AMERICAN STUDIES

AMST-330
Contemporary American Culture

Course Level: Undergraduate

Contemporary American Culture (3) Topics vary by section. Interdisciplinary explorations of American media, politics, ethnography, literature, and art. Usually Offered: fall and spring. Repeatable for credit with different topic.

AMST-330
001
AMERICAN STUDIES
FALL 2018 REGULAR TERM

Course Level: Undergraduate

Contemporary American Culture

Food, Media, and Culture

Food, Media, and Culture (3) This course investigates the intersection of food, ideology, identity, and media in American history. Cookbooks, memoirs, magazines, radio and TV-shows as well as feature films have traditionally used food to discuss national, ethnic, and class identity, while simultaneously promoting norms on citizenship, gender, and sexuality. The sources discussed in the course reach from the first American cookbook in the late eighteenth century to food centered videogames in the twenty-first century.

AMST-330
002
AMERICAN STUDIES
FALL 2018 REGULAR TERM

Course Level: Undergraduate

Contemporary American Culture

Black Popular Culture in D.C.

Black Popular Culture in D.C. (3) In this course, students discuss various American pop culture formations including hip-hop, film, go-go, blues/jazz, speculative fiction, spoken word, sports, crime-fiction, politics, print news, and new digital media as they take shape within Washington, DC, a city that's been majority Black for much of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The course critically examines the concept of "Blackness," considering how Black people have influenced and engaged with/in American pop culture in the unique context of DC. Students explore the city, host special guests, actively learn about DC, and design and implement an interactive interdisciplinary project. Meets with AFAM-396 003.

AMST-330
003
AMERICAN STUDIES
FALL 2018 REGULAR TERM

Course Level: Undergraduate

Contemporary American Culture

The Shonda Rhimes Experience

The Shonda Rhimes Experience (3) This course examines the influence of Shonda Rhimes and her series, Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder, on American popular culture. Using these shows as case studies, students explore feminism, race, sexuality, and identity. Students also investigate the varied uses of traditional and social media by television networks, cast members, and viewers, as well as the representation of women in entertainment and media.

AMST-330
001
AMERICAN STUDIES
SUMMER 2018 REGULAR TERM

Course Level: Undergraduate

Contemporary American Culture

Global Icons

Instructional Method: Online. Global Icons (3) This course explores the reasons why a few American "pop stars" have become objects of identification and admiration for diverse populations and cultures around the world. While the significance of "global icons" derives from their own artistry, it can also be explained from the discourses that they have come to represent. Questions discussed include what it means to call someone an icon on a global scale; how icons produce global meaning; how global systems of meaning produce icons; and why it is important to consider the function of global icons with respect to American ideas about race, class, gender, age, and sexuality. Students explore the impact of different forms of representations, the role of radio, television, video, Internet and digital music, the manufacturing and marketing of pop music, and the coherence of a globalized culture. Artists discussed include Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince, Kurt Cobain, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Beyonce, and Lady Gaga, among others.

AMST-330
001
AMERICAN STUDIES
SPRING 2019 SEMESTER

Course Level: Undergraduate

Contemporary American Culture

Beyonce: Race, Gend, Sexuality

Beyonce: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in U.S. Popular Culture (3) Since 1990, singer and performer Beyonce has worked to cultivate an iconic status within the American popular imagination. This course uses Beyonce and her body of work--music, lyrics, images, and video--as a set of texts, challenging students to critically engage with issues that these texts present including racial iconicity, pop feminism, black feminism, and representations of black womanhood. Students learn and apply key theories in cultural studies related to race, gender, and sexuality as well as their intersections. Further, students examine black women's representations since the early twentieth century, placing Beyonce within a broader frame of American popular culture and its expectations of black women. Meets with AFAM-396 002 WGSS-350 004.