Institute for American Thought

Institute for American Thought

American Studies

Minor in American Studies | Courses in American Studies | American Studies Overseas | Affiliated Faculty 

[Photo]: American StudiesThe field of American studies extends across a broad spectrum of disciplines to offer integrating perspectives on American experience, thought, and expression. In this respect, American studies is decidedly interdisciplinary in its approaches, but at the same time it is very much a field to itself, generating its own lines of inquiry concerning the American cultural mosaic.

American Studies Information Sheet

Course Offerings in American Studies:

Spring 2015
Fall 2014
Spring 2014
Fall 2013
Spring 2013
Fall 2012
Spring 2012
Fall 2011

Spring 2011
Fall 2010
Spring 2010

Fall 2009
Spring 2009
Fall 2008
Spring 2008
Fall 2007
Spring 2007

Courses Crosslisted with American Studies  

Minor in American Studies

The minor in American Studies invites students to explore the American experience in a context broader than a single discipline. American Studies synthesizes methods and theories from history, literature, anthropology, philosophy, and other fields to make sense of experiences in and of American cultures. The scope of American Studies includes the Americas, North and South; the influences that have shaped American cultures; and American influences that have affected the world.

The American Studies minor program requires, better in addition to the prerequisite, completion of 15 credits of course work with a grade of C. The required core courses of the minor are AMST-A 101 Introduction to American Studies, which gives an overview of the field; AMST-A301 The Question of American Identity, which considers the formation and variety of identity in American cultures; and A302 The Question of American Community, which examines the confluence, conflict, and transformation of American social groups. Beyond these core courses, students are required to take two courses at the 300 or 400 level offered or cross-listed in the American Studies Program. This may include courses offered in various departments the School of Liberal Arts. Prerequisite for the minor is HIST-H 105 or HIST-H 106, or else evidence of historical knowledge of American cultures (consult the American Studies advisor regarding what counts as acceptable evidence).

Prerequisite: HIST-H 105 or HIST-H 106, or evidence of historical knowledge of American cultures (the prerequisite does not count toward the required 15 credits for minor)

Requirements: 15 credits completed with grade of C or better and distributed in the following way:
• AMST-A 101: Introduction to American Studies (3 cr.)
• AMST-A 301: The Question of American Identity (3 cr.)
• AMST-A 302: The Question of American Community (3 cr.)
• Two additional courses at the 300 or 400 level offered by the American Studies Program or by other departments and cross listed by the American Studies Program (6 cr.)

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Courses in American Studies

A101 Introduction to American Studies (3 cr.) This course introduces the interdisciplinary methods of American studies and shows how they enable better understanding of American cultures and ideas. Questions of race, ethnicity, nation, nationality, class, gender, sexuality, and religion are considered in relation to American identities and communities.

A103 Topics in American Studies (1-3 cr.) Interdisciplinary consideration of various American studies topics sometimes coordinated with symposia and/or conferences sponsored by the IUPUI Center for American Studies. A103 cannot be counted as credit toward an American studies minor.

A301 The Question of American Identity (3 cr.) Is American culture unified or does it consist of a potpourri of more or less distinct cultures? Beginning with the 1600s but emphasizing the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, this course explores classic texts in American culture, seeking to locate the terms of American unity in the midst of obvious diversity.

A302 The Question of American Community (3 cr.) What are the varieties and forms of American social life? This course will explore the manner in which Americans, from Puritan times through the later decades of the twentieth century, have structured and experienced social life in rural, urban, and suburban settings.

A303 Topics in American Studies (1-3 cr.) Interdisciplinary consideration of various American studies topics. Recent offerings include (but are not limited to) the following:
• American Audiences: From Deadheads to Gleeks
• American Cyber Identity
• American Dissent
• American Supernatural
• Art and American Culture 
• Asian-American Culture
• Beat Generation 
• Civil War Literature and Culture
• God and War: Civil Religion in America Since 1945
• Islam in America 
• The Literature of Rock 'n' Roll
• Movies and American Culture
• Music and Decorative Arts in American Studies
• Puritans and Porn Stars
• Reading American Cultures: Texts and Practices
• Representative Americans

A304 The Transformation of America 1960-1980 (3 cr.) America in the years from the administrations of John F. Kennedy to Ronald Reagan. An examination of such topics as the myth of Camelot, the civil rights movement and the subsequent black uprising, Vietnam and its aftermath, the rise of counterculture, campus unrest and the student movement, the road to Watergate and the retreat into narcissism, the pervasive influence of television, and the rise of neo-conservatism. Also, consideration of the literature: modernism and fabulism in fiction, social and cultural criticism, and the new journalism in nonfiction.

A341 Organizing for Social Action (3 cr.) What can the social-action organizations of the past and present teach us about the possibilities for progressive social change in our world today? American history and contemporary practice guide students in answering this question. Considering American protest from pre-Revolutionary days to the present and meeting present-day activists working for social justice will show how mass organizations are created and how they can be used to realize American ideals of liberty, equality, justice, peace, and opportunity for all. Students have the option of participating in a service-learning project and reflecting on the connections between assigned readings and the practice of organizing. Emphasis throughout is on bridging the academic perspective of the classroom with the practical concerns of different communities.

A391 Theories and Methods of American Studies (3 cr.) The course clarifies the nature of American studies as a field of inquiry and helps students develop skills in cultural interpretation, interdisciplinary inquiry, and clear and effective written communication. The course examines the concept of culture and the processes through which cultures form, change, and propagate. The course also considers the ideas of cultural pluralism, subculture, and multiculturalism. The course considers historical and contemporary methods of inquiry in American studies, providing students opportunities to apply these methods in research projects.

A499 Senior Tutorial in American Studies (3 cr.) This course provides students with the opportunity to pursue particular interests in American studies on topics of their choosing and to work in a tutorial relationship with an American studies faculty member. In this course of directed study, students will be required to produce research projects for filing in the library.

G753 Independent Study

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American Studies Overseas

England, Exchange Program with the University of Derby

This is a fall semester long program at the University of Derby. Students from any IUPUI school are eligible to participate and can take a wide range of courses that are offered at Derby. Since this is an exchange program, students will pay normal IUPUI tuition costs. 


Faculty Contact: Martin Coleman

For information about the University of Derby, please click on the link:

For information about the Derby and the surrounding area, please click on the link:

To apply to this program, please click here.

Visit the Study Abroad website for more information.

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Affiliated Faculty

Director and Advisor


Associate Professors:


Associate Faculty:
  • Kellie Dawson, American Studies 
  • Kim Trager-Bohley, American Studies

Emeritus Faculty:

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