Poetry3
AMST 486Shalom Y'all: The Jewish Experience in the American South3
AMST/ANTH 203Approaches to American Indian Studies3
FOLK 505Traditions in Transition: Jewish Folklore and Ethnography3
FOLK 610/AAAD 432Vernacular Traditions in African American Music4
AAAD 240African American Politics3
AAAD 257Black Nationalism in the United States3
AAAD 286The African Diaspora in the Colonial Americas, 1450-18003
AAAD 331African America: Contemporary Issues3
AAAD 450The Harlem Renaissance3
ANTH 206American Indian Societies3
ANTH 230Native American Cultures3
ANTH 250Archaeology of North America H3
ARTH 38720th-Century African American Art3
ARTH 485Art of the Harlem Renaissance3
ARTH 554Imagining Otherness in Visual Culture in the Americas3
ASIA 350The Asian American Experience3
COMM 576Making and Manipulating "Race" in the United States3
DRAM 297African American Women in Theatre3
EDUC 510Mexican American and Chicana/o Experience in Education3
ENGL 267Growing Up Latina/o3
ENGL 270Studies in Asian American Literature3
ENGL 271Mixed-Race America: Race in Contemporary American Literature and Culture3
ENGL 289Jewish American Literature and Culture of the 20th Century3
ENGL 360Contemporary Asian American Literature and Theory3
ENGL 361Asian American Women's Writing3
ENGL 364Introduction to Latina/o Studies H3
ENGL 371The Place of Asian Americans in Southern Literature3
ENGL 472African American Literature--Contemporary Issues H3
HIST 236Sex and American History3
HIST 241History of Latinos in the United States3
HIST 376History of African Americans to 18653
HIST 377History of African Americans, 1865 to Present H3
HIST 569African American Women's History3
HIST 576The Ethnohistory of Native American Women3
HIST 589Race, Racism, and America: (United States) Law in Historical Perspective3
HIST 361/WMST 260Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Histories in the United States3
MEJO 342The Black Press and United States History3
POLI 217Women and Politics3
POLI 218Politics of Sexuality3
POLI 220Race, Ethnicity, and Electoral Representation in the United States3
POLI 419Race and Politics in the Contemporary United States H3
PSYC 467The Development of Black Children3
PSYC 503African American Psychology3
RELI 141African American Religions H3
RELI 142Catholicism in America3
RELI 242New Religious Movements in America3
RELI 243Introduction to American Judaism3
RELI 248Introduction to American Islam H3
RELI 342African-American Religious Experience3
RELI 423Ethnicity, Race, and Religion in America3
RELI 445Asian Religions in America3
RELI 540Mormonism and the American Experience3
RELI 580African American Islam3
SLAV 469Coming to America: The Slavic Immigrant Experience in Literature3
WMST 233Introduction to Latina Literature3
WMST 368Women of Color in Contemporary United States Social Movements3
WMST 553Theorizing Black Feminisms3
H

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

AMST 396, FOLK 490, and FOLK 690 may fall under various categories, depending on the focus of these courses in a given semester; the course instructor and director of undergraduate studies will decide which category they fulfill.

At the core of the undergraduate major concentration in American studies are two required courses in interdisciplinary cultural analysis (see above). Majors also choose at least two advanced seminars in the department that focus readings and research on topics representative of both the talents of its faculty members and emergent directions in American studies scholarship. For the remainder of their requirements, majors select a series of relevant electives offered by over a dozen different University departments and curricula. These courses deepen majors’ interdisciplinary awareness of American traditions, institutions, literature, and arts as well as expose students to a diversity of American experiences and perspectives. Students may petition the director of undergraduate studies to have courses not listed approved to fulfill major requirements; such courses will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Special Opportunities in American Studies

Honors in American Studies

The American studies major offers a two-course honors program: AMST 691H in the fall semester and AMST 692H in the spring semester. Folklore also offers a two-course honors program: FOLK 691H in the fall semester and FOLK 692H in the spring semester. Students must propose their thesis and contract with a faculty advisor during the semester prior to the beginning of their senior year. For each semester of honors work, thesis students must submit a signed learning contract to the Department of American Studies during the registration period. During the two semesters devoted to honors work, students conduct individual research and prepare an honors thesis under the supervision of a faculty member. Students also will attend a weekly seminar at the discretion of the advisor. Students must maintain a 3.3 cumulative grade point average to be eligible. With the approval of the associate or the assistant dean for honors, students with a slightly lower average who have a reasonable expectation of meeting the requirement within one more semester may embark upon the honors thesis, understanding that if they do not attain the 3.3 standard they may continue the research project as independent study but are not eligible to graduate with honors or highest honors.

Experiential Education

The Department of American Studies offers a seminar on Service Learning in America (AMST 398) and offers credits for approved internship projects (AMST 493). Students have learned about American studies by serving the community in museums, schools, social agencies, and other cultural institutions.

Study Abroad

The Department of American Studies encourages students to consider a semester or more of study abroad and has developed close relations with several American studies programs in different countries. Studying American experience in international contexts is an integral part of understanding the place and influence of the United States in the world. Student learning is enhanced by the perspectives gained by examining how American subjects are taught in universities around the globe as well as by encountering the international students who enroll in American studies courses in Chapel Hill. Study abroad offers students of folklore the opportunity to understand the rich vernacular and traditional cultures of other parts of the world from both a local and a comparative perspective. Students can receive American studies major credit for selected study abroad programs and are encouraged to make study abroad part of their academic plans. Study abroad courses can count toward the international American studies major or minor. Students interested in this experience should consult with the director of undergraduate studies or with the Study Abroad Office about international exchange programs sponsored by UNC–Chapel Hill.

Undergraduate Awards

The department awards Julia Preston Brumley Travel Scholarships to help fund international travel and study abroad. The Peter C. Baxter Memorial Prize is awarded annually to the outstanding senior majoring in American studies.

Undergraduate Research

The Department offers credit for AMST 396 and FOLK 495. Majors can develop a two-semester honors thesis project (AMST 691H and AMST 692H or FOLK 691H and FOLK 692H) in consultation with an advisor. Students have received summer undergraduate research fellowships, earned research support and travel awards, and presented their work at the Annual Celebration of Undergraduate Research each spring.