Approved Electives for American Studies

The following courses are recommended as electives. Other classes, not included in the list below, may be counted toward the major with the approval of the program director. Students majoring in American studies should consult their advisor in designing their program of study and selecting the appropriate electives.

AFST 150     Introduction to African and African American Studies  (4)

An introduction to how historical and contemporary analyses of cultural, political, and social forces in America, the Atlantic world (Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean), and Africa have influenced the experiences of people of color. To illuminate those life experiences, the course employs the concept of race (as a theoretical, historical, and critical category), historiography, social analysis, and cultural critique.

AFST 160     Introduction to Black Women's Studies  (4)

This introductory course explores the interlocking forms of oppression circumscribing Black women’s lives in the United States, with a particular emphasis on the ways in which their lived experiences and social realities are influenced by constructions of race, gender, class, sexuality, and other markers of difference. It contextualizes Black women’s struggles for social justice historically within the broader narratives of Black freedom struggles and the Women’s Rights Movement. It underscores the ways in which despite their marginalized status, Black women have used their agency within both the private and public realms to interrogate, challenge, and resist their subordination and subvert the status quo, particularly as it is reinforced in negative constructions of Black female identity.

AMST 444     Independent Study  (2 or 4)

An opportunity for students to explore a topic of interest in an independent or directed manner. Open only to students pursuing majors in American studies. Prerequisite: Instructor prerequisite override required.

ANTH 301     American Culture  (4)

An anthropological study of the United States using community studies and topical essays to explore regional differences and national continuities. Symbols of self, home, community, and nation are used to interpret technology, the economy, leisure, popular culture, and social class, and patterns that typify America in general, and, in particular, the region of Appalachia.

ANTH 302     Southern Cultures  (4)

An anthropological study of the southern United States emphasizes cultural continuity in both mountains and lowlands. The course uses community studies and literature to explore how indigenous interpretations fit within and react against national patterns and how locality, race, status, and gender act as social principles.

ANTH 411     Research Seminar: Campus Life and Academic Culture  (4)

How do social and academic life interact on our campus? Using interviews, observation, and other anthropological methods, the class explores how enduring academic traditions interact with changing collegiate experience and American culture. Specific foci include spatial culture; styles in studying, writing, class participation, and academic engagement; and various discipline/indulgence scenarios like the "work hard, party hard" attitude. Those in the course also consider how students choose and adapt to majors, and how majors differ in work culture and value orientation. Working collaboratively, students contribute to ongoing research as well as generate individual research papers.

ARTH 212     American Animation, 1910-1960  (4)

A chronological examination of the most significant and influential short and full-length animated features made in the United States between 1910 and 1960. This course begins with the experiments of Winsor McCay ("Little Nemo," 1911) and ends with the rise of made-for-television cartoon in early 1960s. Emphasis is placed both on major studios in New York, Kansas City, and Los Angeles and on pioneering directors and animators working in those studios. The course also situates the work of those studios, directors, and animators within the larger contexts of twentieth century American history and popular culture.

ARTH 340     American Art  (4)

A survey of painting, sculpture, and architecture in the United States from the Colonial period to 1913, with an emphasis on the relationship between American and European art and artists. Other topics considered include the development of art institutions in this country, in particular art museums and academies. Prerequisite: ARTH 104 or HUMN 202.

EDUC 279     History of American Education  (4)

The course examines the social and cultural history of American education from the seventeenth century to the present day. Special attention is focused upon the following issues: the changing roles and structures of the family, the participation and leadership of women in education, and the impact of ideas about sexual difference in the construction of the values, ideals, and institutions of education.

ENGL 330     The Life and Literature of Tennessee Williams  (4)

A study of the major dramatic works of Tennessee Williams, as well as his poetry and fiction. The course also examines Williams' life and his impact on twentieth-century American literature and theatre. Prerequisite: One course in English with attribute GFWI.

ENGL 377     American Literature I  (4)

A study of American writing from the seventeenth century to the 1850s, emphasizing major works of the American renaissance by Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, Melville, Stowe, and Whitman. Prerequisite: One course in English with attribute GFWI.

ENGL 378     American Literature II  (4)

A study of American writing from the 1830s to 1900, including works by Dickinson, Mark Twain, Chestnut, James, Jewett, Stephen Crane, and others. Prerequisite: One course in English with attribute GFWI.

ENGL 379     The American Novel  (4)

A study of major nineteenth-century American novels, including works by Hawthorne, Mark Twain, James, and Wharton. Prerequisite: One course in English with attribute GFWI.

ENGL 380     Emily Dickinson  (4)

A study of one of the most important American poets, whose tight, elliptical lyrics inspired American poets for the next hundred years. This course examines in detail Dickinson's career, sometimes in relation to her poetic contemporaries, and many of the nearly 1800 poems she is known to have written. Prerequisite: One course in English with attribute GFWI.

ENGL 391     Modern American Poetry  (4)

The origin and development of the modern period in American poetry, concentrating on the work of the major modernist poets: Frost, Pound, Stevens, Williams, and Eliot. The course includes a brief examination of their influence in poems by Berryman, Bishop, Brooks, Hughes, Lowell, Moore, Rich, Roethke, Wilbur, and others. Prerequisite: One course in English with attribute GFWI.

ENGL 392     Modern American Fiction  (4)

A study of novels by James, Wharton, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Steinbeck, Faulkner, Warren, Ellison and others. Prerequisite: One course in English with attribute GFWI.

ENGL 393     Faulkner  (4)

A study of As I Lay Dying, The Sound and the Fury, Sanctuary, Light in August, Absalom, Absalom!, The Hamlet, and Go Down Moses. The main business of each class meeting will be the presentation and peer criticism of one or more student papers. Prerequisite: One course in English with attribute GFWI.

ENGL 394     Literature of the American South  (4)

A study of the literature of the Southern Renaissance, including works by Faulkner, Warren, Lytle, Welty, and several contemporary Southern writers. Some attention is given to Southern literature preceding 1920 and to nineteenth- and twentieth-century Southern black writers. Prerequisite: One course in English with attribute GFWI.

ENGL 395     African-American Literature  (4)

A study of the major traditions of African-American writing from the nineteenth century to the present, including Frederick Douglass, Linda Brent, Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, Ernest Gaines, Toni Morrison, and Rita Dove. Not open for credit for students who have completed ENGL 212. Prerequisite: One course in English with attribute GFWI.

ENGL 396     American Environmental Literature  (4)

A study of writings from the colonial era to our own day reflecting diverse ways of imagining humanity's relation to the natural environment. Readings include both traditional literary texts by authors such as Thoreau, Cather, and Frost and seminal nonfiction by figures such as Aldo Leopold, John Muir, Rachel Carson, and Wendell Berry. Prerequisite: One course in English with attribute GFWI.

ENGL 397     Contemporary American Fiction  (4)

A study of representative American fiction published after World War II, including work by Thomas Pynchon, Josephine Humphreys, Louise Erdrich, Ernest Gaines, Barbara Kingsolver, Robert Stone, and Tim O'Brien. Prerequisite: One course in English with attribute GFWI.

ENGL 398     American Poetry Since World War II  (4)

A study of American poets whose major work was published after World War II, concentrating on Elizabeth Bishop, Anthony Hecht, Donald Justice, Robert Lowell, Howard Nemerov, Sylvia Plath, Theodore Roethke, Richard Wilbur, and Mona Van Duyn. Among others, John Berryman, Maxine Kumin, Adrienne Rich, X.J. Kennedy, and Derek Walcott will also be considered. Prerequisite: One course in English with attribute GFWI.

HIST 201     History of the United States I  (4)

A general survey of the political, constitutional, economic, and social history of the United States. Prerequisite: One course with attribute G4 including AP or IB credit.

HIST 202     History of the United States II  (4)

A general survey of the political, constitutional, economic, and social history of the United States. Prerequisite: One course with attribute G4 including AP or IB credit.

HIST 204     Rich and Poor in America from the Colonial Period to the Present  (4)

A history of being poor in America focusing on the conjoined categories of "wealth" and "poverty" in the lives of impoverished people, and of private and public actions and policies affecting them from the colonial period through the early twenty-first century. Students consider how poor and non-poor Americans have understood what it means to be poor and wealthy, what causes poverty and affluence, and what remedies the former and enables the latter. For the period after 1870, the course incorporates the enlargement of Americans' vision to encompass global conditions of wealth and poverty. Prerequisite: One course with attribute G4 including AP or IB credit.

HIST 229     The Many Faces of Sewanee  (4)

This seminar introduces students to the facts and conceptual processes of history by using Sewanee and its immediate surroundings as a case study. Students employ historical methods within a variety of interdisciplinary contexts drawing on insights from archaeology, geology, literary analysis, and sociology, as well as social, political, military, and intellectual history to comprehend both what has happened here and how it is variously understood. Prerequisite: One course with attribute G4 including AP or IB credit.

HIST 231     African-American History to 1865  (4)

A survey of the history of African-Americans from their arrival in the English colonies to the end of the Civil War. African-Americans' struggle with slavery and oppression provide the central theme, but the course will address the various political, economic, social, and cultural conditions which contributed to the development of a unique African-American community. Particular attention will be given to the development of such institutions within this community as family, religion, and education. Prerequisite: One course with attribute G4 including AP or IB credit.

HIST 232     African-American History since 1865  (4)

A survey of the major topics and issues in African-American history from 1865 to the present: the era of emancipation, the turn-of-the-century nadir of race relations, black participation in both world wars, the Harlem Renaissance, the Civil Rights Movement, and various dimensions of contemporary black life. The course will also explore some of the historiographical themes that have catalyzed current scholarship and will analyze diverse theories about the black experience in America. Prerequisite: One course with attribute G4 including AP or IB credit.

HIST 237     Women in U.S. History, 1600-1870  (4)

A survey of the history of American women which will consider how women experienced colonization, American expansion, the industrial revolution, war, and changes in the culture's understanding of gender roles and the family. The course also explores how differences in race, ethnicity, and class affected women's experience. Prerequisite: One course with attribute G4 including AP or IB credit.

HIST 238     Women in U.S. History, 1870 to the Present  (4)

A survey of the major changes in American women's lives since the end of the last century, including increased access to education, movement into the labor market, and changes in reproductive behavior and in their role within the family. Special consideration will be given to the movements for women's rights. Prerequisite: One course with attribute G4 including AP or IB credit.

HIST 316     The African-American Church in Slavery and Freedom  (4)

This seminar course examines the presence of the African-American church in the lives of African Americans and in the history of the United States. From its creation as an "invisible institution" during slavery to its dynamic existence during the era of black emancipation to its crucial presence during the Civil Rights Movement and beyond, the black church has been a vital force in framing the contours of African-American culture and shaping religious life in America. This course explores how the church has functioned as a formative social and political institution within a racially fractured but continually changing civic landscape. Prerequisite: One course with attribute G4 including AP or IB credit.

HIST 317     African-American Intellectual History  (4)

This course examines the development of African-American thought from the mid-nineteenth century to the present and explores various cultural, spiritual and intellectual dimensions of African-American life. Emphasis is placed on political, religious and literary figures, including the works of Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Dubois, Charles Chesnutt, Booker T. Washington, Henry McNeal Turner, Marcus Garvey, Zora Neal Hurston, Langston Hughes, Pauli Murray, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, Malcom X, Martin Luther King, Jr., Toni Morrison, and Cornel West. Prerequisite: One course with attribute G4 including AP or IB credit.

HIST 318     African American Women and Religion  (4)

This class will examine African American Women's participation and critical role in religious life in America. It will explore black women's place in the formation of revival culture, the creation of religious ritual, and the institutional establishment of the black churches. Further, it will investigate black women's vital role in the dissemination of religious values within and between generations. Through biography and autobiography, this course shall address the ways in which black women have appropriated religious language and sensibility in constructing the narratives of their lives. In sum, it will explore the myriad ways African American women contested and critiqued their place in the church and the community, while simultaneously supporting and furthering black churches and promoting the health of religious life. Prerequisite: One course with attribute G4 including AP or IB credit.

HIST 322     Southern Lives  (4)

An exploration of Southern history through the lenses of biography, autobiography, and fiction. This seminar examines the careers of significant figures in the history and literature of the South from the antebellum era to the present. Prerequisite: One course with attribute G4 including AP or IB credit.

HIST 324     Colonial and Imperial Warfare in North America and Southern Africa  (4)

This seminar compares the warfare that accompanied colonial encounters in North America and southern Africa, from the first European contact through the early twentieth century. It focuses on wars fought in response to resistance by native peoples and on the use of native allies in warfare between imperial foes as windows into the processes of acculturation, resistance, dispossession, and representation that characterized the colonial encounter as a whole. Texts range from traditional military history to religious, cultural, environmental, and comparative approaches to the topic. Prerequisite: One course with attribute G4 including AP or IB credit.

HIST 325     Revolutionary America  (4)

A study of the development and challenges of early American nationalism. Students will consider the growth of republican institutions and ideas during the colonial era, the causes and conduct of the American Revolution, and the initial tests of the young republic. Prerequisite: One course with attribute G4 including AP or IB credit.

HIST 327     The Old South  (4)

An exploration of the Southern past from the earliest English settlements to the establishment of the Confederate States of America. This course charts the development of distinctive Southern political, economic, and social structures, examines the role of chattel slavery in shaping the region, and analyzes the causes of the war for Southern independence. Prerequisite: One course with attribute G4 including AP or IB credit.

HIST 328     Slavery, Race, and the University  (4)

An exploration of the importance of slavery to the development of higher education in the United States through a close study of the history of the University of the South, its antebellum roots in the slaveholding South, and the continuing impact of the legacies of slavery and racial injustice on its development. The course also examines campus monuments and memorials that shape collective memories and identities at Sewanee and considers the ethical questions of how universities may seek justice and reconciliation in light of their historic and long-unaddressed connections to slavery. Not open to new first-year students.

HIST 330     History of Southern Appalachia  (4)

An examination of the events, people, movements, and themes of the region's past, from earliest known human habitation to the present. The course explores contrasting ways of life expressed by native and European peoples; implications of incorporating the area into the United States; the agricultural, industrial, and transportation revolutions of the nineteenth century; popular culture within and about Appalachia; contemporary issues of regional development and preservation; and ways the unique environment of these mountains has shaped and frustrated notions of regional identity. Prerequisite: One course with attribute G4 including AP or IB credit.

HIST 336     Hours of Crisis in U.S. History  (4)

This course examines several key moments of crisis in American political, military, and cultural history from the Second Continental Congress's decision to declare independence in 1776 to the wars with Iraq in 1991 and 2003. The class explores the events that created the context for essential public actions, the historical factors that led to the decisions, and how succeeding generations came to view those decisions and, in some cases, to use them as precedents in thinking about contemporary problems. Prerequisite: One course in history with attribute G4 including AP or IB credit.

HIST 347     The American Civil Rights Movement  (4)

This seminar will survey the major topics and issues of the twentieth-century Civil Rights Movement in America. In addition to exploring the lives and roles of popular figures like Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, and Jesse Jackson, we shall also examine the contributions of important but less prominent figures such as Charles Houston, Medger Evers, Ella Baker, Clifford Durr, and Septima Clark. Emphasis shall be placed on each phase of the movement, from the formation of the NAACP at the 1909 Niagara Conference to the legal strategy to overthrow racial segregation to the nonviolent protest of the 1950s and 60s and finally ending with the Black Power Movement. Prerequisite: One course with attribute G4 including AP or IB credit.

HIST 375     The Outlaw in American Culture  (4)

This survey approaches the outlaw both as imagined in fiction, film, and music and as a real historical subject. Special attention is paid to how changing understandings of the "outlaw" correspond to specific moments in American history such as the settling of the West, gangsterism in the Great Depression, the rise of Black Power, and the development of new technology involving internet hacktivists. Legal and other-than-legal responses to the outlaw are also considered. Prerequisite: One course with attribute G4 including AP or IB credit.

HIST 393     America's Civil War  (4)

This course examines the military, economic, political, and social upheaval of mid-nineteenth century America. We will consider the failure of antebellum political mechanisms, the growth of sectionalism, justifications for and against secession, the methods and implications of war, competing constitutional systems during the conflict, efforts to eradicate Southern separatism, and the lingering cultural implications of the nation's fratricidal dispute. Students will employ the America's Civil War web site, as well as other media, in preparing for discussions, tests, and research papers. Prerequisite: One course with attribute G4 including AP or IB credit.

HIST 493     The Civil War and American Historical Memory  (4)

This seminar examines, through a variety of texts, the impact of the Civil War on American historical memory. The goal is to awaken in students' minds the enduring importance of historical events and to suggest way in which time, distance, and context affect how those events are understood. The seminar, then, is an historiographical excursion which treats a wide range of materials as meaningful historical documents. Prerequisite: One course with attribute G4 including AP or IB credit.

POLS 107     Critical Issues in American Politics  (4)

A course devoted to examining a variety of politically-related contemporary issues, such as those related to education, health, or the environment. Presupposes students have at least some prior knowledge of governmental institutions and processes. Students join written and oral discourse to consider the background of problems, their political development, and possible resolution. Students may not receive credit for both POLS 101 and POLS 107.

POLS 203     The Presidency  (4)

A study of the office and powers of the President, presidential leadership, and the relations between the Chief Executive, Congress, and the executive agencies.

POLS 204     Legislative Process  (4)

The composition, organization, procedure, and powers of legislative bodies in the United States and abroad.

POLS 222     United States Foreign Policy  (4)

An examination of changes in national security policies in the post-World-War-II period. The course will focus on containment, mutual defense in Europe and Asia, deterrence, arms control and force reduction, detente and U.S. Chinese relations. Open only to new first-year students.

POLS 223     Public Policy  (4)

Students are introduced to foundational theories of public policy, gaining valuable insight into "who gets what, when, and how" in the political process. Through a series of case studies in environmental, social welfare, criminal justice, and health policy, students are asked to apply and critically evaluate policy problems and solutions, given existing public policy theories.

POLS 304     American Political Thought  (4)

This course traces the emergence of different strands in American political thought, beginning with the rival interpretations of notions such as freedom and self-government during the period of the founding. Selected topics include race and strategies for social change, communitarianism and neo-conservatism, feminism, Christian fundamentalism, and green politics. Not open to new first-year students.

POLS 313     Environmental Politics and Policy  (4)

The course explores the ideas that influence environmental thought, examines various environmental problems and suggested solutions, and critically evaluates the role that political institutions play in creating and enforcing environmental policy. Specific topics include environmental justice, environmental federalism, environmental health, and regulatory behavior. Not open to new first-year students.

POLS 330     Race and Ethnicity in American Politics  (4)

This course examines the many ways in which race and ethnicity play a role in American politics, including how race and ethnicity affect personal identity, political preferences, political participation, candidates and campaigns, public officeholders, and policymaking. Topics considered include racial identity, descriptive and substantive representation, intersectionality (the interaction of race, gender, class and other social categories), and the effect of race and ethnicity on current public policy debates. Not open to new first-year students.

POLS 331     Constitutional Law: Balancing Powers  (4)

This course examines Supreme Court cases related to separation of powers and checks and balances by situating cases within varying theories of constitutional interpretation and by assessing the socio-political implications of those decisions. Cases studied include controversies about executive privilege, the Commerce Clause, the Tenth Amendment, and federalism. The course emphasizes, above all, the political role of the judiciary. Not open to new first-year students.

POLS 338     Constitutional Law: Civil Rights  (4)

This course examines Supreme Court cases related to equality: by situating cases within varying theories of constitutional interpretation, and by assessing the socio-political implications of those decisions. Civil rights are specific governmental provisions to secure individual entitlements, as exemplified by the Fourteenth Amendment's guarantee of "equal protection of the laws." Claims centering on race, gender, sexual orientation, and disability are examined, along with other claims of equality arising from the Fifteenth Amendment's prohibition of voting discrimination. The course emphasizes, above all, the political role of the judiciary. This course may not be taken by students who have taken POLS 332. Not open to new first-year students.

POLS 343     Visions of Constitutional Order  (4)

This course in American political thought examines the problems of establishing and maintaining free popular government by considering the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century sources and debates that informed the Founders' Constitution. Focus is on the multiplicity of the Founders' views rather than a single vision. Reference is also made to Lincoln's understanding of the Constitution in the Secession Crisis of 1861. Not open to new first-year students. Prerequisite: POLS 101 or POLS 105.

POLS 344     Myth America  (4)

This course is concerned with myths that have played a prominent role in our nation's self-conception and its political rhetoric -- such as the myth of the frontier, the myth of success, and the notion of the American dream. We will examine 1) the changing historical meanings of these myths from the colonial period to the twentieth century and 2) the gender aspects of these myths. Not open to new first-year students.

POLS 373     African-American Political Thought  (4)

This course focuses on important African-American writers whose unique perspectives challenge us to think about questions of justice, equality and difference, morality, and rule. Readings begin in the nineteenth century (Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington) and proceed into the late twentieth century with selections from authors such as Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Stokely Carmichael, James Baldwin, Shelby Steele, Cornel West, and Toni Morrison. Not open to new first-year students.

PSYC 403     Psychology and Popular Culture in the U.S.  (4)

Did the World Wars "put psychology on the map" and convert Americans to the "therapeutic gospel"? How is the polygraph test related to Wonder Woman? Did humanistic psychology inspire Yippies and feminists in the 1960s -- and can humanistic psychologists be "real men"? This seminar explores such questions, using primary and secondary sources that link the history of psychology and popular culture in the U.S. Students evaluate critically the current popularization of psychology and explore relationships between popular and academic psychology. Prerequisite: Four courses in any combination from psychology and American studies.

RELG 119     Religion in American History  (4)

A survey of American religious history and an introduction to the critical interrogation of each of the course’s orienting terms--American, religion, and history. This course considers key concepts, central questions, and select archival material in the historical study of American religion through the examination of specific figures, signal moments, and significant movements from colonial encounter to the present, and it explores how the study of religion in American history intersects with other categories of human distinction and difference-making, including race, space, gender, sex, and class.

RELG 348     Business of Religion  (4)

This course explores the discursive connections between business and religion by examining their shared histories. Structured around a series of case studies from American religious historiography (e.g. Quaker Oats, Ivory Soap, Wal-Mart, Oprah), it considers how religious and business discourses can be understood as historically entangled and interpretatively contested ways to name and navigate the vexed relations of human exchange and culture-making, ritual purchase and systems of value, modes of production, and forms of authority. The course considers how religious institutions have engaged corporate concerns and how businesses might be and have been understood as religious subjects themselves in American history. Prerequisite: One course in religious studies or one course with attribute G4 including AP or IB credit.

RHET 311     U.S. Public Address I: 1620-1865  (4)

History and criticism of American speeches and rhetorical texts. The course examines a broad range of historical and rhetorical factors that influenced the creation and reception of speeches from the colonial period through the end of the Civil War, focusing not only on the political, religious, legal, and social exigencies to which speeches responded but also on the place of those rhetorical texts in U.S. public controversies.

RHET 312     U.S. Public Address II: 1865-Present  (4)

History and criticism of American speeches and rhetorical texts. The course examines a broad range of historical and rhetorical factors that influenced the creation and reception of speeches from the Civil War to the present, focusing not only on the political, religious, legal, and social exigencies to which speeches responded but also on the place of those rhetorical texts in U.S. public controversies.

RHET 411     Rhetoric in the Age of Protest, 1948-1973  (4)

Study of the discursive and non-discursive aspects of protest in the period 1948-1973. Focus on the forms and functions of rhetorics and counter-rhetorics in U.S. controversies over communism, civil rights, free speech, war, students’ rights, women’s rights, farm workers’ rights, Native American rights, gay rights, the environment, and poverty. Prerequisite: One course in rhetoric.

SAST 220     Place, Memory, and Identity  (4)

This course explores critical intersections of memory, identity, and place from a multidisciplinary perspective. Students engage a series of concepts and skills regarding place--abstractly and concretely--as they relate to efforts by individuals, communities, and societies to gain meaning from the past for the present.

SPAN 389     U.S. Latino and Latina Literature and Culture  (4)

A panoramic survey of the cultural production of Latinos and Latinas, or Hispanics, in the United States. Representative works from various literary genres, films, and the visual arts serve as the basis for the examination of recurring themes, which include: identity and self-definition, biculturalism, exile, migration, social class, political and social engagement, race, gender, and sexuality. Taught in English. Prerequisite: One course in Spanish numbered 203 or higher or placement.

WMST 100     Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies  (4)

This course provides an introduction to contemporary analyses of women's economic, cultural, biological, environmental, and political conditions. We will explore commonalities and differences among women, both in the United States and in other nations. In so doing, we will engage the concept of gender as an historical and critical category relating to a woman's ethnicity, class, sexuality, and race. The course also will examine varieties of recent feminist thought, paying particular attention to the impact of this scholarship on traditional academic disciplines. Open only to first-year students, sophomores, and juniors.

WMST 160     Introduction to Black Women's Studies  (4)

This introductory course explores the interlocking forms of oppression circumscribing Black women’s lives in the United States, with a particular emphasis on the ways in which their lived experiences and social realities are influenced by constructions of race, gender, class, sexuality, and other markers of difference. It contextualizes Black women’s struggles for social justice historically within the broader narratives of Black freedom struggles and the Women’s Rights Movement. It underscores the ways in which despite their marginalized status, Black women have used their agency within both the private and public realms to interrogate, challenge, and resist their subordination and subvert the status quo, particularly as it is reinforced in negative constructions of Black female identity.

WMST 251     Black Masculinity in the United States  (4)

This course is an interdisciplinary exploration of constructions of Black masculinity in the United States from the twentieth century through the present. Autobiographical accounts are used to examine historical and current definitions of Black manhood that challenge and reinforce understandings of what it means to be both Black and male.

WMST 340     African American Women's Short Stories  (4)

Focusing on the literary contributions of 20th century African American women fiction writers, this course specifically examines the shared and distinctive ways in which Black women writers represent the politics of Black womanhood in their short stories. This genre is an essential part of the Black women’s literary tradition that is often left unexplored. Collectively, these texts contribute to a radical literary tradition that implores readers to consider the way(s) in which race, gender, class, and/or sexuality inform the fictional lives of Black women and the lives of the writers. In addition to analyzing representations of Black female identity within the works of several prominent writers, the course traces specific themes such as power, privilege, and perspective.

WMST 351     Toni Morrison  (4)

This course explores selected fiction by Toni Morrison and some of the literary criticism that surrounds her work. It examines Morrison's treatment of race, class, gender, and sexuality in her fiction, and also considers some of her nonfiction, interviews, and speeches to gain a clearer understanding of her contributions to the American literary canon and the African American literary tradition.