American Studies Courses

Course Offerings in American Studies

In addition to the annual Scherer Center Seminar course for graduate students, the Center helps students coordinate programs of study on American topics. Please note: the course numbers for all American Studies classes are the same as the parent department, but simply substite the AMER prefix. If you believe that a course should be cross-listed, but it is not listed below, please contact Kirsten Gindler.

The following courses are cross-listed with American Studies for the 2017-2018 term by departments and schools across the University:

Autumn 2017

HIST 62503 Colloquium: US Legal History—Sovereignty, Property, Rights (A. Dru Stanley)

This course explores classic, recent, and theoretical/conceptual works in legal history, as well as selected landmark legal cases. Key themes include sovereignty and democracy, equality and difference, property and power, rights and equity. We will consider how the rule of law is studied in light of major historical transformations—the birth of the Republic, capitalist development, slavery abolition, and the emergence of the welfare state.

Winter 2018

HIST 63904 Colloquium: Rise of the Carceral State (K. Belew)

This course explores the historical roots and late-twentieth century rise of mass incarceration in the United States. We will focus on three major themes: the emergence of the prison-industrial complex, histories of racialized prison labor, and local economies around prisons; racialized and militarized policing, mandatory minimums, and the war on drugs; and militarism more broadly in American life and culture. Within these historical trajectories, we will focus on mass incarceration as continuity and change with earlier moments; race and gender as rendered through the carceral state; and how the state itself has shifted to promote and accommodate militarized policing and large numbers of incarcerated people.

Spring 2018

HIST 29905/HIST 39905 History of the Megalopolis in the Americas (M. Tenorio)

The megalopolis comprises a unique phenomenon where social conflicts, such as violence and inequality, and ecological devastation occur simultaneously with social mobility and economic, cultural, and political opportunities. And all occur at exponential rates. What historical factors mades such monsters possible in the Americas? What do they tell us about larger urban, social, and cultural assumptions about history? The course will explore these questions, focused on such cities as Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Buenos Aires, New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago.

HIST 48400 Colloquium: United States Intellectual History (M. Rossi)

The practice of intellectual history has famously been described as “like nailing jelly to the wall.” In this course, we will look at different methods, modes, and strategies employed by contemporary scholars in order to get a handle on the slippery topic of ideas in United States history. In addition to examining major trends in American thought since the nineteenth century, we will consider what the writing of ideas entails; where and how the disciplinary borders of history are drawn; how ideas travel; and how to think about ideas, ideologies, concepts, and thoughts in conjunction with the people, places, institutions, environments, non-human organisms, and material things that form the substrate of historical narratives.


A list of past course offerings is available upon request.