The purpose of this course is to introduce students to United States history from the 12th century to the mid-19th century. Students will gain a more developed understanding of American history by examining the interactions among diverse cultures and people; the formation and use of power structures and institutions throughout the colonial, Revolutionary and antebellum eras; and the processes behind the "Americanization" of the North American continent. Central to this course is a comparison between two interpretations of American history: a Whiggish, or great American history, and the more conflict-centered Progressive interpretation. Not only will students gain a general knowledge of this time period, they also will understand the ways in which the past can be contextualized. Students are expected to understand both the factual basis of American history as well as the general interpretive frameworks underlying historical arguments. This course counts toward the American Studies history requirement for the major. This course is the same as HIST 101D. No prerequisite.
This course is a thematic survey of the United States from the end of the Civil War to the present. Students will examine the transformation of the United States from a rural, largely Protestant society into a powerful and culturally diverse urban/industrial nation. Topics will include constitutional developments, the formation of a national economy, urbanization and immigration. The course also will discuss political changes, the secularization of public culture, the formation of the welfare state, World War I, World War II, the Cold War, and the Vietnam War as well as suburbanization, the civil rights movement, women's and gay rights, and the late 20th-century conservative politics movement and religious revival. This course counts toward the American Studies history requirement for the major. This course is the same as HIST 102D. No prerequisite.
This course introduces students to the principles of American studies through the exploration of American history and culture, alternating between the 1950s and 1960s, depending on the semester. We will explore the nature of American society in that critical period through the study of the struggle for political reform, the role of women, the civil rights movement and the counterculture. Guest lectures, films and student presentations complement the course, and students will be asked to engage actively in its development. Not open to seniors. No prerequisite.
This course will focus upon the visual culture of the United States in the first half of the 20th century. Employing an American studies interdisciplinary model, we will look at visual imagery within a broad cultural context--in relationship to film, literature, history and politics. In so doing, we will explore such questions as: What constitutes an American identity in the first half of the 20th century? How does the notion of cultural nationalism help construct such identities? What are the points of intersection between European and American modernism and modernity? How does race impact modern American expression? Finally, what is the relationship between art, politics and social activism during these years? This course is cross-listed in the Department of Art and Art History. Open only to first-year and sophomore students. No prerequisite.
The great African American playwright August Wilson set his cycle of plays in Pittsburgh's once-dynamic neighborhood, the Hill. Students will read a series of Wilson's plays, including Joe Turner's Come and Gone, The Piano Lesson, and Fences, and locate them in time and place in African American history. This course is for first-year students with AP or KAP credit in American history or American studies and a critical aspect of the course will be a three-day fieldwork experience in the Hill district of Pittsburgh. Permission of instructor required. No prerequisite.
The course explores the guiding principles, major institutions and national politics of the American political system. The Founders' view of liberal democracy and of the three branches of our government (presented in the Federalist Papers) will provide the basis for consideration of the modern Supreme Court, presidency, bureaucracy, Congress, news media, and political parties and elections. The course concludes with Tocqueville's broad overview of American democracy and its efforts to reconcile liberty and equality. The themes of the course will be illustrated by references to current political issues, events and personalities. This course is the same as PSCI 200D. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or PSCI 101Y or permission of instructor. Offered every year.
This course presents an overview of painting, sculpture and architecture from colonial times to 1876. It frames the development of American art and architecture within a broad sociohistorical context and addresses many of the issues pertinent to American studies. The following questions, among others, will be addressed in the course: Does American culture have a single, identifiable character? How have Americans reconciled their uneasy relationship with European culture? How have American political values, such as freedom, liberty and democracy, informed the cultural expression of the 18th and 19th centuries? This course is the same as ARHS 227D. Prerequisite: ARHS 111, AMST 108, 109 or equivalent. Offered every other year.
The most fascinating thing about jazz is its vitality. Jazz remains today what it has been since its inception: an art form of intense personal expression in the context of collaborative improvisation. This course is a social and stylistic investigation of the history of jazz, from its African American origins up to the present. Progressing chronologically, students will investigate through a variety of sources the main jazz styles and musicians and their development and influence upon the jazz scene. Prerequisite: MUSC 101 or placement by exam. This course is the same as MUSC 302D. Offered every other year.
College and university campuses, from picturesque Gothic and Georgian wonderlands to the starkly modern and utilitarian assemblages of more recent years, have long been a source of fascination for Americans. They play a large role in the romantic ideal of college life, they evoke images of privilege or openness, and they increasingly are seen as a sales tool by marketers. If we look beyond the most superficial aspects of campuses, though, their physical appearances can reveal a great deal about an institution's history, its goals and philosophy, even its relative place in the nation's higher-education hierarchy. This course will look at a variety of campuses and campus types--urban, suburban and rural; public and private; old and new--and end with a class project involving development of an ideal campus. Permission of instructor required. No prerequisite.
This course will introduce students to the major theoretical writings about education--Dewey, Kozol, Ravitch and Freire. We will inquire about the "global achievement gap" and "cultural literacy" and interview teachers from a broad range of educational backgrounds--public, private, parochial, charter. The seminar will meet weekly, and students will engage during the week in Moodle discussions about issues raised in the reading. Students also will have a high school experience in Cleveland, with an introductory day during October break and a 10-day residency in early January. Credit only for attending all components of the course. Prerequisite: junior standing and permission of instructor.
America is the great, ongoing experiment of modernity, a nation thoroughly structured by all that is considered new in the Western world: liberal democracy, science, technology, industry and capitalism. The colonization of America by Europe led to our nation's status as a laboratory for political, social and artistic theories which otherwise may never have been attempted. More and more nations are looking at the U.S. with ambivalence. As recent history has shown, America is not just a European obsession. U.S. ties to Europe have weakened in the last few decades, and the U.S. now finds itself in a more multilateral geopolitical environment. The Sept. 11 attacks were a brutal awakening for many Americans to the hostility that exists in parts of the world, not only against U.S. foreign policy but against the identity of the American people. Is such hostility related to the European ambivalence toward America, or is it a new phenomenon, with separate historical and intellectual roots? This course will be conducted as a seminar. Each week, we will examine texts and films that center on a particular theme of European-American intellectual relations, the emerging complicated relationship between Islam and America, and the longstanding tension with Latin America. Among the texts of European writers included in the seminar are works by Alexis de Tocqueville, Jean Baudrillard, Simone de Beauvoir and Bernard-Henri Lévy. The texts of Middle Eastern writers include works by Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri and Sayyid Qutb; among the Latin American authors are Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. We also will view and discuss several films by directors such as Wim Wenders, Aki Kaurismäki, Jean-Luc Godard and Charlie Chaplin. This course can count toward the major in French (modern languages or area studies) under certain conditions to be arranged with Professor Guiney. This course counts as an elective in political science. No prerequisite.
The relationship between religion and popular culture in America is multifaceted. It includes religious themes in popular culture popular cultural portrayals of American religions the use of popular cultural forms as vehicles for the expression of religious values and the celebration of religious emotions and the embrace of cultural expressions as forms of religious devotion. This course will explore all these facets of the relationship, looking at a cross-section of Hollywood films, television shows, and music videos, various subgenres of popular music, sports, news media and cyber culture. Our study will be guided by the reading of academic texts on the topic, viewing of videos and images, and listening to samples of music from several genres. Previous studies in American and/or religious studies will be beneficial. No prerequisite. Offered every other year.
This advanced course will explore specific problems in American art and architecture. Topics include Rome in the American Imagination, Monuments and Memory, and American Art during the Great Depression. Assignments will include seminar reports, class discussion and a research paper. This course is the same as ARHS 378D. Prerequisite: ARHS 111, AMST 109 or equivalent.
The course will provide a setting for guided student advanced work in American studies. The participants will work collaboratively to assist one another in the development of individual research projects that represent the synthesis of the six courses they have crafted for the major in American studies. The course is required of all American studies senior majors and concentrators. Permission of instructor required. No prerequisite.
This course will look at the wide range of representations of the national game in American culture. The course will examine literature, poetry and drama as well as the visual arts as a way of understanding the power of baseball on our cultural imagination. The seminar will focus on group discussion, collaborative presentations and individual analysis. Permission of instructor required. No prerequisite.
Individual study is an exceptional opportunity available to junior or senior majors who find that the ordinary course offerings at Kenyon do not meet their needs for the major. Individual study may be taken only for .5 unit of credit. Students must have the prior approval of the department chair in order to apply to enroll in an individual study. The student must present a detailed reading list and syllabus, including a schedule of assignments/projects and due dates, to the American studies faculty member with whom they choose to work. The faculty member who agrees to supervise and direct the individual study will confirm the syllabus and schedule in writing to the director of the program. The student project must culminate in a public presentation. The overall evaluation is a combination of student self-evaluation and faculty assessment of the student’s performance, both of which will be reported to the department chair along with the final grade assigned in the course. Because students must enroll for individual studies by the end of the seventh class day of each semester, they should begin discussion of the proposed individual study preferably the semester before, so that there is time to devise the proposal and seek departmental approval before the registrar’s deadline.
The Honors Program in American studies entails a two-semester sequence of independent work integral to the elective-study program in the major, taken during the senior year. Permission of department chair required.
See the description for AMST 497Y.
ARHS 227D: American Art to 1876
ARHS 377: Topics in Modern Art
ARTS 229: Documentary Photography
ENGL 270: American Fiction
ENGL 280: American Literary Modernism
ENGL 283: Native American Literature
ENGL 288: African-American Literature
ENGL 372: The Gilded Age
ENGL 378: Race in the 19th-century Literary Imagination
ENGL 382: The Jazz Age
ENGL 384: Imagining America in the Novel
ENGL 385: Contemporary American Poetry
ENGL 388: Studies in 20th-century African American Literature
ENGL 471: Hawthorne: Nation and Transnation in Hawthorne's Fiction
ENGL 472: The Confidence Game in America
ENGL 473: Faulkner
ENGL 483: Contemporary Indigenous American Poetry
ENVS 112: Introduction to Environmental Studies
FILM 111: Introduction to Film
FILM 267: The Documentary
HIST 101D: United States History, 1100-1865
HIST 102D: United States History, 1865-Present
HIST 175: Early Black History
HIST 176: Contemporary Black History
HIST 205: Hard Times: The Great Depression
HIST 208: U.S. Women's History
HIST 209: History of North American Indians
HIST 275: World War II
HIST 310: The Civil War
HIST 312: Blacks in the Age of Jim Crow
HIST 313: Black Intellectuals
HIST 316: Jazz Age: 1900-1930
HIST 317: Gilded Age America: 1877-1900
HIST 400: American Revolution
MUSC 302D: History of Jazz
PSCI 200D: Liberal Democracy in America
PSCI 301: The American Presidency
PSCI 310: Public Policy
PSCI 312: American Constitutional Law
PSCI 332: African American Political Thought
PSCI 404: News Media and American Politics
RLST 230: Religion and Society in America (U.S.)
RLST 242: African American Religions
SOCY 104: Identity in American Society
SOCY 229: Social Movements
SOCY 231: Issues of Gender and Power
SOCY 232: Sexual Harassment: Normative Expectations and Legal Questions
SOCY 244: Race, Ethnicity and American Law
SOCY 250: Systems of Stratification
SOCY 422: Topics in Social Stratification
SOCY 440: Blackface: The American Minstrel Show
SOCY 463: Intersectional Theory
SPAN 380: Cultural Productions of the Borderlands