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American Studies @ AU, Not

Posted By Spencer Irvine On August 23, 2013 @ 3:50 pm In News | No Comments

In the Orwell-on-steroids world that is academia, you can frequently figure out what is not covered in a discipline by looking at the title of it.

What, for example, is so terribly scientific about political science? Similarly, the American nature of the American Studies department at American University [1] is also difficult to discern.

Here are some of their course offerings:

AMERICAN STUDIES

AMST-320 FALL 2013
American Cultural History
U.S. through Foreign Eyes

Since its inception, the United States has been the subject of celebration, inspiration, and condemnation from those living outside its borders. This course uses a wide variety of primary sources to explore how the United States has tried to project itself abroad, as well as how a variety of commentators, e.g., journalists, heads of states, intellectuals, migrants, and minorities in other countries, have responded to the United States at different times.

AMST-320 FALL 2013
American Cultural History
Civil Rights in the United States: Movements of Change

In this course students explore activist and civil rights movements in the United States, analyzing both the political and social actors articulating these movements, as well as the particular tactics and strategies mobilized by different communities and groups. Students consider how movements across the country and world play out in the contexts of their own lives. Focus on particular themes or movements including race/ethnicity; sexuality; immigration/nationalism; war/conflict; and class/Neoliberalism examines the various movements and actions that have mobilized around these concerns, such as the Civil Rights Movement, LGBT rights, the Minuteman Civil Defense Corp, squatters/occupiers, and so forth. Meets with HIST-396 002.

AMST-340 FALL 2013
Community Activism and Regional Studies

Topics vary by section, may be repeated for credit with different topic. Explores the contemporary and historical development of Washington D.C. and the Chesapeake region; or invites students to interact with communities and the environment in the area. Usually offered every term.

AMST-340 FALL 2013
Community Activism and Regional Studies
Environmental Politics in American History and Culture

This course explores the evolution of environmental politics in the United States from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. It examines environmental ethics, conservation, law and policy making, the role of science, environmental racism, and movements such as environmental justice, ecofeminism, animal rights, deep ecology, and sustainability. The course studies changing attitudes and ideas of different groups toward the natural environment, and how those have influenced the politics of the environment, whether through governmental policies or private activism. Students obtain a clear understanding of the legal, political, organizational, scientific, and economic factors shaping past and current environmental debates. Meets with HIST-396 004.

AMST-340 SPRING 2014
Community Activism and Regional Studies
Latin American Community in Washington, D.C.

This interdisciplinary course explores the growing Latino community of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and its challenges and contributions in a historical context. In addition to classroom experiences, the course uses local community-based organizations as a key resource. Students learn about issues such as immigration and legal rights, affordable housing and gentrification, education, youth gangs, health, employment and day laborers, and other concerns at the forefront of local and national Latino life.

AMST-340 SPRING 2014
Community Activism and Regional Studies
Mapping Washington D.C. Geographies

In this course students reconsider how Washington, D.C., as a city inhabited and traversed by various types of communities and persons, can be visualized and understood in radically different ways. Specifically, the course attends to issues of human geography and mapping through issues of space and place, belonging, gentrification, race, class, gender, and sexuality. The class explores these elements through discussions and films, guest speakers, off-campus explorations of D.C., and primary data collection through interviews and personal map production.

AMST-340 SPRING 2014
Community Activism and Regional Studies
Activism and Social Media in Washington, DC

The growth of social media has dramatically changed how people communicate, collaborate and mobilize, thereby transforming political and social activism. These changes have profoundly impacted American culture, fundraising, lobbying and politics. This course examines the interplay between activism and social media through academic texts, online resources, case studies, videos, guest lectures and field trips. Issues covered include abortion, the economy, the environment, feminism, immigration, military actions and same-sex marriage.

 

Spencer Irvine is a staff writer at Accuracy in Academia.
If you would like to comment on this article, e-mail mal.kline@academia.org.


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[1] American University: http://www.american.edu/provost/registrar/schedule/index.cfm

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