Other American Studies Courses

Other courses in the American Studies catalog include:

CORE 180
Social Science in an American Context


Knowledge of the substance, motivation, and consequences of both individual and collective human behavior is essential to the liberally educated person. No educated person can hope to comprehend the complexity of contemporary society without some understanding of how that society is organized and how its various components relate to one another. Economic, political, psychological, historical and sociological perspectives can provide insights into human behavior and relationships in the world. This course is designed to introduce the student to the goals, methods, theories, and research findings associated with the various fields comprising the social sciences within the context of an American theme.  

CORE 182
American Geography


This course will present a broad overview of the physical, human, and environmental geography of the United States. This course presents an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the spatial variations of the United States and how they impact the nature and development of the nation. Topics will include American landforms and climate, regionalism; race, ethnicity, and culture; economic and political geography; and environmental issues and initiatives. Students will also gain knowledge and experience in the techniques and technology used in the study of the earth, its physical geography, its climate and its inhabitants. Coursework will provide students practical knowledge in their relationships with the diverse landscapes and cultures of the United States. As a CORE course, this course is further designed to enhance and broaden student learning in correlation with numerous academic disciplines.  

Home-Making: The Structures and Constructions of American Identity 1620-1917


This course will explore the construction of literal and ideological homes in American culture and American texts. Students will explore the process of community building and exclusion as well as captivity narratives which will allow us to examine further questions of identity and exclusion. Students will investigate domestic ideology and the American identity that it helped to forge. The course will also explore some of the challenges to domestic ideology and its insular methods of constructing American identity. Business and industry, slavery, and abolition movements, and the Civil War were among a host of forces that threatened to destroy the secure "home" of American identity in the first part of the nineteenth century. Students will conclude the course with writings from the turn of the century that explore and expose the fiction of America as a classless society. 

Literature of the American South Since 1865


The defining question of American Studies at King's College is, "What does it mean to be an American?" This course addresses that question by examining literary attempts to answer that question, specifically by examining the fiction, poetry, and nonfiction of the American South written after the Civil War. Questions of race, gender, and class are integral to understanding American character and identity, and these questions are explicitly central to the literary output of the South. We will study efforts by Southern authors to negotiate conflicting regional and national identities, and we will place their work in multiple contexts that generate and inform it, including historical, theological, political, social, and economic. 

CORE 185
Women in American Society


This course provides an analysis of women's historical and contemporary situation in American society. An examination of the approaches and research of the findings of the social sciences using gender as a category of analysis intersecting with class, race, and ethnicity. The relationship between gender and social institutions as well as interrelationships of gender-defined institutions--government, economy, religion, family, and education--will be explored. 

CORE 186
Religion in America

American society is both very religious and very religiously diverse. This course surveys various religion's relation to American society and culture throughout history, paying attention to the effects of law, immigration, urbanization, politics, and cultural change. The course addresses the meaning and limits of religious freedom, the doctrine of separation of church and state, the longstanding but changing influence of Protestantism, the emergence of three kinds of Judaism, the social and cultural position of American Catholocism, the origin and spread of Pentecostalism, religions' roles in social movements, the growth of East Asian and Caribbean religious communities, and the various forms of African-American faith, including the Black Muslim movement. Other questions could include whether America is a "Christian nation" in any significant sense, and whether individualism is the only genuine American creed. 

Aging and American Society


One of the most significant demographic trends in American society is the aging of its population. As a result, unprecedented changes are anticipated during the next several decades. These changes--expected to transform society in dramatic fashion--will be most evident in housing, health and mental health care, transportation, financial planning, family and personal life, resources allocation, manpower deployment, urban and regional planning, customer relations, product design, marketing and retailing. Students in this course will focus on these changes. They will examine the reasons why they are taking place, analyze the demographic projections that indicate their direction and assess the impact these changes may have on American social values, attitudes, and mores. 

Race and Ethnicity in American History


What is an American? How does one become an American? These questions resonate in today's press and have been posed since the early days of the United States. Utilizing a historical perspective, this class will examine the role that race and ethnicity play in influencing social institutions, cultural norms, economic success, political power, and access to technology. Beginning with the first contact between Native Americans and the European settlers and concluding with the current debates over illegal immigration, this course will not be comprehensive but rather focus on selected events and issues. Utilizing a wide variety of primary and secondary sources (including audio and video), students will examine how American identity is created, contested, and changes over time, and how this identity helps determine access to economic and political power.