AMST 20100, "Introduction to American Studies," introduces undergraduate students to the interdisciplinary study of "America" as a place, a political and social idea, a set of values and traditions, and a people. The course enables students to study America through the diversity of its ideas, texts, objects, institutions, practices, and histories as well as the complex social and political relationships that have shaped and continue to shape the world to which they belong. The course's interdisciplinary emphasis challenges students to explore the nation's complexity and the dynamics of its national culture and countless subcultures from multiple vantage points and through multiple media.
In AMST 20100, students are introduced to a holistic approach to the study of America in a problem-based course. That is to say, the problem provides the structure for the course rather than the requirements of any one discipline. Throughout the course, students will read scholarship from a variety of disciiplines so they can begin to recognize the different modes of analysis that might be applied to the same subject. AMST 20100's readings and research will focus on topics representative of both faculty expertise and emergent directions in American Studies scholarship. While the content of the course will vary according to these criteria, each section of AMST 20100 will share the desire to view America from multiple points of inquiry rather than from the perspective of a single discipline. By drawing on a broad range of knowledge from the humanities and social sciences, the course provides students with a wide-ranging, yet disciplined exploration of problems that cross the boundaries of traditional academic fields and reflect the diversity of the American experience.